Last year, we spent a blissful two weeks in the United Kingdom with friends. We were actually working, but the ‘blissful’ part was that the day we left home, it was 43 degrees. In Kent, it was a beautiful 10 degrees.
We were there just before Valentine’s Day …and an encounter we had with a Small Business owner provided the perfect prompt for a post about love.
THE REPAIR SHOP’S BUSINESS OWNER TREVOR WAS TRULY IN LOVE – BUT WITH HIS BUSINESS.
I’m sure he is in love with his wife as well, but we didn’t discuss that! He talked about cars, cars, cars…
His particular love is cars, but a very particular type of car. His business is restoring Triumph Stag sports cars. If like me, you don’t speak ‘car’, this is what they look like:
People send them to him from all over the world to be restored to mint condition (or better). Apparently, they were not a particularly reliable car – Trevor told us that – but like all of us, we sometimes love things that aren’t perfect.
VALENTINE’S DAY IS THE DAY THAT WE OVERLOOK THOSE IMPERFECTIONS!
There were five of these cars undergoing the restoration process at the time of our visit. Trevor told us all, and I mean all, about each of them. They are all treated as individuals with their own personality.
He also regaled us at length about his own Triumph Stag. I wasn’t glued to the conversation, but my husband Ian (the one in the red jacket in the photo) and our friend Thomas, who do talk ‘car’, were clearly tuned in.
MY INTEREST IN THE CONVERSATION WAS HIS RELATIONSHIP TO HIS BUSINESS.
Trevor has managed to carve out a very successful business for himself in his micro-niche of restoring Triumph Stags.
His enthusiasm, and indeed love, for what he does was palpable and infectious.
This guy is living the dream, up to his elbows in grease and paint and whatever else it takes to restore an old car. He knows everything there is to know about this model, and clearly, his clients recognise this. He has an order book that will keep him busy for the next two years at least.
He does not give his customers a due date for the return of their prized cars either, “It will be ready when it’s ready” he tells them. Presumably, he doesn’t give them a price quote either, as he doesn’t know what he will find when the car arrives in his workshop. His clients are willing to entrust their precious cars to Trevor, on an indefinite timeline, and with no idea what it will cost.
We are all told, “Do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” or to “Follow your passion”.
Trevor is the living, breathing evidence that it really works. If you have the depth of knowledge, and love for your craft, a profitable business happens.
So in the midst of a dark, cold winter’s evening in Kent, I got a lesson in running a Small Business from a man who truly loves his. I hope I have the opportunity to visit Trevor again, to interview him about his business journey.