Neil – The Founder's story
Neil has made most, if not all, the
mistakes the owner of a small business can make and remain in
business. The fact that Neil’s businesses have survived is
testament to the value and effectiveness of the lessons learned.
The sad thing for Neil is that all the information has been around
for a very long time, so he really didn’t need to suffer the
pain that he has. His journey
is your gain for the asking - you can learn from his mistakes rather
than suffer the pain of making them yourself.
Where it all
began for Neil when he made a potentially catastrophic error by
accepting a huge order from an existing client.
About 18 months into his sub-contract engineering business, a client
forwarded a huge order. This was over ten times bigger than any
previous order from any client. It was also on a very short delivery
– just four weeks. With no time to lose, Neil got stuck in to make
sure it all happened on time and looked forward to a real
improvement in turnover. He took on two contract engineers and pulled and hand delivered a bankers draft to get materials
delivered as soon as possible.
One week after the order was placed the client rang to cancel the
order. Neil was stunned and quickly realised he was in deep
financial trouble. The business had no cash reserves and a lot of
the materials delivered had been part processed so could not be
returned. More importantly he quickly discovered that the terms for
the contract staff effectively meant they would have to be paid for
in full whether their engagement was terminated or not. Like all the
orders from this client (and many others) it was verbal, nothing in
writing, no terms of any description. Neil was very definitively up
the creek and heading for the falls. It really looked like game over
on a number of levels. With no reserves and little value in plant,
liquidation was unlikely to pay off the business's debts. Plus the
operation was a partnership so personal liability was a live and
Fortunately, another client provided the advice, strategy and
telephone scripts that enabled Neil to successfully negotiate a
positive outcome with the client who, unbelievably, paid up the full
contract fee, received no product and continued as a valued client
for many years thereafter.
For Neil this was a huge wake up call. It was a poignant example
that while Neil knew his stuff as a tradesman engineer, his
knowledge of how business works was next to non-existent. It was
from this point that he determined to get to understand “the
business of business” so he would not get caught with his pants down
advisor gave him the title to his
first ever business book: it was a user’s guide to Contract Law.
Neil began his journey in self education in the
business of business – or BOB as he calls it. Neil now declares that
without a good understanding of BOB your
business future is, at some stage, liable to be at significant risk.
If you are in business of any kind then get to know BOB, keep up
with BOB and his changing ways because should things get
difficult for your business, your understanding of BOB, is likely to
be the deciding factor in any outcome.