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At last we got to watch it. Like most families no doubt, when we all get together, we have a stack of favourite films. On top of that, favourite actors, such as Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Leonardo Dicaprio, to name a few. So at last, I dusted off an old favourite which stars two out of three, ‘Catch me if you can’. However, the tale of  two little mice had never struck me as it did tonight.

Two Little Mice

Two Little Mice

‘Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse, wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out. Gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse’

This is a story that Frank senior tells Frank junior. It’s his account of the struggle and supposed victory against forces that want to undermine and ruin his life as a business owner. He’s clearly proud that he see’s himself as someone who’s beaten the odds. Whilst in truth, he’s clearly fooling himself, it will strike a chord with anyone who’s worked their way out of a hole, when all seemed lost.

I’m one of these two little mice, maybe you are too. Skirting along the edge of a massive overdraft, just about meeting big loan payments, how do we end up in this position? Were we stupid to end up in the bucket of cream? Did we not have the skills to spot the bucket? Is there any way we can learn to spot the common traps that await us as a business owner?  Unexpected tax bills, unplanned capital expenditure and emergency replacement of anything can catch us out and drag us down to the point where, there’s simply too much cream, there is no escape.

The good news is that hard work will trump everything in business. It allows us to catch up, make up, and prepare for the days, weeks and months ahead. The ‘Hard work test’ should be the first test that any prospective business owners take. You know yourself if you’re cut out for a life without a wage. You must be honest about whether you want that struggle, that work.

As ex-forces people, how can we prepare our self for the early weeks, months and years in business? Can resettlement from the forces ever prepare us for life as a business owner?




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