Simon Carr: The Kitchen Capitalist

Time to seize the baton and take control
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The Independent Online

The story so far: the author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune to finance his old age...

One of the unlikely things the entrepreneur needs is Bach's Goldberg Variations. They have great tutorial power. The variations bowl along in a glad, confident, 18th-century way (we need that). There are ups and downs, but mostly ups. But suddenly we come to the 25th variation. It's a complete breakdown of will, purpose, volition. It's not unhappy, just purposeless. For those of us who need to drive on and make things happen... it's a bit frightening. Halfway through its meandering, the 25th stops, as if ending. But then it begins again with even less certainty. It picks its way step by step at different angles across a dark, probably bog-like landscape. It sounds like it's trying to wake up. And it goes on, and on, not waking up.

Eventually, of course, it does wake up. And the variations swing along again. But the 25th is by far the longest of the 32 pieces and it teaches you that these passages in life happen, and we can even enjoy them as they pass (we might as well).

So that's what I've been doing while China has failed to output the TIFF file with the right colour. I've output them myself and sent them by tea clipper to Shenzhen. You know about these matters. There have been other difficulties which I have failed to keep from loyal readers (you've been very brave). In this hiatus, I wonder whether to can the whole thing and write it all off against tax, tenderly nursing my resentments and grievances, brooding on the difficulties and betrayals. I've been listening to the 25th variation on a continuous loop. But now the 26th has come along with its swing and lift. And it's clear. The purpose has returned with all its absurd optimism. This project needs to go off like a rocket.

Outside investors. That's it. What this venture needs is a quarter of a million quid of outside investment. I can feel myself believing it even as I say it.

The time of the lone entrepreneur is over. This has to be professionalised. It's time for all that infrastructure I've eschewed so far. A plan. A budget, a market analysis, a spurious cash flow. Minutely described costs. Projections. Production variables, lead times, failure rates, shipping costs, pallet hire. Reach, frequency, volume, VAT, customs codes, import duties. They all have to be written down in a multilevel score of operatic complexity. This isn't two hands and one piano, this needs a full symphonic score with 32 parts all written intricately and individually in. Laying it all out you can see the path from here to there. Wherever there is.

Because one slightly odd thought does come forward. For all its journeying, Goldberg begins and finishes with an aria which is very much the same at the start as at the end.