May 2018 already…that went quick!

Afternoon, everyone, it has been a while since I have updated our blog.  Many reasons for this; time, effort, time, more time… an so forth – the adage in business, that time is your most valuable asset, has never been more apparent! Rockburn continues…

We have had snow, super hot sun, lots of rain in the last few months, life and business have been affect by this quite considerably.  Luckily after the snow severely affected business and customer visits in March, we had an amazing Easter holiday, which provided our busiest day, and week, to date!  This, saved us form some tough decisions financially and has proven a god-send.  This last month has been incredibly quiet and once again, we are faced with tough decisions financially, about how to best continue Rockburn.

Many years ago I worked with a man, we shall call him Nigel!  Nigel was a contemporary manager whom thought that whatever the circumstance, your input should always aim for the highest outcome and be instigated in a positive direction.  Wise words and an interesting thought process when things are not manifesting as desired.   I have chosen to step in the footsteps of Nigel at this time and we are pushing ahead with our next development phase to get things moving toward my inward outcomes and desires for Rockburn.

Our climbing gym is progressing…never as fast as one would like…but fast enough.  We are also on the finishing stages of our kitchen/food preparation area, office and second facilities.   Our volunteers and supporters have been beyond praise in their efforts and support for Rockburn, which I am deeply thankful and grateful for, always.

Current priorities: GDPR compliance (almost there – massive thanks to Sophia for your efforts and support – I am beyond grateful!); Finish current build projects before half term (hmmmm … 85% doable); Generally chill out more! I have told many people that stressing out changes nothing – I am realising that it is harder to let go of some things!!nk uiiujhj

6 Months in…

Afternoon everyone.

A quiet afternoon after a manic half term week – time for a brief update on Rockburn Ltd.

Business is going extremely well and building nicely, we have started on the next stage of development which incorporates a climbing-specific gym into our offering, along with the kitchen prep area being completed (apart from plastering, floor covering and lighting) and the second toilet being almost ready (still, apart form plastering and door being hung – must get round to doing that, easy win for everyone).

Some tough decisions had to be made over the festive season, which have tested friendships and truthfulness – luckily those involved have been amazing and we are all the better for it (thanks Kev and Hannah). As a result I have managed to pay myself for the first time since opening, which is a massive plus in my book, considering we started building June 2017.

Currently challenges in the business include:
1) Heating – we have been using 2 fan heaters to get us through the winter this year due to lack of funds for other options. This has turned out to be ridiculously costly to the business, beyond initial thoughts. We are currently looking for efficient options for just the café area to be heated/isolated from the main arena. Thoughts welcome…cheap PVC double-glazed porch spare, anyone?
2) Staffing – since Christmas, it has been just myself, with my wife assisting, which has allowed us to balance things financially, but is a drain on me, working 7 days a week. Kev and Gillian have kindly volunteered to support us, which has been an unexpected, and MOST welcome blessing – so greatly appreciated chaps. The crux is generating enough business to support both my financial requirements and business requirements. I feel this is getting closer to being achieved – busiest half term so far by a significant margin.
3) Work /life balance – directly related to the above – need to correct this from 90/10 to nearer 70/30 ASAP – so appreciate my family’s support and tolerance at this time, it is not easy sometimes and it is these times where I feel blessed to have the family that I have

It only dawned on me yesterday, whilst having a late-evening, post work chat with my wife that it is almost 6 months into our Rockburn journey. Some massive highs and lows to date….we are still here and feeling as positive as ever that we will continue to create something amazing. Live the dream people….no point waiting for something that might happen when you can make it happen in the now.

3 Months in…

Afternoon to the world.  First post for a good few months…

Rockburn has been up and running for 3 months, which is great news!  I must admit it is hard to keep track sometimes of everything that has been achieved in that space of time, so I thought I would make a note of these things, as much to remind me when things are tough, as to share with everyone.

Since opening, we have:

  • developed a good social community on Facebook, of both users and watchers
  • finished snagging the main arena and reception area
  • started developing and running After-school clubs
  • started developing and running our Saturday climbing clubs
  • completed over 100 Rock Inductions
  • signed off over 100 competent climbers
  • catered for over 150 scouts, beavers, brownies and rainbows
  • delivered taster sessions to over 100 possible climbers
  • set over 250 routes to date (from the whole team!)
  • delivered 15 birthday parties, with 3 more this weekend
  • received numerous 5* Google reviews from people that we have instructed
  • paid a serious amount of bills and invoices
  • employed our first staff and paid them!
  • only had to administer first aid once!
  • changed our ‘next phase’ plans a lot
  • Started the Rock Café
  • created, printed and handed out A LOT of leaflets
  • learned a ridiculous amount in both a personal and business sense
  • built our first batch of volumes
  • developed our mini shop (lots more to come from this revenue stream…)
  • had 10 whole days off (or there about…)
  • delivered our first half term schedule successfully
  • planned our Christmas schedule in good time
  • started promoting and discussing options with local schools and colleges (ongoing)
  • have bookings on the calendar through to March/April 2018
  • increased opening hours – now 7 days a week (limited opening on Monday though – my morning off)
  • so much more but beyond recall at this point…

