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a blog by Chris Barrow

Making business a fun thing to do again

Some years ago I had dinner with a partner in a successful Private Equity firm, who told me that their definition of a good result was to invest in 6 businesses, lose their money in 2 of them, break even in 2 and make a profit in the final pair.

That sounded like a roller coaster ride to me - although when you are investing other people's money it might not sound so risky.

In the last few days I've caught up with two old friends from outside of dentistry.

One of them has opened and closed so many businesses in so many sectors over the 35 years we have been friends, that I've lost count. Not a single one of them has either lasted the course or taken off and he was bemoaning the fact that his latest venture exports to Russia - go figure.

The other has been a serial investor for the 25 years I have known him and has experienced his fair share of lost shirts but has recently hit a rich vein in a particular sector and made a small fortune. In simple terms, 20 years of speculation has finally turned in to 5 years of rich rewards.

If you met either of them, you would love them - articulate, educated, fun and as honest as the day is long - controlled egos with a very high sense of social responsibility and ethical beyond reproach. Great company - I'm proud to call them both my friends.

Rich Friend, Poor Friend - you could write a book.

We read a lot about oligarchs of all nationalities, parading around in super-yachts as they steal from their own staff pension fund. Idiotic TV programmes that celebrate a "dog eat dog" mentality in competing for the favour of a self-styled mentor.

It doesn't have to be like that in business - there are plenty of nice guys and gals around and they don't always win the big prizes. Along the way, they provide employment for thousands and goods or services that help.

Business can be fun.

In the game of business, the dice may roll for or against you but the fun is in showing up to find out.

If you are not enjoying yourself - do something else.

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