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Having Fun Making Money has not been easy over 2020

I often felt I should be dressed up as a clown to go to work, as my world consists of juggling balls, verbally and mentally spinning plates. If you have ever been to a circus you will have certainly seen the clowns juggling balls and spinning plates.

Having Fun Making Money - Neville WrightBoth come to mind in the early days when we started to build both our property maintenance and retail businesses. To be quite honest I probably worried about it more in the early days, but after the excitement set in it became a normal part of growing a business and I can’t say that it ever stops. Or rather, I wouldn’t want it to stop!  Metaphorically speaking, after smashing so many plates along the way, we did get a bit cynical, and therefore I ended up using plastic ones….

Every Job Was Another Plate

One plate spinning, that’s fantastic; then another; it’s no problem to get a third one spinning, you cope, you add the fourth. You go back to the first, second, third and fourth but you get ambitious, so you add a fifth, but back you go again to number one. No time to rest, no time for holidays, no time for lunches.

This was us so after a while we were there spinning eight or nine plates. It got easy, we got used to it, it’s so easy thinking we were invincible, piling on ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen but realistically in business to get up to this number quickly you would have to involve the bank.

In the early days we were leveraging our assets with the bank and had no problem giving them everything, including our house; we extended our credit that we had with suppliers; many times. If our suppliers wanted to sell us their surplus stock we would want to pay for it once we had sold it. This amounted to leveraging our souls, which I became uncomfortable with as I liked to pay for goods when we received them, as the other way round is risky business to say the least.

Rob Peter to Pay Paul; Then What?

Every growing business goes through this at some stage, if you know that you will sell more stock, say in January you have to buy it in December, but the supplier wants you to buy in October and pay him at the end of January. Of course there are many scenarios and two are, firstly that you sell the goods by December but take your credit time and then secondly, you find you have used the money on other stock when it comes time to pay. In the event of you not achieving the anticipated sales, panic sets in, and you sell the stock at a loss to make way for new stock, which then leaves you short of money. We were no different, constantly juggling.

Having reps that knew our business, and who knew us personally as friends, could fight our corner so as to provide us with more stock to trade out of the situation. It really would have been hard for us to expand at times, without the faith that everybody had put in us. Many suppliers would give us ten times our insurance limit because of our payment track record, most also knew that we had property that we were not afraid to sell if it came to the crunch. Our suppliers also knew that we had a team around us that understood the business in terms of what the businesses needed to achieve and why, which was found to be invaluable.

Well Done Everybody; Now Let’s Get On

– an extract from by book, page 221