Things my dog taught me.
Never underestimate the valuable business lessons you can learn from your dog. Here's a run down of what I've learned from Simcoe the hop pup...
Don’t overthink it
Simcoe is never guilty of getting caught in the trap of over-analysing. He will jump paws first into anything (such as a river to chase a duck) and know (hope) he has the skills (in this instance swimming like a little mother fucker) to ensure it all works out for the best.
Business plans and market research are both overrated. A person I used to home-brew with has been working on his business plan for six years. In that time we’ve employed 250 people and sold our beers to 42 different countries. Just dive head first into the river after that duck.
Simcoe actually smiles. A lot. Which, I think is unusual for a dog. Maybe it is because he is proud of his puppy nashers. Everytime I see him smiling I smile too. And everyone should smile more. If you are not smiling enough, you need to find things to do that makes you smile more.
Be Excited. About Everything.
Everything is exciting. Postman at the door. Wow! Amazing! A toilet roll. Oh my freaking god this is the best toy ever. An old diet coke can? I am so excited I am going to jump back and forth over a bush!
Jump into every opportunity. Immerse yourself in it. Loose yourself in it. Don’t hold back. You never know, the postman just might have a sack of dog treats instead of bills and junk mail. In the words of Steve Jobs: 'Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.'
Do things quickly!
Simcoe likes to do everything quickly, from shredding the mail to sprinting up the stairs. One of the most significant assets any small company has is speed and nimbleness. Gnawing through red tape, dodging stupid regulations and avoiding unnecessary beurocracy are the foundations upon which most successful small enterprisesare built.
For us it is not so much go big or go home, but go fast or go home.
Simcoe wore a bowtie when he attended my wedding. Normal is boring. Normal gets lost and blends into the background. Playing it safe is too risky. Don’t be scared to take risks, don’t be scared to follow your instincts and avoid any temptation to fit in with the status quo.
The only way you know if something is truly innovative is if it scares the hell out of everyone. My grandmother was scared of Simcoe in a bowtie. She is 82.
It is not all about working. When it is time for playing jump about in that paddling pool like you don’t have a care in the world and forget all about business. When playtime is over you will be sharper, more focussed and have more perspective.
Simcoe’s will persevere, often over the course of hours, to get dog biscuits out of his toy. Whether it is minute 2 or minute 52 he goes at the task with the same level of enthusiasm, diligence and optimism, knowing (perhaps) that each time he bounces the toy unsuccessfully off a wall brings him one bounce closer to prising out the biscuit.
Attitude is everything. Whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm & optimism and you will get your reward in dog (or even human) biscuits.
Dogs are pretty loyal. Regardless of how things are going Simcoe is going to stick by me. In business, loyalty - be it to suppliers, customers, partners or fellow team members is perhaps the single most under-rated virtue. It is easy to be amazing when everything is going well, it is only when things are tough you really see the truth. Loyalty to each other and to our key partners underpins everything we do. We are in this for the long haul.
An Apple a Day
Unusually for a species famed for it’s carnivorous streak Simcoe loves eating apples. One per day in fact. Eat healthy, exercise, look after yourself. And you will be a million times sharper and more productive for it.
Be Part of a Pack
You are faster something as part of a pack. The other pup’s spur you on to focus, to achieve more and chase down the ball, stick or occasional rabbit faster. You need a great team to build a thriving business quickly. Lone wolves catch much less bunnies and by flying solo you take the fun and shared journey out of the equation too. Partner up and build a great team and then you really can put a dent in the world.
There are also some things he does I would advise against doing in the course of business:
- Trying to hump bitches at the beach
- Eating notepads
- And biting people until their hand bleeds in an interview. In Simcoe’s defence he was just 3 months old when this happened.
Thanks, Simcoe. x
Anyone else learned any key knowledge nuggets from their best friend?