I was talking to a client recently when he mentioned that he had been reading my posts in my blog and thought that while they were interesting he didn’t need to know all the stuff I wrote about planning, marketing, and organising people. He said he thought he was a good business man, in his words “not brilliant but I know my stuff”, because he had learned how to run his business through experience.
Now let me set the scene. Let’s call him Will.
Will is not an old business person dyed in the wool in the old ways. He’s in his early 40’s and while he struggles a little bit with tech, he uses the internet a lot to research and find new suppliers and markets. He’s not what I’d call conservative and he has run his business successfully for over 10 years.
What do I mean by “successfully”?
Well, it’s a small business that supplies raw product to manufacturers. It’s not a big market so Will keeps his small customer list happy and has only lost customers when the customers have gone out of business, never through dissatisfaction. As a small business with a small customer list Will doesn’t care about brand – he just makes sure his product is of the right quality. He was caught out once when he bought in a cheaper product but as it failed in use he withdrew it quickly. Will only employs three people, they are labourers and work part time so there’s no real need for organisation charts and detailed job descriptions, they do what he tells them to do as he needs them to do things. He calculates a more or less fixed margin to his inventory so that a percentage is attached to his purchase price – up to a point where he can decide to reduce the margin to larger customers or more popular products, which he has had to do several times when he was asked to.
And Will makes money. Over the 10 years he’s probably saved over a million.
So what’s wrong with that? That’s pretty successful huh? Read More