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Entrepreneurs Panel

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

Tightening the purse strings

Tony Caldeira

Set up St Helens-based home textile company Caldeira Limited in 1991 to supply cushions, pillows, throws, curtains and bedding to volume retailers worldwide. Caldeira opened a Chinese joint venture company in 2004 and completed its expansion into a 200,000 sq ft factory in the Hangzhou province in 2006. The firm has now moved its headquarters to Knowsley and, in 2007, opened its doors in the US with its first sales office in New York. The firm bought 14 Fabric Warehouse stores out of administration in 2008 to cement its expansion into retail to boost its manufacturing division.

Question: 

My co-director has been spending lavishly over the last couple of years and, while I know it’s none of my business how he spends his money, I don’t think the performance of our business justifies it. Should I be concerned?

Answer: 

Does your company have adequate financial controls in place? If the business is under control and it is his money he is spending, then clearly how he spends his own money is none of your business and you should back off.

However, if the finance function of the business is out-of-control and your co-director is siphoning cash away from an underperforming business, the results could be disastrous. If you suspect foul play you must check your financial systems and expense accounts immediately before it’s too late!

The key issue here is what your customers think. If they are unhappy and believe his lavish lifestyle is inappropriate and they are taking their business elsewhere as a result, you have a problem.

If this is the case you should discuss your concerns but if his lifestyle is not affecting the business performance then you need to get over it!

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