A Dngerous Man`s guide to Profit

The Bestselling author and former SAS sergeant on adapting a military mindset to business


1. Embrace nepotism

“The military is quite a blant instrument – when you`re out, you`re out. So after I left I started working for a private military company; the ex-Special Forces is an incestuous group, so it`s what everybody does. People I worked with eight or nine years ago, they still come back around because they know I am not going to stitch them up and I`ll get the job done. Nothing else matters.”


2. Always be reliable

“We call civilians `pencilnecks`, and I was suddenly in a world filled with them. I found it quite frustrating at first, because people would always cancel on you or delay stuff. I decided to carry on as if I was still in the military – to always be reliable. If someone tells you to call at 4pm, call at 4pm. If someone says get it done, get it done. At the end of the day, I am getting paid to write books. It`s a lot better than digging holes for a living.”


3. Don`t chase the finer things

“There are some authors, won`t travel by train. There are people who won`t even get in certain kinds of cars. Fine, stand in the rain. I`ll take then train. I`ll stay in a Travelodge. All you are going to do is sleep, wake up and then leave again. Don`t dwell on that minor stuff, because it`s all about making the money.”


4. Go above and beyond

“In the Army, if they say 10 o`clock, they mean 9.50 – if you are late, it matters. You are paid 24/7, so if you`ve got something to do and it`s 2 o`clock in the morning, you still do it. Some of the helicopter maintainance crews in Afganistan were doing 14-hour shifts every day. If they can do that, you can finish some work off at 8pm.”


5. Keep your eyes on the cash

“I am on the board of a couple of tech startups in the private-military world. The biggest problem in the real world is combination of money and ego. You have to cut through that. People lose focus and end up having meetings about meetings. But the military is mission-orientated – the most important thing is always the mission. It`s the same in business. If you get the work done, you`ll make the money. So get the work done.”


Line Of Fire by Andy McNab is out now (Bantam Press)


Source: Shortlist, Issue 515