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The Idea Log: Helping hands for growing pains

The Idea Log, Idealog's spirit 'animal', is back. And this time, it's here to propose some coping mechanisms for entrepreneurs who are dealing with some common startup ailments. Because business isn't all beer and Skittles...

Did you know wood products are New Zealand’s third biggest export earner? You did? Well, given your surprising knowledge of our industry sectors, you’ll also know that it is a low-value commodity. And speaking as a log, it’s also murderous and barbaric. So I’m here to propose a few solutions to help get our country’s A into GDP. 

Business isn’t all beer and skittles. Sometimes it’s more like leftover rum and coke from the night before and those terrible foreign lollies that fall from cheap piñatas. It’s hard yakka and entrepreneurs will almost certainly come upon hard times as they attempt to bend the world to their will. Founders often ask me for advice and, as an experienced angel investor, with large stakes in some major Christmas decoration companies, I know a thing or two about the perils of business. So here are some of my favourite coping mechanisms for some common startup ailments. And always remember, if you want the growth, you’ve got to prepare the soil, fertilise, weed, water and use extended metaphors.

UNBEARABLE STRESS 

Bottle it up inside and let it fester. It’s the New Zealand way. Or develop a range of chemical dependencies.  

UNABLE TO FIND THAT BIG BREAKTHROUGH 

To think differently, you need to disrupt yourself, so change the way you think by pulling a Tyler Durden and punching yourself in the face during meetings. 

ONGOING LONELINESS  AND ISOLATION 

It’s tough at the top, so invest in a VR headset to temporarily remove reality. While technology is meant to connect us, sometimes the best bet is to use it to isolate yourself further from the terrible world. 

NOT ABLE TO SLEEP 

Mix pine bark extract with llama butter, sleeping pills, Soylent, moon dust, brain berries, sex truffles, ant powder and antioxidant rich McNuggets. Also be sure to maintain mindfulness. 

UNABLE TO FIND GOOD STAFF DURING HIGH-GROWTH PERIOD

Attempt to remove humans from your business, doubling down on AI and automation. 

ABLE TO FIND GREAT STAFF, BUT FIND THAT THEY ARE MUCH BETTER THAN YOU AT EVERYTHING 

Be petty and rule through fear, ego-tripping and micro-management so they know who’s boss. 

CONTINUALLY FAILING TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, DESPITE MENTIONING IT REGULARLY IN PRESENTATIONS

Pivot aggressively and regularly. Plant a few trees. Or just be honest and tell everyone it’s all about the money. 

SCARED THAT THE EVER-INCREASING GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR WILL INEVITABLY LEAD TO A LOSS OF FAITH IN PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND THE TOTAL BREAKDOWN OF SOCIETY

Use investors' money to buy a large tract of land in the South Island hill country and build a luxury bolthole/southern office. Or actually attempt to make the world a better place. 

LAWSUITS AND NEGATIVE MEDIA COVERAGE DUE TO ONGOING SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS IN THE WORKPLACE 

Lawyer up. Or stop sexually harassing employees. 

NOT ENOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY

They say time is the most precious resource, but ‘they’ haven’t heard of bitcoin. Invest everything you have in that and you’ll be able to give up on that ‘Uber for undies’ business you started. 

UNABLE TO FIND APPROPRIATE FUNDING FOR WAGES, RENT AND/OR GROWTH 

Crowd-fund, growth hack, crowd hack, or, like a ponzi scheme, constantly ask for more money from investors.  

TROUBLE FROM THE REGULATORS AND BACKWARD INCUMBENTS FOR CAUSING TOO MUCH DISRUPTION AND NOT HEEDING THE RULES

Apparently you catch more flies with honey, but flies are also attracted to horse heads. So send them to all your enemies.  If unavailable, buy a few fake ones on Amazon instead. They have exactly the same intimidating effect. 

DIRTY, SMELLY ALLBIRDS DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS

Put them on a warm wash, at low water level and on delicate setting so as not to damage them. 

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