Walk The Talk Too
This war story is something that we persuaded a Lotus director (with much reluctance!) to share.
Our reluctant Lotus man over a period of a few weeks bought several items from a surf shop in his neighbourhood. The shop was run by the owner and over the few weeks he and L (let’s just call Lotus Man L in this story) got to talking about the little business.
It transpired that the owner worked 7 days a week on his own and was passionate about his business. He had invested every cent he had in the business and had a sizeable overdraft secured by his mother’s property (her only asset.) He had taken some bad advice and had signed an expensive and onerous lease for another shop located more than 30 kilometres from his initial shop.
He was making a loss in his first shop and had no retail or any business experience. What he did have was an absolute commitment to doing whatever he could to save his mother's property and to put his business on a sound footing. L undertook to meet at the shop the next Saturday morning to discuss the state of the business. After that meeting L said he would come early on Saturday mornings to assist with the resolution of the many issues confronting the business, and then to help the owner learn the secrets of retailing. He recalls the owner thanking him but saying he simply didn’t have the funds to pay L. They agreed that a cup of coffee every Saturday morning would be the payment.
So, started a relationship based solely on friendship and trust and not one cent ever changed hands. L gave the owner homework to do every week as he helped him resolve the issues threatening the business (he got the owner out of the 2nd lease amongst other things) and slowly the business started to grow.
The Saturday morning meetings continued for over two years in which time the owner diligently implemented the basics of running a retail business. The business relocated to much larger premises in the neighbourhood and has blossomed into a well-run, profitable business with the owner having implemented systems and controls that give him complete control over all aspects of his business.
L and the owner still meet for coffee (what else!) to catch up every now and then, and L and his family still shop there. When asked why he spent so much of his personal time and put so much effort into something for no apparent reward, L merely said that he got far more out of the project than the owner did.
L epitomises what Lotus Management Group stands for.