I had a sudden brain wave over the weekend, I know who would have thought it? My mission for the last two long years has been to resolve the outcome from my accident and reposition myself to hit the market again and restart life. I know that there are more hurdles on the way but remain resolute, I just have to keep knocking them down until I get the keys to my pub after all life is just a game isn’t it.
Not being directly in the market does not mean that I don’t keep a watching brief, I have tried to keep my nose out as it where but it has proven far too difficult. So I am aware of sales and movements in the one market that is critical to me but also those in other markets that provide indicators, trends and benchmarks. One constant fear has been the gem, the risk of watching the one offer that is too good to pass up slip out of the market. The licensed trade is a complicated beast burdened by more pessimists than would seem fair so it is not as simple as opportunities being sold, the real concern is opportunities being sold at viable rates. Where venues are taken off the market at untenable or naive prices I consider this to be nothing more than a change of caretaker, so far my opinion has been proven to be right. But what about that little slice of perfect, sold at a realistic price and potentially out of reach for a generation?
There was always a back up of ‘buy and board’ but this presents significant commercial hurdles and as such can only be applied to real bargains. But I have now seen another option, perhaps encouraged by some progress in my return to the market, locum management. Don’t misunderstand me, I do not consider this a viable way to operate a commercial enterprise, but to preserve an opportunity I think that it has legs. There is nothing more soul destroying than working to fund an empty pub, I remember running between meetings and calling Shorty to hear “nobody has been in boss” and still wince at the thought. But like so much in life it is a matter of perspective, I funded the Ship because I believed it could wash its own face and, bless the old girl, she proved me right.
This option has reinvigorated my view of the world and restored my passion, there is a new business plan that enables a holding period if needed. There are three venues that are on the current list and their numbers are all being revisited, not as decision makers in themselves but as gates to see whether decisions should be brought forward. Once again I find that I am astounded by the passion that the subject stirs in me, I keep waking up surrounded by piles of floor plan sketches and scribbled notes on operating costs. The new option is not preferred and it certainly doesn’t lend itself to every option but it does provide a grappling hook to snag the one that is getting away and that is more than I have had for some time.