Close-Up: 24 Hours with ... Nick Horswell

Name: Nick Horswell

Job: Business uncle

Professional mission: Listen very, very hard - especially for what

people don't say

Personal mantra: Don't sweat the small stuff

7.15am Get up to make drinks for Aude, Alice, Benjamin and Alexandre. Back to bed with large cup of very strong coffee, then off around 8.45.

8.50am Call client (update on ongoing acquisition), friend of a friend (confirm 9.30 meet), and Simon Marquis (venue for lunch).

9.05am Arrive at desk, sift through e-mails, then off to Soho House.

9.30am Friend of friend wants second opinion on business plan. Lots of hard work and real passion, but quickly becomes clear there's no market in the gap. Do what I can, but leave deflated.

10.40am Coffee with uncle Martina (King), who recently "went plural". She's even more smiley than usual. Swap ideas on stuff we're working on - love doing this. Must find good project to work on together.

11.30am Board @ Fuel Data Strategies. Exciting company, clear vision, good numbers, happy team. Blissfully short meeting.

Lunchtime Marquis at the Union Cafe. Families/mutual friends/his golf handicap (real bandit off 7). Then discuss agencies and consultancies, and how best to charge for good ideas, and ... 90 minutes have flown by. He's an implausibly charming and clever man (for a toff).

3.05pm Back to find magnum of Champagne from Gentleman Jeremy (Miles).

Price of informal uncle-ing has clearly gone up from pizza and a glass of house red. Mail grown-up daughters Katie (C4) and Annalisa (Endemol), then talk to Grant Millar (BT), Nick Bampton (Viacom Brand Solutions), Mary Portas (Yellow Door) and Gavin Caldwell (Mango Media).

3.40pm Call from agency client, who seems to be backtracking on some very painful changes that need making. Am reminded of original definition of optimism: to carry on doing the same things, and expect something different to happen ...

4.15pm Earl Grey with Alistair Angus (SIP) to kick around thoughts on a transaction that looks like stalling. Quick, incisive, fun. Am very glad he's in my corner on this one.

5.10pm Find quiet spot to finish prep for meeting on Friday with partners in thriving business, surprised to be hitting cashflow problems. They caught it early - not difficult to fix.

7.00pm Home for hugs and Hilda the Hippo, then pasta and Pinot Noir. Perfect.

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