Big Money Business Start-Up

Big Money Business Start-Up


Health Gyms


Real money has been made in, and is still being made in this business. We all know one of the richest Dragons Duncan Bannatyne, who went from selling ice cream to old peoples homes, and then to the big money maker that he is still into, Health Gyms.

You will need to buy, or rent, a large space. This can be in almost any type of building, an old church or chapel, an old cinema, or warehouse. Alternatively, you can think bigger and get backing from like minded businessmen, or plan to incorporate a classy bar and get backing from a brewery. This last option, is the one that I personally chose.

I wrote to several large breweries, rather than the small ones…they haven’t sufficient money. I met with representatives from 3 different breweries and explained my proposed plans. At that time, I wished to build a block of prestigious 1 bedroom apartments for the young movers.

The ones who are more interested in their career and self gratification, rather than starting a family. The same go-getters who fill the gyms from early morning before climbing the ladder of success. The plan included a well equipped gym, with an adjoining classy bar to chill out in after a good work-out and surround shower and sauna.

The bar was the incentive for the brewers. They all agreed to funding. I was offered between £2.5 million to £6 million. The highest was on a share holding of 49%. That’s what they wanted against the £6M.

I later approached the same architect who had done the rough drawings that I had shown to the brewery reps. The architect said that I should tell the reps where to stick their 49% offer, as he could easily aquire the money in the City of London.

I tell you this small part of my private life to prove that all things are possible if you just believe in yourself, and have the confidence to ask for what you wish. Remember,the worst answer that you can get from anyone is, “go away” or words to that effect.

The thing to bear in mind, is that training and keeping slim and fit, is very admirable, but, bloody hard work. So, make your Health studio inspirational, modern, warm, with a touch of luxury.

The changing and showers are the first things that they see on arrival and departure so, make them like a set from ‘Grand Designs’. People are thirsty and hungry after training. Why should you let someone else make profit from your hard work. If you have sufficient space, have your own relaxation suite.

As explained above, this can be financed by the brewers rather than by bank borrowing. There are pro’s and con’s to both choices. Borrowing from the banks has the obvious drawback of interest, whereas borrowing from the brewers (which is what, in reality, you are doing) puts you in their clutches for around 10 years.

The brewers will want you to sign a contract to buy everything from them.

And, I mean everything, soft drinks, crisps, nuts, etc. etc. That’s along with all your beers, spirits, and wines. This, of course, that is if , or when, you are offere d any of these products at a bargain price, your hands are tied. You won’t contractually be permitted to buy them to sell in your bar. On the other hand, the brewers will set you up with everything: Bar equipment including coolers, optics, till, furnishings, thick pile carpet, and probably all the decorations.

It’s up to you to do your sums and balance out how much you would need to borrow from the banks (if accepted) and the total interest payable, against what you calculate as the profit you could make by buying all your drinks and ancillary foodstuffs etc from cut price suppliers.

Unless you are building a purpose built gym, you will need to apply to your planners for a ‘Change of use’. This is, unless the property has recently been used as a gym. You will also require an alcoholic drinks licence. I have left the most requirement until last. You will, of course, need one or more qualified trainers.



To consider opening a restaurant, usually implies that you have some experience in catering. If you have not, get some, or immediately forget it! If you are experienced, you will already know that it is far more complex than it first appears. You must have a food hygene certificate.

When starting a new food business it is very important to get things right at the start because it will make it much easier for you to run your business well in the future. You must register your premises with the environmental health service at your local authority at least 28 days before opening : registration is free.

Your questions answered on how the new food hygiene legislation will affect you.

How will catering businesses be affected by the new regulations?

Catering businesses will need to have a food safety management system based on the principles of HACCP. They are already required to produce food that is safe to eat, but the new regulations say that catering businesses must be able to show what they do to make food safely – and have this written down.

The type of system they need will depend on the size and type of business. Many small catering businesses will only need a simple system.

What is there to help small catering businesses set up a food safety management system?

Packs will be available to small catering businesses throughout the UK via their local authorities. These have been produced by the FSA in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and by local authorities in Wales.

Catering businesses do not have to use any particular pack or model, but they must make sure they have a food safety management system that is suitable for their business. Some businesses will already have a suitable system, so they will not need to introduce a new one.


England –Safer food, better business’, an innovative and practical approach to food safety management, has been developed by the FSA in partnership with small catering businesses and more than 50 local authorities. If you would like to order a hard copy of ‘Safer food, better business’ call 0845 606 0667 or email.

Wales – Several local authorities have previously developed guidance packs on HACCP for caterers and FSA Wales has encouraged the sharing of these packs throughout Welsh local authorities. Businesses should contact their local authority for more information.

Scotland – FSA Scotland has drawn on expertise from the food industry including small businesses, local authorities and the Scottish Food Advisory Committee to develop a HACCP-based system called ‘CookSafe’. Businesses that would like a copy should contact their local authority.

