Oliver: Welcome to the business secret podcast I am here with Stan Devonish of Divine Merchandising. As a bit of background, Divine Merchandising was founded in 2003 by Stan and his wife Roshan, beginning with bepoke personalised wine they quickly moved into engraving crystal and glass work resulting in clients such as the Celtic Manor and the rider cup event. In 2007, Divine expanded again picking up clients such as Admiral, GoCompare and the Welsh assembly. Stan and Roshan currently provide over 250,000 promotion items and continue to build Divine as they have done for the last 15 years, Welcome Stan.
Stan: Hi Olly good to be here.
Oliver: We sound brilliant don’t we?
Stan: We do!
Oliver: We sound marvellous on here! So just as a quick question then, or the starting question – tell us a little bit about you business and journey to this point.
Stan: Okay back in 2003, Roshan and I started Divine Wines we basically had wine champagnes and we personalised the labels for businesses. We did a lot of marketing around that and our very first client was Lloyds Bank, I won’t mention the name but it was… odd because he insisted on design and the label himself and it was like a 12 year old with a crayon and he just scratched his design on and my kids could’ve done better for about five years he used the same label 20 cases of really nice wine with this kiddies label on and that’s where we kicked off, once you got Lloyds Bank as a client we soon picked up ACCA, Wales, Mitsubishi, we sold to Lords Cricket ground and we tried to aim at substantial companies who know what they want and we can deliver that rather than chasing lots and lots of little clients. So we did that for a few years, we then employed an engraver believe it or not who had contact into the Celtic Manor, Lords Cricket Ground and things like that, so we employed him. We kept him for a good few years but people kept on asking us do we do the pens and at the time it was’ no we don’t do pens we don’t do badges’, But people just kept on asking us. So we then went into the general merchandising as everybody would know it and that worked really well for us, so it took off and for a good few years it built up and now it’s much bigger than the wine side. So we do a bit of both with those.
Oliver: Okay very good, and you touched on dealing with substantial clients well sort of big corporate clients, you know here that Penguin were very keen on marketing strategies. I know that you are big marketing person, you know, do you have a best marketing approach that’s worked for you know particularly to get into those big corporate clients?
Stan: I do it’s networking simple as that whether it is formal networking, informal networking, drinking in the same pub with the right people, networking lets you find the people build relationships. I am a huge believer that people buy from people. So if they like you get on you share the same thoughts but much likely more likely to be gravitating towards each other, that way you can also give people a better service. We made a conscious decision, we can go online we spent money advertising online or we can network and meet people when we spend money on online it works but we get lots and lots of biddy orders and people just want to knock you down on price they don’t value service they want a product at a set price simple as that. Once you start meeting people larger companies they know what they want they want to know that you can deliver what they want not just say this is what we do take it or leave it. So we would go into companies see their existing marketing plan, I have got a marketing degree myself. So I know how the market in process works and we fit into what they need rather than say we can sell ABCD, they say this is our strategy these are the people we want to attack or approach… Roshan doesn’t like the word attack I like it. So these are the people we approach and then we fill in with our knowledge and our service and our products into their strategy rather than the other way round. So networking works really really well.
Oliver: Okay and so do you strategically go out to events to network or you know through somebodies networking groups or is it more informal than that?
Stan: Having said networking is brilliant, I stopped a lot of networking. Believe it or not in my younger days I looked to Andy Garcia with all the networking that I have done.
Oliver: That must have been long time ago Stan?
Stan: Not that long ago few years… but I was networking I would go to the opening of an envelope. I would network in the mornings have a full breakfast, do a 2 course lunch then go to a evening network have a three course dinner, go to the rugby, play golf eating and drinking. I put on two and a half stone I ended up looking like a fat Elvis without the cape. I also developed a few health issues from all the eating and drinking. So I am going to say due to health reasons, I have stopped a lot of networking and I am not one of this people who can go to a dinner network and not eat and not have a few drinks so, I have had a cut back a lot which is one of the reasons we got into the property side of things.
Oliver: Okay, maybe we will come on to that as well. So I know, I did know from our relationship that you do have you are quite keen on marketing sorry particularly networking. So when you are networking perhaps not so much in these sort of structured formats but you are meeting people you are trying to develop a good sort of relationship do you have a philosophy on what’s important about that, in terms of how to create a sort of a genuine authentic good business relationship with somebody?
