10 Things To DO for Entrepreneurs while in LockDown

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Mr Benji Dhillon, Cosmetic Surgeon and successful clinic owner in Beaconsfield, England. It was the first time I had done an Insta Live interview, and it was both simple and fun.

Dr Benji Dhillon

We spoke about my current work to source PPE for healthcare workers, the work I have been doing to help build ventilators in the UK, as well as some practical things that entrepreneurs and business owners CAN do during this difficult time for companies.

During the Live Streaming, there were many requests for me to repeat the list, so instead of going back, we agreed that I would write them down and share them, which we did.

Here they are for you as well, should you wish to spend some time using this period to get some of that stuff done that we never ever seem to get around to!

If you have other suggestions, please share in the comments — I am almost done with the list (Including the last one, believe it or not!) so need some ideas!

  1. Rearrange Dropbox/SharePoint/computer folders
  2. Cleaning up Customer lists
  3. Preparing new launch plans
  4. Write Blog posts for the rest of the year
  5. Clean up Social Media history
  6. …..

Here is the whole list from 1 to 10 of practical things you can do from the sofa in your house to make sure your business comes back better and stronger when this whole things blows over: LockDown TO DO for Busy Entrepreneurs

Stay Safe,  

Summarize me and JUNE: Attempt 1

I have tried to summarize me in a few words for the Goldman Sachs 10k I am just about to embark on. How do you think I did?

Here is what I wrote:

Making healthcare better for the women and girls you love.

Multi award-winning innovator and serial entrepreneur. (thats from LinkedIn, true but braggy sounding on here.)

I don’t like Brexit

I am Swedish, living in the UK since 12 years, still struggling to not translate and try to explain swedish expressions (eg “There is no danger on the roof”) during business conversations.

Useless education

Trained ballerina, rocks parallel parking but can’t cook. Once burnt boiling eggs.

It’s complicated

Like talking strategy, change and people. Enthusiastic introvert who has to do the hakka before networking. Residential will take all my energy, but I am really looking forward to learning from everyone on the programme.

JUNE Medical

June was a code name from the beginning, but it got stuck so I kept it. We focus on surgical women’s health, anything that is in the operating theatre and give women the opportunity to get back on their feet faster, back to the life they want to live. We distribute medical devices for some of the largest companies in healthcare, as well as making our own solutions when we don’t find good products (Galaxy II is such a project).
I have been supporting The Fistula Foundation with surgical equipment for many years, and my GalaxyII project is an important cornerstone in that goal.
I am on the programme to ensure I make the best choices and optimise where and how we can contribute to improving healthcare for women and girls.


Participate. In the online environment, it’s not enough just to turn up. If you don’t join in no one will know that you are there!

Share questions and tips. Questions you post to the discussion forums will help others, and taking part in discussions will help you to learn. It is often the case that where a participant encounters a problem, it is the experience of the other participants that is most valuable in developing a solution.

Think before you click. Before you post your comments, check through what you have written. It’s always helpful to check if you have written what you meant to write and to think about how the people reading your words will react.

Remember that we can’t see the grin on your face. Help us ‘see’ you by explaining your ideas fully. You could also use an emoticon, such as 😉 to let the reader know that your comment is meant to be ironic or funny.

Remember there is a person who will be reading your message. Because visual clues are often lacking in online communication, electronic messages can easily seem harsher than they are intended to be. If you disagree with what someone has said, please bear this in mind as you express that disagreement.

Keep your messages short and to the point. When composing your  messages, aim to express your thoughts concisely. Obviously you will want to explain your point, but if you write a very long message it has the same effect as someone ‘holding forth’ or ‘rambling’ in a face-to-face discussion. Lengthy postings do not hold people’s attention and are less likely to get a response.

Use paragraphs to break up your text. Even relatively short messages can be difficult to read online unless they are broken up.

Any derogatory or inappropriate comments are unacceptable. 

Content from GS10k with thanks

brexit crap

I’ve had enough. This craziness has been going on for too long, and nobody seem to have a clear idea of where we are heading. Nothing decided, so nothing to plan for. Like running a company (or four, in my case) isn’t difficult enough AS IT IS.

So I made a statement, and on twitter my followers increased with 500 people in 24 hours, absolutely crazy. I have made it my business to share real, actual, true and current examples from my daily working life on what brexit already means for us.

