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Edition 426 – PLANTING SEEDS

The landlord is playing hard-ball on a lease renewal. They want a substantial increase in the rent the business is paying, as well as a contribution to capital improvements to the property. The landlord’s agent, acting as their proxy, is doing the negotiations, if that’s what you call them, and is happy to play “bad cop”.

Playing “bad cop” means not responding to reasonable requests for information, in support of the new figures. Explanations are not forthcoming and there’s a sense of “take it or leave it” in the agent’s approach. The disrespectful nature of their stance puts the business owners offside.

Treating the business owners like young punks at their first gig, might be the way this agent conducts business for and on behalf of its clients. However, it’s a mis-step on a number of fronts. It sets the wheels in motion for the business owners to undertake some research into what others are paying in their vicinity, which exposes an uncomfortable gulf between their place, and alternate locations.

Eventually, after some to-and-fro, and the diplomacy of the business owners in approaching the landlord directly, an agreement is reached. The landlord hasn’t quite achieved what they wanted. The business owner is still paying “overs”, however they’re of the opinion that the new number is more realistic than the first offer. The paperwork is signed and there is now certainty around where the business is located for the next few years. A handshake may have taken place, but there’s bruises from the process that don’t easily fade.

Seeds have now been planted. Not by the business owner, but by the agent and the disrespectful nature of their dealings with their landlord’s tenant. What once was never a consideration, being the purchase of their own premises, is now well and truly on the cards. There’s now five years to water and fertilise those seeds to see whether, in a few year’s time, there might be a harvest of a different kind.

In business, we’re presented with challenges and opportunities, daily. Some are a positive focus, picturing the ideal future for the business and the family that owns it. Others start out as a negative focus, as a result of having to adopt a defensive stance on an issue or, as in this case, the simple case of dealing with people that you’d rather not deal with.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years. We’ve already set a timeline, working back from five years hence, to determine when things need to happen and decide whether it’s a thought bubble that goes nowhere, or something more serious, that creates a very different future for these business owners and their family.

This Week’s Tip

“Just to think, this all started as a result of a simple lack of respect and courtesy,
in a relationship that should otherwise be so.”