Stan: Put the business aside. I see so many people go to networking thrust a card in your hands when the first five minutes of any conversation telling you what they do and people just battle into be the first or be the loudest. Talk to people as people get to know them, have a laugh, find out what their interest are, what they like doing, what you like doing, find some common ground Golf, Rugby anything you like but generally networking there is a lot of eating and drinking. I did BNI for a good few years and I sat there… There’s a story about that if you got time?
Oliver: I was hoping you would bring that…
Stan: I was approached by a Clive Thomas the managing partner of Watkins and Gunn, I was networking I heard about BNI and I thought it was the devils tool, people forced you to do referrals every week you have to get business, you have to do this I avoided it like the plague and Clive approached me one day and said I am having a bit of a golf day do you wanna come? So I went on the golf day had a really good time met some really nice people and at the end of it he said we do quite a bit of merchandising Stan, you join BNI and I will give you it. So I signed up the BNI and to this day this is 12 years now he gives us his … we look after all his merchandise and requirements for him but I signed in BNI for the first six months arms folded, not saying a word thinking I’ve stitched up there one order is not worth sitting here for next six months and I did I sat there I didn’t really engage, I didn’t really get to know the people. You got to remember this is 6:30 in the morning. I am not a morning person, I sat there for six months and somebody organised a night out in Cardiff Bay business was put aside we would just boys and girls going out down the Bay to have a bit of a laugh and we did we had a great laugh and it was at that point it switched on, networking isn’t about business the business will come from meeting people doing things with them enjoying each other’s company and just becoming friends. From BNI I have got some my best friends who I met there, I don’t do BNI anymore but I am still in regular contact play golf still do business for them and with them and its as long as you understand its people it’s not a process it’s a people business, you’ll get on well with networking but I would say pick the right network. There is no point going to a network on fashion if you are an IFA if you are not getting the right sort of clientele that you want if you are looking for lots of start-ups go to the smaller ones. If you are looking for a bigger more established clients go to the IOD / CBI chamber of commerce so pick your networks carefully because you can spend a lot of time chasing your tail.
Oliver: So be specific about who you want to meet what meetings you want – Okay good and also we didn’t mention the introduction perhaps not about time to bring it in. You’ve also started up a new venture which is in property, which you mentioned and do you want tell us a little bit about that and how that’s been for you?
Stan: Property is fantastic I love it very little work good revenue, good passive streams of income coming in and again a lot of the start-up that was the hardest bit we remortgaged the house to start this project. So there was a lot of pressure on… we had got two kids I got a wife and I have got two young kids and re-mortgaging your homes a big step. So you gotta be quite confident and sure do your homework and again at the beginning of it Penguin and specifically you Olly lot of helpers lot of paper works lot of financial.
Oliver: Can I just interrupt to say this Stan has been paid to say anything you know…
Stan: Oh yes I have! no, no, no I have found your help in your approach is not a typical IFA approach but I will talk about that later, but the property is been fantastic it something I can do my dad did this in London in the 80s and then he would be moved to New Zealand, 30 odd years ago and started up again. So the financial side the paper work side great help with from yourself lot of other people and then I took my father’s advice which was where to do it how to do it and it seems to have worked. I seemed to have a natural bent for it. We did a lot of research where to do it when to do it Cardiff, in the Valleys. We picked Newport in the end there was a lot of, when we were doing it, lot of redevelopment going on in Newport. We heard that the Celtic Manor were build on the largest conference centre in Europe the Friers Walk was being built, there were bringing down the tolls in the couple of years’ time, going back a few years now. We saw a lot of a expansion going on in Newport. So we picked Newport and we mainly stuck to Newport and I love to say it we were right it was a good place to pick it and it’s a good time to do it.
Oliver: Very good, actually one of the question I want to say was which you may have just said or make a comment when we were in discussions three or four years ago the thing that I noticed and that the thing that interest me about your journey into property is that it wasn’t something you had to do you if I could say that you perhaps were sort of treading more little bit perhaps not having enough challenge in your life it was my observation and you didn’t actually need necessarily, although I know there was some financial things that perhaps made you motivated, but you didn’t necessarily need to get into property. But what I noticed to degrees that even though you created put a lot more perhaps stress in your life for a period of time it actually made you come alive a little bit and gave you something really get your teeth into and I think you just gave yourself a challenge and I think you looked as an observer you looked like you really enjoyed that is that fair?
