Let me start by apologising. Unusual, I know, but this month I am using the Bugle as unashamed self-publicity (as opposed to the slightly coy, but ultimately just as shameless variant you usually get.)
The cause of this unlikely outbreak of honesty? I've written a book, and this is your invitation to read it completely free of charge. That's because before it gets into print, I'm posting it a chapter at a time on my blog: www.hilltopconsultancy.co.uk/blog
I'm no Charles Dickens, but I reckon he had a good marketing plan, publishing in instalments. I haven't tried to get a publishing deal yet (if anyone out there knows anyone ...) but if and when I do, I'm not expecting to be knocked down in the rush, so this is the best (probably only) way of bringing it to the attention of a wider audience.
Chapter one is already up and posted, and I'm planning to add another one every three or four weeks. I've started an e-mail list of people who've expressed an interest in being notified when a new one appears, so ... you know the form.
If no reputable publisher shows an interest - or disreputable one, come to that - I'll eventually self-publish under the Hilltop imprint, so in the unlikely event of your wanting a printed version to put on the shelves and show off to the vicar when he pops round for tea, your wishes can be granted.
But, apart from my self-interest, why is the content of any relevance to the readership of this mighty organ? (Oo-er, missus). Read on...
Free and unexpurgated
In 1986, I co-founded a sales promotion agency called Marketing Principles, based in Oxford. During 12 roller-coaster years, we expanded the business into a full through-the-line resource, specialising in direct marketing, design and marketing communication, as well as promotion. By the end, we had 30-odd staff (as opposed to 30 odd staff: the difference a bit of punctuation can make), and a turnover of over £5 million - and the end came because someone offered us a large cheque, to acquire the business.
"The Unprincipled" is my account of the many ups and downs we experienced, starting, running and selling a small business, written in my own inimitable style, and pulling no punches (you'd expect no less). I don't claim to come out of it smelling of roses and it's certainly not intended as a paean of self-justification, but it does highlight the things we got right, the things we got wrong - and the things we had to deal with that were just outside our control. Like two recessions, one secession, and a crooked accountant.
I've tried to keep it light, but in among the larks and the dramas, there are some serious points to be taken. I've tried not to be too didactic, on the basis that anyone who reads it will be able to draw their own conclusions.
Why is it called "The Unprincipled"? After a few years' trading, our creative department, egged on by my business partner, took to producing a scurrilous piss-take magazine of the agency's internal goings-on every few months, in which no one, including me, escaped unscathed. Its title was "The Unprincipled". I worked on many alternatives, but kept coming back to it. I can't think why.
Since what I'm doing now is helping small business owner/managers to achieve the kind of results I did (or whatever other vision they articulate), hopefully without all the dramas we experienced, it occurred to me that a document of my own real-life experiences might be useful, instructive and interesting, as well as entertaining.
Obviously, as a blog, there's plenty of scope for feedback, if the spirit moves you. To check it out, visit:
Try not to be too cruel. I'll take a discreet silence as just that.
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The Unprincipled contains swearing, immorality and unpleasantness amid all the high jinks and low points. If you're of a sensitive disposition, or easily offended, best give it a miss. Definitely don't click here:
If you want to know when a new chapter is posted, send me an e-mail to that effect.