This is the last Beautiful Business update of 2021. This month’s edition is rounding off the year and focusing on reflection, gratitude and a little bit of goal setting.


2021 isn’t the year that we expected. Starting with a lockdown unforeseen by many, followed by travel restrictions and various dramas throughout, 2021 has been a bit of a funny one, and I can’t quite believe we’re in December already. 

Grateful for what

The end of the year is always a time for contemplation and reflection. Looking back over the past 12 months and thinking about what you’re grateful for – you’ll always be blown away by how much you’ve actually achieved this year. Look even further back and see where you’ve come since December 2016 or even December 2011 – we often overestimate what we can achieve in one year but underestimate what we can achieve in five.

At the back of our brains, so to speak, there was a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life was to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder.

GK Chesterton

What’s making us wonder….

2021 has been a year of opportunity, at points so much opportunity that you didn’t know where to look first. Pertinent advice from Jim Collins in ‘Great by Choice’, his research finds certain behaviours that identify ‘great’ businesses. One behaviour is that when faced with opportunities, great businesses fire bullets then cannonballs.

First, you fire bullets (low-cost, low-risk, low-distraction experiments) to figure out what will work—calibrating your line of sight by taking small shots. Then, once you have empirical validation, you fire a cannonball (concentrating resources into a big bet) on the calibrated line of sight. Calibrated cannonballs correlate with outsized results; uncalibrated cannonballs correlate with disaster. The ability to turn small proven ideas (bullets) into huge hits (cannonballs) counts more than the sheer amount of pure innovation.

Jim Collins

On our minds….

Each new year I start with Warren Buffet’s approach to goal setting. The guiding principle is that too many goals lead to failure. You can read the full story here. in short, you write down your top 25 goals. You then prioritise the list in terms of your most important goals. Then, you put a line through goals 6-25. You now have two lists:

  1. Goals 1-5, are your absolute focus.
  2. Goals 6-25, are your avoid at all costs list.

The key here is focus.

What’s making us smile….
  • The free online classes available through an Ivy League school and find it via the Class Central search engine.

  • Yung Pueblo’s new book Clarity & Connection. It’s filled with beautifully crafted short extracts that will make you think and reflect.

  • This awesome thread from Lucy Hughes at Rise at Seven that shares 24 underrated websites – there are some gems in there.

What we’re listening to…

As we embrace the run-in to the end of the year, who would have known that my most played artist on Spotify would have been Miley Cyrus?! Surely, there’s a bug in the algorithm….

More relevant is that my #1 podcast in 2021 was the High Performance podcast. I can’t recommend this content highly enough.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, this Farnam Street Podcast with Doug Conant, who served as the President of Nabisco from 1999-2001 and then spent a decade as President and CEO of The Campbell Soup Company, is fantastic. It’s filled with insights into how putting his employees first made him an internationally renowned business leader.

The more you celebrate contributions of significance, the more contributions of significance you get.

Doug Conant

What’s coming from Wow in 2022…

We have a laser focus on providing a world-class experience to our clients – that’s not new but remains at the core of why we do what we do. At Wow, we are collectively driven to help people build beautiful businesses. What happens is that when we do our job well, people talk, and we have the opportunity to help others run beautiful businesses, and so it goes…

In 2022, we are keen to develop further our community of beautiful businesses, both founders and their leadership teams. Watch this space. We have some exciting things coming.

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