This week Ian and I drove up to Yorkshire to stay with my brother. Ian wanted to repair some bodywork on the pick-up, and Rob has a large workshop. We drove up on Sunday and began the repairs on Monday morning.
A choice was made to make long-term fixes without being cosmetically perfect. This would save time and make the bodywork free from rust. After all, it is a sixteen-year-old vehicle, and no amount of fine sanding and colour matching would avoid the reality of the age. And as many of you know, we use the pick-up as a commercial vehicle. Everything from a tonne of rocks to the live-streaming setup is carried. And from time to time, it becomes personal transport, a versatile truck.
On occasions, we connect the trailer to the truck and then it has a real workout. Its last outing involved a 450 miles roundtrip collecting new display units for the shop. So, while the old pick-up may be old, it still is a handy machine. And with regular maintenance should serve us for some years to come.
When the truck was in bits, I saw the extent of the rust behind the paint. In reality, what looked like a four by two-inch patch was a large area of rot, and the centre was holed through. To make this a more significant repair involved cutting out the rotten metal and making suitable the salvageable site. Then rust proofing and undercoat before a brushed cover of metal paint. This was not going to be a cosmetic repair, as already mentioned. I asked Ian how long the repair would last? He thought it would be ok for about two years: ‘the whole pick-up area could do with removing, sandblasting and professionally sealed and baked. I doubt if it is an economically viable proposition.’ He replied.
On the way home, I began to think about the hours of work done to repair an ageing machine. Looking at the repairs, one would think there was little time spent on the renovation.
We have to make continuous changes and adjustments to the original plan. And rarely does the original plan work out to be near the first design. And there is a correlation between the repair and our small businesses.
Not only this, there are setbacks and misunderstandings made along the way. A reversal can make a project stand still, and a return to momentum is often gauged in months, not days. And the repairs to the issues can leave scars. The repairs can mean cutting away old ideas and concepts, and making good can take months of effort.
People who choose to run a business know they have to maintain the infrastructure, which will mean spending money, even though there is little to spare. And few see the work involved. Even worse, some seek to see the flaws, not the overall picture or significant potential for success.
And the successful business owner is the one who makes the sacrifices, learns how to make the best choices and is prepared to make the best of what is available. They know that not everyone can be pleased or will like what they do! There should be no care for the critic; the game’s name is culturing those who do care. After all, those who dislike a product can never be persuaded to change. So all effort is placed into keeping the customers who matter.
Lessons can be learned everywhere!
The Staffordshire Well Being Show is looking great. We will see a whole house, and pre-booked ticket numbers are exceptional. This week will see the promotions begin, and I believe we will enjoy a super event. We had a few setbacks with the event, but there has been no need to make significant changes. No need to change our established formula. This show will enjoy The Well Being Brand magic.
Have a great week:
Liz Clark ~ MD LizianEvents Ltd
Another great piece Liz.
I was shouting at you ( metaphorically) to say about your car metaphor, “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel” !
I offer a few observations.
I worked for a ruthless and highly successful sales organisation for 25 years. Criticism was vital to that success. Every proposal was first tested around a boardroom table with around ten other, knowledgeable people, all shredding your proposal. If it survived that process- it was a good one.
My brother worked as a senior manger for BT. There they had a similar process with a two word question testing everything, “What if” ?. if your proposal could survive being able to triumph over every “what if” ?, you were on a winner.
In my workplace “feedback was the breakfast of champions” criticism was welcomed. If it was flawed it would be exposed as such, if it wasn’t flawed it would be put right. The mantra was “The customer is not always right, but what they think is always right”. Criticism is an opportunity, not something to be feared.
Valuing, and nurturing our existing customer base is essential. However striving to win new customers is equally vital for a business to prosper.
I have watched the success of lizian over recent years with admiration, You “Do what you can with what you have where you are” internally, but “Adopt, adapt and improve” externally.
See you at Stafford