Lessons from the recession

Last Friday I had the priviledge of meeting James Caan, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw and the “friendly” Dragon on Dragons’ Den.

The Blak Pearl team with James Caan
The Blak Pearl team with James Caan

I was in his office with the Blakpearl team www.blakpearl.com as we began filming our documentary, Lessons from the Recession” to be screened at Blak Pearl’s ILSG 2010 event in January. Mr Caan will be a keynote speaker at ILSG 2010 alongside US guru Brian Tracy and kindly agreed to be a part of the documentary.

Buoyed by our brush with fame, we hit the streets of London to ask retailers what they had learnt thus far from the recession,  on camera, naturally. The first thing we learnt was that fear is dominant. Fear of change, fear of the unknown and fear of opportunity. Before we even got their permission to film, the vast majority of people we spoke to had decided that whatever it was that we were doing was to be viewed as a threat rather than an opportunity.

What we were actually offering was a chance for them to air their views, give their business exposure to an audience of over 3000 international delegates at ILSG 2010 and an even larger one through James Caan but the majority would rather not get involved. There was also a chance to be involved in a world record attempt (more to follow on that in the coming weeks) but fear dominated.

Procrastination was rife, “leave us some info”, “can we discuss it next week”, well frankly, no. We are filming a documentary, it is meant to be natural and we are in London now. Take the chance, seize the opportunity, TRY something new. Sadly many didn’t but thankfully about 20% did. The comon theme with these businesses? All were being run by younger managers/owners. They saw a glass half full. They saw an opportunity and took it.

It is these sort of people that we need to lead us out of this recession. They embrace the new, they are eager to learn, they want to be a part of things.

First lesson from the recession: give young entrepreneurs a chance, you never know what might happen – but then again, perhaps that scares you?