#Immediacy on speech making

The product mix for the new shops was different from the pub ...

The product mix for the new shops was different from the pub contract and some-days I couldn't make enough pastries. One shop needed much more renovation than just a lick of paint' I hadn't had a detailed survey done.

By the time my van had delivered to my original shops, it couldn't supply the new shops in time although it had been able to cope with the pub deliveries, since they were nearer and opened later. So I had to buy a new van. From the beginning I had trouble with staff low quality and high turnover as had my predecessor, if I had troubled to ask.

The real blow, however was the slow realization that the previous owner hadn't let the shops run down because he was retiring he'd retired because the shops were running down: one was only two kilometres from a Sainsbury store which had recently expanded and installed an in-store bakery; one was in a district mainly dependent for employment on a large engineering company which had gone broke during the recession; one was only a kilometre from a new shopping precinct which included not only two supermarkets but also a hot-bread kitchen, a health-food shop and a branch of my keenest competitor. So now I have a business twice as big as a year ago in terms of capital investment and much more than twice the worry.

But profits are only three quarters of what I made last year. And it's all my own fault.

When I bought my first shop, I checked everything with a fine toothcomb. I repeated the process with the second, third and fourth shops.

There were no surprises after purchase with any of them. Why, then, didn't I cheek this latest acquisition equally thoroughly? Was it because my rough calculations looked so good, I thought I was now a big business tycoon who could use his judgement and didn't need to do detailed slogging any longer? Was it complacency? Was it pride? Was it greed? I don't know. Nor do I know how this affair will eventually work out.

But I do know I'll never skip the nitty-gritty. What, no synergy? One business on its own cannot have synergy. lt is only the combination of two or more businesses that can produce synergy, with correspondingly better profits than the sum of the original businesses. Synergy can arise in many ways.

For instance, if you own a shop and buy another which you run yourself, then the synergy lies in the shop management. If you have several shops supplied from a central warehouse and buy another shop, now supplied from the same warehouse, then the synergy arises in the warehouse service. Supposing you combine two estate agencies, then you would expect to achieve synergy in the online advertising, printing and postage.

As you might expect, synergy is more common when you combine two businesses in the same trade.

Nevertheless, it can arise with different trades, given favourable circumstances. For example, one can combine an electrical business with a plumbing business and achieve synergy on premises, shop staff and telephones.

But it is easier to fool yourself in such a case, when ...

But it is easier to fool yourself in such a case, when you know much less about one of the businesses. While the presence of synergy can make a project more attractive, you s... read more

Sometimes you knowingly adopt an expensive method because it is the only ...

Sometimes you knowingly adopt an expensive method because it is the only way to get the job done... read more

If well planned and carried out, such a campaign can only result ...

If well planned and carried out, such a campaign can only result in the business becoming financially stronger. He may even be able to suggest, from his broader experience, which aspe