Introducing Craig Hutchison
Introducing Craig Hutchison

Stepping Up

In 1995 I bought a business for a dollar.

Life Link was a social service, providing  support to New Zealanders with disabilities or recovering from accidents.  There were 40 staff, and a board in Auckland, and it was owned by a doctor. 

My job was to manage a team of staff and I started on a roll. It was great work and I loved it; the only problem was that when pay day came it was a case of BYO pay cheque. We were paid eventually, then the next week we weren't, and so on. Finally we found that the business was going into receivership due to some misappropriation of funds.  Now and why is just want was and examining it is irrelevant.

The owner asked me if I'd like to buy the business for one dollar! 

Now I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so there was nothing to do but tell everyone I'd been made redundant and become a business owner in one day! Of course buying a business on the verge of bankruptcy comes with a fair share of problems, not least of being that the staff had not been paid for two weeks, and neither had I. 

Believing that honesty is always best in these situations, I told the staff exactly what the situation was. I said I didn’t know if we could stay afloat, or when I could pay them, and that if they wanted to leave, I would understand. One by one they all replied that they’d stay; they had clients needing services and that was what they were going to provide!

The furniture and phones were repossessed. There were a lot of difficult issues and times.  But with honesty and a positive attitude we kept gping. That was in 1995, and that business is thriving today.

There are many lessons I learnt, but first and foremost – just give it a go.  Just front up and remember that the worst thing that can happen probably isn’t that bad.  And it may go better than your imagination is telling you.

Honesty, goodwill and treating excellent people well are what have made this business successful.

Don’t step into the adventure with worry, run in with a positive attitude and just enjoy it. Life is to be lived.