Posts by Luke Johnson

Old entrepreneurial hands have all had their fingers burnt

Old entrepreneurial hands have all had their fingers burnt

25th June 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 25th June 2017. Every ambitious entrepreneur experiences various baptisms of fire. A new business venture is an unpredictable journey and big challenges are bound to arise. These are the gruelling rites of passage

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The young need to know a hard left state will choke prosperity

The young need to know a hard left state will choke prosperity

18th June 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 18th June 2017. For anyone in business, the election result was a disaster. About 40% of voters supported a hard left leadership, which is instinctively opposed to the private sector. Labour voters believed

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Cash matters — but customers and staff make a business

Cash matters — but customers and staff make a business

11th June 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 11th June 2017. A restaurateur said to me last week: “You talk a lot about money”. What he meant was that I focus too much on financial matters in board meetings, to the possible

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Why a robot will never pick the superstocks of the future

Why a robot will never pick the superstocks of the future

4th June 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 4th June 2017. Experience has taught me that what matters in business is the big winners. You can suffer losers and still do well if you have just a few significant successes. I assumed

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True and fair? No, annual reports are as clear as mud

True and fair? No, annual reports are as clear as mud

28th May 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 28th May 2017. Modern annual reports are pretty useless documents. Prospectuses are not much better. Public companies publish vast quantities of this type of financial information, but most of it is not fit for

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Real entrepreneurs do not get their hands dirty picking up awards

Real entrepreneurs do not get their hands dirty picking up awards

21st May 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 21st May 2017. I have been involved with start-up businesses for more than 30 years, and certain truths have become apparent on that rollercoaster. I thought it would be worthwhile listing some of the things

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The most challenging of the creative arts: building a company

The most challenging of the creative arts: building a company

14th May 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 14th May 2017. All of us have the chance to invent our own lives. We can decide where we live, who — and indeed if — we marry, and what we do for work.

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Every board needs a member of the awkward squad

Every board needs a member of the awkward squad

7th May 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 7th May 2017. For many companies, the greatest threat is not an external competitor, but lies within. All too often, organisations suffer from “insider capture” and groupthink — a clannishness that resists outside influence.

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There’s no disgrace for entrepreneurs in honest failure

There’s no disgrace for entrepreneurs in honest failure

23rd April 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 23rd April 2017. The most dramatic and painful event in business life is going bust. It is perfectly captured in Schumpeter’s terrifying phrase “creative destruction” — the moment of commercial death often giving rise

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Founders should not hang around for ever

Founders should not hang around for ever

16th April 2017

First published in the Sunday Times on 16th April 2017. A family business can be the best of all ownership structures — both for society as a whole and financially. Public companies have transient institutional owners that tend to be

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