BOOK / Garry Mansell, author of Simplify To Succeed, on the realities of a happy work life – and who ultimately controls happiness – for International Day of Happiness (20th March)

Garry Mansell, author of Simplify To Succeed, on the realities of a happy work life – and who ultimately controls happiness – for International Day of Happiness (20th March) Garry […]

Garry Mansell, author of Simplify To Succeed, on the realities of a happy work life – and who ultimately controls happiness – for International Day of Happiness (20th March)

Garry Mansell is the author of Simplify To Succeed, a new book focused on highlighting tips, tricks and insights to help build, scale and sell a business. After a successful 40+ year business career, Garry now specialises in helping entrepreneurs and business owners – from first-year start-ups to scalable, profitable, rapid growth seven-figure companies – achieve their objectives and meet their full potential. He has built, led and divested businesses and has formally advised many others, some of which failed. Now, as a sought after non-executive director, and a board advisor and investor he continues to help other entrepreneurs succeed.

Book credit: Simplify To Succeed: Tips, tricks & insights to help you build, scale & sell your business by Garry Mansell, Brown Dog Books, March 2022, available to order now:
The book is also available on Amazon and in all good book shops.

Reflecting for International Day of Happiness I am reminded of how it felt when we raised the first invoice in the first business I built and ran I still have that cheque, suitably processed by the bank. When I look at it, I can instantly recall the feeling it gave me. Somebody really wanted to pay for what we were selling, and even more than this it was some degree of proof that what we were selling was valued. That ten-thousand-pound cheque meant so much to me and all the people inside the business, we all smiled for about a week after that arrived.

It doesn’t matter how big your first invoice is, it could be for a pound, it could be for a million. When you build and run your first business, and everyone you go on to build and run, the feeling will be the same. For me it was just the same feeling in the second week of March when my publisher told me that Amazon had placed their first orders for my first book. Close to two hundred and fifty copies would be winging their way into the Amazon distribution network based on a week or so of pre-sales. These things make you feel good and, on a day, designed to celebrate and remind us that it is everybody’s right to be happy it may be today is the day you decide to start that new venture or new business that has been nagging away at you.

I’m not going to lie. When you start a business there is a good chance that it will fail. Something like one in twenty businesses that start are still trading five years later. That is the first milestone for any business, before generating cash or profit, it’s about survival. I like the idea that a business celebrates its birthday, and the best way to do this is by the people that make it up recognising the fact that they made it through another year. For those of you who are movie fans, think of that scene in ‘It’s a wonderful life’ when they can close the doors on the day the bank nearly went bust with some money still left. It meant they had survived the day and they celebrated. Your business, if you start it, will have many days like that at first, and every single one will bring you a little happiness. When you set yourself goals and achieve them it naturally makes you happy. There will be bad days too, but the good days, when you are happy, will build up your reserves and allow you to cope with the tough days.

My advice to everybody who asks me if they should start a business is always the same. It is YES. Life is way too short to live thinking about the “what ifs”. One great piece of advice I was given was, when you come to a fork in the road, take it! It doesn’t infer which path you should follow, but it does say you have to choose one of them. Why not choose the one that will test you, the one that will stretch you and the one that potentially will lead you to a very happy and fulfilled working life and retirement? Don’t get to the end of your life and find yourself thinking “If only I had…”

I know a lot of people who started businesses that did fail. Some stopped at that point having tried to run a business of their own, deciding that working for someone else would suit them better. Many of the people whose businesses failed then started another, benefiting from the knowledge of what had gone wrong and the bad and good decisions they had made along the way. A good number of these have gone on to create hugely successful businesses, and remember if it is your business, you set the limits on what is a success. Not every successful business becomes a WalMart or Unilever. Success can be a corner shop that provides you and your family with a comfortable life, or a play on eBay that provides the same.

This leads me to my last point. A very good friend and mentor of mine years back made me realise that we control our own happiness. We decide if we are going to choose to be happy, people can influence that, but only we can choose if we are happy. It’s why some people who appear to be in desperate positions can claim to be happy, because they are. It was hard for me to process this, but once I had I now do spend a lot more of my time happy.

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