26 Fruits


What every business needs

Last week I was in France, starting to research and write the ‘brand story’ for a long-established French company. What a pleasure. I’ll be telling the stories of those who have made big contributions to the development of the business over 200 and more years, since the days of Napoleon.

I took with me a copy of the Dark Angels book Established. In preparing for this project I realised that the Conclusions I had written for the book were absolutely relevant to the task I was about to embark on. Even so I was surprised at just how relevant each point of the Conclusions was to the situation of the French company – or indeed any company. So, for all of you out there in the world of branding, business writing and marketing, I set it out for you here. Why write a brand story? This explains why – every brand needs one.


A dozen what you do’s to survive in business

In the end, every business book needs its list of ‘top tips’. Except in our case it cannot quite be done in that conventional way because we’ve been trying to see things from a less conventional angle. So here we set down a dozen conclusions that are drawn from this book’s examples of business longevity. They are more ‘things to think about’ than ‘things to do’.

  • Found your business on solid principles, make sure you keep those current and relevant to different times. Your origins can provide continuing guidance on what to do in the future.
  • Only persist. Better times will follow if you stick at doing what you do as well as you can.
  • There is a craft in what you do. Rejoice in the maintenance and development of that craft.
  • Be as clear as you can be with yourself about why you do what you do. Let that purpose shine through in everything you communicate about your business.
  • Respect your company’s DNA. Make it part of yours.
  • Know the stories that shaped your business. Find new ways to look at them and tell them for new generations.
  • A rebellious streak can be a creative influence. Your business needs creativity.
  • Beware the pitfalls of generational drift. Fresh perspectives brought from outside can be invigorating inside.
  • Selling to new owners is always an option and not a failure. Help your buyer understand the true value of what they have bought – in the long run, culture runs deeper than physical assets.
  •  Adapt to changing times because time changes everything. Embrace the need for change while remaining true to your purpose.
  • Your business is like every other; but unlike any other. Celebrate the undoubted fact that you are different.
  • Stick to what you do as long as you can be the best at doing it. But stop doing it – adapt and innovate – when it is no longer useful for the times.

Finally, although we don’t have a breadmaker among our businesses, we thought we should have a baker’s dozen of conclusions.

It is all about people – those who work for you and with you. And they all want to have meaning in their lives inside and outside work.

Established, written by Dark Angels partners, was published by Unbound in 2018. It’s available from bookshops and online retailers.


2 Responses

  1. Gillian says:

    John, I smiled as I read through the list. I’m working on a project right now that would benefit from these very nudges of contemplation.

  2. John Simmons says:

    Thanks, Gillian. Keep smiling

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