My good friend Guy Robertson saw his business go bust after 25 years in the saddle last week.
This happens a lot in this industry but usually the vanquished faces a barrage of abuse and leaves with bad feelings all round for suppliers and staff.
Typically the business owner is full of vitriol and blame. Not Guy. This is how he said his final hurrah and I think it deserves a wider audience so that people can see the dignity, decency and wit with which Guy made his final bow (for now)
Good luck in the future mate. You deserve it….
Warm felicitations from the West End of Glesga,
A sense of self-respect, vanishing pride or perhaps plain bloody ego moved me to drop a note to a few of the many friends I have made in the Scottish Ad Industry and some of the more recent acquaintances I’ve made throughout the UK via the IPA. Sadly it’s to report the demise of GRP, the advertising and design business I started back in 1986 (remember those hedonistic and heady email-free days of full commission, meaty mark-ups and boozy lunches?)and which my Partners and I ran pretty successfully for more than 23 out of the next 25 years.
The past year or so has been a very stressful time, both emotionally and financially, so in some ways it’s a relief now I’ve brought it to a head by making the decision to wind down the Partnership. I guess the cracks started at the beginning of the global recession in December 2008 when we lost the Toyota Dealer Advertising business, an account that contributed more than 60% of our income at that point. We made the mistake, easily identified in hindsight if not at the time, of not cutting costs deeply or quickly enough and allowed our hearts to rule our heads when it came to reducing staff numbers. As everyone knows the general business climate continued to decline and despite GRP’s successful transition to Digital, which included winning accounts such as Highland Spring, we couldn’t achieve the profit levels needed to exceed our overheads, tied as we are to the building we bought back in 2005 and which is now too big and too expensive.
With the Bank seeking to down-value the building to the point at which our £450k equity had all but disappeared we took the decision to enter a Trust Deed before we reached the point at which a third party may have sought to sequestrate us.
As a Partnership my 2 Partners and I have unlimited liability (probably our other significant error!) so it has been important to manage the wind-up in a professional, honest and transparent manner and to minimise the effect on staff, suppliers and clients.
This process is happening as I write and I remain hopeful that the majority of the debt can be repaid without recourse to what’s left of my personal assets!! The building will have to be sold and given the commercial property market right now I’m not betting on a surplus after RBS get their claws into it! Meantime I have formed a new company in the name of Guy Robertson Advertising Ltd and happily I’m starting with the support of many of my clients at GRP. So thanks for reading my rambles and apologies if it comes across as somewhat self-indulgent, I guess that’s because it is!