Subscriptions and Huge Profits | Episode 1 | Dipesh Patel from Dealer Front


Award winning accountant and Northamptonshire Business Person of the Year Nishi Patel interviews successful business owners to learn how they achieved their dream and the adversity they had to overcome along the way. This is essential listening if you’re running a business and need the motivation to scale it. You’ll learn about what drives them forward when most people give up, how they made it through their darkest days and the advice they would give to someone following in their footsteps. In Episode 1, Nishi meets Dipesh Patel from Dealer Front who runs a website/software company for used car dealers and hears his story and advice for business owners looking to scale up and grow their ventures.

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drive I’m award-winning accountant northamptonshire business person of the year Nishi Patel and I’m going to be

interviewing successful business owners to learn how they achieve their dream and the adversity they had to overcome along the way this is essential

listening if you’re running a business and need the motivation to scale it you’ll learn about what drives them forward when most people give up how

they made it through their darkest days and the advice they would give to someone following in their footsteps so

today I’m joined by dipesh Patel from dealer front and he is going to tell us about what he does hello

um So currently I have a website company website slash software company we deal with the automotive markets so

used car dealers we have quite a lot of them so we do basically the backbone of their marketing through software

um and um yeah that’s it in a nutshell awesome yeah and how did you get into that Depeche it’s a long road

um I’ve I’ve always been pretty key in the business side of things but for this particular

one I was in America at the time and I was an AutoTrader magazine rep um I was pretty friendly with my

customers and I had one customer in particular um who I think it’s probably back in 2004 until

my websites are the future you should get into this and I kind of had some sort of coding background not some not

anything impressive but um I thought it was a good idea so I I took six months six six six to nine

months and I um built him a website and um showed it to him he loved it and

um I thought literally I was gonna get a one-off payment it was like a hobby of mine I get a one-off payment for it and

um he offered me a monthly Price He said just you know how does 199 dollars sound

I said it sounds pretty good thanks and then he said all right just give me your account stuff and I’ll send it to you every month and I thought

that’s more than a hobby that’s that’s that’s a business and I can do something with this and that’s that’s how I that’s

how I got into it yeah that’s pretty amazing actually because um like when I’m working with

clients I’m always advising them you’ve got to trade up in terms of types of income so we’ve got a hierarchy in terms

of what what’s the best kind of income and what’s a what’s the worst and like you you went in there expecting like a

one-off transaction then it sounds like you actually ended up with like a monthly recurring revenue and um you

know going down this model of like being able to rent someone something for for the rest of their business that seems

like um it seems like a highly profitable move yeah absolutely I mean I I didn’t know what it was called I was

doing it for years uh I didn’t know what it was called until I read in a magazine it’s called SAS it’s SAS right software

as a service and uh when I started there was no word for it besides um I thought it was it was a

really lucrative thing and um you know yeah so I I just went all into it I mean

it was I think at the time I was I was probably working for Auditor in those days for

the magazines especially it was pretty slow but I was probably making on the one website what I’d make

in half a week at my job um and it was it was it seemed like it

seemed like a like a no sort of brainer thing where it’s just um you know I can get better at this I can

you know it it took me six to nine months to build the first sight but um literally after that I mean if I kept

going down that path with the same market and the same used car lots I mean I knew I’d get faster at it and uh it

seemed it seemed good yeah yeah um again I I guess um where were you

before that was it the Yellow Pages so I was at the Yellow Pages before that I was a sales rep

um there was 102 sales reps I was always good at sales so um there was 102 sales reps there

um I started obviously at the very bottom within sort of the first year I was the number one sales rep by the second year

I was the sales I was a sales trainer um that is really interesting I don’t think

working was working for somebody else was in my future sort of because

um even though I was doing well at the job at the Yellow Page job I love the sales aspect of it but I was missing something

I mean my dad was a businessman his whole life and I just liked the lifestyle that that gave

um I liked the idea of it um unfortunately I didn’t have a business so that kind of ruined that but

so even when I was working at the Yellow Pages I was always trying stuff I was always trying to start something on the side

just to see what I could do I ended up leaving that job and that’s

when I got the job for the AutoTrader and AutoTrader was again it was just a job but you know you never know I mean

things lead to other things and this led me to my business now which has been gone for 18 years so it’s interesting

that I I had that in the back of my head that I’m going to get into business how I got there is kind of convoluted

but I got there in the end so I mean we’ve got time if you want to go to the conference well I I tell you so I I came

up um I hope you have a lot of time um I I was I was raised like I said my

dad was a business owner his whole life I think he only had one job in the 70s or the late 60s and then other than that

he was a businessman he traveled the world I mean so we moved around a lot uh we lived in America for a while we’ve

lived in England we’ve lived everywhere um so I grew up around this sort of lifestyle that my dad had

um which which was a tough life to be honest he he worked seven days a week he worked eight

o’clock in the morning to ten o’clock at night he was in retail so you don’t have recurring Revenue I mean you literally

have to have a customer come back in so that requires a lot of hours I I still liked it I still like the thrill

