The weeks seem to fly by at the moment. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. If it carries on like this, should I be starting to plan for Christmas?
Seriously though, we seem to be quite busy with new enquiries coming in every week and certainly, some of these are due to the amount we put out over the internet with the help of Adder Business. I have probably told you before that all I have to do is generate the material and then Adder and in particularly, Lauren does all the format and distribution for us. It works very well and seems to generate plenty of interest in our services. “Other providers are available” as they say on the media. You maybe see some of our posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. Adder also looks after our website.
That is part of the extra work. Another is our latest assimilation of Cathedral Accountancy in Elgin. This is a well-organised practice in the centre of Elgin, but we still need to change their accounting software and hook their 15 staff into the network that serves all of our other offices. It’s at times like this that you rely on Openreach and the IT people to do their stuff but that in itself can take up a lot of time. However, Highland Copiers installed a new printer/scanner in the Cathedral office this week with their usual quiet efficiency. We now have 5 of their machines, one in each office. Funnily enough, the biggest machine is in Kirkwall where we used to print our monthly paper newsletters that we then put in the post.
I imagine that many of you will be wondering why we would want to take on another practice when the economic outlook is so uncertain. We did the same during the banking crisis in 2008 and economic turmoil that followed. Our view is that for those that have the nerve and confidence in their own abilities, this is a good time to grow. Let me explain our thinking.
During economic storms, there is a lot of uncertainty and the market, whatever market you are in, will be in a state of flux with some businesses falling by the wayside. It is a period of opportunity both in exploring new technologies to improve efficiency and expand our offering, but also in picking up additional work from those businesses that founder in the heavy economic seas. We did very well following the banking crisis with three acquisitions at that time combined with significant organic growth. We expect to do the same again now.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we only have a small boat and the seas are going to be choppy, but we are experienced sailors and know what we are doing so will come through this, probably a bit bruised but significantly better off commercially for having chosen to take the more treacherous route.
I actually used to sail dinghies, Snipes to be precise. There were quite a few boats in the sailing club, and it strikes me that if any of my fellow sailors from that time read this they will be passing none too complimentary comments on my sailing abilities on water. I enjoyed it but was never that good. Never mind, I enjoyed myself. I now enjoy my time running our business along with my wife and business partner, Helen, without whom none of this would be possible. Those of you that have met her will understand exactly what I mean.
One of the things I really enjoy about what I do is meeting with other business owners and comparing experiences. I was at BNI on Thursday. We have been members in Inverness for 7 years and meet up with 40 ish other business owners from around Inverness every week to compare experiences and help each other to grow our respective businesses. If you are interested, give me a call and we can see if BNI might be right for you. We are also members in Elgin and the online chapter serving the North of Scotland including the Northern and Western Isles.
This week at BNI I was speaking to Ewan Calder who, amongst other things, runs Northern Recycling. We use them to collect both our general office waste but also our recycling. We have also used them for our commercial paper shredding, particularly when we have been transitioning an office to paperless operations. They also supply skips etc. It was interesting to compare notes with Ewan and share how each of our businesses are navigating the current situation and also to get his view on the outlook for our respective businesses and our clients. After all, many of the businesses he serves will be similar to you and our other clients. Don’t get me wrong we also spoke about upcoming holidays, concerts and various other matters over coffee before the meeting started. He is a good guy to know and has built up his various businesses over much the same timescale as ourselves.
So, we are pushing ahead. The forecast is daunting, but we are looking forward to finding opportunities in the turmoil. What about you?
If you want to carry on this discussion but you are not sure where to find us, please click here.
Alan E Long
The Long Partnership