All in all, a pretty productive 3 months of hard work and development at Rockburn.  What is next?…

There are a couple options, however, Christmas is just round the corner, a couple big targets to hit in the next month and lots to do until the new year commences.  Going to stay focussed in the now and consider the next step in 2018!

Have a beautiful season, if I do not have the chance to see you beforehand, and remember the true value and purpose behind Christmas.  It easily gets lost in the distractions and flashing lights of modern times…

2 Weeks In …. what is the most important thing at this time in the process of building Rockburn?

Hello people, welcome to Rockblog.

This post is released after 2 hard weeks of work both creating new structures and rennovating the old structure.

Mentally and emotionally feeling the weight of the road ahead, but totally optimistic as this is what I have worked for over the last few years. Spiritually I believe that if something is meant to happen, the universe conspires to manifest and help you realise your dreams…and so it appears to be happening. Synchronicities occuring at key times, along with some apparent set-backs that may actually allow the development to progress in a more beneficial way, when viewed in the right context. Time for hard work, faith, networking and keeping the passion driving everything towards my inner vision of what I am creating.

I have come to realise some key truths regarding what actually matters regarding makes things happen;
1) the dedication and support of family; nephews, cousins, father, sons and daughter and wife. They have been the difference when I have felt over-whelmed by the project, in keeping things on track and moving to the end of this phase..for that I am beyond grateful.
2) our volunteers are beginning to appear more frequently and have all been, for want of a better word, superb in their efforts and enthusiasm.
3) words of advise and wisdom from throughout my life experience saying ‘it is the journey that counts, do not focus on the result incase you miss the most beneficial part of the experience’. So so true, the journey truly does define oneself and test the boundaries and faith of our dedication to achieving your dreams. Thank you to those that offered those words and thoughts.

…in short PEOPLE are that which really matters.  I find myself absorbed by the project at times – these are the moments I make myself remember and let go of the angst about things.  As long as people are here, nothing else really matters; we are the ones that make things happen and instigate change and progress.

More to follow in the coming weeks on this amazing journey. And a cheeky prompt to finish. Please check out the crowdfund if you are going to use the centre. Only 2 weeks left and quite a way to go to get these mega discounted climbing rates and offers. Would rather customers saved money and got to try out the centre…

Rockburn is being built…and our Crowdfund has been launched!

Rockblog June Update:

We are 6 days into the build now and things are progressing well. Stage 1 is to prepare the building for Rockburn – suspended ceilings have been removed revealing a beatiful panel ceiling and some great building features. The OSB panels have been removed from the walls and obsolete cabling has been cleared. This weekend (17th/18th June) is our first volunteering push to get a big chunk of decorating and prep complete. If you want to help out, drop me a message on any of the contact channels (email, website, FB, Twitter, etc.). The website has a volunteering section; to enter, you need the pasword (#volunteerme). This will provide some information on when we are hoping to complete certain jobs, numbers of volunteers needed and relevant skills. If you do not have those skills, please do not be put off, there is so much to do, I would love you to come and help!

All things being well, Monday will see the start of the wall structure being created and erected. Exciting times…

If you are going to be using the centre, check out our Crowdfund. The benefits are two-fold: firstly, you will be supporting us and allowing things to be completed more quickly, and secondly, YOU WILL SAVE LOTS OF MONEY. Everything that we will be charging for is available at big discounts when you buy it through the crowdfund. You do not have to pay until we reach our target so if we do not succeed (which we will 😀 ) you will not have to pay anything: if we do succeed, you have saved money and gotten a massive bargain…win win situation. Have a look at the AMAzing discounts we are offering on the link below:

When ‘Ready to go’ actually means NOT …

Welcome to RockBlog May release (vent!)…

No posts for a while, have been a busy bee trying to get things sorted and moving.  If this is the first one you have read, I am in the process of setting up a new bouldering centre in my local town.  RockBlog is documenting the process when I have time to commit thoughts and feelings, and useful information to paper (or screen)…