Northern Ireland – FSA Northern Ireland has produced guidance for the catering sector called ‘Safe Catering’, working with caterers and local authorities. This guidance, which has been developed and refined over a number of years, is widely accepted by the catering sector in Northern Ireland. Businesses should contact their local authority for information.

If you have any questions regarding the packs above, please contact your local authority.



Type of Restaurant



There are many stratas in the sit downhot food sector. These range from the local workers/transport café, through high speed takeaways, such as, MacDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the now numerous sandwiche and salad bars like, Subway, Slug & Lettuce.

I question myself whether I should include these last few, as technically, they fall into the ‘hot food’ category but, as far as this article is concerned, they are a legitimate option for anyone wishing to start their own business in catering. Examining todays market, I feel that the two most successful spheres of the business lie at opposite ends of the spectrum.

In other words, the famous ones that you so often see on television programmes and are run by, or, employ a ‘Michelin’ rated chef. Or, we go to the other end of the market, with mass produced meal purveyors like,Witherspoon’s, Chef & Brewer, and many other pub chains. In between these are thousands of people and families, making a living, to a greater or lesser degree.

From my experience in the catering profession, I would advise anyone thinking of it, to examine themselves carefully and honestly. As well as being efficient, good with food, hygenic, you must also be, pleasant, amenable, and genuinely wishing to please.

Despite what you charge, customers come out for a meal, to avoid cooking themselves or, doing the washing up, but, also to be a little pampered. The more you pamper them, the more you can charge (within reason). My pet hates are as follows: having to wait for a table to be cleaned, or worse, having the table cleaned whilst I’m sat there.

I also dislike cheap paper napkins that dissolve when you try to wipe your mouth. I have nothing against them being paper, just thin. Supply a quality napkin, neatly foldedand definitely not wrapped around the knife, fork, and spoon.

It’s the little details that your customers will remember. When you ask if everything is alright…mean it. Customers can tell when you are just going through the motions. Ensure that you and your staff are immaculate at all times, and never never smell of cigarette smoke or sweat. Keep your premises spotless, and don’t allow the decor to get tired and faded. When cleaning your premises, make a big show of it. Leave the doors or windows open so that passers by can see you, and tell everyone how efficient and hygenic you are. This piece of advise could apply to basically any business. A little bullshit goes a long way!





Discount Shop



It may seem a bit late in the day to start one of these but, I feel that there could be a place for one of these, given the right location. Poundland and Poundworld have already snapped up most of the prime spots in the major cities and towns but, there are still many smaller communities, or out of town precincts, that offer an opportunity to get a foot on the ladder.

Remember what the book, ‘The Science of Getting Rich’ says…never think on the competitive plain, always on the creative.Your chosen shop will not need a ‘change of use’ if it was any form of retail outlet before you bought, or rented it.

Your main problem will be sourcing products that are cheap enough for you to sell for £1. Thanks to the Chinese, this doesn’t appear to be too big a problem.There many wholesalers in the big cities such as, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and most large ports, that specialise in the products for £1 shops.

A couple of magazines that list these wholesalers are, ‘The Trader’ and, ‘World Fair’, both sold at W. H. Smiths.The advertised wholesalers are usually located in amongst many others, so, once you have located one, you have found many.

In most cases they don’t want much, if any, proof of trading. One of your own computer generated letterheads or business cards will suffice. Like everyone else in business, they need your money. Use your computer and Yellow Pages to compile a list of auction houses and get on their mailing lists.

Bancrupt stock is a very good source of cheap stock supply. Poundland will listen to anyone who has something to sell that would retail for £1. This is the mental attitude that you must adopt. Anything sells if the price is right. Just follow all the previous steps for a retail outlet, cleanliness, politeness, and above good efficient service.





Property – Real Estate



This is the occupation that has probably made more millionaires than any other. I contend that all wealth is linked to land, and will be until it is made commonwealth.


Fact 1: The world population constantly increases.

Fact 2: The world land surface stays the same. Therefore, despite deflation, wars, famine, earthquakes, or any manmade or natural happening, the value will ever increase.


Before you jump down my throat, I am talking of over a never ending timespan. There will be dips, as in the late 60′s, early 80′s, early 90′s, and the present recession.

I was always taught that there is a 12 year swing between property/shares and gold but, I am not convinced that this still applies. The present scramble for gold proves the theory that money has to go somewhere and, when it is not going into property/shares, it definitely goes into gold.

Looking back over the past 50 years, I would argue that the cycle is more accurately spaced at 10 years. There is not an absolute cut-off point for any of the periods. It is a curved sycle so, one period slides into another.

We can only measure from peak to peak, or trough to trough. No matter which measurement you choose, it is apparent that we are just past midstream at this moment in time. Bearing this in mind, I believe that this is the ideal time to buy property.

With inflation falling and the advisers to the Bank of England getting resigned to the long haul, it is highly likely that they will be forced to continue the bank lending rate at 0.5%. This will have a knock on effect on mortgages and there will be no increase in mortgage rates.

Couple this up with the number of people unemployed, and you have a property price collapse. Now could be a great time to start  grabbing bargains for the rental market.

