Teenager skateboarding

My children are roughly the same age as Rude Health. They have grown up together and behaved in remarkably similar ways. It seems only moments ago that they were all babies needing more or less round-the-clock care and attention. But here I am surrounded by teenagers, and the challenges are very different.

I’ve just spent some time looking at a more recognised growth model and can’t work out whether we’re going from stage one to two, or two to three, on the Greiner Curve [’Evolution and Revolution as Organisations Grow’, Larry Greiner, Harvard Business Review, 1972]. Maybe we’re doing both, if that’s even possible. I never said I had an MBA - now you know why.

What we are seeing at Rude Health is an enormous amount of opportunity and excitement, all at once, from lots of directions. We need resource to support our UK growth beyond London, we have an offer to open a Rude Health café abroad, there’s a suddenly increased demand for marketing expertise from our international customers, and we are about to enter a new supply chain and new packaging formats. All of this is happening right now.

It’s a hurricane of choice, direction and management - equally exciting and challenging. Very much like a teenager with an invitation to go on a shopping trip, intention to make a perfect birthday cake, requirement to do homework and need to be wearing the ‘right’ clothes while doing all this. Without ending up sleeping in and missing school from exhaustion, preferably.

My challenge is to learn to parent a teenager and manage an adolescent business. There may be a single brilliant benefit of all this happening at once. If the two challenges are as similar as I believe, then if I can master one, I should be able to apply those skills to the other. So efficient.

So far, progress has been sporadic. I have realised that the first step is to accept that it isn’t my job to make everything right. My job is to create boundaries that make it possible for the business or child to do what they need, to find their own potential and limits. So far, so good, but as with all these official business development plans, the really big question is… how? Perhaps I could go on a parenting course and charge it to the business.

Camilla Barnard is co-founder and brand director of Rude Health