Stan: That’s a very fair comment if you remember at the time Olly we were going to do one as a hobby give me something to do…
Oliver: I was going to say bored
Stan: I wasn’t bored! just not challenged and I am not a natural salesman. So although, I do the sales for Divine I see myself as an information giver that way a salesman would give you the information and walk away with an order. I would give the information say have a nice day see you next month. So it’s not my natural playground, but with the properties say my dad it for a long time so I knew a little bit about it I felt confident doing it and I enjoy it but it started off as a hobby give me something to do and a little money on the side (don’t tell Roshan where I put it) and I could have a little nest egg for myself, but that the first one went very well, we put the girls into Howells which is a private school and all of a sudden our hobby four and a half years later, our hobby pays for their schooling without us lifting a finger. So it’s not only something I enjoy to something that challenges me there is a function and a purpose to it. I like hobbies I like task where there is a function and a purpose and that fits the bill.
Oliver: Its worth saying, I think, that most of us don’t necessarily start a business venture with a specific goal but you actually did with that, you did start very early on saying actually I want… this is the purpose of this is to meet this expense was and that kept you very focused all the way through?
Stan: There was a definitely a purpose, can I also say I know you get round to this later but one of the things when you are starting a venture or running a business listen to yourself believe in your self a lot of naysayers out there, lot of people when I said we were gonna do these properties we gonna get ten in four in a bit years they laughed at us all, no you can’t do that ridiculous and I am seeing them now these are friends and acquaintances as well and they all say ‘can’t believe you did it well done’. But if I listened and had the little chips taken of me taken the shine of what I wanted to do didn’t had the self-belief probably wouldn’t be here now so whatever you do don’t listen to people if you got faith if you can believe it and you have done a bit of planning and strategising you can achieve it.
Oliver: Very wise words that’s good to so probably links into this one of the questions, I have for you is what’s your biggest business risk you have taken and you know were there any lessons that you learnt from it?
Stan: You will like this… networking! There’s a theme! No, networking is really really good and positive but if you don’t manage it you can spend all your time networking chasing circles if you are not in the right, as I like to call it, if not in the right pool you are chasing the wrong type of people you are mixing with the wrong type of people and from my case its really did effect my health I was begin fat little Elvis without the cape and…
Oliver: that’s an image.
Stan: Thank you very much.
Oliver: That won’t be edited that’s too good!
Stan: No, but it’s I have got cholesterol, I have got a few other issues and I have had to become boring and not drink and not eat cheese, and not eat chocolate, and not eat crisps and if you know me they are all my favourite things. So I have had to restructure my lifestyle a bit which meant I need to cut out networking. So you need to be a little bit careful because you can especially with something like BNI get sucked into it where you start doing a lot of the admin and you just chasing orders for other people and not working on your business. But the people who make things like BNI and networking really work they pace themselves where I go bull in the china shop I am all at it for few years and then a bit burnt out with it, they just take it nice and calm. So networking is double edged sword if you manage it right it works really well if you overdo it or do it badly it will suck up all your cash it will suck up all your time and you won’t get the result you need so be careful.
Oliver: Would you… I was going to ask you about what you might consider your greatest failure? because we all know in the business that’s all the great entrepreneurs all the great businessman have had many failures but have learnt from that you able to highlight a failure that is such or something that or a misjudgement or failure that you have learnt from?
Stan: I have too many to mention… but one I would say is and we touched on this when I put my mind to something I go at it like a bull in the china shop. I am all out every minute of the day my thoughts are obsessed by it and I expect people to feel the same. They just don’t. So it’s taken me decades to realise people don’t operate the same as I do whether it’s me, you or somebody. We have got a strategy, we have got a vision, we got a method of doing it and expecting everybody in your wake to feel the same to do the same isn’t right. So one of the things I have learnt is that you got to understand people, you have got to understand their motivators, you got to understand what they want, what they want to achieve and then let them do it not force them to do it your pace your way. So I would say that’s a not understanding people well enough the failing and what I have learnt from it is put their requirements high up on the list of what you need to do within your framework of success, and give them bit of autonomy let them do it let them do it the way they want let them feel happy and motivated and they will do a better job.
Oliver: Okay, that’s very interesting you mentioned… you are sort of one track minded once you get something you want to do in your head whether it is business venture and you know it’s all consuming for you chapter five of the business secret book talks quite a lot about work/life balance which is perhaps an interesting question to be asking you by someone you just said how do you manage your time currently or have you managed your time in how is your work life balance Stan?