of him controlling how much money he makes a month and how he organizes his business and you know even the buying

side was really cool and seeing him buy something for a small price and then trade that up for a for a profit was

amazing to me yeah that’s amazing so that’s the that’s the kind of family I grew up in my brothers they went a

different way I have two older uh brothers one’s a computer science guy he works the other one’s an aerospace

engineer and I think it was assumed I was gonna go the kind of University

route but I think my dad always knew I was going to go the business route it was really what I wanted to do so

anyways um yeah my my dad owned the um he owned a corner shop in England in

the 90s I think I was sort of 18 years old maybe 19 years old

I was working there for him I worked there for six months before I realized I want to do something more

than this and um I within six months I bought a post office I ran that sure at that time I I

might have been going on so I think I was 19 when I started probably like 19 and a half okay when I got the post

office yeah the post office at 19 years old yeah so I was I worked in a corner shop for six months with my Dad yeah I

was a scruffy guy behind the till and um within six months I saved enough money to to go to the bank and get a

loan and buy a post office I just wanted to expand I didn’t quite know how I wanted to expand I just

wanted to acquire other other kind of I mean businesses and it made sense to me at the time so I did

exactly that and then sitting in the post office for for for four or five months I completely staffed it so I

wasn’t really working there um I had time on my hands I started reading the magazines on the shelves and

this is where it gets a little bit crazy and it gets into my story but I started reading video game magazines I

was playing a lot of video games I had some I had some time um and I saw this magazine where Sony

PlayStation was going to give rental licenses to some UK companies

um and to to to get this going and to get it um to get the games out there you

need to you needed a I think it was a quarter million pounds in capital

um which um I had nowhere close to um yeah it didn’t stop stop me I applied

for it I actually won the bid on the licensing and I won the right to resell these games

um not having the money didn’t stop me I really I realized I would I would get it I would get it

so I went to an accountant um it wasn’t you at the time Niche but I went to another guy

you know what you would have been great you would have been great um but yeah I went to another guy and I I

um gave him my business plan and he kind of helped me flesh it out we held it out we took it to the banks and um

I got um I got approved for the loan and actually by the time all of it went

through um well let me back up a step I I was approved for the loan on the contingency

that I have a major client who’s going to buy our um our games for rent so it would have to

be a like a chain of shops I guess so I booked four or five appointments

the next couple weeks after that I went to spar I went to londis I went to key stores all these Brands I remember

and I got laughed out of one of them I mean the other one just turned me down they looked at me I was a little kid and

they said they didn’t think I can do it um and key stores actually gave me

um who are they now I I believe key stores was leckerland at the time I I don’t know quite who they are now but I

think that I think it was leckerland was the brand in key stores was the name of the stores like Spar they had a lot of

stores so they they gave me a purchase order sort of uh well they not a picture they gave me

um a verbal agreement is kind of written actually that they would stock my games into a thousand of their stores and they

would then rent some out um so I got that I went back to the bank the the bank manager I can’t remember

his name now he was he was a really good guy and he said I think you’re going to need more than a quarter million pound to get this off the ground with this

many customers so I left it with him and they came back and said we got you the used the Prince

Charles youth trust fund loan Lloyd’s went in how the facts went in some other

Banks went into it and in the end I was I think I was almost

close to 20 at this point um I had 450 000 pounds of capital and a

thousand customers that were pre-sold pretty much so I was feeling pretty good

um and then um like a month later key stores pulls out they pulled out they

said um we changed our mind we don’t think we want to do it so I went back to the bank and told them and they weren’t

very happy about that when I was young I had a lot of Drive in me so I I

I looked at him like I’m looking at you now and I said listen to me we’ve done the hard work you leave me with the easy

bit I can do this yeah I can do and he’s like you’re gonna go door to door I’m like I’m gonna assemble the sales team

I’m gonna get these stores in um I thought he was going to say no he

looked at me and he goes give me a couple days don’t call me after a couple days he actually called me I went to his

house um and um he said all right let’s do it let’s do it so that was the beginning of

it for me I got into the video game business first order stock I bought like 100 Grand of video games yeah

um got offices a warehouse hired staff um got the show on the road you know

um and then obviously it’s going to go horribly wrong because I’m young because

I got a lot of money that I’ve never had in my hands and I’m not quite experienced with what I’m doing

um so you know at that age I pushed as hard as I could I I was pretty true to my word I think we nailed about 400

clients um so we got a lot of customers out of full sales force I realized somewhere in the middle of

that six months in that we weren’t going to make it with the money that we had and because I was young

no one was willing to extend their credit lines because it’s just more debt and how am I going to pay it so I had

cash flow coming in but it wasn’t enough for the banks or for them to say it’s it’s truly viable

so I knew this was headed towards the spot um I I did the best I could but after almost a year later I think it was

like nine or ten months in I had to um just shut it down um okay yeah and uh unfortunately that

entails some other stuff which entails going bankrupt because um I had a bunch of debt I couldn’t pay

um so that was all money that was lent to you not like to a company but I guess you’d have to give a personal guarantee

so yeah I get per you know again at that time because you’re young I gave I gave personal guarantees everywhere I didn’t

see the difference it didn’t matter to me um knowing what I know now it’s a bit of a different game but yeah I think the

only money that was secured was the Prince Charles youth trust fund cash that was secured money I didn’t have to

pay back if I lost obviously and the banks got that from them but I still had a significant balance left okay fine so

