Somebody posted something on Facebook recently and I thought that would make a great topic for a business tip, as it totally epitomises my journey in business from conceiving a business in 1987 to selling it and completing the earn out in 2019. Also the quote above is from – in my opinion – the greatest leader this country ever had.
Giving up, quitting, calling it a day or however you want to term it is something that was never in my agenda of life. When I decided to do something I really wanted to do, I did it with the best of my ability for as long as it took. Never quit something you really want to do. Generally, if you quit something – no matter what you may have said – you obviously did not want it bad enough. Never quit on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. Success is not an overnight thing, and just when you might be on the verge of quitting is the time when a miracle will happen, or the tide will start to turn.
What I will say, based on my 32+ years of owning and running a business, is that we should always prepare for the what ifs in life, as if we don’t it could be the lack of preparation and planning that will cause us to quit. If we prepare and we plan properly, then we are very likely to succeed. We have all heard of the 5 P’s. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance and it is so true.
There have been several occasions over that 32 years that I could have quit. The first – through stupidity and lack of planning – was at the end of my first year in business. I was £24000 in the Red (probably equivalent to about £75000 in 2020). I was not bringing in enough money to cover my overheads so the choice was to quit and go back and work for someone else or I change what I did and the way I did it – and obviously I chose the latter. This meant changing my business offering – not drastically – and changing my mentality. Also I had to make sure I surrounded myself with people who could mentor me, help me and advise me. In business we cannot be all things to all people.
A year later the company that backed my activities went down the pan for £2million and yet again I was faced with becoming an employee or reinventing myself – I chose the latter but this time I was better prepared as I had good people on my team who could help and advise me.
One other time was when the recession hit in 2008/9. At that time I needed to bring in £50,000 of business a month to cover my £12,000 a month overheads, and in April 2009 I brought in £3000 worth of business, and my accountant said to me that if the following month was the same I would have to shut up shop. Fortunately I was prepared and due to something I put in place 4 years before, and by tweaking a few aspects of my business, I managed to struggle through the recession and out the other side and then be in a position to grow the business and to be able to sell it in 2016. It wasn’t easy but then nothing worth having ever is.
If you want to quit anything, then quit making excuses, quit lying to yourself, quit waiting for the right time, quit trying to be perfect and quit trying to fit in. Just be the person you were born to be.
Wishing you every success
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I am a Knight whose metal has been well and truly tested
This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 17/02/2020