My first start in business
Growing up and learning about business by watching people I knew.
My Mother and Father have always been completely involved in sales and business, I grew up around it. It’s in my genes. I would always be asking questions and trying out different stuff.
– Purchased sweets re-sold them on for hundreds of pounds profit whilst at school to take customers away from the Tuc shop.
– Purchased elastic bands and re-sold them on for hundreds of pounds profit whilst at school. – Example: would resell for £1 each. Elastic band would cost £1 for 100.
– Acquired Birmingham City magazines from staff in stadium and sold them to drunk people in the backstreet alley pubs in Birmingham near the stadium making hundreds again every weekend.
– Followed my Father around buying and selling cars. Learning all the tricks of the trade and how to buy things at the right price and get a great deal. Making the seller think something is worth less than it really is. Also learnt how to sell things at the right price and how to get customers to trust you.
Hindrances / Actions
– Kids asked why they should buy from me instead of the tuc-shop. I said it would save them having to queue up for ages. And I had a better price point due to bulk buying. Also they would guarantee they get what they want, due to ordering before. The shop had a chance of running out of stock, and had limited options.
– BCFC fans asked if I was allowed to sell them. I then got permission and could acquire the magazines for free by the sackful. It was insane. The magazines were going to be thrown away if not sold anyway. Win-win for everyone. I got official permission. Also the other magazine sellers were in the same class of Big Issue sellers. I actually brought sales techniques and charm to the table. The locals loved it and they were getting a magazine they wanted. It was a talking point for them in the pubs too.
– I learnt the most important part of doing a deal in car sales (and then other industries) is the buying. Buying something at the right price is where all the hard work is and is where all the money is made. The sale is just taking advantage of that.
Some car customers would try to act poor, or try to whittle the price down. I learnt that not being afraid to say no, or looking desperate makes them want it more. Customers often come back around if you maintain the power. Also time is more valuable than working for nothing. You can be a busy fool.
– I asked customers for their feedback, then made changes to all car adverts. I also priced up cars for adverts. This felt natural to me, even at 10 years old. Sometimes the cars would need to be fixed or cleaned. So I would need to speak to the customers whilst my Father was working on the car and he couldn’t get to the phone. Ensuring they knew everything was being taken care of. I would also clean and help tow the vehicles.
Sweets & elastic bands: Made hundreds at first and middle school.
BCFC Magazines: Made hundreds again at middle school age.
Cars: Helped to improve sales a lot. I got my Father to order the blackbook so we could price every car fairly. I’d say I changed it going from 1-2, to maybe 3 or 4 cars per week sold consistently. I would also give motivation to my Father and get him to do things much quicker.
It was interesting to learn about why people ended up where they were, what persistence, determination and a little bit of skill gets you. Rather than those who settle for being average and thus, stay in their dead end jobs forever.
I also learnt that instead of talking about doing something, just bloody do it. A lot of people have dreams but never make them happen. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. My Father showed me that he actually took action. That’s why I am the same now. Action is what counts.
I was also able to listen to how my Mother and Father used the phone, talking to people. And copy them with people in the real world, to try and sell things. Either to other kids, people in pubs, or car buyers. I had to answer the house phone, instead of just saying to the customer my Father is away, call back. It was also fun.