I have that 450 not all of it was the principle I think about three three Thirty might have been 310 might have

been um still owed right so I think 150 was the Prince Charles guarantee okay okay

yeah so the rest was still owed and basically I was I was told I was going to go bankrupt and um life would be

pretty harsh um and I was young I wasn’t ready to do

that yet I wasn’t ready to pack it all in and give up and so I did what any person would do if

they had a choice and I thought well I’m young I mean let me get on with my life so I decided I spent some time in

American I was when I was younger because my dad was out there for a while so I decided to fly out and just start

all over again pretty much and that’s how I ended up in the states for a little bit yeah yeah that’s right and

you’re telling me the story about one of the lenders on that um uh on that business was like HSBC and then they

gave you your first mortgage when you flew back oddly enough yeah so I I was gone for quite a while

um it was Halifax yeah I was Halifax so Halifax was one of the was one of the

army lenders one of like the main ones um and yeah when I came back I mean no one

filed a ccj against me so I had nothing on my credit my credit was clean um I applied for a mortgage on a house

which I still live in now and Halifax gave me the mortgage so um like I said in those you know the

bank is a business as well right yes yeah but in those days they weren’t really chasing I was lucky they weren’t

chasing you for bad debt I know people now who are getting ccjs over a thousand pound

bill I walked away relatively clean I’m really thankful of that but um yeah I

was just lucky at the time and and so when you moved to the states it wasn’t it wasn’t all roses at the beginning was

it it was you had some hard times yeah it was super hard I mean I just came out of this business where I had a bunch of

money um I had a lot of Drive I thought I was doing the right things I was really

deflated um it was very difficult um to get even though I I moved

somewhere fresh and everything it was very difficult to get in the mindset

um of starting again so I did and I was married at the time

as well I got married in between all this uh yeah so being in the states I decided you know what let me just get

some jobs I’ll get a job let me just get my head clear and uh see what’s gonna happen so the first shop I got was oddly

enough was selling cars okay for a few months and I was a horrible car salesman

and um and they fired me uh well I want you good at that I you know it’s funny

my business now helps car dealers sell cars which is amazing personally I I am

no good at selling cars and I think it’s I think I just wasn’t passionate about selling cars I think there was people

who were really good at doing it I I don’t think it was something I was I was amazed by or just wanted to put my heart

into doing I gotta love what I’m doing I gotta love what I’m selling and I think what I’m selling now is more of a

solution for customers it’s something that they really really need everybody needs a car I mean it’s not Hard Sell I

guess you know if someone walks on your dealership they’re they’re probably going to buy a car unless you’re as bad a Salesman as me and you can’t sell them

one but it wasn’t exciting enough for me so I just I think I didn’t put my all into it so because I know a lot of um

web developers right and they they spend a lot of time building a website they pull their hair out because customers

don’t get them information on time of course and um and then they’ve got this transactional model and then they they

sell hosting at the same time so they got this recurring income as well and then I I guess everything you do is

recurring like you don’t have any any transactional element to a d no no um but how do you how did you make your

business into that recurring model when like so many other people it was wasn’t actually purely enough I you know I’ll

be honest I don’t I don’t think it was an accident no I think um it might have been a little bit of of

foresight I’m not saying I’m the smartest guy on the planet I’m the only one who thought of this but when I go

back to the story and I tell you I sold my first customer well he asked me for a website yeah I built him one my my whole

plan was to just do the one website that I was done I just wanted to see if I can do it it was a challenge and I’ve got

nothing else going on I might as well yeah and when he offered me the recurring money I like I said it switched

something in my mind I thought this is not a hobby this is not a one-off this is a business and then

um because I was an auto trader rep I was exposed to a lot of car dealerships um so naturally I went to other

customers of mine and said hey I built this website would you like one and some of them bought them some of them didn’t

and um I I did have one dealer early on who told me um hey um I built him up and

he told me hey my brother-in-law has a construction company my uh something my sister has a flower store I don’t know

my local dentist needs a site I can get you loads of business and not not for any other reason than he liked

me and I did a good job for him yeah but I’m like look uh I gotta get these web

builds faster the first one took me six to nine months the second one took me a few months I need to get better at this

the more I deviate I’m not going to get to where I need to go so I was turning down jobs yeah

and you could call that you know being smarter you can call it um just only being able to focus on the one

thing I don’t know but it turns out focusing uh vertical niching sure so

um I think your question goes back to you know what do uh you know a lot of web web people so

do I yes yeah um they all start the same way and it’s because they listen to other web people

and typically web companies don’t have consistent money coming in and the reason is they all listen to one

another and they’re taking on any job they can we’re actually the hosting side of it you’re right is the recurring

