Never Teach a Pig to Sing

Teaching a Pig to Sing...

Never teach a pig to sing.  It frustrates you and annoys the pig.

Mark Twain

Yet this is often what we try to do.

It is not enough that we find a wonderful artisan with a great product.

No, we also expect them to be great marketers and financial managers too.  We may as well ask them to walk on water while we are at it.

We try to teach the pig to sing.

Instead we should be helping the pig to be the very best pig it can be.

To become the very essence of pigginess.

And we should show the importance of finding someone who is able to market and sell their products and services and to make sure that their financial management and planning is robust.

The most common objections to a team based approach to enterprise?

‘I can’t afford to hire anyone’,


‘I must learn to do all of this if I am to be a real business person’.

One of the best things that the coach can do is to effectively confront the pig with its limitations.

Tell it to give up the vocal coaching and find someone else to sing for their supper.  And it need not cost much at all – certainly to get started.  It is nearly always possible to find someone who will work with you for nothing, or for commission, or for equity if they really see what a beautiful pig you are….


  1. I could not agree more.

    I don’t know what formal evidence there is to show team start ups do better than solo start ups but I am convinced this is the case.

    When it comes to big money Business Angels and VCs always prefer to back teams rather than individuals.

    In addition to multi disciplinary benefits, joining up with people of the same skills is also good as it removes potential competitors and can make you stronger by being bigger

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