Five business lessons from the Queen

Essentially the Queen took over as the head of the family business as an inexperienced 25-year-old and has steered the firm through good times and bad times, inspiring awe and admiration while representing the country at home and abroad.

She has attended an estimated 30,000 events and still has 450 official events every year and though she may increasingly delegate events to younger family members, she has no plans for retirement.

While business leaders often head down the golf club as they enjoy early retirement, the Queen is not planning on giving up the day job any time soon. 

So here are five lessons from the monarch to inspire small business owners.

Network hard

As the country's leader and figurehead the Queen gets invited to some incredible events and meets lots of interesting people from all walks of life. But exciting as that life style may seem, it is sure to get tiresome and tedious at times. Being an experienced professional networker, the Queen doesn't give off any hint of boredom as she represents the country abroad, making connections, working relationships and bringing in business as the sales person in chief for Great Britain.

In your business - especially as a start-up - it is absolutely essential that you develop and nurture relationships by working the conferences and attending relevant events. You need to get yourself out there to make sure your business image is maintained and to strike up potential partnerships.

Maintain boundaries

When the Queen of Denmark celebrated her 25-year wedding anniversary, she famously came to the window of the royal palace straight from bed and greeted the people with her long hair uncombed and still in her dressing gown. That would be unthinkable for Queen Elizabeth. While she lets the public in slightly - we know of her love of racing and her dedication to her pet corgis - she keeps a respectful distance from the people. We know plenty of juicy details of the lives of her children and grandchildren, but the Queen has drawn up firm boundaries between herself and the people.

When you have staff in your business it is equally important to have a respectful and friendly relationship with your employees, but you need to keep a certain distance. They are not your friends, but at the same time you want to keep a good relationship, so it is important to strike a balance.

Be authentic

Queen Elizabeth has a fairly well established image: prim and proper, professional in her approach and always well turned out. She has never pretended to be someone she is not. Legend has it that her private secretary once attempted to include a joke in her speech and was promptly told to remove it. The message was that she didn't do jokes; it was simply not her style. It's an admirable attitude to have at a time where a gimmick is appreciated and it is tempting to be showy. She knows people will see through her if she isn't genuine.

This is easily applied to entrepreneurs and business leaders; don't try to be someone you are not. If you show the world who you are, people are more likely to understand your proposition. It's simple - if they 'get you' and like what they see, your business will prosper. If you pretend to be someone you're not and get found out, it could cause irreparable damage to your reputation.

Learn to bounce back after a setback

The Queen has shown time and again that peeling yourself off the ground after a setback is crucial in her position. And, like any business, the royal family has seen its fair share of difficult moments. Labelling it her "annus horribilis", the monarch has said 1992 was the most difficult in her career. The year saw Prince Charles separate from Princess Diana who also published a scandalous tell-all autobiography, Princess Anne also got divorced and Prince Andrew's estranged wife, Sarah, appeared in the tabloids, having her toes sucked.

Fast forward five years when Princess Diana died and the royal family took several days to react amid a public outpouring of grief; it's safe to say the royals' popularity was dwindling. Yet, recent polls have revealed that the royal family is now more popular than they have been in a long time.

You have got to learn to deal with difficult customers, ride the choppy waters and get back on your feet. A bad review can be hard to take but there's always a way round it.

Accept the need to delegate

While the Queen has never known any different from royal life, there must have been moments where she craved more normality. There's no chance of her popping out for a pint of milk, or going shopping for clothes - she has had to accept that other people had to do these jobs for her throughout her whole life. Equally as she gets older she will need to enlist her children and grandchildren to carry out official visits and other public duties.

In business too, there are many things you couldn't - and shouldn't - spend your time on. You need to trust people to do the jobs for you, and as they do they represent you and your business. 

We use cookies to create the most secure and effective website possible for our customers. Full details can be found here