When I started my business, all those years ago, I had no intention of being overdrawn…for twelve years. That’s alot of bank charges and stress and feeling like a failiure. Being in the black is not a right, it’s hard to manage where cash is, who owes you what, and this shows in the bank balance.
My trip in the red started as soon as I stopped getting paid by the RAF, funnily enough. At that point, back in 2004, I was taking home around £1800 every month, which was good money. I’m not sure why I believed I could generate a similar income, I don’t think I really gave it a lot of thought. I certainly didn’t have a realistic business plan ( which is why the banks wouldn’t give me the money I needed). That’s a whole other post.
As a man in a van, which can be a great life, it’s possible to make a profit in business. The average plumber, carpenter and locksmith can go from job to job and make a good life. If I had stayed as a man in a van, I’ve no doubt I would have got in the black again. However, a chance meeting with a business coach led to a whole different life for me. Soon, my head was spinning with the opportunity to change the way I did things and as you know, I love a good project.
The 2008 Crash
Do you remember the crash? As a serving member of her majestys forces, it had little impact. Here’s the news from back then, it was grim. However, I was just getting on my feet, building up my round and getting close to getting back in the black. Then, the Crash happened.
Businesses started to fail. A good friend of mine, was a very skilled Tiler, but had no work. Home improvements were no longer needed as everyone stopped spending money. He had a family to feed and yet had no customers in his business. This coincided with my idea to grow the business and this is where things got interesting for me.
Growing the business?
Once I decided to try and grow the business, I started to burn cash. I took on the Tiler, two weeks a month, but he simply cost me money. I did learn an incredible amount about training, working in a team. My plan was to get him trained up in the bad times of 2008-09, and then get a second van on the road for when things picked up. But he dropped a bombshell on me to say he was starting his own business. This is another story, but needless to say, the ten thousand he’d cost me, I’d never see a return on.
Fast forward to June 2017 and eventually Im in the black again. I’ve invested large amounts of money to open three different workshops. I took on an employee I couldn’t afford and bought even more equipment I had to get on even more credit. However, at last, I popped into the black. It only took me twelve years.
Now it’s become an obsession for me, to get into and stay in the black every month and this month, February 2018, I did it by the 8th. This is the earliest in the month I’ve done it. The wages go out on the last day, and that is a big chunk of cash.
This is a big achievement, can I spend the whole of March in the black? Let’s see.