2009 was a terrible and painful year personally and in business for me…
Emma (my beautiful wife) and I were in the middle of converting a barn (too much watching that bloody McCloud character on Grand Designs!).
Selling the house and moving the family (3 kids) into a rented farmhouse meant the cash from the house sale would build this derelict barn.
The plan: once the house profits went into the build then the barn would be worth enough to be able to release some equity to get it finished.
Only, it didn’t work out like that…
The lending man came round after our savings had been ploughed in, but he thought our barn was now worth less than it was before it was started!
What was a building site worth at the height of the credit crunch? Err, not much it turned out.
If we could just get the barn liveable we could move in and save the rent we were paying but we couldn’t get a bigger loan. Paying a rent and a mortgage each month took us further and further away from having the money to finish the barn and bring down our outgoings.
Talking cash flow, at the same time, this business was nearly destroyed as every banking, estate agency and national client either froze hiring or at least stopped using external suppliers.
This firm had just moved into brand new offices which were now in negative equity and the business went from 10 staff down to 2 of the old guard within months.
I remember sitting in the freshly painted office, looking round at all the brand new desks and computers.
Right there and then I broke down and had my very own private pity party.
On a personal level 2009 killed my ego, gave me a deep faith and that barn is now our family home.
On a business level, I can share with you that it’s only when your back is against the wall that you are able to reach inside and pull out the creative talent that is within you.
I know this because the recession created the Retiring IFA business which became an engine for growth for the next 5 years and the same disruptive social and website model is behind Retiring Accountant.
Out of the destruction, comes creativity and something special, that’s why I hate the lobbying and unfair regulations that stop this process in professional services.
If you haven’t heard, it was the north wind that made the Vikings.