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Sharon is in the throes of starting up her new business idea of selling coals to Newcastle. On one level it looks a fairly dubious proposition; the coal industry in Newcastle is heaving (or so we are led to believe ); the last thing Newcastle needs is any more aspiring coal importers and in any case the railways aren’t what they were so trying to get the black stuff into the city is more difficult than ever before.

However, Sharon is blessed with a supply of high grade magical coal which does what no other coal has ever done before; she has access to the key Tyneside decision makers and she can guarantee that her first import will put a smile on her bank managers face (well, assuming those faceless automatons have faces any longer).

What Sharon is struggling with is permission. She’s looking for permission to set up the business and looking for an outside agency to say “yes, you may.” – as opposed to the more ambivalent, “yes, you can”.

“Can I really book that freight car?”
“Yes, you may.”
“Can I really contract a volunteer to work with me? Is that legal?’
“Yes it is and yes you may.”
“Can I really put my own logo on our website?”
“Yes you may, and yes you should and yes yes yes.”

Such is the conversation. Many business start ups, like students in their final year at uni; or kids at the edge of the swimming pool who are about to make their first dive into the deep end; or anyone who is about to make the biggest decision of their life; are looking for just one thing: permission. For some-one to say “Yes. It’s not illegal. Yes. It’s a good idea. Yes. It will be hard work. Yes. You might sink but on the other hand you might just swim. Yes. Your coals are just the sort of coals people in Newcastle are looking for. Do it. And do it now.”

“May I? Really?”
“Yes, you may.”