What inspired you to write the book (I know you put it on your to-do list)?
The first people to inspire me to write the book were the audiences I have spoken to, many asked at the end of a speech “Can I have your notes” ….I don’t use notes, I speak from the heart although I do have bullet points to keep me to time! So then they often said “You should write a book!”. The second driver to write the book was myself. If I am to get to 7 billion people then I need to share my message beyond the audiences I speak to, and so whilst we made lots of postings on social media, the book was the best option to get to as many as possible as quickly as possible.
What is your goal from writing the book?
The sole mission of the book is to turn 7 billion ideas into action. – Turning an idea into an action requires self-belief, persistence, determination to succeed and investment (time and effort, not necessarily money.) And so whilst the mission is relatively simple, despite being large in ambition, the objective of empowering people is the ultimate mission.
You mentioned it took you a while to write it, did you enjoy aspects of writing it? Do you think it will be easier / faster to write the future ones you have planned?
Writing a book takes real focus, and you need time to commit to it. The focus was not the challenge with me, but the time to do it within my diverse business and political tasks was a hurdle. I had so much in my head that I wanted to share with the world and putting this in order was not easy. That’s where my mentee and intern Shariqa Habib took on her role, to put all my bits of paper in some kind of order after we had defines a framework which we were going to use. Shariqa, using many of my words also attempted to draft the book, but that didn’t work either as they were not my words or when I was reading her text it didn’t sound like me at all. So finally I ended up doing the full rewrite of the book over a very long Christmas alone locked in my home in Corsica. ….The next one for sure will be easier and I have already started it! Madi – No More Excuses!!
The book has a very personal style, would you say that is in keeping with your approach in general to business, and what are the advantages of working in this way?
We all love a story, but a story that is genuine, honest and in some parts emotional, sharing the challenges and successes is something I believe many people admire and warm to. It is the same way I do business and teach entrepreneurship. In many cases I am selling extremely complex disruptive technologies. You cannot just walk into a room and start describing technology even if it is associated with revolutionary processes and engineering and is set to change the world. I always start by sharing the challenge the world, or people, are facing, and how an entrepreneur, through years of dedication and passion has solved that problem and come up with an innovative solution. At that point usually I have the interest of the client to explain more. Now I will be honest, I know very little about technology and so I will describe in very simple terms, Madi language as we call it, the concept of the innovation. Of course I can demonstrate how it solves the problem and so through my personal style my client is now ready to meet the entrepreneur to learn the more complex details. But there is one more goal to my personal style, both in my book and in my business, and that is not to waste anyone’s time, to create synergies and networks which benefit all sides and to bring sustainability through profit for all so that more people in the world facing challenges can be supported.
You mention the unfortunate episode when you got bad business advice and it forced you to have to shut down your business. What tips would you give people to trying to identify faster who can and can not help your business, and so try to avoid the crooks and those who are the tyre kickers etc?
There are so many scams now and we have become aware of these on the internet because we cannot see the person we are more skeptical and aware. But sadly there are more and more often people who know us that are trying to cheat us and this we need to be more conscious of. Firstly, please, never trust someone you don’t know who offers you help out of the blue. Check them out. In my case it was someone who had come from the UK business support agency a Government body I assumed you could trust, I was wrong. I never questioned it – it was my error! Secondly, if you need help (and we all do) ask people you know to recommend someone, do not blindly go to the business support agencies, and do a little research first on the person. And thirdly, and most importantly, trust your gut feeling – if you get a bad feeling about someone, stop the conversation and walk away. A last point, and it is a sad point, when I start helping companies to grow, or entrepreneurs to find funding, they are so happy and promise me all sorts of things, big percentages of profit share, company shares, and jobs on the boards, even an Aston Martin (you need to read the book to see why this is important!) – However, as soon as I bring the money/orders to the table, everything changes and greed takes over. So, make sure on Day 1 of any connections which could involve money you have an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and a Contract of Terms established and signed. It will protect you later. No contract, no deals! – The days of “my word is my bond” have sadly gone.
Domestic abuse is still a big problem do you have any suggestions / tips on how to avoid those who are abusive?
Domestic abuse affects 1 in 3 women and I think 1 in 5 men. 1 in 5 children (below the age of 18) have experienced some kind of sexual abuse – there really is no way to identify the perpetrators. But as with contacts in business, at the point where you start to feel uncomfortable, or when you know someone’s behaviour is not as it should be, if you are being controlled or isolated, especially if you are made to be dependent emotionally or financially on someone, be aware it may be time to walk away, or at least talk to someone you can trust and get advice. The longer it is allowed to go on, the harder it becomes to walk away.
How has the book been received so far? Any aspects you wish you’d written more about it?
The book has been very well received and we are now in the process of getting it listed in shops. We are able to make changes to the small errors (typo’s, grammatical) in the book and will have a new print run for the book stores. It is being translated into Polish and French as we speak, and has been promoted and printed in India with a launch in August in Delhi. The feedback has been great, people really love the beads inside and the exercises and so Madi No More Excuses! will be an extension of some of the processes and sharing more case studies and thoughts for making bigger steps forward faster.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017 and beyond – how is it going with the Aston Martin? (I heard that sales are up)
2017 for all of us from UK is full of questions – I live and work across cities in Europe. So the focus is on strengthening the businesses we have an looking at all global markets to see how we can help drive entrepreneurship and enterprise growth forward through empowerment and education. I will also lose my position at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, which I love, as a result of Brexit. But I am an entrepreneur, we adapt to change very fast. The Aston Martin has not been secured yet but it’s on my vision board so it will be achieved!
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked you?
There are so many insecurities and threats in our lives these days and I suppose in a way we all have uncertainty and fears. However, it is really important that once you have a focus and you know what you want to achieve the perspectives change and you become more focused on achieving your goals and less on the fears and insecurities which we cannot control. This can be applied in all walks of life, and so empowering people to believe in themselves and their abilities is important to us all. Gandhi said – You must be the change you want to see. Madi says – you must be the change you want to see, no excuses!
Where can people buy the book / learn more about you?
The book is currently available on www.madinoexcuses.com where you can buy it directly, we are just trying to list on Amazon (that’s an in the box challenge) and then independent book stores. And to learn about me www.madisharma.org
I have one last point because the world is becoming so insecure, I would love people to have focus and less worries.