income and they sell that but it’s not worth a whole lot so you’re building a recurrent income on a very small ticket item yeah and your

main ticket item you’re just getting a one-off payment for so what you end up doing is chasing money every month

chasing new customers every month the model I had in mind is I didn’t want to do that I wanted to um sell a customer

bill him the next month and add another customer now I got two building for the next month and that was my plan it was

recurring income piled on top of one another and eventually would be enough for me to survive in a decent way yeah

and I think that’s the trick a lot of businesses Miss it’s not good for every business that way but a lot of

businesses missed that trick where um they they do something really well they

get some clients the clients kind of move them on to something else they ask for another service they asked for

something and they’re like the client’s going to pay us more we got to do it sometimes you tell the client we can’t

do that it’s not our plan you know and and some people have a hard time saying that I guess right but I did not I

wanted to stay on path well you know what I I I’ve had lots of conversations with um with business owners over the

years probably hundreds if not a thousand um and one thing all the

success actually there’s a few things that all the successful business owners have in common but that could be another show but the one thing I’ve noticed

definitely is um they they are very specific I’ve I’ve very rarely come across a um a

successful business that has lots of different types of customers they support in lots of different ways and

it’s um and I think most business owners I talk to they just struggle to recognize that when you just pick this

one thing or just a really um limited number of things that you you focus on excelling at that’s where you

just get a get ahead of any other kind of competition yeah when you say when you went to your second customer and you

you said um oh it’s uh x amount a month for this website did they say hey can I

just pay you one off or was there a norm in that industry or uh you know there was there was the norm in the industry I

was to find out a little while later was a one-off payment that was the norm but the one-off payment was in the thousands

of dollars oh right okay yeah so I did have one customer maybe the fifth or sixth customer I try to sell is like why

would I pay you every month yeah and I’m like what what do you mean he’s like there’s a guy going on now doing the

same thing and he’s charging a one-off payment of a few grand yeah and I said well listen number one why would you

want to pay anybody a one-off I’m like who’s going to maintain your site after that and call this guy for help he’s going to charge you for everything yeah

like secondly you understand Tech is changing really fast I just made all this up well you understand Tech has

changed as well I mean I’m not wrong though Tech is changing really fast you’re going to have to redo your site you’re

going to have to keep up with stuff I mean what are you going to do and um I’m like I believe in my stuff so much

that I’m telling you for 199 a month zero down yeah I will build you the best

site you’ve ever had I will maintain it if anything breaks you call me I will fix it if you want to add something I’ll

do it right um I’m here for for you I work for you for like you and you’re buying me at 199

a month yeah I’m like the other person’s gonna make 3 000 from you he’s not

coming back yeah so decide where your money’s better spent do you want to go with the guy who doesn’t believe in

himself so much he wants all the money up front or do you want to go with the guys losing money the first couple months the first three months four

months I had to do a good job to get paid yes and I have to continue doing a good job to get paid you can fire me at

any time yeah so um I think he did buy off of me in the end

but I did I did I did have a few that didn’t buy off me um so would you say you were one of the

first people in the Auto industry that actually did like monthly paid websites definitely the first that I’ve ever come

across yeah at that time uh now it’s the norm I’m not saying I set the norm but I

didn’t know anybody else doing it I came up with that accidentally and by myself so I I guess uh your first customer you

were saying was like a friend um who had faith in you yeah and then but then how did you how did you get

your first few customers like where where did you um find him that’s a really good question I don’t and I don’t get asked

that enough I don’t think but literally so the first one was tough even showing him the side I was nervous because

I didn’t know if he’s gonna like it I didn’t know if he’s gonna say this is the this is the worst thing I’ve ever seen right

um I showed it to him and he loved it and then when he like I said I wanted a one-off payment he offered me a monthly

payment for it that solidified in my heart that he loves and I felt good I walked out of there strutting I felt

great you know so the next customer I’m taking that same strut I’m taking that confidence

that I have and when I’m pitching the next person I’m fully confident in what I’m trying to sell now yeah so I think

the first guy not just being a friend but he made me a real I’m a Believer in myself so I I I went into every sales

meeting after that with complete confidence that I was I was selling it myself a few rejections of that early

early on right but if I if I gave you numbers like I’m telling you I I sold five or six dealers just like that yeah

but I mean over the first three years I sold a couple hundred dealers

and I must have knocked on over 12 1300 doors so the rejection is massive it’s

five six to one yes yes right um but I don’t care about them as much I

don’t care about being told no I I the one yes out of six gets me excited enough to carry on okay yeah right

um otherwise I’d be scared if I got more people saying yes I’d be like number one I’m either underpriced or number two

this Market’s not gonna make it’s gonna be saturated right because everybody’s gonna know this is a gold mine in here

so I I like the stuff I’m doing to be a little bit tough a little bit hard because it keeps people out and secondly

to to stay on top you got to be really good at what you do I don’t want to do this business if I’m not great at what I

do um so how many customers do you have now um we have about 500 customers now it’s

going to sound small because I got a couple hundred in the first few years of my life but

