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Gut Instinct

Discussion in 'Personal Development & Productivity' started by Scott Kinnear, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Scott Kinnear

    Scott Kinnear Super Moderator Staff Member

    I thought I would start this new post on the subject of Gut Instinct kicking in during business.

    Has your Gut Instinct ever kicked in during a business transaction? and did you escape what could have been costly?

    September 2013 was when I realised what Gut instinct felt like.

    I was in my local having a few pints, a guy I knew from a company I had worked for years gone by, started chatting, I didn't really like the guy when I worked at the company, he was always a bit full of himself, but as that time had moved on, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He asked me what I was working as, I told him I started my own gardening business. Oh.. That is what I need, My daughter is needing her garden done, Any chance you could have a look, I went and looked, the daughters man was explaining what he wanted done, I said I was busy at that time but would call him back in a couple of weeks, In that couple of weeks there was an alarm bell ringing inside me, and almost a voice saying No Scott stay away from it, offcourse I thought I was just being silly, I went ahead with the Job. The guy was expecting me to order a miniskip, bark and weed control fabric, for the £120 I said I would do it for (Labour Only), This was a guy who said he was in the gardening business but moved to security. Yes so you were, ahem :rolleyes:. I had done 5hrs and went and spoke to him about getting paid, he was all excuses, and challenging because there was no bark or fabric, I told him he would need to buy the materials himself. (Unless a customer gives me all the money for any materials or equipment hire in advance, I wont be buying it (I'm not going into debt for someone then they dont pay).

    So I did not get paid for the time I put in, I had to take that one on the nose, but the positives from that was, I did not suffer again, when that little alarm bell went off, I walked away, and that alarm bell sounded 3 times after that lesson!

    I did not lose as much as one of my uncles mates who went into a pub deal with that same guy, he lost £34000 ouch!:( The pub lasted about a year and went to the wall.
     
    Businessman likes this.
  2. MarkB

    MarkB Administrator Staff Member

    I think gut instinct comes with time and it can take a long time to "fine tune". I remember I started an online business with a colleague of mine many years ago - actually got me started online - and we were looking for people to help with fairly boring posting work. This young girl got in touch and she had had a hard time, etc so we took her under our wings and helped/coached her. A few months later she went very quiet so we thought the worst, only happens that she had set up a competing business doing exactly the same thing and had approached all of our customers to undercut our rate.

    Disappointing to say the least when you help someone but she just said "business is business" and we learnt a very important lesson. Unfortunately, just a few months later the girl we had helped was in a serious car crash in which she sustained life changing injuries and her business closed. If she had still been in our fold at the time of the car accident we would have done our upmost to help her but she learnt a very important lesson - do not burn your bridges on the way up because you never know when you might need them. Me and my former colleague had grown very attached to the girl and she was very good at her work, very good. Ambition is good but ambition which means you have to climb over others, not so good.
     
    Scott Kinnear and Businessman like this.
  3. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    Lordy Lordy, I could probably write a book on the subject... :D

    One of the first 'biggish' jobs I ever done on my own account was for what I'll call a 'large building firm' in Argyll - a corporate profile to run at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988. The job came to me via their 'advertising agency' - actually a graphics artist who was gravitating towards doing print and publicity. - That should have been alarm bell No. 1!

    At that time what I was offering was really just 'facilities only', as was the norm. Video cameras of any species weren't all that common in those days, the large U-Matic systems were strictly an industrial thing, and I expected the Ad-Agency and client. to do all the project management, scripting, organisation etc. - Which was (still is to some extent) what usually happens. Instead, what I got was three days dragging myself 'round Argyll following this couldn't-be-bothered madwoman from their sales department, who clearly resented being stuck with the job. She'd point, I'd shoot! That was about all the direction there was! To give you an idea of scale, I covered over 1100 road miles on that job!

    The houses they were building were the blandest greyest most unappealing boxes you could imagine, and the building sites... Well they were building sites! Seas of mud, decorated with rubble, rusting machinery and pools of stagnant water. On one of the days the madwoman - Lydia Teapot we'd started calling her - just didn't turn up. So I was left with a list of sites, a map, and site-managers who had no idea I was coming!

