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Business Matters

Whitelees

Most of my inspiration for the blog comes from odd sources: my mtb-ing; what happens to me during the day that strikes me in a particular way; something I've read that I think has wider application. Today it was what I saw while I was passing at 70mph coming back from Kilmarnock.

 

Whitelees wind farm on the Eaglesham moor is enormous - I've never seen so

wind turbines

many wind turbines in one place - it is after all Europe's largest. The contrast was stark. Just about half a mile further on, a solitary "home-made" wind turbine in a farmyard stood in isolation.

It wasn't so much the contrast in numerical terms that was important. It was the speed of the rotors. The Whitelees turbines were turning slowly and steadily: the farmer's turning rapidly. The larger machines are of course larger and heavier and take more wind to make them work and that might explain the relative slowness of the Whitelees turbines.

However it made me think about two different aspects of business.

Working Capital and Marketing.

The working capital analogy is an easy one to assimilate. Working capital is about churning resources through the business and converting them to profit and cash. There's a more detailed explanation of this at www.ngmaccountants.com/advice/. The slowly turning turbines for me emphasised that consistency and steadiness are important in delivering a predictable outcome in business. Yes, it's great to get where you want to be fast and without delay but it can often give you a flimsy and shortlived success. Like the Tortoise and the Hare, sometimes "steady and slow" is the best way to go. Once you get the wheels of business turning - no matter how slowly - it is often much easier to keep them going down to just simple momentum, whereas short sharp bursts of energy can often make it harder to get started again once your energy (or cash) has run out.

Marketing is a much more difficult one to grasp. By focussing all of your resources into one marketing strategy e.g. advertising, is fine. You're advertising presence will be big and impressive but it will run out of steam eventually and you have no way of knowing whether advertising is the best strategy or channel for your business to use if you only ever use one kind of advertising. [I know that advertising is not the same as marketing and that marketing is a bigger thing]. This is just like Farmer Brown's wind turbine - home grown and turning rapidly while the wind blows. If it breaks down, Farmer Brown has no marketing. Whitelees represents a broader based strategy, lots of small bits of marketing in different areas focussing on different things. If one turbine (or marketing strategy) fails, there are loads of others to fall back on. Not dependent on just one solution.

No matter how small your business is, build a Whitelees wind farm representing steady and consistent cashflow and broad based marketing effort across a range of strategies.

Or would you rather continue a stop go existence like Farmer Brown?

JohnF

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