Affirmations from a Serial & Iconic Entrepreneur

You don’t often have the opportunity to meet and talk with individuals who have created not one but three business that sold for over £1 billion each. And should that happen, it would be even rarer to be talked to as an equal.

Mike Harris of Iconic Shift

Last night I was privileged to join about 50 others at an event organised by Start Up Leadership at a presentation by Mike Harris, creator of First Direct (the world’s first telephone bank); Mercury Communications ( a successful consumer business purchased by Virgin Media) and Egg, the word’s first internet bank.

I know I am not Mike’s equal in terms of material accomplishment but his skill at listening and his genuine interest in the ideas of his conversation partner left me feeling that one day I just might be. And it’s that skill that proved to be the secret of his success – Mike  discovered early on in his career how to liberate the creative capacity of his co-workers; to make their soul’s sing and leap out of bed each morning eager to apply their gifts to whatever the task at hand.

That’s why discussion around purpose and passion are themes that I revisit over and over again here  (see previous post: Tourism What’s the Point – Part 3 ) because I have always been a believer that the order in which you place those three Ps determine success. And that’s also likely why any posts on this subject prove the most popular with my readers.

Mike confessed that when he first started presenting his business ideas to potential funders he would keep his thoughts about higher purpose to himself for fear he was perceived as insufficiently “hard-nosed”, practical and realistic. But as his reputation for producing results grew, he felt he could jettison such caution and be true to himself. And the previous evening, when he sat down with a table of venture capitalists, virtually all agreed with him – further proof of a value shift that also is a theme pursued on this blog.

And that’s why the Conscious Travel program has the potential to be an industry game changer.

We want to be known for putting the value, the wonder and the magic back into the business of travel by  enabling hosts in becoming effective agents for good in their community. We want both guests and hosts to feel – as I did last night – inspired and empowered to participate in an activity that doesn’t cost the earth.

The new five “P’s that can make or break a travel-related business are place, people, purpose, and passion that create profits for all.

So, what do you want to be known for and what feelings do you wish your guests to have when they experience your particular place? *

This question formed an exercise Mike gave us around branding that I am finding a really useful thought stimulant.For more great ideas and inspiration see:

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