my priorities change business was going well I had staff who would run it I had kids at the time that were just

born and I decided you know I’m doing great what do I want to do and that’s how I’ve always lived and I decided you

know I could um Carry On growing and growing and growing and have several thousand customers now which I believe I

really could have done or I can take a step back and I can spend some time with my kids when they’re young I got the one shot here

and so my brain works in a funny way some sometimes I guess like um like you

know from conversations we’ve had in the past websites are actually quite a smaller smaller part of your overall

business now aren’t they yeah like before they were your business whereas now they’re more of a

um not a lost leader but uh they’re they’re more of a lower margin product that gets people into buy and you’ve got a lot of things to upsell so I guess

your average customer value has gone up substantially it’s gone way up and actually with uh with with the websites

themselves because we focus on one product we built software that builds websites for us

um it takes a couple of minutes to build a site it’s not that big a deal um and we deal in the same sort of

Industry so they’re all typically the same kind of sites um we don’t even sell the websites we

just give them away to be honest with you the the part we want to make money is from the software why do you give

them away is that just because the competition in in your areas in in intensified so much that you’ve got to

use it as a loss leader um almost but not not truly that it’s we give them away because

I think personally our software is some of the best out there it does everything they need to do to sell a car from the

financing to the marketing to to the I mean control of price on several different websites it takes care of

everything if we let somebody else do the website we lose a bit of control and

this is when things can get sloppy um so we make sure that if you’re our customer we’re going to make sure

everything you have is running smooth and in sync and so we need to control certain elements that are customer

facing to make sure that it’s right otherwise our product loses it’s it’s

sort of strength I guess a little bit right yeah I know what you mean like um yeah I mean

even for what we do where where people have got like another accountant involved in one part of their business

because it it you know for historic reasons it get it just adds another level of complications so there’s

something to be said about the Synergy of keeping everything in one place and and having one person with that overview yeah

um but I guess like since you adopted that model you know the pay pay monthly websites like you’ve probably had a lot

of competition spring up anyway didn’t you I mean there was there there was me and there was one other company that I

heard about at the time like a year after I started up and they were on the yeah they’re on the East Coast they’re on a different side of the states as me

and um today there must be 90 to 100 in

this space it’s up oh it’s an insanely competitive space um so it is really tough it’s tough for

a startup to actually come in and try and conquer any of this space now um it’s really embedded

um the competitors that are out there are there sort of I’m entrenched in their markets

um it is a tough business now yeah it’s uh really but then then that’s why you go all the other elements of the

marketing and advertising you do um for those customers because that there’s probably less competition though so you

can get a healthier margin you know yeah that’s for a definite um I’m also tough though so it’s a tough

business and I’m also tough so I I don’t want to relent what I’ve built I don’t want to I don’t want to um

you know not be a relevant company so we reinvent ourselves quite quite a bit I

mean for the first three years of our business we were just a website business we didn’t have the software side of

things we actually outsourced this offer to another company um and we gave them 50 of our profits

for to use their software side um that guy eventually I won’t name his

name um eventually he tried to uh break our company into by

our clients were used to the software used to our site so everything was going well he pulled the plug on the software

and said I’m doubling your prices which means I pay him 100 of our profit for every client yeah

so what he was doing was trying to take all my clients that’s the bottom line and um I called every one of my clients

and I said wait wait for me wait three months um and don’t don’t leave wait for three

months come out with something better well my clients gave me like a month

um and we paid a bunch of people and we came out with a okay product it wasn’t it wasn’t even good but it did the job

yeah um and you know long story short today we’re a software company it wasn’t my

choice to get into software sometimes your competitors will push you too and I’m glad that they did because that’s

where we ended up yeah right um so but again the reason I got into

software wasn’t because I was smart enough to get into it’s because I wanted to survive I wanted my business to

thrive and I realize I have to control things for that to happen I can’t depend on people with something that’s so

important that can bring my business down and ultimately you didn’t do this all by

yourself did he so you’ve uh you’ve had to build a team along the way what how did that work I’ve got a fantastic team

moves I got a fantastic team um really like the best people I could imagine

um the team was it was fairly big I mean within a few years we had about 14 to 15 people

working for us um we had our corporate offices everything else is normal

um I did most of programming work because I just fell into that I do like doing it um

but over the years now we’re we’re down to a really manageable team I think there’s five of us now

um so how can if you go like you know two and a half

times as many clients as you did in the earlier days and when you’ve got like one third of the team how is that happening is that just automation

um you know literally we had a lot of jobs that needed to be filled because

um we didn’t have the automation of the software and amazingly enough being a software company not having the software

is pretty typical yes um so I spent a lot of time building automated processes that take care of

the really mundane stuff the stuff that was labor intensive but we needed a lot of staff for it to the people I have

working for me now are absolutely necessary in this business they’re they’re um they’re earning well

um they’re completely necessary they love what they do because they’re important they’re vital they cannot be

replaced by a machine or software so they take great pride in their jobs I

take pride in them um and we just built a really lean business which times like like this now

um you know it pays to be lean right so yeah that’s what we did I mean we we got

rid of our corporate offices in 2017. 16 way before other people thought

it was cool to give her to their offices um so we got rid of ours early on we had our staff didn’t have a big neon sign on

the wall or something we we had a huge sign on the wall we had a bell you know so we made sales

just like the old movies you know so yeah when somebody makes a sale they get up and they ring this Bell it was really

messy and it was really fun um but we sort of outgrew that today we

um yeah it’s fun though talk about that because we started off like uh it was really rough shot man it was um it was a

