I have Jennifer Aniston’s skin!

Don’t laugh, I am serious. For a number of years now I have started my day with a small glass of Aloe Vera drinking gel courtesy of Angie Mackenzie at Forever.

Angie has made selling Aloe Vera products her escape from the world of employment and is a dab hand at building her networks and spreading her customer base. In her own quiet way, she is a shining example to the rest of us. Anyway, a few years ago, Angie told me about an article where Jennifer Aniston attributed her skin to her regular dose of Aloe Vera drinking gel. I thought nothing of it at the time.

This week I was at the doctor. I had a rash on my neck, nothing of any consequence. Being a skin complaint, the doctor asked me to remove my shirt so that he could see more of my skin. He then proceeded to compliment me on my skin. So, I thought to myself, maybe Jennifer Aniston was right and so I now have skin like hers.

I must admit that I put these various facts together a little tongue in cheek. If I had Jennifer Aniston’s skin, that would mean she also had mine. I think the publicity photos prove that that is not the case. Was there a flaw in my logic?

In a similar vein, I have met many people over the years who have an idea for a business and are going to make their fortunes within 6 months, a year or maybe two at most. They see other people who seemingly have taken a simple idea and built huge corporate empires seemingly overnight.

There are a number of problems with this logic. First, for every entrepreneur who has got it right, there are hundreds or thousands who didn’t. The ones that did probably either had money behind them or connections that opened doors, or they laboured at their idea for many years before making it big. I know there are exceptions to this, but I am talking about the you’s and me’s of this world. A lot of effort for at best a decent, if not spectacular, living.

Do you remember the actor John Inman. He was once asked about becoming an overnight success in the 1970s sitcom “Are You Being Served”. His comment was that he had become an overnight success after 25 years as a struggling actor in repertory theatre around the UK. He had not achieved success as soon as he launched his acting career. He worked on his craft and then an opportunity came his way, which made him a household name. Many businesses are like this.

So, where am I going with this? It’s quite simple, an idea is not a business. It is a seed still in the packet that has not yet been planted and even if it is, may never germinate.

To grow into a business, that germ of an idea must be nurtured, put in the right surroundings with all the resources needed, and just like a seedling, may need to be repotted, moved around to find the best environments and nourished.

Many years ago, I remember someone coming to see me with an idea for converting a ship to be able to hoover up cockles from the seabed. No-one else was doing it he said and so he was going to clean up. The fact that no-one else was doing it begs the question “why?”. The other problems were that he did not have a ship, or the money to buy and convert one, let alone any working capital. He also had no business experience.

He had an idea and in his head, that was all he needed for a profitable business. Just like my claim that I have Jennifer Aniston’s skin, there is some logic, but investigation soon shows that this logic is largely flawed. 

Virtually all successful businesses spent years in the doldrums before the prime movers in that business had built up their business knowledge, experience, and acumen along with capital, and then like John Inman, opportunities comes their way and they appear to be an overnight success story.

Building a business is a long badly signposted road with plenty of potholes. But for the hardy and committed, a road worth travelling, even though you may end up with something different than you initially planned.

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Alan E Long

The Long Partnership

07770 738770



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