What Love Island can teach you about running a business

There are two types of people in the UK right now. Both are quietly melting and debating how many fans it is environmentally-acceptable to purchase, but they can be distinguished by two key questions asked on a daily basis…

1)    Is it coming home?

2)    Can anyone beat Jack and Dani to the finish line?

If you don’t understand either of these questions, then I at least hope the rock you’ve been hiding under is cool and ventilated, because otherwise there’s absolutely no excuse to be this oblivious to our two biggest current obsessions.

Love Island has once again gripped the nation and despite everyone swearing they wouldn’t get sucked in again, we’re now using VAR (video assistant referee) to determine whether Georgia did or did not initiate that kiss (she so did).

In order to provide myself with a tenuous justification as to why I have so far wasted over 30 hours of my summer watching these bronzed babes talk endlessly about their feelings, I wanted to drill down into some solid learnings you can take from the smash hit show if you’re currently running your own business.

 Ahhhhhh, there they are... Source: BBC

Ahhhhhh, there they are... Source: BBC

1.     If something doesn’t feel right, don’t force it

My heart goes out to Laura, it really does. There’s no question that her end goal is to lock down true love before they lock up the villa for another year, but it seems that the tunnel vision is perhaps blinding her to identifying when someone just isn’t quite right for her.

It can be the same in business, especially for small businesses. The decisions you make about what work you take on can have a huge impact, both on your finances and your reputation. Turning down work is actually sometimes a good idea, and doing a job purely for the money can actually end up costing you dearly.

Take your time to weigh up a project, or a brief, and investigate new clients thoroughly before saying yes to make sure you are actually the right fit for what they want. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture rather than diving straight in can lead to a match made in heaven.  

2.     Being honest and real is always the best route

Effectively, each contestant who steps foot in that villa is developing and projecting their own personal brand, and their national brand perception can be strongly felt within seconds of stepping foot onto any social media platform. Inevitably, the combined weight of adoration always leans to the Dani’s and Jack’s of the world. People who seem to be totally, legitimately themselves, and in a world of fakery just scream authentic. The ‘nice guys finish last’ mentality doesn’t really apply here (unless you’re Dr. Alex) and we can see from previous years that the non-game-playing-couples e.g. Cara and Nathan from 2016 are the most likely to come out on top.

Business negotiation can be seriously tricky. But there is a way to make it slightly more straightforward. The only way you can be caught out, is if there’s something to catch. I used to think that the art of sales was all about tricks and techniques to close the deal, but since running our business we’ve found that honesty is definitely the best policy. It’s what we expect from our clients and suppliers, so the best way to ensure you’re working with straight shooters is to be one yourself.

3.     Don’t be a d*ck

Ah, Adam. Tall, chiseled, charming and with eye contact that just won’t quit. ‘On paper’ you’re the definition of what works on this show. But the nation has been watching, and thankfully in this Post-Brexit/Trump world, some logic has prevailed, with the nation quite rightly turning on the Geordie playboy over his terrible treatment of Rosie.

The same applies in business, there’s always an element of emotion involved whether we try to keep it cut-throat or not because we’re still human beings dealing with other human beings. So be decent, be respectful and treat others as you would want to be treated. Otherwise that project you’re perfect for could end up slipping through your fingers.

So there you have it, Love Island can actually provide some useful insights into the business world. The final, and possibly most important point however is that despite the above, you should always have a strategy. Not a diabolical scheme… but a considered plan to get what you want. Whether you’re a ‘grafter’ like Wes, or a ‘stay firm’ like Jack, it’s always important to think ahead and consider how you’ll achieve your objectives once you’re in the game. One strategy I wouldn’t recommend in either a romantic or business sense however is ‘smoldering’ … under any circumstance… Poor Dr. Alex.