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INTRO South Wales

Discussion in 'Forum Introductions (Who are you!?)' started by Ross Owen, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. Ross Owen
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    Ross Owen New Contributor

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    Hello fellow FLMs!

    I'm Ross from sunny South Wales and I've been reading (well, listening to) unscripted for the last few weeks. I've read most of FLM but I'll be going back to it when I'm done with the rest of unscripted. They're good!

    I've run an IT business in South Wales for almost 10 years now (10 in Sept 2019). It's doing good, growing (slowly) year on year, and makes me a nice income - six figures in US $.

    It's hard work through. A typical day involves sales, HR, payment chasing, staff 1-2-1s, account management, technical work, project management, marketing, chasing, dealing with complaints, pay reviews, tax planning, managing workloads, building systems, managing systems, etc, etc, you get the drift.

    My business is good, but it takes up so much time and headspace it's unreal. It's also a bit of a thankless task since we deal with keeping systems up and running - there's not much thanks when it's working, but can be complaints when it's not.

    Anyway, I'd really appreciate some advice on adopting the FLM mindset. My goals are either:

    Change or adapt my business so it doesn't take as much time to manage / work in. I think this would be very difficult. OR;

    Setup another business that takes less of my time to fulfil. Ideas on a postcard. I'll finish the rest of FLM and come up with some ideas.
     
  2. GreasyGinger
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    GreasyGinger Contributor

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    I unfortunately dont have much to add about the business as you are way further ahead than me.

    However, I was born in South Wales, in Pontypool. My parents moved to Canada when I was little but I went back in my 20s and lived in Cardiff for a couple of years. The people, the coast, the countryside, the castles, it's actually a beautiful country and I feel it gets overlooked in everyone's European holidays.

    Welcome to forums, it's an amazing source of info especially after reading/listening to the books.
     
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  3. RazorCut
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    RazorCut Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hi Ross, and welcome from another Welshman (there are smattering of us in the forums).

    It seems you've fallen foul of the same trap many of us have found ourselves in over the years. Namely building a business that slowly takes up more and more of your life. It then loses its initial enjoyment and often you suffer feelings of being trapped (speaking from personal experience).

    Once you are entrenched in a business that pays the bills but requires a lot of hands on effort it can be hard to extract yourself.

    The obvious answer is to see what you can do to delegate out to others. Possibly employ a manager, which will hit your fiances hard to begin with, but free you up to concentrate on taking the business to a higher level that ultimately won't require so much of your time and energy.

    There is also the option of selling your business and starting over. Sometimes this is a good option as you will be energised from having a clean slate and can then build a business based on all the past experiences you have (both good and bad) so you end up with something that more closely fits in with how you want to live your life now.

    I'm willing to bet your outlook on life has changed a lot in the last 10 years.

    You will find plenty of knowledge, inspiration and support here.

    All the best
     
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  4. Ross Owen
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    Ross Owen New Contributor

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    Thank you Greasy, much appreciated. Are you living in Canada now or back in the UK?
     
  5. Ross Owen
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    Ross Owen New Contributor

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    Thanks for your reply Razor, you have certainly hit then nail on the head about the trap I seem to have fallen into and it's good to hear it's not only me. I think from an outsiders point of view it might be difficult to see what I am complaining about - I run a fairly successful business, but really that's pretty much all I do and all I will do until I retire if things continue as they are. I have a young family I see for an hour before work and an hour after and some time on weekends, I work 10-12 hours most days without a break. I will have been doing this for 10 years in September 2019.

    Over the years I have tried to promote staff to management positions but so far haven't successfully done so - most techies aren't cut out for it. I do have a candidate now who is keen and I think capable so Ill be offering it to him with a job description and list of responsibilities.

    The sale option is an option though. If I sold I would have enough to pay off my mortgage and take a year or two out to spend wuth the family and probably enough time to get into something else. I guess the dream would be to start an online business (shop / SaaS) or a purely sales driven business procuing leads and new business for other businesses that could be more easily delegated with performance targets.
     
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  6. RazorCut
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    RazorCut Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Oh I so have been there, and you have to have lived it to appreciate the pains as you say. Outsiders just see it as lots of money for what you do but if the money comes at too high a cost then something has to change.

