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Who would launch a new retail business - I am!

8th Aug 2023
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Is there an entrepreneurial spirit hidden inside every accountant? I think so. Looks like I am finally doing something about the one inside me.

I am one of those people who actively chose accounting even before starting work. Back in the last century I studied accounting at Liverpool university. This was inspired by my Saturday job working in a very traditional retailer - think Grace Brothers with lots of wooden display cabinets. I remember learning the till - and being a bit scared of it. I also remember, after working there for a while, being shown how to "cash up" - which involved special keys, and then long Z printouts from the receipts. The till roll was referred to as the "Journal" and this was my first experience of anything bookkeeping related.

So, my first experience of retail was at 16. At 22, after university, I worked in retail again - a few doors down. A slightly more aspirational shop - you had to use the term "store".

At university, I had no idea what a CIMA accountant was - we were being educated on the basis that we would waft into KMPG and the like - but, in the end that was the route I took.

I then spent around 20 years working in manufacturing, sometimes for larger companies, and also for owner managed ones. The owner managed ones were actually the ones I preferred, in the end. I now work in education - and it is a great job - long may this contine.

I have spent, probably, around 20 years as a user of this website. Many times wondering if I should become the archtypical "small practitioner". I added ATT as a qualification a few years back with this in mind.

The thing is, actually, what this website use has shown me is that you should stick to your strengths, rather than try and be what you are not. 

I currently have three commercial properties that I rent, which are doing OK. I know lots of people like residential buy to let, but, again that is something that doesn't appeal.

Now we come to the actual "business" part. My wife is a designer, and we are going to open an art gallery / venue. The remortgage on the house is going through as we speak.

Looks like I may have another Saturday retail job before too long..


Replies (4)

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Richard Hattersley
By Richard Hattersley
09th Aug 2023 11:06

Good luck Tom. Please let us know how it's coming along and any recommendations for art to hang in our rooms :-)

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Replying to Richard Hattersley:
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By tom123
09th Aug 2023 13:36

Funnily enough my wife is in Bristol later in August, looking for inspiration for new paintings..

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Tom Herbert
By Tom Herbert
09th Aug 2023 17:32

Congratulations Tom! Hope it goes really well. Will look forward to hearing about the venue's tech stack in due course :-D

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By Hugo Fair
20th Aug 2023 20:37

Only just stumbled across this, Tom (I haven't got the hang, after all these years, of navigating the site properly), but I'd be fascinated to hear more.

When you say "Now we come to the actual "business" part. My wife is a designer, and we are going to open an art gallery / venue" ... do you mean it will be a venue in which to display your wife's works?
Or a venue for hire by other artists and/or their agents? Or a venue where you can host works by artists that you represent? Or ...

There are lots of options/permutations ... many of which ultimately come down to whether you are predominantly renting space or selling artworks (and whether as agent or principal).

It's a fascinating sector where, as I'm sure you know, having (or quickly developing) a 'name' for a particular style or sector is the classic foundation from which to develop the business.

Good luck ... and tell us all more (the salutary as well as the celebratory) as you progress with it.

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