    Their 'headquarters' was a shambles too... Normally, before shooting a video on an industrial site, people have the common sense to get the place tidied up. - Not these clowns! the place was a mess, trucks filthy. Workshop walls were covered in pictures ripped out of porn magazines, when I asked for them to be taken down I got dog's abuse! The workers themselves looked like something out of a bad movie about hill-billies...

    For all their pretentions, no real thought had gone into the form of the final programme - there was no real script to speak of. They hadn't allowed for time or weather either. It was shot in late February\Early March of 1988, almost-exactly 30 year ago in fact! when everything was damp, dreich, and utterly miserable looking. Just as it is today!

    Now... This was no wee firm run by a couple of gadgies who knew no better; but one with 'quite corporate' aspirations. One of the Directors boasted that he regularly hob-nobbed with Sir Ian McGregor as 'next door neighbour' . While the other was reputed to regularly sail with Arnold Clark... All very 'Howards Way' if you know what I mean.

    Anyhoo... We got to the edit with still no script, only a bit of a voice-over. All that could be done was to cut the thing together using a bed of music to give it a bit of flow... In all honesty it didn't look too bad; certainly not so bad that they didn't actually use the damn thing at the Garden Festival! :rolleyes: I checked regularly, and there it was running away on their stall for the whole event!

    To cut a long story short... The barstewards never paid up in full! They also wound up bankrupting the Ad-Agency who they'd 'persuaded' to invest in machinery to print their 'ESPC Style' property paper; they stopped paying them, leaving them with huge debts; cost the couple that ran it everything - the woman had a breakdown because of it!

    One other little twist or two in this story. Right at the outset I'd been advised by my Lawyer, to have proper T&Cs drawn up... Which I did. thing is, these shysters persuaded me to drop several of the clauses (those about scripts, direction etc) that would have saved the day for me.

    Gut instinct told me I was wrong... But I was taken in by just how 'flash' these guys were; as in deed were many folk!

    And it wasn't just me and the Ad-Agency they ripped off! - A few months after all this there was a programme on BBC Scotland about a building firm that had - with the help of a corrupt manager in their building and works department - been ripping off the Post Office by invoicing them for work that had never been done. - No small matter either! The court of Session had frozen £750K of their cash to cover the civil claim (why there were no criminal charges I'll never understand!) which, back in 1988 was a mind-boggling sum of money!

    ...It was this particular experience that galvanised me to go and take some night classes at the college of commerce! And taught me the importance of having a proper project management system in place and sticking to your guns where processes, procedures and T&Cs are concerned.
     
    Scott Kinnear likes this.
  4. Needhelp

    Needhelp Member

    What I find the most frustrating is when in your heart of hearts you know something is not right but you go ahead with it for the money. Then it goes wrong and you could kick yourself lol

    One other thing I would say as well, just because your are fair and honest do not assume that all customers and potential customers will be aswell. Get something down on paper!
     
  5. Scott Kinnear

    Scott Kinnear Super Moderator Staff Member

    Mark - A struggle to find sympathy for her after doing that, karma, I agree with you about ambition and climbing over others and being ruthless or deceitful. I always say - Treat people how you want to be treated, its nice to be nice. well nice, but not daft! I always look for the Win-Win, or where I can join forces or collaborate.

    Matt - It is a huge bug bear for me with people like that, they should be made to pay everybody back they have conned/scammed, even if it means them having to live life with the basics and no more. its sickening how others are hugely impacted by people like that (Carillion comes to mind again). Sub-Con tradesmen losing their houses etc because of dishonest people being allowed to badly manage projects and money.

    Needhelp - You are so right there, and that occurs in so many other ways, I have built good credibility with my regular customers and suppliers, and am fair honest and trustworthy. Unfortunately some people can't be trusted to give the same back. I have seen this personally at work this week. :(
     
    Businessman likes this.
  6. MarkB

    MarkB Administrator Staff Member

    The longer I have worked for myself the more I learn to trust my gut instinct - its not always right but it is right a lot more than it is ever wrong :)
     
    Scott Kinnear likes this.