Share this page

Embrace problems – a normal days work for us

I think that if anybody wants to be really successful in business they have to be thinking all the time of how to solve problems. Start with the ones you have, expanding from there. In business you don’t have to look very far for problems, they will come looking for you, thick and fast.

An example of this was back in the late 80’s.

One Friday night I got a call from an Estate Agent saying he had a client who wanted to rent a property that we owned and as it was complicated would we be able see him ourselves that night The client wanted to turn one of our properties into a tearoom/cafe and he wanted to live above it with his family. I said ‘great so I told him that we would to draw up the paperwork, he replied, ‘it’s a bit more complicated than that I need to sell my house before I can move, so I agreed to buy his house.

He said, ‘there’s a slight problem as I’m in arrears with my mortgage the house will be repossessed next week if I don’t pay £3,000 by this Monday, so could I give him the £3,000 and take it off the price of the house when we buy it?’  I said, ‘of course’.

Thanks that’s great he said but there’s another problem I cannot sell his house for 3 months.  He bought his house cheap as a sitting tenant and if he sold it before June, it was April, he had to pay back the discount he got’.  I said, ‘that’s fine and rang the agent, we’ll organise the paperwork and then complete in the June’, the Agent said, ‘that’s not legal so you would have to take it on trust’.  I said, ‘ok’.

The Agent then said has he told you there’s a further problem he’s getting married in a week’s time and he needs £1,500 to pay the caterers on Wednesday or they won’t do the catering’. I said, ‘I would pay the £1,500.  I said would there be anything else that’s a problem? Ha! Ha!

He said yes there is another thing, before I get married on Saturday I need to get divorced but my wife will not sign the paperwork unless she has £3,750’.  I said, ‘ok, so as I see it I am going to buy a house in three months’ time, I am going to give you £3,000 for the arrears, £1,500 for the wedding catering and £3,750 for the ex-wife they both said, ‘yes, that’s it’.

I said, that’s fine on one condition.  ‘I will also give a year’s lease valued at £11,000 for the commercial property that you want and take it off what we agree the house is worth’.

Problems, sorted.