A quick update on what has happened to date:

  1. Planning permission has been granted without condition (milestone goal)
  2. Lease signing has NOT happened (more indepth thoughts in a moment)
  3. Build has NOT started
  4. Insurance cover begins tomorrow – money starting to go!
  5. Opening is set, hopefully, still for June 2017

So, Solicitors and lease.  What an experience, especially when you know that every hour of work that the solicitor contributes is costing you £200 + VAT, a scary prospect.  I was informed that everything was ready to go.  We arrived at the date when things should have been signed and 3 or 4 discrepancies within the lease document popped up.  It transpires that my solicitor only went through the lease in fine detail once signing date was approaching.  Given the cost I would have thought that such things would have picked up at an earlier stage, therefore allowing the signing to happen in the given timeframe.  This becomes amplified when you are leasing from a management committee; from my query to my solicitor, to theirs, whom then passes query to committee, whom discuss it and hopefully make a timely decision. Passed back through the chain…seems a very slow and archaic process, given the technological developments within the last 10 years.  I did wonder if it is kept this way to keep that hourly rate ticking over, or whether there is a legal need for the process to be as it is…food for thought!

Do you actually need a solicitor? I have asked myself this many times during this process?  Simple answer, Strongly advisable! Mine has picked up a number of irregularities within the lease proposal for my business which could potentially have crippled the business and made the lease VERY biased toward the landlord.  This money is well spent and necessary given the complexities of leases.

The planning process has been another massive learning curve.  Once planning was finally granted, despite 13 objections and only 1 supportive comment (had a few sleepless nights before the decision!) I naively thought that was that.  NO, not quite.  You then have to pay another chunk of money to have a meeting and discussion with Building Regulation.  Another unforseen step in the process but I can understand the need, given the age of the building and ‘change of use’.  Also, due to the listed’ status of the building and listed building consent applied for, we have to submit a method statement on how we are going to install the structure, etc, to ensure that we are not going to destroy or damage a listed aspect of the building.  Before entering this stage, I found it difficult to find information regarding the process of what will happen, timeframes, and steps involved throughout.  Once we are built and I have a spare hour, I am going to document the experience that I have had, including costs and useful information that I have found out, for the benefit of anyone else going into this process.

Thanks for reading, more to follow in due course…

Planning permission and dealing with people whom do not share your’immediate’passion to do things…

One of the biggest lessons that I have had, apart from faith in my own ability to achieve something, is managing people whom do not share your passion to achieve a dream. It is SO frustrating to be given un-concise information whilst dealing with companies and institutions whom have no interest in doing more than is required.
The process of both applying for ‘Change of Use’ on a property, getting a company to complete that in a given timeframe and being able to follow up and find information whilst the application is in progress are key examples of this. Step 1 – After 3 or 4 weeks of ‘it will be ready on Monday…’ , lots of phone calls to keep things moving and in the company’s focus [life lesson – chase people! If you do not chase them and assume everything is happening, you are being dillusional. All businesses have multiple things on the go and priorities change constantly. It is your perogative to keep your stake in focus!]. Step 2- Once the application is submitted, be prepared to wait for a while before you hear/see anything. The councils are institutions, therefore NOTHING happens in a timely manner! Each application/request has to pass through at least 2 people (if you are lucky) or more (if you are unlucky) – this takes a long time! [life lesson – patience. it gets to a point where you need to sit back and let things percolate, like fine coffee. The result will be sweet, but only once you have waited for the process to complete sufficiently].

In our instance, application finally submitted at the beginning of March 2017.  I am writing this on the 19th March 2017.  I currently have not visibility on what is occuring, no control over the process and no-one to directly speak to regarding this…….patience.

Rockburn – The 1st post…..

So, it begins.

The realization of a dream and years at uni could finally be paying off.  It is strange that the closer you get to such things, the more your psyche plays up and tries to get you to run! Or opt back for the easy life of unfulfilling employment, working and generating money for others.

Welcome to the Rockburn blog.  I am Will Martin and I will be taking you through this journey of self discovery, doubt, excitement and all of the other emotions and feelings that I am sure will surface on the journey to creating Rockburn.

At this time, I ‘potentially’ have a premises, I ‘potentially’ have some capital to start things and I am getting skittish at the thought of everything that needs to be done on the grand project.

Current causes of angst are: boulder matting, website, social media accounts, state of the world.  On the plus side, being a believer in a higher being, god, whatever terms suits your being, if it is meant to be it shall be.  Got to be pragmatic about these things!

…………….to be continued

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