The most important word in business is “Next”. I have definitely had a next sort of week this week.

I seem to end up with multiple lists of things to do. I did not quite have to resort to a list of lists but at times it felt like it might be needed. But this morning, before anyone else came in, I went through my lists and was pleasantly surprised by just how much I had already done, and I am now back to a single short list. The trouble is that this short list is growing all the time. I must have green fingers.

I have often said that if everything appears to be fine, then you just haven’t found out what has gone wrong. I have had one of those weeks as well. I think that some of the people around me think I must be unhinged because my reaction to these sorts of blows is that they add spice to life. I think there must still be people out there who think that all you need to do is get a business set up and then you can just sit back, relax and cream off the profits. I can see the appeal in that but in my experience there are very few first generation businesses like that. For most of us, you work hard and put in a lot of hours to keep the ship afloat and on course.

So, which camp are you in? Do you just hate it when things go wrong, or do you just accept that it is just the next problem to solve, and get a kick out of working through the issues. When I find myself in the first camp, that will be the time to do something else. It is in my nature to be in the second, so with the two knocks we took today, the adrenalin was high and I was having a good day, even though it wasn’t.

I am sure that we are not alone in finding it hard to recruit staff. I have my own thoughts about the fundamental cause of that problem, especially for us but I am not going there. It is too political. I know that many of you will have the same problem. Employment agencies do well in times like these. They charge for placing someone with you then charge again a year or two later to place them somewhere else.

I suppose this is all part of the free enterprise culture and that is the way it will always be. In a similar way, we are always keen to speak to the clients of other accountants as they are to talk to our clients. It is all just a part of the rich marketing and sales tapestry. Keeps you on your toes!

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if we had just stayed as we were in the first few years after we launched The Long Partnership. We just had one office and there was just Helen and me along with 4 professional staff and a receptionist. Our turnover at that time was only about 10% of what we have now. Personally, I don’t think I would have been happy to be operating at that level. We certainly have had growing pains as we expanded the business but there is such a sense of achievement from seeing where we are now, and a feeling of satisfaction. Of course, you always have to temper that with the knowledge that other people in the same situation have done better so we are nowhere near being top dog. However, it is nice to see the fruits of our efforts over the last few years.

Anyway, will you be in or around Inverness on Thursday 16th March between 2pm and 7pm?

If so, come along to a business exhibition in the Waterside, part of the Glen Mhor Hotel complex alongside the River Ness. We have a stand at the event so come along and see us. It promises to be a good day with plenty of other useful businesses also exhibiting.

If anyone has seen us at exhibitions before you will know that it often comprises projectiles and loud music. We have yet to formulate our plans for this exhibition. Should we play the William Tell Overture again, of the theme tune from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly? I suppose it will depend on what projectiles we choose to use. Interested? Then come and see for yourself. You may learn something about tax in the process.

Put it in your diary. There are going to be some interesting businesses at the event. One of them could be just the one you are looking for.

Alan E Long

The Long Partnership

07770 738770



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