    I applaud you for 10 years service. You find a lot of entrepreneurs get itchy feet after 3-4 years which is why there are so many 3-4 year businesses for sale. I find my limit of interest is around that time too.

    Good move. We have had the discussion on another thread about the issues with getting and keeping good staff. It is a lot easier said than done.

    This thought is often scary but exhilarating at the same time. You wake up at 2:30 in the morning and start to doubt whether it's a good move. Thinking things like what if I can't build another golden goose? But you can.

    What you can't do is buy time so maybe selling is your best option as children grow up way too quickly and not being there for them (and you) during those early years is probably the biggest mistake you can ever make. (Personal experience again).
    :frown:

    I sold one of my businesses on uk.businessesforsale.com. Had 5 people interested within 24 hours and sold it to the first person that contacted me who was desperate to buy. What part of South Wales are you in?

    There was an interesting program recently about a couple that sold everything to spend time together with their children (their epiphany was a close death experience). Not that we all want to buy a bus and tour round New Zealand but just the fact that they had all this time together building new experiences was a strong take away.

    My5

    Good luck on whatever you decide.
     
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  7. Contrarian
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    Contrarian Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Welcome @Ross Owen. I used to live in Bristol so very familiar with your neck of the woods. Mostly as a playground for motorbikes, but still. ;)

    Two books that will be especially helpful for you right now:

    The E-Myth Revisited - Michael Gerber
    Built To Sell - John Warrilow

    As a dispassionate observer who's never owned a business with employees and doesn't intend to (for the same reasons you're grappling with now):

    You already know the industry you're in, presumably inside-out. You already have the contacts, the network, the know how, and the successful business. Your best Fastlane path is likely found amongst who and what you already know.

    Are your services monthly recurring, or project-based? If project-based, how could you move to a monthly recurring model? That makes it much easier to systematise, scale and get hands-off.

    How can you turn every aspect of your business into a repeatable process? Who can you hire to replace you in every area of the business you currently work "in" rather than "on", and how can you attract them?

    What can you do to skew the value of your offering (as in UNSCRIPTED) so that client acquisition becomes self-perpetuating, while you have streamlined systems to deliver a great experience for those customers?

    And related: how can you ignite the growth of your company so that you can afford to replace yourself in all these areas?

    How could you use your existing customer base, network and market to launch additional services or products which are inherently more passive in terms of management?

    A lot to think about. If you get the business to a point of operating like this, it will be easier to sell and for a lot more money too. Win-win proposition.
     
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  8. Ross Owen
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    Ross Owen New Contributor

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    Thanks for that post Razor, there are some great takeaways there for me for sure. I'll check out that Ben Fogle program today - could give me that bit more motivation to make a change!

    Regarding building another golden goose, personally I believe in myself enough to know that it is possible and likely that I can/will. I've always worked since I've been old enough to, and I get bored very quickly/easily. I also think a certain amount of prep work could be put in to the next venture if I did decide to sell before the fact so I would have a head start.

    IT has always been my 'thing', so I think the naysayers in my life might tell me that a big reason my business is successful (and other ventures may not be) is because I have a knack for it - but personally I think I could build something again, better this time, or at least easier.

    Do you mind if I ask what kind of business did you sell? How did the sale go? Was it drawn out or did it happen quite quickly?
     
  9. RazorCut
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    RazorCut Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    It was an eCommerce business run via Website, eBay and Amazon. The eBay store had 145,000 feedback with a 99.8% positive rating. The buyer had another eBay business that was very complimentary so she saw the synergy between the two and wanted to combine them in their warehousing in Yorkshire (some 200 miles away).


    She could just employ extra staff to manage the increased picking and packing and would gain the economies of scale from running both businesses from the same building.


    Obviously the great thing about an eCommerce business is the ability to up sticks and move to a new location without losing customers. Also it's not difficult to find people willing to pick and pack as it's so low tech.


    From start of interest to a done deal was less than a month. It could have been quicker but I needed to slow it down somewhat due to staff etc..

    .
     
  10. lowtek
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    lowtek Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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  11. Tommo
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    Tommo Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    How about a rousing chorus of sosban fach from you boyos.
    You should find inspiration here Ross Owen, good luck. From a Geordie with many Welsh mates.
     
  12. GreasyGinger
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    GreasyGinger Contributor

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    Back in Canada. Slow Slowlaner at the moment looking for a lane change.
     

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