Boldness in Business – Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman Cobra Beer
The first in the 2017 UWE Distinguished Address Series was from Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer on 25 January 2017. The idea of Cobra beer evolved from combining the refreshment you get from lager with the smoothness of ale without leaving a bloated feeling; particularly good to accompany Indian food. A simple big idea. Cobra Beer now has won 88 gold medals. It is ingenious because it is less gaseous and is still a very fledgling beer of only 25 years! (Think Kronenbourg 1664!). Not being a great lager/beer drinker myself, I tried it and I was pleasantly surprised. Will be on the shopping list!
Lord Bilimoria’s lecture covered many aspects of being bold in business….. Here’s some of his thoughts on how to succeed.
How to succeed in business
- You need boldness, creativity and restless innovation; boldness to adapt or die and the ability to persevere against all odds, even when nobody thinks you stand a chance, including your own family.
- You need vision “to aspire to and achieve against all odds with integrity”.
- You need to Inspire people to become loyal brand champions
- You need luck – when determination meets opportunity. Picture waves going past you – you might just catch one if you are lucky
- Serendipity – seeing what everyone else sees but thinking what no one else has thought
- Blue ocean thinking eg Cirque de Soleil – bringing together ancient art forms to create a new entertainment. Now a multi- million company
- You need the guts to do something in the first place and stick with it when the going gets tough
- Your business is not just what you do but how you do it.
- Trust is key – Empires were built on trust
- You need to be a great leader
- The fear of pain is greater than the pleasure of gain
- What do you do? play to win or play not to lose? If you’re already at the top of your league for example, as was Alex Ferguson’s team, the biggest challenge was to get the team to play to win again
- You need to deliver a unique and relevant consistent experience
- You need to deliver extraordinary profits
- Always hire for attitude rather than for skill
- “Good judgement comes from experience ; experience comes from bad judgement” attributed to Dr Kerr L White
To work in partnership and with others you need the same culture and the shared values of Integrity = wholeness . The former Archbishop of Canterbury, once explained that “integrity” comes from the Latin word “integer” – the whole number, thus “wholeness”. You cannot practise integrity unless you are whole.
Start your own foundation to give back to society. Cobra Beer has a joint venture with Belu water where profits are donated to water aid to help transform lives through access to clean water and safe toilets in South Asia.