I want to provide a balanced voice and hope that I can help people see what we are facing, and that leaving the union has a huge impact on little and big things. It is an enormous threat, and now, we all need to raise our concerns for a future that looks bleaker and bleaker every day.


Actually, customers DO know what they want.

…We might just have a lot of reasons to disagree with them and hide behind the words from Steve Jobs: “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

In a large corporation any new product innovation or potential addition to the product portfolio requires a lot of people. People who need to have opinions, people who need to challenge, people who need to know, people who need to execute, people who need to update systems, people who need to be trained. The political game is played, and internal forces fight for resources. The success of a new product is largely dependant on the skills and connections of the internal people representing it.

SMEs live a different life. We obviously don’t have the reach of a large corporation, but we DO have the capability to just listen, act and implement.

We can just give the customers what they say they need.

Sometimes this means making a new product, and sometimes it just means going through our contacts and connections to find what we are looking for.

Making a new product

Yesterday we spent time with one of our suppliers and discussed how we can best make a new set of accessories for GALAXY surgical retractor. We discuss everything from design, materials most suitable, the environmental impact, recycling, packaging, weight, shipping….during the meeting I sent 3 quick WhatsApp messages to surgeons to ask for input, and thanks to the great relationships we have built, I got replies within 20 minutes: information that goes straight into the decision making process there and then. THAT is how product innovation should happen.

Design and prototyping

Next we will produce some drawings and some prototypes, and we will put them in hands of surgeons and nurses to get their view. It is important to remember that we will never treat a single patient, so no matter what WE may think, it needs to be tested and verified by the actual end user. There is so much writing and discussion about this, but I wonder how often it actually happens. It is so easy to go to people who will tell you what you want to hear and then everyone is happy, right?

Not for an SME.

The same people who wanted the product since a customer asked for it, will be the ones who roll it out to the market. If you get it wrong, there is nobody to blame but yourself. And of course, sometimes a great IDEA won’t actually make a good commercial product, for several reasons. But that is a story for another day.


GALAXY wasn’t a coincidence

My eldest daughter is 10. For her, the environmental impact of plastic is horrifying, to the point that it makes her cry when she sees the impact as she researches plastic pollution online. Many times I have found her in her room wiping tears off her face as she shows me turtles trapped in plastic bags, mountains of garbage on the sea bed and the comparisons of how much plastic there is versus animals in the ocean.

Her school has implemented plastic free lunches, and her class won by a mile, fuelled no doubt by her and her friends, driving the message home. My normally quiet little girl admitted with an embarrassed smile that she “screamed and hugged Matilda” when they won the lunch challenge.

They have written to the local supermarkets, challenging them to create a plastic free isle, and the other day when I came home, the entire sidewalk outside our house was covered in chalk drawings: they had created a 15 meter long masterpiece with images of fish, oceans and wildlife, with one clear message…..”reduce plastic waste!!!”.

As you can see, the guiding principle for making our new GALAXY II a better designed product for surgical retractor (for ENT, Orthopaedics, Gynae and urology) with 10% less plastic to reduce waste and environmental impact WASN’T A COINCIDENCE.

NHS in England has bought more than half a billion disposable cups over the last five years. This is a great area where simple innovations can make a big difference. The NHS in England spent £87 million on waste in 2014/15 – we are talking a huge part of the funding for our NHS going to waste management. ‘The management of healthcare waste is an essential part of ensuring that healthcare activities do not pose a risk or potential risk of infection and are securely managed.’ This responsibility is borne out in the breadth of regulations that healthcare providers must follow when managing waste including Controlled Waste Regulations, the Hazardous Waste Directive, and Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations. Important work, and we need to get it right.

As an example; waste for HTI (High Temperature Incineration) collected at Guy’s in London is burnt at Augean’s plant in Kent, the only facility in the UK capable of recovering energy from the process. (Waste is burnt at 1,100 degrees centigrade to guarantee the destruction of any hazardous properties.) St Thomas’s HTI waste is taken to Tradebe’s incinerator in Surrey, which doesn’t recover energy.

The future of our planet is something that concerns all of us. Nobody can change the world single- handily, but we can all be making smarter choices in the little things in life, and if we all pitch in, the results will make a difference.

My contribution this time is 10% less plastic in 10 000 surgical retractors in the UK annually.

Pressrelease from Buckinghamshire New University: Angela Spang

Award-winning businesswoman Angela Spang says she is ‘hugely excited’ by the potential for her companies to grow after relocating her offices from Marlow to Buckinghamshire New University’s campus in High Wycombe.

