Within the last seven days, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing from, or working with, three inspirational leaders in the area of growing businesses.

Nigel Botteril, owner of no less than five million-plus pound businesses; Phil Jones, now headed down an entrepreneurial path after an extremely impressive corporate career; and Brad Burton, who founded the 4N business networking organisation.

Getting their thoughts on various aspects of business growth was both fascinating and great fun. Nigel has the sort of energy levels that make most normal people need a nap just watching him, and never fails to come up with practical suggestions that will make an immediate difference to a business. Phil is the kind of guy who’d be taking The Apprentice by storm, if the show was actually about business rather than reality TV drama**. His sales coaching is first class and would benefit you whether you’ve been doing it for years or are in your first customer facing role. Brad had me almost in tears, and not all of laughter, as he talked about his journey to success and understanding what’s important in life.

What’s this got to do with you? If you’re in businesses, everything. The one thing that these guys have in common is state of mind – positive, energetic, never put anything off till tomorrow that could have been done a week ago whilst simultaneously learning to unicyle. When you’re working in a smaller business and your job title is “Everything”, it’s really beneficial to occasionally spend time with people who’ve been there, bought the tshirt and resold it at a profit, and who can help you refocus on what’s really important or try something new.

So this post is really three things. A minor “thankyou” to those people for making my week so much more than it otherwise would have been; a reminder to myself that taking time out for this kind of thing is such a worthwhile investment; and a suggestion for our readers to FIND THE TIME to seek out people like these. The tax forms will still be there when you get back, but you’ll have a good reason to do something more important first!

**yeah, we love it too. Don’t tell.