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John H. Lightfoot MBE - 01.12.2020

SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS! DOES IT? HOW?

In mid-November, when I was preparing the promotional sales aids to be included in Solar Solve’s Christmas mailings, I carried out some research that included specific past successes, as well as how successful this family business has been over the last 45 years, particularly since we formed Solar Solve Ltd. in 1988 and concentrated our efforts on serving the global marine industry.

One thing that came to mind was a remark that someone made to me, way back in early 1976, when I was just a few months into self-employment.  We both had window blind retail shops and bought our blinds from the same factory, which was in South Shields, but the other guy had been doing it for a year longer than I had and was doing very well.

His name was Peter and one day we were both at the factory to place our orders and began chatting in the car park.  I remarked that my new venture, Northern Window Blind Co. was doing all right but it wasn’t as easy as I had imagined.  Peter empathised and encouraged me to keep going and be positive.

When I returned to my old van, Peter’s nice new estate car had gone but he had stuck a piece of paper under my window wiper, on which he had written, ‘SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS’.

I didn’t know exactly what to make of it.  Did he mean…

Look at me, John. I am successful doing the same job that you are doing, so you can be successful as well?  or…
Because Peter was successful, it motivated him to be more successful?  or…
Become successful John and you will always be successful?

The main motivation for me at that time and the reason I chose self-employment, was that the factory, called Venetian Blind Service Centre (even though it serviced and manufactured all types of window blinds), was very successful and amongst its many customers were about 18 agents like Peter and I, with window blind showrooms all over the north-east of England.  Most of the agents had more than one outlet and they were all doing very well for themselves.  Quite a lot of the businesses are still trading today, either having been taken on by offspring/other family members or sold to organisations that continue to run them.

A decade or so later, I opted out of working for Joe Public, it was too stressful.  Another well-known saying we were using regularly by then,  from poet John Lydgate, later adapted by President Lincoln, was “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

Fortunately, with my Marine Engineering Qualifications, my Merchant Navy sea-going experience and our location near a successful ship-building facility, I was able to jump-ship from serving Joe Public to serving the wonderful people who work in the world-wide marine industry, in all of its forms (apart from submarines).

For the next 33 years, we applied a lot of hard work, commitment, dedication, belief and realisation that The Customer is King – There is Nobody More Important. As a result, my whole team at Solar Solve are very proud that throughout that whole period we have always been able to claim that WE CAN PLEASE ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME and do so every day.

The one thing I try to imply in my promotional sales aids is that although Solar Solve is exceptionally successful and the Brand Leader for the products we supply, we are very careful not to become complacent and we never assume future success because of past achievements.  We apply maximum effort to EVERY enquiry and order.  There is no other way to remain at the top.  It’s not easy but it is always a very rewarding experience.

In conclusion, I am not sure if ‘Success Breeds Success’ , it could engender complacency but I am absolutely certain that ‘Treating Customers Like Kings and Queens Results in Success’, every time.

If you are interested in Solar Solve’s products you can read more information about our Type Approved marine sunscreens, solar blinds, electric sunblinds or any other product, by typing what you are looking for into this website’s search box.

John Lightfoot MBE, Solar Solve Chairman

Solar Solve Marine
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