Paul Hargreaves: Drive to Succeed?
17 Jul 2017 10:52:11
My first day back at work after a thoroughly enjoyable holiday was last Friday. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about The Food Company who had decided to cease trading (although still seem to be open!) On Friday, we heard the sad news that one of our new chilled suppliers had decided to quit too, stating risign ingredient costs as the main reason. They had a great product but priced at the top of the price spectrum for that category and the extra ingredient costs pushed them into territory where they knew they couldn’t sustain their pricing model. I wonder whether there is more to come as the effects of last year’s steep devaluation in sterling are only just beginning to impact heavily on UK businesses buying ingredients from Europe. I hope not, but fear so, as the ill-advised exit from the EU seems to be pressing ahead, despite their now being a majority of the country against it.
This also got me thinking about success and failure this morning as I was listening to sports pundits waxing lyrical about Roger Federer’s achievements over the years, and what it is that makes a sports person (or indeed a business person) successful. Pat Cash described this very well on BBC Five Live this morning saying that successful sports people’s joy at victory in a big tournament only lasts for a short while. They are always aiming for perfection, so are never really satisfied until this is achieved, which is, of course, never. These people are never really happy with their success on one level. I can relate to this on both a sporting and business level. At decent club level tennis, I have won a lot of matches (and also lost a lot), but even in the victories, my mental analysis afterwards is drawn to those potential winning shot opportunities that I blew. Also in business, will I ever really be happy with the success we have had? Probably not, as there is always more and I will also see the many others who are far more successful than me!
It boils back down to driven-ness. This week we will short-list the finalists for the Cotswold Fayre Young Entrepreneur of the Year. High up the list on what I am looking for is driven-ness. Which of the young entrepreneurs in front of me have the drive to succeed. As I have said several times before, there are too many businesses in the speciality food sector with a revenue of less than £250k a year and probably even more turning over less than £150k. It is difficult to have a sustainable business with those kinds of numbers. Whilst realising we all have to start somewhere if your revenue hasn’t increased to a figure significantly higher than these after 2-3 years, maybe you should be asking yourself whether you have the drive to continue? A tough question, but possibly a necessary one.