Saturday afternoon inspiration
I was doing a bit of thinking today about defining Fubra's goals and my own for the next few years and I have stumbled across someone who is quite inspiring his name is Sir Ray Tindle and he actually lives near me in Farnham, perhaps I'll get to meet him one day.
I was curious about him and so I checked out his accounts and indeed he has built a pretty amazing business since the second world war which now has nearly 60m in assets no debt and is consistently throwing off over 5m a year in profits.
The most inspiring thing about him is that he has does all this by running lots of newspapers I've never heard of, local ones that I didn't think could be hugely successful especially given the recent performance of many of the larger companies in that space. Sir Ray has had a single minded focused approach to his business. He understands local newspapers are about local issues and never tries to grow them beyond the locality they serve.
There are a number of lessons I have learnt from reading about Sir Ray Tindle and the first one is quite important. It's a lesson I thought I knew a lot about and that is that with hard work and focus you can achieve anything given time. Over the past few years my focus has waned and I haven't been happy with what we have achieved at Fubra. I put a lot of this down to seeing and getting carried into the excesses from a period of unsustainable borrowing which caused me to focus externally and procrastinate for a period of perhaps two years or so, short termism set-in and I became envious or angry at the perceived wealth of those who appeared to take a short view and keep winning.
Al Ries is a person I think is smart and he has a video about all about focus.
I always recommend it to people but it hasn't been until I read about Sir Ray Tindle today that I really started to believe what I was saying to others properly. I used to think Fubra was unfocused because we have lots of web sites, have built loads of tools but we are not in truth I think Paul and I know very well what our focus is. I am not as sure we have communicated that very well to others around us including our staff, our customers and our visitors.
I've decided I really want to start doing a better job at communication so I will be starting today defining a clear road map for what we will achieve as a minimum in the next 5 years. In truth I will be happy anyway if I can continue to experience the determination and enjoyment it's clear Sir Ray still gets from sitting at the helm of one of the most interesting businesses I have come across in a long time.
Which leads me to the most important thing I learnt from reading about Sir Ray Tindle - make haste slowly.