How time flies! A year ago it was....maybe? Six months ago it was...... yes, it's going to start! Now we are here (John Woolley Limited, that is!) six months on, and now it is.... onward and upward into 2017!
It has been quite an experience so far: establishing a business from scratch; sourcing the IT and all of the office equipment; organising the bank accounts; providing for the clients and completing their work; spreading the word, and settling into positive relationships with clients and professional colleagues.
What does it take?
1. A great team. I have been so lucky with Karen and Charlotte. Not only able and willing but so supportive. Their belief in the ambition is key and hopefully each of us supports the others when needed. Team spirit is fantastic.
2. Supportive clients. You must have wondered what was going on and what to expect. But you have kept faith with us, given us a chance and helped us find our feet. The aim was to look after you. In return, you have looked after us.
3. Cash flow I can see how any new business takes time to establish. If overheads are high while income builds, then financial pressures can weigh down a fledgling enterprise. Young businesses need time to get going. Some are able to call on private resources; those that cannot, especially if facing high rents, rates or salary costs, will need a longer run-in period.
4. Energy, enthusiasm and the spirit of enterprise
With any new business all these things are 'put on the line'. But with confidence and goodwill, the risks and setbacks can be overcome.
Our work, so far, has been as varied as we could have hoped - at times more specific than before, yet also offering the same familiar range of work as has occupied and sustained me to date:
Management - of estates and smaller parcels of land. Private clients need help running their properties, arranging the forms of tenancy or licence, collecting rents, organising maintenance, planning for the future and securing their own income.
Valuations - these are for tax and private purposes rather than for bank lending these days but there can be a multitude of reasons.
Planning - so much is changing with planning at the moment and there are real prospects of permissions for new building or change of use whether rural or in the towns. There may still be inconsistent reactions from the planners but there is much more activity than in the last five years and by working with these public servants, there is a real opportunity to deliver results to be proud of.
Compensation - more often from public authorities: water, electricity, mobile phone companies, but there can also be a need to negotiate a financial settlement arising from a dispute, plus requests for mediation between parties to enable them to 'move on' when all is done and dusted.
Agency - The immediate effect of the Brexit vote in June has passed, and the market has returned to a degree of normal activity. With other world events and political elections, there remains a degree of uncertainty, but business continues and opportunities come forward. Property has to change hands, and sales and purchases continue. Negotiations and transactions often come down to their own individual merits, but the principle of 'a willing buyer and a willing seller' will always encourage a positive outcome.
The future will decide what we have achieved. At this point it has certainly been busy and productive, especially in the terms of what clients want, need and expect. Thank you for your interest and support. It is a real tonic to believe and feel that by enthusiasm, goodwill, ability and trust we can continue to deliver the results that clients value and appreciate. We look forward to the next phase.