I decided I was going to do the marketing and that we would employ a shop manager. I took on my brother, Daniel as the shop manager. I threw him in at the deep end so to speak. He was strategically placed in the office where he had the support of other experienced staff with excellent technical knowledge so he could learn and grow as the shop grew.
His role was to process orders and run the backend of the website by adding new products, changing pricing and adding special offers. I had a half decent understanding about marketing, but I knew to get this shop to where I knew it could be, my knowledge and tactics had to be better.
To achieve this, I invested 2k to do a marketing course to help learn better and more effective marketing techniques for an ecommerce shop. On reflection this was money and time well spent and the proof was in the results.
The shop was getting good traction and was soon doing sales of 12k a month with 30% net profit. At this stage we had 3 different revenue streams from service/maintenance department, new build department and the swimming pool shop. We were well on our way to turning over our first million.
At this point we were still relying heavily on our accountant to do the vat, wages and book keeping but I wanted to get this more under control and deal with it in house.
We were working with the Xero accounting software, but we weren’t using it to its full potential and getting the up to date figures required financial decisions to be made.
This was a concern for me and also a headache as it was still me doing the invoicing and reconciling the bank. I felt it was time to employ an accounts manager to deal with the ever-increasing work load within this department. It would also relieve me of another job role within the business, only leaving me to the marketing, the planning and overseeing of the company as a whole.
I’m always on the lookout for talent, and I don’t mean women, even though there’s nothing wrong with looking at a menu when you’re on a diet. . . Only joking.
Building a business is like building a great football team
I’m always on the lookout for potential new staff members who would fit into the culture and have the values and work ethic that is required to work at Concept Pools. And like most things in life, things happen when you least expect, not for me though as I always expect things if I want them. Because what we think, we attract and then the universe provides. Sounds farfetched to some people but for me the universe always provides.
I was out having a few drinks with some old friends and a brother of a friend also joined us. I had known him also for years, but we didn’t talk much until that night. I was explaining the business to him and how we had grown quickly over the past year or two and explained I was now looking for someone to become head of finance to join the team to help gain control.
He was impressed with what we had achieved in such a short time and also the vision I had shared of where we were heading over the next 5-10 years. So, I asked more about himself and where he worked and what role he was doing. He was working in the corporate world at New York Bank and had been there for 10 years, but I got the feeling he was no longer enjoying the role. We talked through his role at the bank and he was exactly what I was looking for. I was looking to fill the head of finance role with a long-term view of acquiring 2 other swimming pool companies as well as starting a couple more companies within the wet leisure industry so his appointment would-be long-term value not short term.
I left the pub that night with the carrot dangled and we agreed we would both have a think about it.
A week later he came to see me at the office and very quickly the deal was done. We had a head of finance and the burden was lifted from me and long term I had someone in place who could look after all accounts and finances moving forward as we continued to scale, and future proofed ourselves for acquisition and other business start-ups we were planning.
In all honesty, if I were to start from scratch again my first employee would be somebody to control the accounts, because unless you’ve been in that environment and you set up a company doing financial work, then give this role to somebody else who can control the finances from the start. Trust me, your growth and life will be smoother and more hassle free.
I now had my team for Concept Pools. Building a business is like building a great football team. The spine of the team consists of a good goalkeeper, solid central defender, a menace in midfield and a top goal scoring attacker. I had this spine in my team. I had a head of service, head of new builds, head of sales, head of accounts and I was head of marketing, well for the short-term period anyway.
I was still responsible for this department. But I had given away 80% of my work load by employing my team.
Having this structure in place enabled us to cruise to our first million-pound turnover. Why? Because I had created A team players to carry out their roles and responsibilities with freedom to make decisions for the growth of the company. They know the journey direction because I share that with them. We’re all on the same page, in harmony, chasing the same goals. I couldn’t have done it without them, and all my 8 employees are an integral part of creating a successful company that continues to scale.
In summary, I managed to get to a million-pound turnover in 3 years with 8 employees while working from the farm offices and workshop. As mentioned earlier, this is all stepping stones to where we want to be. But for me personally, it was a goal to have the company do its first million.
My long-term goal as a group of companies is to do 20 million. My intentions are to write about this journey to help educate and inspire others to do the same. I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey so far and thank you for taking the time to read.
The next book in this series will be from 1 million to 3 million. . . This involves totally new strategies, challenges, staff, systems and processes and more. They say the first million is the hardest, and the jump to 2 million is easier because you already have the infrastructure in place. However, in the jump to 3 million there is a gap to fill which we’ll talk into throughout my next book.