Small Business

F-ck off, says Sir Bob Geldof

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Last year, Sir Bob Geldof addressed a number of business conferences here and he told a young journalist employee of mine to “f—k off”. And the outrageous reaction, made me reflect upon a memorable piece of business advice I once received.

More on Sir 'Yob' later.

One of the best bits of business advice I have received came from my first accountant. This guy was Italian and when he gave his words of wisdom he explained how tax used to be done in his dad’s corner store.

“We had three sets of books,” he revealed. “One for when you wanted to sell the business, one for when the taxman arrived and one that told the truth.”

Now that was not the best advice. The best tips were to be professional with your business, keep all your receipts, know what were fair deductions, talk to your accountant about your business regularly and don’t confuse revenue with profit.

My first business was a coaching school started when I was teacher. Many teachers coached after hours for cash and some, I always presumed, played the tax dodgers game.

I knew someone who had been caught out by the tax office and it was a dramatic event. This made me seek advice from an expert and this is the best advice I would give to anyone starting a business.

Knowing allowable deductions meant I could lease a car and by keeping a logbook, some percentage of the car expenses was tax deductible. The same applied to my phone, heating, equipment purchases, etc.

Understanding allowable tax deductions meant I looked for spending that could help me earn income. It not only drove investment in my business but investment in me as well.

During the resource tax debate, politicians argued that no one likes to pay tax but there are professional business owners who know paying more tax goes with business success.

They always hate governments misusing their tax contributions to Treasury’s coffers but the actual paying of tax can be an indicator of a great business.

Now for Mr Geldof.

In the press conference, my young employee asked Bob what was the best business advice he had received? His answer of “f—k off” phased my colleague making her switch off to what else Bob had to say.

Later she learnt that another journo in the press conference, who was not shocked by Bob’s answer, heard it all. Apparently, Bob added that being told to “f—k off” by people made him determined to succeed.

And isn’t that great advice?

Want more great advice? I’m joining US leadership expert John C. Maxwell for a leadership series this week. For more details on tickets and times, click here.

Published on: Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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