It's a sad fact that 90% of businesses fail in their first ten years, and 60% don’t even make it to their third birthday.
All those hope and dreams, all that money, and a glittering future of financial freedom – gone down the drain.
I started my own business in 1982, initially exporting furniture and furnishings to the Middle East. We then started designing show houses for building developers.
We were lucky and caught the mid 80’s building boom. When I looked in the mirror, I saw the next Richard Branson looking back at me – only a soon to be richer, more successful version.
On the back of this successful core business, I started opening retail shops – located in Heathfield, Crowborough, Oxted and Hull (Not quite London, Paris and New York I know). I then opened a business in London importing fabrics from the South of France.
In 1990, the housing market collapsed and with it went my core business. Turnover halved in the first six months and then halved again in the second six. I did my best to stem the haemorrhaging of cash from all of those outlets, but it was too late.
On October 25th, I put the company into liquidation leaving myself with no job, a massive debt and two children enrolled in private schools. Perfect.
Learning from Past Mistakes
It was then, as I analysed what had gone wrong, that I decided to learn from my mistakes and get myself properly financially qualified. I knew quite a bit about finance – I had trained as a stockbroker – but I didn’t have a complete and watertight knowledge of the core dynamics, and I paid the price for this.
I took a distance learning qualification from with ACCA that qualified me to do an MA in Strategic Financial Management at Kingston University Business School.
In 1991, I joined a struggling start-up as a salesman, but quickly became Sales Director and then Managing Director. With my new financial skills, I ran it with an iron rod, and turned it into the thriving business it is today.
The number one problem with not having a thorough grasp of finances is that you are always in somebody else’s hands – the accountant, bank manager, or your financial controller.
If you are the boss, and the key decision maker, you MUST understand the financial ramifications your decisions will have.
So, break that dependency and get that financial training now. You won’t regret it.