Wolf of Wall Street or kind of without the drugs and everything yeah but I mean it was just highly motivated so if you

talk about the wolf of walls were these people were like making hundreds of calls it was super motivating

um when you hear that Bell goes it was it was powerful it made people want to work harder and and sell harder uh then

we kind of outgrew that because we got to a stage where okay we’re big enough we we’re a professional company

um and people we got into bigger sort of markets the same the same thing the same

car lot stuff but bigger markets we got into partnership deals with Partners who

are very corporate um and we start having to grow up a little bit so we’ve got you know we’re

we got more processes in place now more things in place those days are gone they’re always be the funnest days for

for me but um yeah we got really you know just really I mean efficient at what we’re

doing um really really cleaned up oh it sounds amazing yeah it’s like what

would you say the biggest challenges when you’ve been building and running your business I think I think at first I

I I can’t it’s hard to answer for myself but I I would say people I speak to the

the biggest challenge is you’re never going to have a business that stays in the number one spot without you constantly revising your business plan

because markets change things change and I I talk to a lot of people who say man business was thriving a bunch of years

ago and now it’s it’s not have you kept up with what’s happening because if you don’t keep up you’re

going to fall back it’s just the way it is and you got to innovate constantly and I think so again saying that I think

the biggest challenge is the fact that we have to redefine ourselves every so

often you got to change and it costs money to change and that you have to be thinking about two years ahead three

years ahead all the time there’s no time to sit back and rest but I also like that part of it I don’t

want to sit back and rest I want to innovate as well so I I like that I like

that whole sort of vibe of that you know I I really enjoy that so for me it’s a challenge I I get it but it’s a it’s a

welcome it’s a welcome challenge okay yeah that I mean that’s a really good point actually and I I think that’s

really relevant at the moment because you know we’re heading into a recession although I know people told not to talk about in case they calls it sure

but you know well then the other side of it is like a recession you lose one point in your economy you still got the

other 99 sure and um and uh I think there’s always an opportunity to work

harder sometimes you just gotta tighten your belt but you can always um still get ahead yeah um and I I think yeah you know going

into recession in terms of you know what you’re talking about in terms of adapting I guess like people still buy

they just buy differently and they’ll buy different things and um I remember uh watching a I think it was a podcast

with Alan not Alan sugar brown sugars he’s the uh founder of action coach and

yeah and he was talking about how he had a business like um in 2008 and that they sold motorhomes and then um you know

overnight all the finance was pulled so no one could get the finance to buy a motorhome so they’re essentially you

know they converted the business us into a business that could rent motorhomes obviously they would have had to get the funding to do it somewhere but yeah

there’s always um and yeah you’re absolutely right because even if you’re not in a recession just the economic

there’ll be economic Cycles within a particular industry that will mean that you’ve got to keep on changing even if

um the overall economy is relatively stable yeah it’s been it’s been happening I mean I I can’t think of in

the 18 years that I’ve been I’ve been going the most stable I’ve been is probably for a two or three year stretch at the

time it’s always changed but with that change comes growth even now when when times are tough and people are kind of

some not everyone but some people businesses are running for the Hills you know I think now is a great time to

redefine your business and to get those customers that you really want because the same way that a business is a bit

confused about what they’re doing their old model isn’t quite working right now so are businesses businesses that are

your clients are thinking the same thing which means there’s a middle ground to be met there yes we just got to meet

right um so I mean if that’s the biggest challenge what would you say the biggest

setback for you was like because really what I want to get to the bottom of in in this podcast is like the the

you know sometimes people looking in on a business owner and um and that they

will see someone who’s quite successful and then they’ll forget everything or they won’t understand everything that

person had to go through to that together you know there can be assumption people were born with silver

spoon in their mouth yeah it could be oh they just got lucky yeah but um actually like you know I’ve seen a lot of

businesses fail luckily not too many of our clients but um I’ve seen a lot of businesses fail over the years and um

and they they get the setback and I’m like hey you know and they’re I I’m

thinking in the grand scheme of it that’s probably quite a small setback but um it’s about perspective isn’t it

as well like you know what’s in small for someone is big for someone else and yeah and they they might just not be

able to overcome it so you know for you what was your biggest set [Music]

