by Charlie Kaufman Published
Charlie went from zero to £1 million turnover in two years. He employed almost 50 people to create studio bookings for over 100 Click-affiliated studios up and down the country.
It couldn't go wrong, right? Wrong. It could. And it did. Twice.
Says Charlie: "At that time no one had ever united a group of independent businesses and marketed them as a national enterprise without it being franchised. But I was young and it all went to my head. It got too big and out of control. I had opened in Bushey, Finchley and Willesden and I had a formidable £50,000 payroll to find each month. It all just imploded. I had employed accountants and bookkeepers but it turned out that we hadn't being paying VAT or PAYE. I had to liquidate it all. Then I started again but that business failed too. I had huge personal debts so I started shooting more weddings and bar mitzvahs. But in my heart I just wanted to get back to creating a marketing business that I knew could once again rise to the top."
So he did.
Today The Click Group and Fresh (his sibling 'make-overs' business) hold approximately 90% of the gift experience market and supply almost every major marketing agency. And the group supplies portrait and make-over offers and packages for national media and third-party loyalty promotions.
"We are responsible for over £8 million of our studios' turnover in the UK - this makes us the biggest player photographically speaking of any independent marketing company. It is no boast for me to say I believe Click is the world's most successful marketing company for independent photographers. Nobody does what we do worldwide - and since the demise of Olan Mills our turnover and profits have almost trebled."
So what suddenly went right?
Confesses Charlie: "I just don't make those same mistakes anymore. I am still happy to stick my neck out but I am now far more careful about ensuring our future security."
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