The little old lady cancelled at the last minute. They do that. Little old ladies are rarely open-minded.
So there I was fifteen miles from home and wondering what to do with myself for an hour.
A small voice in the back of my head announced: “Find someone else to talk to.”
I drove on and came to a dry cleaners. That would do.
“Hello, is this your business,” I said brightly to the girl behind the counter. Clearly it wasn’t.
She said so. She said the owners were in Colchester. Then a man in his 60s came in with “Entrepreneur” written all over him. It turned out he was the owner – or at least he was until the end of the week. He’d sold the business. He was retiring.
“That’s great,” I said, changing horses in mid-stride. “Is your pension big enough for all the things you want to do or would you be open to looking at a way to increase it. It would take me five minutes to show you. Want to see it?”
He was not sure. He had a draw-down pension whatever that may be. You could see the internal struggle going on: The dignified sceptic versus the successful businessman always open to new ideas.
I was very proud of the way I stuck to my guns. If he wanted to know any more about it, I would have to show him and that would take five minutes.
It was quite fun to have him wheedling away, too proud to ask for a presentation but too curious to leave it alone. In the end he said: “All right come round” and I walked round to the back of the building and into a huge hanger of a place with industrial washing machines dotted about in a somewhat haphazard fashion appropriate to a business which was now someone else’s problem.
I balanced my presenter on to of a spin dryer the size of car. We were there for an hour.
I would like to be able to say he joined but that wasn’t what happened.
What did happen was that I walked out with the phone number for his brother. Apparently his brother is good at spotting opportunities – and if he’s good enough for the brother, it would be good enough for my new friend too.
So I’m looking forward to helping them both get started. Who said that little old ladies are a waste of time?