I think you’re right about that looking from the outside in my my kids are the

um they’re the main ones in that one my kids think this is just the way it’s always been you know yes yeah that’s a

lucky guy we’ve always lived like this and it’s not true right so you’re right I it’s hard for someone to look into

another business to say have you ever struggled or you know yes so the biggest

I said one already was early on you know I I’m I’m doing well on the sales side

and the software company who I was Outsourcing to they pulled the plug almost pulled us out of business I mean

if I lost those initial customers I got that word would have spread so fast I could have never have recouped

um but all it did was drive me it drove me to call every customer explain the situation not lie to them explain the

situations that listen this is what’s happened you know I’m a good guy you know my

company’s good I need you to stick with me yes and for the most part maybe one

or two of them didn’t but for the most part they all did because they believed in me I believed in me so that was a

huge setback that I probably would have put most people under um my mind doesn’t work in that way my

mind just works and all right what do I need to do to fix this right so I guess that supplier under estimated the power

of the loyalty and the bond that you found with your customers at that point absolutely and the faith I had in myself that that software company is no longer

around he was out of business five years after I started up so that tells you a lot about the mindsets yeah different

companies right um but the part I didn’t mention was eight nine months after that I got an

investor in who wanted to put money in open offices and hire staff and I was

like great I gave them 50 of the company and um after a couple months he put in 20 grand

and he he pulled the plug he was having trouble with his wife or something

random he had an affair or something she controlled the money and yeah he’s like

I can’t give you anymore I had eight I had like eight people working there I had an office run I had payroll so I go

to him and say look it’s bad timing yeah but just give me that last bit of money so I can pay the staff and get rid of

him because I can’t afford them yeah and he goes you know what don’t even worry about them they’ll be all right and I’m like what do you mean they’ll be all

right and I realize my these people’s mindset is not what mine is so actually as broke

as I was and as lean as I was and not a lot of capital around I took my wife’s credit card and

borrowed at the maximum I could off it and some of my own and I paid all the

staff and then fired them and guess what even after I paid them I still had to fire them and they hated me I saw their

faces they were disgusted with me but I did the right thing what they don’t realize is I did the right thing yeah

the original option was don’t pay him just get rid of it yeah I can’t do that so I did the right thing and you know

that’s that’s that but that was another setback and I’ve had multiple of these setbacks um

lit I think the guy when I said I wanted to take some time off to spend time with

my kids the person I had running the business was he’s a great guy I loved him to death and one day he had a heart

attack he was 56 years old he had a heart attack and he died and um another

setback I mean that’s a life setback and it’s a business setback but he was in charge of

everything so yeah the next manager I hire after him um he works for me for a year and a half

he goes to a rival company and tries to steal all of our all of our customers so I mean at this point a normal human I

think would have said enough’s enough uh luckily I don’t think in that way I just kept going but what I did is after this

last ever with every setback I learned something yeah so with that setback in

particular that was a really important one to me I gave the power to my really loyal employees who are still with me

now I gave them the power to make choices I gave them the money that comes with that power

um they were in charge of their Destiny and in turn the destiny of our company

and so I split that power no one person could could do anything bad to us anymore no one person controlled

everything not even me um and and actually that that worked really well so again sorry to make a long story

a long story longer I’m trying to make it shorter uh with every step back comes

opportunity right and what you just said a second ago with the economic setback we’re looking at right now whether it’s

a recession or not or probably is but let’s say it’s not um there’s always opportunity and this

is what we have to keep our eyes open for you got to look through all the all the bad stuff and see what’s there and I

think it’s a great time to have a business right now I really do and I’m yeah I think that people

um actually I think recession in my opinion is one of the best time to start business because at the start of your

business you’ve you’ve got this energy whereas usually um at the start of recession that’s when

business owners start to run out of energy yeah and um and yeah if you if you’ve got the energy when they haven’t

that’s when you’re going to stand out yeah um so it’s uh and you know the beauty of of the world now is I I can

imagine a time probably 30 years ago if I wanted to set up an accounting firm I’d have to go higher or at least some

kind of building put my name on the front um I might not even been able to advertise based on the institutions I’m

part of but um with us now it’s just you know what out of the tens of thousands

if not hundreds of thousands of pounds I’ve spent on marketing over the years I’ve realized all the stuff that’s got

us clients have been pretty much free or inexpensive yeah um and it’s just it’s just been about me

putting the effort um to actually go out and and have those conversations and put myself out there and get our team to do

the same thing but um yeah I would love that you’re you’re running back but it’s yeah you’re you

know what you’re absolutely right I mean one one thing I tell um some business owners sometimes is

that you know don’t ever judge yourself in good times because everybody’s having a good time right I mean everybody’s

doing well but you need these bad times to shake out the competition that’s weak you’re not doing a great job what you

end up doing when times are really good like in the run-up to the mortgage crash right so yeah from 2000 to say 2006 when

times were just booming everybody’s doing well everybody’s buying everything and a lot of

junk ends up in the in the in sort of in the like like the landscape and the

business landscape a lot of bad service a lot of bad food a lot of because anybody can just open something and it’s

working yeah and so the quality of services and goods goes way down and when you have the shake-up the first

people to go are the people who aren’t any better than the average quality the me too business is sure I’ve been told

