Tag Archives: Business

To internet paywalls that tell me I have reached my monthly limit of free articles

I don’t know who you are.

I don’t know what you want.

If you are looking for subscription, I can tell you I don’t have money.

But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career

Skills that make me a nightmare for websites like you.

If you let me read the article now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look on Google, I will not pursue it.

But if you don’t, I will search for the title on Google, I will find it, and I will read the article on the search engine generated link.

Unless of course your website is smart enough to block me again. In which case – touché

[Much obliged]


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Lesser-known CCs

A living relic of letter-writing, cc’ing someone on an email has become a daily business event, as we keep a wider audience informed on our dealings. The slightly more sneaky bcc is also a regular feature in our email arsenal, as we give other parties a brief glimpse into our correspondence. But there are many more exotic cc’s, as well as these common varieties – which do you recognise from your day-to-day?

No-cc: forgeting to cc people despite saying you have cc’d people

Re-cc: your correspondent insists on replying, rather than replying-all, necessitating frustrating re-copying

De-cc: when you strategically remove members from cc, perhaps senior folks in the event of a U-turn

Awk-cc: you left that one person off, will they feel worse if they’re added in late or never?

Escalation-cc: I do hate to copy your manager on this email, but you haven’t responded to my last five

Typo-cc: did you really mean to copy Jean from  IT rather than Joan from Bizdev?

Promo-cc: why is the MD on this run-of-the-mill announcement? Must be promotion season

Why-cc: the recipient list is vast and incoherent, why are we all here?

Oop-cc: did you mean to reply-all there with that catty comment?

Bye-cc: you can’t send that filth to the whole office. Best of luck with your next opportunity

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Business is Awesome: Value

It has been some time since the awesomeness of business was discussed on these pixels. One might therefore assume that business has lost its way, and is now no longer awesome.

That could not be further from the truth. Nostalgia had me browsing through some nice lines & boxes & numbers from yesteryear (2015), from the nice people of Goldman Sachs.

One number in particular struck me, right at the bottom. In 2010, World Market Capitalization was $52tn. In 2015, the hardworking denizens of the business world added over $10tn in value ($10.8tn to be precise). That’s $5.9B a day, even on weekends!

And business people get so much stick! If increasing the value of the world day in and day out isn’t important, I don’t know what is. Awesome.

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Be Resolute

What is a New Year without resolutions? Here at HardlyBusiness we have a few simple rules to make 2016 a bumper year for your business.

Put your customers first: without them, you wouldn’t have a business; place their needs above all else

Focus on your people: they are the most important part of your success, your most valuable asset

Think long term: don’t let day-to-day concerns distract you from your long term goals

Always be closing: a day without a sale is wasted, sell sell sell!

Do what you do well: don’t be distracted by one-offs and fads, focus on what makes your business great

Innovate and experiment: in this day and age you need to keep running just to stand still – how can you constantly innovate and grow outside your core competencies?

Stick to your guns: concentrate on your company’s mission for the year, and what you need to do to meet your targets

Roll with the punches: it is impossible to predict the future in today’s fast-moving world, so prepare to pivot!

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Out of Office

Dear Valued Customer / Revered Business Leader / Esteemed Colleague / Grateful Report

I am afraid that I am out of office until January 4th with limited access to email. If your message is urgent, please email me with the words “Business is happening!” in the subject line, and I will endeavour to get back to you (those words allow me to transcend the requirement for WiFi). Alternatively, activate the Bat Signal (Batman and I were at business school together) or notify the Executive Coach elders, and assistance should be with you shortly.

Yours sincerely / faithfully / graciously (depending on level of acquaintance and seniority)


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Grin and beard it

Appearances matter in business. Whether it’s an investment bank or a Silicon Valley startup, there are certain expectations when it comes to how you look. Facial hair, specifically beards, are a natural stumbling block for the junior businessman; Hardly Business weighs in.

The first question you need to consider is whether you currently have a beard. If so, in lieu of any howls to the contrary, you should probably keep it. Your appearance is part of your personal brand, and if you’ve got a beard, people will know you for it. Rebranding is a minefield, remember when Royal Mail rebranded as Consignia? Exactly. You don’t, because they had to undo it. Don’t be Consignia.

If you have confirmed your lack of beard with one or two thoughtful strokes of the chin, you might consider several more, as you contemplate a bearded future.

The first thing to consider is the job you currently have. If you do not currently have a job, consider a beard. It is a good hobby to pass the time. If you do have a job, then your industry is very important. If you are a lumberjack or a general outdoorsman, feel free to grow a beard. If you work in the media, you should have already grown a beard. If you do anything else, then I’m afraid a decision lies before you.

Can you grow a beard? If you confidently answered yes, with past beards to prove it, grow a beard. You’ll probably have one in 5 days, and have a promotion in a week. You handsome son of a gun.

If, on the other hand, you answered a more tentative ‘maybe’, consider your options carefully. If it’s a ‘maybe’ borne of optimism rather than realism, then your journey ends here. You cannot grow a beard.

And so we end with those standing hairless and unsure on the edge of a great unknown. We can offer but a few pointers. If you are the most junior member of a beardless team, do not grow a beard. Do not be Galileo. If you are considered very wise by your coworkers, grow a beard, it will only add to your reputation as an oracle. If you are a messy eater, do not grow a beard. Hair-trapped leftovers undermine even the most erudite business statement. If you have a youthful face, and are often asked how your work experience is going, consider growing a beard. It will add age and distinction. And finally, if you have If you just forgot to shave, you have not grown a beard. Do not wander so carelessly into such a major life decision.

So with all that in mind, just these parting words: I moustache that you hair on the side of caution, as beards are hard to handle-bar the savings on razors and shaving foam. If you can’t decide-burns, don’t let that get your goatee – beards are a hairy issue. [That’s enough of that – Ed.]

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Christmas at HBR

Christmas is always a flurry of activity, and every year it is easy to get caught up in it, with all the activities, gifts, family and friends. With everything going on, it is equally easy to forget what really matters – economic growth, shareholder value and market share.

With that in mind, here are three HBR presents for you and yours. A graph going up and to the right:


A picture of two men in suits shaking hands:


And a diverse group of employees celebrating a business deal:

Happy Business!

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Business Interest: US Rates Rise

Breaking News from our colleagues in the US, as interest rates rise for the first time since 2008, increasing by 0.25%. Janet Yellen of the US Federal Reserve reported the increase, saying that the public’s interest in business was “improving well and expected to continue to strengthen.”

This development is expected to have implications across the world, as international consumers inevitably follow US trends. Interest in business and the economy could well be the next Game of Thrones, as water coolers around the globe reverberate with the latest EBITDA gossip.

Meanwhile some commentators have connected the increase in US interest with the recent return this week of a noted online blog-type business site, after more than a year of absence. Coincidence? Your correspondent could not possibly comment.

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The Business Alphabet

Always Be Closing

Don’t Entertain Failure

Generate Huge Innovation

Just Kill Laziness

Make Numerous Opportunities

Produce Qualified Recommendations

Synergy Triumphs Unilaterally

Value Wins Xtra



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Business is Awesome: Mad Men

Have you seen Mad Men? I love Mad Men. Don Draper is such a cool guy, and boy can he pull off a suit.

What if I told you that you could be just like Don Draper, every single day? You’ve guessed right, I’m talking about business. In business, you are required, nay obliged to wear a suit every day. Just like Mad Men! And a tie too.

Of course other features prevalent in Mad Men, such as day-drinking, institutional sexism, and indoor-smoking are less encouraged in a business setting. But from a sartorial standpoint, Business = suits = Mad Men. Isn’t business awesome?

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