I’ve spent years distilling my thoughts and opinions on business, education, politics and values into columns for Scottish newspapers. I’ve confessed business mistakes, all the chips that ever resided on my shoulder and tried to share the passion I have for making a difference. I’ve often been asked if there’s a recipe for business success. I’m not sure there is one that works for everyone, but mine goes something like this…

Influenced as ever by inordinately good-looking celebrity chefs (the lovely @nadinepierce knows exactly who I’m talking about) I’ve created my very own recipe for entrepreneurial success. If you find this to be popular, requested by all your dinner guests and friends – not necessarily the same people – then I will consider my job well done. If not, then tough; you probably didn’t follow the recipe exactly. And as you will know by now, I have no tolerance for time wasters.

Ingredients: one phenomenal idea and total passion for it, a one-track mind, great people, good bankers (note: this tends to be seasonal; good bankers are usually only available when the full moon falls on a Sunday in a seven-week month), sound systems and processes and the combined luck of a four-leaf clover, a rabbit’s foot and Tom Hunter.

Method: first, have the good idea. This may take many years and will probably come to you when least expected, such as in the shower or driving home from the in-laws when feeling drained of all humour and intellectually brain-dead.

Once the idea has been fully proved (yeast and/or a good business plan with decent market research required here) start to look for funding while simultaneously seeking staff, premises, professional advisers, brand/image advisors, social media advisors, an advertising agency, a marketing agency, a reputable contact within your local enterprise network and last, but not quite least, clients. Throw everything in an enormous office and work like fury. It will probably take two to three years before you start to see things come together.

If, like Delia Smith or Jamie Oliver, your cooking and business skills are well-matched, and you have contacts in the media, you’ve got it made. If not, you might have to spend some more time proving your good idea (yeast probably not enough to make the figures rise at this point, more refined research and a better set of figures essential).

In other words, try again and again and again until you finally get the quantities and qualities absolutely right.

Result: an outstanding business success. You will be lauded by your bank and Scottish Enterprise (who will try to claim responsibility for your success), your employees will love their jobs and will respect you as a businessman/woman and friend. You will have a clear business conscience and will be able to look yourself in the eye in the mirror every morning, you will know that your efforts have made a difference to someone, somewhere and you may, just may, make some money into the bargain.

Good luck! That’s the least of what you will need.

(a version of this first appeared in Business AM in 2001)