I’m not allowed to use that town anymore I’ve been using a lot of terms but no you’re right so those those kind

of CopyCat business I mean people don’t want the same thing yeah right but people don’t want the same I’m you know

what I’m not allowed to say cat I don’t know I’m just kidding um people don’t want when times are tough

like this and money’s a bit scarce and people are afraid of you know bills are going up and everything everybody no

matter who it is even me or you or anybody who’s going to spend a pound it better be worth it to spend that pound so this is a good time to shake up these

businesses and let the weak ones fail the strong ones will pick up and once this economy starts to roll again new

blood will enter these fields and bring competition again which actually we have to step up at that point again because

it’s just a cycle of of life right um so that that’s that’s how I look at

it yeah I totally agree yeah absolutely um yeah so you know it’s opportunity and

um of course in in any downtown um okay awesome and uh what I said what gets you out of bed

every morning what drives you to um improve your business to grow it or you know what so that’s a great question

that’s really as good um because I have the luxury of having this business I don’t really have to

wake up in the morning I can sleep in a little late if I want to but I don’t sleep in because what drives me is

making sure this company is doing the best it can this company literally has given me everything I owe everything to

it the lifestyle has given me in for my kids and for my family and for my friends and and for my employees and for

their families um I I just respect it too much just to to to sleep into it I literally want to

drive this company as far as I can um it’s not about the money it’s about the pride and I think when you believe

in what you’re doing and your customers call you and say thanks and you’ll go a mile for them within your plan

um I think it just makes you want to do better and better yeah absolutely you know and I I can I

can relate to that because once I built like a great team and we had some amazing customers that we

really wanted to work with I I realized I I didn’t want not want to be the weakest link in that equation yeah and

um and yeah and it’s kind of you know maybe when you’re in your first year of

business or who I was and I was fantasizing about just sitting on a beach somewhere tapping away on my laptop yeah but actually the reality is

very different now it’s like now it’s about showing up in a professional manner yeah and um and inspiring people

that you work with and um and well also they inspire you but um actually that’s

also the importance of just building that solid culture yeah and working the right people you’re only an average of the people you surround yourself right

absolutely and um and yeah and I think that that’s uh surrounding yourself by

the right people just makes huge huge difference no it does it does for sure I like I said I mean I look I I’ve known

you for a while and I’ve seen your team build up and it’s amazing to see and you know it’s amazing to see any business

grow into something that’s that’s a backbone of your own business now I mean

your customers will rely on you to to do your stuff we couldn’t do our businesses unless you did yours so everybody’s

reliant on the chain and that’s why you cannot you cannot let a customer down you cannot

within your business plan I say that because some customers ask for stuff outside your plan you must turn them

down because you can’t do everything but the stuff you promised that you’re gonna do you must fulfill that so the customer

can do what he’s going to do or she’s or she’s going to do um it’s all they or they right but it’s

vital that that chain continues and one week part of that chain and it doesn’t

work so you you’re right about you have to surround yourself with people who are who are really good at what they

do because you can’t have anything weak in that chain yeah absolutely and you know I think

we’ve been talking for almost an hour actually so that’s um and I’ve got one final question so it just brings me to

it um so what advice would you give to someone falling in your footsteps

it’s so I I’m from a service business you know you can say I’m a website

software guys that’s more service I guess than product business right because we

it’s a monthly service um so um from from the stuff I know and

from from the stuff that I personally do I would say that um you really gotta find your thing

you know there’s it’s okay to be a website person and say you know what I can do websites better than this company

does them how better because as long as you don’t end up doing the same thing so you got

to redefine what do you got to Define what is it that you want to do um like we said the copycat stuff right

so the advice I would give is mine might seem accidental it is the

first sale was accidental and it was on purpose and then I focused on it but find something that that you’re

passionate about find something that differentiates you because you have to be different

um you don’t want to do a business that does the same I mean even as an accountancy yeah like what you guys do

you’re not an accountancy I mean you do a lot of stuff there you’re a coach or a mentor you’re an accountant you have

plans to to help people go from point A to point B this is absolutely vital stuff why would

I why would somebody leave your accountancy to get a copycat accountant because they’re not going to do the stuff you do or if some if if a lot of

accountants start copying what you’re doing you’ve got to step your game up a little bit so I would that’s my advice sorry it’s really scrambled no it makes

it makes my advice is to make sure you’re doing something that you love that you’re good at and that’s different

or better than try to be better then yeah that’s absolutely amazing advice

actually and um yeah my own business coach um she’s got the same prototypes to decommodelize so um essentially if

you if you’ve got something that’s readily comparable all people are going to do is beat you down on price you know you can you can be as nice and as you

want and you can say your service is better but there’s always going to be this price element if you can turn yourself into something completely

unique as a proposition then that’s when um there’s something you don’t have competition I agree um and then that’s

where you can make margins you need to rescale um and I think yeah and that makes a lot

of sense um I’d really like to thank you for us on the podcast today so um to the viewers you’ve been listening to

unrelenting drive this is on every month so we’ll have another business owner that will be interviewing next month so

just make sure you keep watching thanks for having me on

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