Has a rocket exploded in your business?

It struck me when I heard the news the other day about the Virgin Galactic crash/explosion that, whilst Richard Branson has been incredibly successful and is often seen as the face of British Entrepreneurship, he hasn’t always had an easy time.

Clearly the incident with the rocket this week isn’t going to help his quest for space travel and it’s not all that long since he was doing battle on the trains.  In his early years in business he narrowly escaped jail and over the years he’s been in the news for both good and bad.  But what struck me is that, even with the huge issue of an exploded rocket to deal with, he doesn’t give up and lie down.

I’m a Cliff Richard fan (yes, I am only 43 but it is true) and last Saturday I was poised on my computer just before 9am to buy tickets for his 75th Birthday tour next year.  Despite the recent issues he’s received publicity for he’s not locked himself away, he’s put out a tour and within hours lots of the venues were sold out.

So you might not have had a rocket explode in your business, or have been wrongly accused of a crime, but there will be things that you find difficult to deal with and things that might make you question what you’re doing.  But remember, the guys who have made it big didn’t have an easy ride, they just kept going.

There are loads of quotes on failure that you could put on your wall to help you through the hard times, but here’s one for a starter for 10 …


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They hit him when he was down


I’m not particularly a Gary Barlow fan and I’m definitely not a Take That fan, but I am nosy and like to find out about people, so the other evening I decided to click into iPlayer and watch ‘When Corden Met Barlow’, a documentary of James Corden heading out for a couple of days on a road trip with his teenage hero Gary Barlow, reliving Gary’s story.

Did you see it?

They both seemed like great guys but what really struck me was the nastiness of the media – they really kicked Gary when he was down and, from what I could tell, there was no reason other than a couple of not so successful hits, oh, and Robbie Williams fueling the fire.

Now this isn’t a debate on the ethics of the media, or Robbie, but rather Gary’s ability to get through it and come out the other end as a shining hero putting on concerts for the Queen!

He took a real beating and clearly he found it difficult for a long number of years – resorting to putting on a substantial amount of weight so that he could go out without being recognised!  He verged on depression and at times thought his musical career was over.  However, as the contract was signed on the reforming of Take That, he slipped a demo tape into his manager’s hand and on it was the song ‘Patience’ – a song that turned into a No.1 hit for Take That from their come-back album.

If you listen to the words of this song it is clear that it is about Gary trying to recover from the hurt he felt from the destruction and near death of his career, but it also shows that he never gave up and he believed that he was great at what he did and that he would return …

“the scars run so deep, it’s been hard but I have to believe”

I think the message from this for all of us, whether fallen pop stars or business owners hitting hard times, is to always believe in what we do and not to give up, even when all seems lost. 

Listen to the song

N.B.  This was written the day before Gary was in the news regarding tax issues.  However I think the business message is still relevant – believing in what we do and not giving up.  It might be that Gary’s about to be tested again!?


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