It’s easy to be bitter about your perceived disadvantages, about new Government policies, or the Bank of England interest rate, or any number of other things that impact your life or business, but the blunt reality is that regardless of how much you dislike the rules of the game, you’ve got to play by them.

People often ask me about starting a business, and a common question is about building up a bit of cash to cover the bills whilst the business gets established, and that’s sensible, but no one ever asks about the mental aspect of it, the emotional bank account. How do you cope with things go wrong, and believe me, they will go wrong! Can you prioritise business tasks over family engagements? Are the people around you going to understand when you need to cancel dinner plans, or miss parents evening? In my opinion it is impossible to underplay the importance of developing the ability to handle the emotional side of business, and unfortunately, it’s not something that can be learned by reading a book, and that’s why I advocate failing faster. In failure, not only are lessons learned, but the ability to handle the emotional side of it develops, so take the loses, and build resilience because you’re going to need it.

My wife, Leanne, and I started in business buying rental properties, eventually growing our portfolio into one of the largest private residential stocks in Scotland, so we are no strangers to Government oversight, increased legislation, and shifts in lending criteria. The way I see it, I can sit and moan about it, about how the margin we make on properties has been hugely eroded over the years, how legislation is implemented in the private rented sector often years before the social or government housing operators are mandated to change, despite their funding coming from the Government, but where would that get me, nowhere!

Don’t get me wrong, issues caused by changes in the rules, unforeseen challenges, and failures, are painful, but with hundreds of employees in our team, we simply cannot afford to dwell on these things, but must work to find a solution.

Nowadays I actively look for these issues, or sectors where these things happen, as finding a solution to the issues is where value lies, and most of the competition will be too busy complaining about it. For me, success comes from doing something that most people aren’t able, or prepared to do, to put in the extra effort to find a way to play the hand you’re dealt.