Worried about the pensions crisis,
he also sought a way of ensuring that he and his business partner
Dick - also his father-in~law - could work productively, with
minimum stress, into their 70s and 80s if need be.
"We wanted to be in a position
where Dick and I could run it without the need for anyone else,"
Mr Feeney said. "Big companies spin people out in their
40s. We wanted to re-engineer the company to a point where Dick
and I could run it almost until we're incapable of working. That's
one of the reasons we are dependent on IT and why we outsource."
Formed in 1993, the company bought
second-hand cars and did them up in the bodyshop. They employed
several staff. It was hard work for low returns. The partners
looked for an enterprise with bigger margins and less risk. The
growth of the Internet, rising numbers of imported cars, falling
used car prices and interest rates, all affected business
"You need to be aware of all the factors that are changing
in the business environment," Mr Feeney said.
"Things used to stay the same for years and years but the
rate of change is increasing all the time. It will come round
and hit you if you do not see the wider picture."
The firm abandoned the repair
shop, got out of used cars and moved into car rental, promoting
its services globally through a website and forging links with
the Maidstone based Streamline taxi firm.
IT was the key. Mr Feeney shunned
manual book keeping from the start adopting Dos-based Sage computer
software and using it to track trends.
The company has diversified into
a fleet management operation, providing cars to Streamline Taxis
on a long-term rental contract basis.
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