Angela, who oversees four companies, has taken up space on two floors at the University, in Queen Alexandra Road, High Wycombe, and says she is making use of a range of its other facilities too, as well as calling on the assistance, knowhow and expertise of employees.

She said: “The companies have grown from four people in 2015 to 20 today and so we needed somewhere that fitted us better. Bucks New University had space to rent and we thought it was the perfect location for us.

“We have been able to utilise the technicians on-site to make items for us and we would like to link up with students who may be able to…..

Read more here

Banner image: Angela Spang with Mary Simpson, Principal Lecturer in Bucks Business School.



Why simplicity is important in innovation

It is so easy to fall into the trap of ego. You know you have a great idea, and you want to show the world how clever it is…well, it is easy to also want to show the world how proud you are of having thought of it!

And being proud is a good thing.

…Just not so proud that it derails your innovation. Let me give you a good example, witnessed often in previous roles in large corporations:

Clever person solves a problem. Clever person then tries to share solution with other clever people, but makes the pitch lopsided, and the OTHER clever people end up offering to help with THEIR solutions to the problem. Clever person leaves feeling devalued, demotivated and misunderstood.

So what went wrong?

The mistake was made to make the PROBLEM bigger than the SOLUTION. (We tend to do this when we want to build suspense, to really milk out the praise we think we deserve for our brilliant solution.) It then back fires, because we focus too much on the stage before the solution, and once everyone’s brain is in help and solution mode, it is very challenging to present a solution. Intelligent creative people love problem solving and are so eager to help, they can’t stop!

Try this next time

Instead of building up the problem too big and subsequently losing your moment to shine, try summarizing the discussion you want to have up front. Try starting with saying something along the lines of : “You know that x we have been mulling over? I have a solution I want to share with you today, and I am really proud of it!”

Be honest, know yourself and use your strengths. Innovation is only beautiful when it is simple, and everyone gets it.

(Just like a good joke is only funny if you don’t have to explain it.)

Startup Confidence is a wobbly road


Every now and then you wobble. No matter how convinced you are of your idea, nobody remains confident at all times. None of us can say we haven’t had moments when we think “screw this, I just want a normal job”, and we go on to thinking how amazing it would be to have 28 vacation days every year, a monthly guaranteed salary, perhaps an annual bonus and a company car that you didn’t have to pay for yourself.

But then all of a sudden, sometimes out of the blue, comes the breakthrough. That meeting you’ve wanting so badly for months or even years is right in front of you. You know if can change everything…over night.

Now what do you do? Do you prepare like crazy? Design ever word, every gesture? Do you do a slide set just for that one meeting? Or….do you simply breathe?

I am sitting on the train on the way to one of those meetings, and I am doing none of the preparations above. Maybe that’s a mistake. Maybe I will blow my big chance. But I can’t help but thinking that every step ive taken in my startup journey, every decision, every piece of feedback has prepared me for this.

Don’t get me wrong: I know what I want to accomplish, and I am clear on how I want the conversation to go.

I just need to trust my own capabilities, and do what I do best; think on my feet and solve the problem.

Wish me luck.



Leadership struggles

As a leader, one of the hardest things is to figure out when to push your employees, and when to back off. Finding the balance, different for each person you lead, is hugely challenging.

Sometimes leaders get fed up too, because in the end of the day, we all have rough days when we just want to roll over and pull the covers over our head. But as the leader of a team or a company, that simply isn’t an option. Your actions would impact too many, and for a long time. You need to stay professional, at all times. Moping has to be done at home, hidden away from those your emotions will influence, worry or offend.

Supportive leaders are great

But how do you make the decision to just stop helping and stop coaching? When do you say “enough is enough” and draw a line in the sand? For example, how much of our personal life’s should we bring into the office? When should we tell our teams to be professional and just get on with it? Is it right to have team members not pulling their weight because they are going through a tough time at home? Should a boss be a mentor, a coach or a psychologist? Or all of it?

Lead with kindness

I always advocate empathy and understanding and believe leading with kindness is right. But….here is a thought for consideration: Is it right to spend extra time and resources on the ones who aren’t performing? Is it fair to the other ones in the team, those who are doing well, even great? Shouldn’t THEY be the ones who get the time, the coaching, the support and the help?

If you want to lead a team of high performers, is it strategic to spend most of your time worrying about the low performers? Or is it time to just ditch the deadweight and go with the stars?

Pondering continues.