Relationships Foster Growth, If You Nurture Them!

19 May 2022 - 11:09 am

To get inspired, continue our growth curve, analyse together our next round of acquisition targets, and spend some quality time together, we’ve been with Paul Pavli and his team this month. It may be perceived as superfluous by some, but Austin and I very much value the benefit of ‘pressing the flesh’. That is the cold way of saying let’s break down the barriers of Zoom calls, move away from the WFH (work from home) era and get back to some good old fashioned meetings in person.

Fortunately we had a very smooth flight as I’m not a fan of turbulence in either business or indeed on aeroplanes. Austin was not enamoured by British Airways and the new seats installed on much of their fleet, but that’s another story for a consumer forum. The weather upon arrival, throughout the week and upon departure was nothing short of spectacular. The greater feeling of warmth was actually felt by Austin and myself from Paul and his team. It really is the sort of sentiment we will never gain from online meetings or teleconferences. It’s thus hard to put a value on spending time together, however, if I was pushed to quantify, I would answer, ”it’s invaluable”.

In a world full of automation, emotionless engagements, and arms-length social media-fuelled relationships, it was wonderful to actually engage in communication face-to-face with no screen or handset in sight. I could write for pages about the food and hospitality afforded to us, but to be believed the cuisine quality needs to be experienced. The trip was of course focused on business, forging ahead with fund acquisitions via deep-dive analysis, strategic structuring, development inspections and the oh so exciting tax efficiency dialogue. Yes, the latter was very much tongue in cheek, albeit rather financially rewarding.

We can’t praise Paul, his team and the parties he introduced us to, including bankers, lawyers, accountants, and auditors, enough. If we afford Paul and his team the same level of professional hospitality when he next visits us for portfolio inspections, we would be reaching an exemplary level. 

If you are reading this, then thank you once again Paul.

It brings me to the general theme of this journal entry. Nurturing relationships allows growth, just as we nurture our children, or our plants in our garden (I do hope my children do not take that comparison the wrong way) we should nature our business relationships and partnerships.

There are two different ways to analyse the future of business. The first is to explore current objectives and the level of alignment with supporting structures. In our world, at the Alliance Fund, those supporting structures are rooted in regulatory oversight and corporate governance protocols. In short, that’s our fund manager, OneWorld, being Paul, his team and associated professional services, the depository, and the auditor. The second is to start from a view of how the consumers of our products are trending in terms of buying habits. Simplified, that is the buyer of a property that we develop and is purchased by the consumer that supplies our profitability. We then work backwards to discover what is needed in order to get there in a secure and efficient manner.

At the Alliance Fund, we will always challenge ourselves and our affiliated partners to feel unburdened by current limitations, be it market conditions or volatility in geo-politics, so that the ambition of our desired collective outcome is exponentially increased. As I so often do these days, I look back at the start of the pandemic, which for most in business was a train crash, yet in my business it was a catalyst for unparalleled growth. Although I must add, from personal experience, that the pandemic has clearly caused a great degree of heartache and loss for many people, and like everybody else, I am very much looking forward to putting it well behind us.  

One tactic I use frequently is challenging a project manager or department head to envisage the ideal circumstances that will mark the project’s success. This allows that individual to set ambitious objectives and then work backwards to determine what steps would be required to achieve those goals. It does not consider present obstacles – only the vision of an outcome that exists wholly separate from current reality.

Naturally, a utopian view is not rooted in reality, so the next step is to bring back the present obstacles and commence problem-solving. If you then solve most or all of the challenges in the present day you are left with a plan of action that is cemented in reality but conceived with great creativity. The conclusion, in my experience at least, is a success.

Our time with Paul and his team was exactly that.

Iain Crawford