Stan: I go from one extreme to the other, when we start to Divine Wines we were working 15 hour days, Saturdays and Sundays and it was all consuming for me. I think Roshan’s, whose got a PHD in Ornithology, She is a qualified ACCA accountant, she is got thinks she likes doing and I forced the pace for Divine on her, we lost touch, we had some really good friends we lost touch with them for about five years because all I did was Divine I don’t recommend it. I recommend good work life balance is essential having realised we were working too hard and too fast I went the other way, when you found me not doing anything in particular just going through treading a bit of water. I had cut back on everything and as you say I was a little bit bored which is why we got into the property. So as you say I went from too much to too little at the moment we are readjusting Divine Wines, Divine Merchandise and the property company. So we can spread it out a little bit and we can have a little bit more of a work life balance but that is we started in 2003. So it has taken me literally until this year to figure that out right don’t start that way you will end up with cholesterol, weak hearts and you will die young. So relax enjoy the journey and it is not all about success in the way you got in your mind take an extra year get there move in that direction but just don’t go hell bent on it.
Oliver: Patience then it sounds like what I’m hearing
Stan: I couldn’t even spell the word patience!, but I am learning it, so it is something and I think is well with patience you distress, the people around you distress everybody, it’s a positive spiral, you just go up and up and up where you bring people with you at a slower pace might not be your pace but you got to understand you don’t do this by yourself you got to bring everybody with you so I have learnt it. I am trying to implement it which is one of the great things about the property. Once we set them up we either rent them or flip them out with rentals we get a nice steady income throughout the year nice passive income so we don’t have to do a huge amount of work, although I am registered with the organization to manage the properties myself we choose to let the management company do, less stress more time, we officially organised a good management fee. So we are happy to do that and it’s there is a good example of I could take the stress I could save my selves some money and manage the properties but we outsourced it which gives us more time which reduce stress so I am learning.
Oliver: I can see that and one other things, I have noticed about you in our time with our business relationship and our friendship as well is that.
Oliver: Edit that!! We always… I have noticed that you take a lot of advice you have asked my advice more than any clients and your clients Penguin you have asked my advice more than any clients I can think of about just general advice, around business what your thoughts are then any other client that not necessarily relating to the advice I would typically give you. And I suspect you from what you said to me you do say take the brains of the lot of people that you know and perhaps respect in business and you know.
Stan: And I ask you for advice as well.
Oliver: Plus me yeah! We have been a big believers in Penguin in mentors and just wondered whether you have had a mentor during your time I know you take advice but have you had a mentor and do you spend lot of time taking advice of people or coaching?
Stan: I have been on more coaching courses than I care to mention over the years. We got a slightly different approach, we could have a mentor we I liked to get advice from a number of different angles and what we do every year since the first year we started Divine Wines moved into the merchandise and the property. Through the networking, this is aside of networking people don’t quite get is more than sales you get support you get knowledge then you build up a good databank of contacts. So every year Roshann and I sit down January what do we want to do with the businesses this year? What do we want to do about personal lives this year? We come up with a plan then I’ve got… I don’t know if they know they are my mentors. So I hope they are not listening but because I have blown it now. Every year then I go see certain people who I know, they have got successful businesses, I like them, I like the way they think and I like the way approach. For example Clive Thomas Watkins and Gunn, I go and see him Tony Dowling who was the station director of Real Radio when he was in Morgans Town he has now got a private marketing and sales consultanc.y Dave Berry from Label Needs I go tell him our plans in a conversational way and I say ‘we thought of this and we thought of that’ and pick in their brains in a causal informal way. We’d readjust our strategy our plan for that year and then what we take on their advice some which is throw away, some with really take. I don’t know if you know you are now on my informal mentoring panel I come then ask you for advice some I take some I don’t taken some great advice where you stopped me doing what I thought was going to be a brilliant millionaires project told me I had responsibilities in life and I can’t just go off acting like a twenty one year old. So we have informal mentors and from people I know, I know their track record I know how they approach things that when they say something to me, I know exactly where they are coming from and how it fits into what we want to do where there are mentors there are coaching companies out there, they have formula a strategy I am not so keen on that. We’re not a typical business couple Roshan and myself, we are in business to achieve what we want to achieve in our lives, we are not in business to be successful, to have a Rolls Royce to have a Rolex watch. We want to get out of our businesses something we need to improve our progress our lifestyle. So you are not going to hear me say we are going to build the company which is going to be on fortune 100 we work to get what we need from it.
