James’s story is a lesson in loyalty and trust – or lack off. I had the great pleasure of working alongside him for many years. He was a fantastic character, with a loud booming voice and wonderful attitude towards life.
Leaving school early with very little qualifications, James embarked on a career in accountancy. It wasn’t long before he realised that a future sitting behind a desk was not for him. After reading an article in the newspaper about import/export, he decided to start his own business importing items from abroad and selling them to businesses in his local area. It was a good move and soon business was booming. He expanded his organisation to cover all the United Kingdom and was soon recognised as a leading supplier of these goods. He built his reputation on quality, trust and fair pricing.., and was highly respected for it.
James had a daring attitude towards business risk and was always on the lookout for new opportunities to grow, both financially and personally. One day a major player in his industry approached him with an offer to buy his company. After agreeing that his staff would remain place and working conditions would be maintained, James agreed. Weeks later he cashed in a cheque for over £20 million pounds!
Everything changed however when his next investment went wrong. For reason only known to himself, he invested the majority of his fortune into a new business… unfortunately things went wrong and he lost the lot. He ended up bankrupt. To try and retain his family home he contacted friends and former business colleagues – nobody would assist. They were all too busy or too afraid to lend some money or time to help out an old friend in need. As the banks closed in and his belongings were reclaimed, he sunk into a deep depression. His life, his family and his reputation were in tatters. There are appeared to no loyalty from his former friends.
One very cold dark day he contemplated suicide. It took all his family’s strength to bring him back from the edge.
James spent the next few months attending counselors, psychologists and medical experts. It was a long road, but he eventually re-discovered his spark again – then set about rebuilding his name, reputation and business empire. Last time we met, he had started five new companies – each of which were highly profitable – and staffed by highly motivated people.
When asked what he would do differently this time, he said… “My attitude to risk has changed. I will never risk my family’s happiness ever again. I had plenty of money to live a fantastic life, but I got greedy and blew it all. From now on I will keep a rainy day fund in the bank, because you never know what tomorrow may bring.” He also added, “I still have faith in people even though some of those people didn’t have faith in me, but life is too short to dwell on the past. Learn from them, grow stronger from them. There are opportunities available in all areas of life to anyone who opens their mind to them.”