It's amazing what you can achieve when you think around corners.

The best business might not be the one which makes you the most money, but sustains you in a way that brings the most happiness.

Since I left the life of a lawyer, I've talked less and done more. My wife and I have built businesses through careful planning of our money, time, contacts and other resources -- businesses which are fast paced and intense, but which leave us enough time to enjoy the important things in life and to sustain the planet and some of its poorest people whilst we're doing it. Download what THE AGE, Melbourne's major newspaper, said about my retirement in a half page spread in the Saturday supplement.

My thoughtful, lateral approach doesn't just solve problems! It makes already good situations even better.

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It's thinking around corners which turned silk factory waste into both a means of quadrupling the income of some of India's poorest of rural poor, a means of saving the environment by reducing the amount of plastic bags going to landfill, and a means of reducing carbon emissions by plastic bag manufacturers. We're increasing the wages of these women fourfold, in a project in South India we started in October 2008. Download the business plan.

2009 was huge! We built on the success of our 2008 project by leading anoter team to India, and created jobs for many poor Indian rural women. Read the press release. We consolidated our main business, Beautiful Silks, employing 4 full time staff in a recession. I wrote, taught, and was guest speaker twice at a TAFE college.

From do-it-yourself legal kits to tender applications for green motor sport, from software policies for a Danish software company to business plans for a Welsh social work company, research in international real estate markets (and tax effective ways to own real estate), advice on carbon trading for indigenous Brazilians to corporate structures for an international soccer media company to remanufacturing junked shop fittings which now adorn our Melbourne silk warehouse, thinking around corners has been a success! The last two years also saw me:

  • wrote the Fair Trade Standard for agricultural produce, village tourism and small-business produced manufactured goods in India;
  • write a business plan for the growth of the City of Albany in rural Western Australia - to double its population in 30 years;
  • writing and editing investment, tourism and health websites,
  • arranging the importation of electric bicycles into Australia to ease traffic congestion in the major cities,
  • assisted five would-be franchisors in the writing of their franchising manuals;
  • writing occupational health and safety manuals for the building industry,
  • establishing corporate social responsibility policies for industry in Australia;
  • write the founding documents for the Green Motor Sport Association of Australia (depsite my personal position on motor sport)
  • marketing New Zealand's largest organic farm as a place for time-share living;
  • designing the marketing push for an American on-line arbitration company to enter the Indian market,
  • developing a women-friendly training institution for crowd controllers,
  • planning a "bio-diesel-from-chicken-fat" facility in rural Victoria;
  • arranging the import of Australian woollen clothing to Israel;
  • advising on the import of Israeli water technology and efficient farming methods to Australia
  • obtaining planning permits for Victorian land that many others said wasn't possible, increasing the value of the land by around a quarter;
  • completing our rural development subdivision in the Victorian countryside.

My wife and I planned our "downshift" to our Warrnambool property with three accommodation units in a rural zone (and the first of its type now to have sub-division recommendation), 100% water recycling, rainwater tanks and composting toilets.

We then "upshifted" again, subdivided the property, and built a successful textile business for , now in its eighth straight year of growth. Thinking around corners provided me with success as a lawyer, provided the substance of my Ph.D. thesis and enabled me to retire from full-time work at the age of 42. Download my resume.

The Training Division of Vikasana Institute awarded me my Ph.D in October 2008 (although it did take them 14 months to sign the document, but that's the India I'm working so hard to improve!). Whilst it is rare for a small institution in a third world country to assess the worth of a Ph.D thesis, they say that 600 people who now have work and 84 families who are soon to be out of bark huts and into new modern homes can't be wrong.

As I write this at Bangalore Airport on 20 December 2009, I've just finished designing the business plan for the 500 households in 18 poor Indian villages to develop sustainable tourism, which will fund each house getting solar electricity, rainwater harvesting and a composting toilet: a massive improvement in living conditions for these folk who live on subsistence farming and about $3 cash income from surplus vegetables per week.

No matter what you’re trying to do, it always helps if you can think around corners


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