Oliver: Okay well there’s definitely a theme I mean from the start of the discussion about there’s people is always comes back to people with you Stan.
Stan: Yeah I hate people.
Oliver: Whether it is people to help you build your business, people for advice you are always you are always taking in contact in communication and talking to people for everything and it’s your approach to life I think which is great. Moving on then talking about more so longer term planning its and as financial planners we like to see our business owners are planning for what we call their financial freedom day. I suppose you know more typical parlance is retirement but financial freedom sounds more exciting, do you have an exit plan or is it tell us a little bit about that?
Stan: I wouldn’t call a plan it’s a direction, we have a loose direction which ends out with me in a Campervan touring around Europe and the rest of the world with Roshan, and we got rid of the kids they are living their life so we Roshan and I both huge family orientated, we put the family and the kids at the centre of our life, everything else revolves around the core family. So we’ve got probably about another eight years to achieve what we need to achieve with the kids and then after that it’s our time so to speak but what we did we have started with Divine Wines, Divine Merchandising these are both very time consuming, so we are looking to move away from that. So you could say when I explain this we already started our exit strategy. We are moving away from Divine, we are looking to sell off parts of that and move it to the property which gives us the passive income. So while the kids are growing up we will have any cost they need and our lifestyles are met through that. Then once the kids are adults and enjoying their lives, we will start selling off the properties looking to you a bit more Olly to start building our inheritance for the kids and given that sort a lifestyle that way. So we are slowly doing that we are going away from the day to day business where we can we have to work in it all day every day to more passive income streams and then in a decade or so time will start off-loading those or transforming them into another vehicle where we can leave them to the kids, but again we will take advice on that at the time. So it is not a strategy it is a direction.
Oliver: Okay that makes sense I think it’s very very hard to be precise about long term strategy we know that with dealing with clients.
Stan: To be fair we don’t work that hard now. We try not to work as hard as we possibly can! I am 51 – 52 this year… or am I 50? I’m around 50 somewhere around there and we worked hard over the last 25 years. So we are rather than building a fantastic business we just gonna sell where as I mentioned before we are trying to live a lifestyle a part of that lifestyle is earning money and this is the way we chosen to deal so we are moving away from the day to day intensive businesses to a more passive stream of income.
Oliver: Yeah in my experience there is two types of business owners. One is where the business is their life you know it is more to them than just a then a function they provides them great enjoyment and satisfaction and regardless of the financial position they may or may not out them in they still want to run a business it’s not a case of just, where as the other type are people that are wanted to just aid their lifestyle and they are quite clear about what the business or what business is in their live which is to just to facilitate what life they want.
Stan: I am not knocking people who want to build a business, if I hadn’t met Roshan, I probably one of those people who both Roshan’s quite hippy chick and laid back and not a business oriented person. So we may in the middle somewhere she has come up a little bit become a bit more business savvy and I have come down and become a bit more hippy chick if you like.
Oliver: Very good.
Stan: So we are meeting in the middle and we are getting a good balance.
Oliver: Okay very good, so I wanted to ask you question on you kind of covered it probably anyway but advice you know if you had to pick one real gem a real gem bit of advice for a business owner. So you covered quite a lot anyway in networking maybe that is… maybe it just comes down to you know rubbing shoulders with like-minded human beings but is there anything else or that be your number one sort of business tip you have to give your business owner?
Stan: I think we have touched at what I have learnt since being in business is people people people appreciate the people whether they are clients, whether they are customers, whether they are staff, whether they are loved ones, whether they are friends they all have an impact on what you are doing. So appreciate them, understand what they need and don’t always make it about yourself what you need to drive ABC or D, involve them all in the decision making involve them all in what’s agreed and the outcome where success looks like to use a business parlance but what success looks like and then my biggest piece of advice would be celebrate the successes I never did this. I saw… we done a lot of things we had a lot of business successes but I was the one who said that wasn’t right its success might not have gone a 100% to plan but I would always focus on the negative, always, let the negative what do they say… ‘put in a cloud and just usher it away’, you need to do it! Olly’s laughing but you need to do it and focus on success, focus on what you have done right make yourself feel good, make the people around you feel good rather than focus on the negative where you have done something really well but you gonna pick and pick at it. Just brings everybody down look at the bright side, look what you have done. Celebrate.
