Shady Business

When I got quotations for curtains and window blinds for the vast Victorian windows at my home, some years ago, I was surprised and dismayed at the expense.

So that was why I started up my own window-blinds company. It didn’t take long as I decided to be a sole trader, and so I did not have to register at Company House, set up a bank account or get an accountant.

I simply phoned up a window-blind wholesaler and asked for samples and sales literature – and the forms to set up an account. Within a week I had placed my first order – for a substantial amount, but one which was considerably less than I would have to pay if I paid retail.

Everything was above board, legal, legit, measured up and all the paperwork in good order.

A few weeks later, everything was made to measure, delivered and installed. In due course, the invoice came in, and the company settled the account.

At that point I was simply going to fold the business, – and eventually draw up the account on a piece of paper and take it with the invoice and order to the city tax office. I was in no hurry as I knew I had 18 months to square everything up.

In the meantime, a friend of my mother’s wanted curtains and a few blinds for their new home, so I helped out. Then I got his offices – and then I got his neighbour’s offices – they happened to be Strathclyde Regional Council.

Suddenly I was far too busy with this sideline. I was employing 2 fitters, and had a van and a full order book. Because I could site measure, I got a lot of peculiar jobs – things like domes and conservatories.

This led to deals with house builders and conservatory-double-glazing companies.  I couldn’t cope.

So I went incorporated and then sold the company on. They are now very large and very well known, employing a lot of people and making people’s homes nicer.

It just shows how a small idea can turn into something else entirely.

One just never knows.

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