I recently read Richard Branson’s book, Business Stripped Bare, and found it very refreshing and inspiring.

While there were a few principles that I thought reflected my attitude to business, there were a lot more that I thought made so much sense that I made a New Year’s resolution to adopt them as soon as I got back to work.

He was very critical of the banks not "protecting against the downside", behaving as though things would never get worse. Simple, but true, and we’ll all be paying for that for years to come.

We probably all apply that principle to our own businesses on a daily basis, because of the competitive and dynamic nature of the trade we’re in. Can you imagine any retail or wholesale baker or allied trader resting on its laurels and thinking things can only get better for us?

One of Branson’s core beliefs is that a business shouldn’t get too big that it should try to be the best at what it does, be different but not grow to the extent that it loses sight of what it set out to do.

We often seem to be under pressure to rapidly expand our businesses, but it’s not always the best solution in the long term. By all means improve, innovate, change, develop and prosper, but there’s nothing wrong with realising your personal or financial limitations and making the most of what you have, leaving a little time to enjoy life, family and friends whenever possible.