Oliver: I have got one colleague of mine Craig he has something and that goes on to every night call Winstreak and that’s as it is say three things that have gone well for you that day, three successes. They may be I didn’t eat a chocolate bar or you know it could be something very small but he is swears by that saying that he is constantly trying to remind himself of the things that have gone well today rather than… which is a human natural human thing to do is to just dwell on the things that didn’t go quite right.
Stan: I am glad you said that because I thought it was me, everybody looks so happy and sell around I am there going like well I wasn’t 100% right I was only 95% and I would dwell on that 5%. So no apps like that anything you can do to take some joy out of this, there’s a lot of highs and lows when you are running your own businesses unlike when you are an employee you can have a bad day you still get paid with you running your own business you have a bad day bad week bad month you don’t eat. Simple as that. So enjoy it realise what you are doing, realise why you are doing, realise the people around you and be positive.
Oliver: Okay, very good moving on and three pieces of advice you give to yourself if you were starting any if you are that raw hungry 21 year old chopping at the bit to build this fortune. What would you say to that 21 year old Stan?
Stan: Do a bit more planning have I ever told you the reason we actually started Divine Wines?
Oliver: No other I don’t think so
Stan: Roshan was an accountant with Tesco’s I was a marketing manager for a graphic design company down the bay. We were married for a good few years before we had kids. Rosh and I agreed she could earn more money she got PHD in Ornithology. She is a qualified accountant, I have got a degree in marketing and business strategy. So we agreed and we even shook hands on this when the time was right for kids I’d stay home and she had go to work we agreed. She was happy I was happy, no problems few years passed by Roshan’s biological clock was ticking she said I’m ready for kids now. I said ‘remember our deal?’ No! so she refused to go to work, I refused to go to work. So we both stood there and said what we gonna do? We’ll start our own business that’s the reason there is no big flash reason we’re gonna be business people. Nobody wanted to work. So we started the business purely so we could work around the family, when we started it was the we had an office in storage unit in the big yellow behind the central train station in Cardiff. We had no clients and on Tuesdays it was two for one of the Vue cinema and remember we started Divine Wines. So we got lot of free samples wine, champagne, Prosecco. So we probably say for six months on a Tuesday afternoon we used to pack all our fee samples in ruck sack and go to the cinema watch the films all you would hear is somebody talking away and then you pop! that was Rosen and I on our Tuesday afternoons. So we started that way so what a probably a bit more formal about where you want to go, identify how you gonna get your money in, identify your funding what people you need as opposed to what we did was we don’t want to work let’s give it a go. So we both quit our jobs both jumped in we had no income at the time and luckily we swam instead of sunk so cut out the rough edges do a bit of planning and give yourself a bit of guidance where you want to go and how you want to do it rather than just let’s give it a go.
Oliver: Yeah very good well that sort of brings us to the end of this sort of formal if you like questions on the business planning but some quick fire questions as we like to do a book favourite book you are reading currently Stan if indeed you are reading a book currently?
Stan: Well I do read believe it or not I am currently just bought a John Grisham book.
Oliver: This magazine doesn’t care…
Stan: No I am not a big magazine reader, John Grisham I have only just started it is new one can’t remember what it is called but I tell you what one of the books that really helped me and I got a step carefully around this was a book you actually gave me when we started on the property which I think it was called Money for Nothing and your property for free.
Oliver: Money for Nothing and your property for free the Dire Straits song.
Stan: The guy when busty when too big, too fast, too quick but some of his advice some of the way of working out your revenues your income what you need to spend really great fundamentals to that just don’t do what he did and push it too far and fast. So no he was a good book but yeah
Oliver: Would you say there’s a best business book you read or any other business books you read?
Stan: Again not going back to my youth and all the business books I read there, we got loads of dry material there, but as a real life example of what to do and how to do it fantastic as I find with the lot of these business books but I don’t take Roshan and my mentality. We are not in here to build the business, we are in here to get an income to do what we want to do. So a lot of them are aimed at bigger structured companies who want to grow and become world dominant. We are not into that so those types of books I tend to stay away from but I like motivational books as well especially now giving you new perspective on life and is not all about work and just relax chill out.
Oliver: Any recommend that you can think of?
Stan: Tony Robinsons I tend not to with his.
Oliver: Tony Robins.
