Skip to content

Entrepreneurs Panel

Steve Purdham
Brian Hay
Laura Tenison
Jeremy Roberts
Julie Meyer
David Pollock
Richard O'Sullivan
Jennie Johnson
Charlie Mullins
Debbie Pierce
Tony Caldeira
Michael Oliver

Cutting off my nose?

Brian Hay

Co-founded freight forwarding company Cardinal Maritime in 1998 using a £5,000 loan. The firm has offices in South Africa, Ireland and Holland, as well as its headquarters in Eccles and aims to open six more in Europe by 2012. It made a profit before interest and tax of over £1 million on a turnover of £38 million to March 2009.

Question: 

One of my biggest customers (about 10 per cent of last year’s business) has just undergone a pre-pack administration, leaving my courier firm out of pocket to the tune of five months’ invoices. Would refusing to work with them again just be cutting off my nose to spite my face? I’m really p*ssed off but I’m not sure I can afford to be proud.

Answer: 

Given the current economic climate, it is a dangerous game allowing any unsecured creditor the luxury of five months’ credit.

All clients, especially those representing such a significant volume of business activity, need to be carefully monitored. There are many reliable agencies that can provide accurate and useful financial information which can help you make informed decisions about the levels of exposure you feel comfortable with.

However, our own experience suggests that keeping close to your clients and taking the time to understand their business model, viability and strategy moving forward is the safest way to protect against unnecessary risk.

It is possible that your point of contact within the business was unaware of the critical nature of the business so be careful about taking the hit personally.

You are now dealing with a completely new business, pre-packed, cleaned-up and hopefully now fit for purpose. There will be a queue of other suppliers happy to take on their business. If you have the chance, take it on and learn well from your experience.

  • Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded, started with little more than faith and determination, but four years later it’s grown into a global business. Ahead of her appearance at Accelerate 2015 in...

  • Author, writer and marketer Ryan Holiday on how entrepreneurs need to interpret failure.

  • Sue Vizard, business coach and author of Jump Start: The Start-up Book for Your Dream Business, looks at some of the questions solo entrepreneurs should ask themselves.

  • Ian Wright, founder and chief executive of NonExecutiveDirectors.com, is bringing together SMEs and NEDs - without the hefty recruitment fees.

  • Former professional golfer turned entrepreneur Colin Stevens has had a busy 18 months. The Better Bathrooms founder has increased turnover at the firm, secured a multi-million pound investment and...

Five Minutes With

Reputation is everything when it comes to running a successful business, according to Sacha Lord-Marchionne and Sam Kandel, founders of the Warehouse Project (WHP), a series of club nights featuring DJs from all over the world, which was launched back in 2006.

After travelling the world in a corporate role, Mike Wheeler decided that he had had enough of living out of a suitcase and so got a job running a small family business.