Have the true entrepreneurs gone? Have we forgot how to make money? Are we scared to put prices up for risk of losing business?

Everywhere I go companies tell me they’re very busy with limited machine capacity or resources to cope with requirements. It’s the same at Negri Bossi where again we’ve had an excellent year with sales ahead of budget.

So on that basis we must all be making loads of money?

In my experience this is not the case – so why not?

Surely if we’re stacked out we should be turning away unprofitable or low profitable work. But we don’t!

I recall a lesson I learnt in the 90’s when, as a machinery salesman, I made my usual visit to see a good customer and on asking him if he was in the market for new machines, he said “not at this time as I’m in the process of telling a customer we no longer want their moulding work”. It filled four of his machines! A little flustered (thinking about my sales budget) I asked him if it wasn’t profitable work. He said on paper it was, but he had determined that the percentage of hassle and resources this customer took up was detrimental to him servicing his other customers. So, after months of trying to resolve it he had made a decision for them to part company.

I left the company, making the required adjustments to my sales budget. Not more than three months later he gave me a call asking me to quote him for two more machines. I asked the obvious question and he told me the improved attention they were able to give their existing customers and prospects had resulted in him winning more work, replacing not only the work on four machines but the requirement of two more.

Is this something for us all to think about or have we lost our entrepreneurial qualities that brought many of us into business in the first place?