A simple country baker

27 January, 2006
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Page 19 

Tony Phillips is past president of the NAMB and is (allegedly) retired from running Janes Pantry with 10 shops in Gloucestershire

A few days ago an agenda came through my email for the Retail Confectioners International Convention, which is held in Pennsylvania, the US, in June. I noticed my name was down as a speaker and the topic was The Art of Making Money.
As I have been attempting that very thing without success for most of my life, I could only assume the very lack of achievement qualifies me to talk on the subject!The next day, telephone calls were received asking if I would speak – a little late, but better late than never. But the topic still rather amused me. It made me think, how do you make money?Well, there are four certain ways I know of. These are:Inherit it. This is the most advantageous way, in my view, as it means you get to spend and enjoy it before you are too old.Marry a rich member of the opposite sex (or maybe, in these times, the same sex). The disadvantages are that the one with the money has a strong hold over you and you would probably have to dance to their tune.Steal it. But again there are problems. If you get caught, you could end up in prison, although with so many daft judges about you could plead bed wetting as an excuse and would probably end up with your own private social worker. On second thoughts, I’ll take prison!Work for it. This is certainly the least favourable option. I freely confess I have given this considerable thought, but came up with a far better idea – I married Barbara and let her work for me! What a grand job she has done! You see, I believe in giving credit where it is due.While I freely confess to virtually no talent, I do admit to a great ability for delegation. In fact, I could delegate for Britain in the Olympics. Now we are getting older, and I have worn Barbara out, I have now delegated to my manager Neville and he is keeping me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed. Well, so far, I do not appear to have discussed many practical ways of making money, so I shall try to mention my survival tactics over the years. I have always tried to employ people better than myself, which is very easy, I’ll admit, and this ensures they make money for me.And thanks to British Baker there is a steady stream of top bakers who visit us and indeed allow Neville and me to visit them, so we always have a raft of new and proven ideas to try.We love trying new ideas and have very open minds. Just because we do it one way, we never believe it is the best way. The thing that makes our day is when someone visits us and says, “Why are you doing it that way? Try our system, it is easier and quicker.”I also always save for the inevitable rainy day. A friend of mine was running into money problems and his wife said: “Don’t worry, I have plenty as I have been putting a pound in the bank every time we make love.”“Good grief!” he said “If only I had known, I would have given you all my business!”



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