Stan: Tony Robins sorry not Time Teen but now what I tend to do I listen to a lot of podcasts and radios what I tend to do is put my mobile phone under my pillow at night and I listen to it well I fall asleep. So I tend to get half of what they say and missed up the punch line at the end. So I got to listen to it the next day so I tend to I like to take information in short sharp snippets rather than read the big long theoretical book on how to be great. Give me one thing I can work on for the next week and I will find something else to work on.
Oliver: Very good well you described yourself what I wasn’t expecting is a hippy chick early on and so what any music you currently listen to?
Stan: Well we again just going to the family when we go away on holiday I don’t like hotels, so we are normally get an apartment or use [air] BnB and staying somebodies house and hire a car and we always take one CD with us, we went away at Christmas and it was George Ezra and we are still into George Ezra and yeah George Ezra its not very trendy but it’s what we are listening to at the minute.
Stan: Don’t forget I have got a wife and three children I don’t get to watch sports. I don’t get to watch the films.
Oliver: You said you got two children.
Stan: Did I say three…?
Oliver: You did say three.
Stan: Oh I know why I had said three, I have got two!
Oliver: You can explain that off air.
Stan: I will but I couldn’t possibly explain it off air on air because is information I have which is in the general public as yet. But no we have got two girls I was luckily enough given the TV to watch the cricket world cup final but I tend to go and watch whatever the girls wanna watch and listen so yeah.
Oliver: So asking you what Box set TV shows you watch because you watch the girls tend to watch?
Stan: Oh no late night Game of Thrones, I loved Game of Thrones I was into that we just finished watching Chernobyl I… disaster absolute disaster what happened, how it happened, why it happened and all the people that turned a blind eye to let Chernobyl happen it will depress you but if you want to watch something really good it’s worth watching.
Oliver: Final question who is your business idol and why?
Stan: This will surprise you Mark White.
Oliver: Tell us about Mark White I do know Mark yeah he is not a famous business owner but tell us about him?
Stan: Again with these… I am not Bill Gates and all of these I got nothing in common with Bill Gates he is an American who makes a fortune of our backs but Mark White he started a company called Interhaul, he had three grand from what I can recollect of his story he paid off his back rent he bought a Capri and he bought a white van. He then took pallets and gave them to hauliers, so many years later he is now got some like fifty trucks of himself. If you don’t know how to haulage company works you have a depot which is owned by a person who have their trucks and then you have a networks all these different depot owners will join the network. He is the one and only person from a network of 250 300 depots to be invited on the board of the actual network company. So he has done a great job for his business he now sits on the board of the hub and he goes round fix other peoples depots but he does that having more holidays then everybody in this building put together he is always going off to Amsterdam, Barbados, Croatia wherever he enjoys his money and his lifestyle. He has put the hard work in he took the risk he knows what he is talking about, he is helping others. He is good with he helps with charity and sports clubs and things like, he is a big rugby fan who probably of to Japan now for the Rugby World Cup and if you look at him you wouldn’t think he had two pennies to rub together. He hasn’t changed from when he bought his white van to now. He could dress Armani suits one different suite every day of the month but he is just down to earth grounded really nice been really successful but he is not one of this people who flaunts his successes and wealth at people and he is just very level headed.
Oliver: Sounds like he is built his business round his life not his life around his business, you know and his family life and personal life comes first and he fits his business around it.
Stan: Ask me who I hate the most… Mark White! he is obviously has mates you don’t say it to each other but he is an astounding businessman and he is a grounded blow so put those two things together good combination
Oliver: That’s great Stan that brings us to our conclusion just to say thanks very much to Stan of Divine Merchandising and a property entrepreneur for coming in and speaking to us on the business secret podcast and good luck with your future ventures.
Stan: Before I go and you can cut this or keep this Olly what we have done with our property business Divine couldn’t have been done without you, you have helped us look at the financial side the strategies the risk the best profits to get where and when and how unlike other IFA who I think once you have given them a bit of money they think it is theirs and don’t you dare talk about it touch it its mine I am going to manage it where you see yourselves and Penguin as a wider company you are here to help us you are facilitating what we want to do with our lives and I really appreciate the approach. It’s not your money it’s our money you see that and you give us good advice on the best way to achieve our goal which you ask every year what our goals are gonna be, we tell you and then you help us to achieve them rather than we got your money don’t talk to us now. So thank you for your help.
Oliver: Pleasure thank you and just through that was not a prepaid comment that was I think that was very genuine thank you Stan I appreciate that.
Stan: No but I will want a sweet.
Oliver: You can have a sweat. Thanks very much.
Stan: My pleasure.