The sad fact of life is that, the more people that lose their homes, the more who need to rent. Gold’s value is only perceived value, and must be dealt-in as a liquid commodity. Like land/property, gold will rise in value, just by holding it but, unlike property, you cannot receive rent from it whilst it is accruing the value.

Having said that, the signs are predicting a possible continued rise up to a staggering $5,000 plus an ounce. Watch this space (my view is that it will be several years before this target is hit).


It is possible to make profit from property by paying others to do the improvement work for you but, as most of the cost, charged by a builder, is for labour, it is obvious that the ability to do jobs yourself, is much more profitable in the beginning.

Later, when you are in funds, it may be more profitable to employ skilled artisans just to get the jobs completed quicker. If you are not skilled in any form of building, read our article: “Build it”.

I also recommend the many courses run by British Gypsum. Their courses include : Plasterboarding, dry lining, finishing, etc. These courses last from 1 – 3 days. Local skillcentres often teach bricklaying, and carpentry.

We have all seen the TV programmes that make it appear so easy to find the perfect property to develop and 3 months later it is like a palace. With a bottomless bank account, anyone can make money from property. But, my guess is that, if you had a bottomless account, you wouldn’t need to read this.



Finding the Property



I began in the redevelopment business way back in 1967 by going round every estate agent I could find. I registered with them and, told them exactly what I had in mind. I also scoured all the local newspapers.

Houses sold at auction were pretty thin on the ground at that time, and anyway, I didn’t have the cash or the backing. At that time I raised my stake money by working 30 hours a day (that’s what it felt like) and saved almost every penny by eating at parents, friends, or buying the cheapest possible food.

As soon as I was almost to where I wanted to be, deposit wise, I began to search everywhere for a house. Throughout my house buying years, my greatest bargains have come from tip-offs from family and friends.

By friends, I mean, anyone that I had told what I was looking for. Another method I pursued was to knock on doors of houses that appeared deserted. They weren’t always deserted. They occasionally had old people who were incapable of maintaining the property any longer but, didn’t know what to do about it.

I would apologise for disturbing them, and then went on to explain that I was searching for older houses needing renovation. This paid off on several occasions, and gave the people a lot of cash to pursue their dreams.

At that time, people were trusting enough to allow you to give them a decent deposit and receive the rest by weekly payments as rental purchase. We agreed a fixed rate of interest at usually 3% above bank base rate and had it drawn up by a solicitor.

The agreement made it clear that their solicitor would take out the full outstanding balance once I had modernised and sold the property, before giving me the remainder.

If you do decide to approach house locating by this method, please consider the old people. Dress smartly and try to be as empathetic as you can to their fear of strangers. Hopefully, they are sensible enough to keep their doors chained.

Print out a note, before you go anywhere, with your full name, address, tel. And a photo.

State what you are doing and looking for. Always apologise for any inconvenience that you may have caused. Good manners still go a long way when you are wanting someones assistance.

Do not hassle them, state your case and regardless of their answer, leave your printed note, and allow them time to think. If you do not hear anything within a week, politely approach them again and ask if they have had time to consider selling.

If, after a couple of visits to a house, I couldn’t get an answer, I would knock on the doors of neighbouring houses. Using the same politeness and apologies, I would ask if they knew where the owners of the derelict house were. I always eventually found my way to the owner.

Now, you can locate the owner of a property by using the internet. By going to the ‘Land Register on line’ and the property search section, it is possible to find out who is the legal owner, when it was bought, what the property boundaries are, and any covenants that are pertinent to that property.

A covenant is a stipulation or restriction, backed by law, upon a property. The cost at this moment for downloading office copies, as they are called, is £4. For this, you can download and print out the information.

Solicitors charge you a small fortune for obtaining information that you can easily get yourself. When you instruct solicitors to act on your behalf when selling a house, it actually costs the solicitors a couple of first class stamps, whilst they charge you £400 plus, but, we will enlarge upon this more, later.

You may be asking yourself, “Why should I trail round the doors, when I can get the Land Registry to do it all for me”. The sorry answer, is that, they may give you the address of the deserted house and, apart from all the additional information, you are no better off.

Many older people move in with their brothers or sisters for company, fully intending to move back at a later date, that never comes. They aren’t sure what to do with the house. They don’t know what the procedure is to sell a house.

In many cases, they are grateful for your offer and, ensuing assistance. I have often remained friends with the vendors and encouraged them to visit to see the improvements. Through this friendliness, I have, on several occasions, been tipped off about possible other houses.

Always remember what the book, ‘The science of Getting Rich’ says, you are not in competition. There will always be a bargain out there for you. Be shrewd but, give value. Showing, or teaching people how to improve their house, could be classed as giving value.


When it comes to buying a house from the auctions, I think that there are enough TV programmes out there to sink a battleship. They all repeat the do’s and don’ts on every programme. View the house thoroughly, read the legal pack, and ensure sufficient funds have been arranged before the sale date.

Check the charges payable to the auction house. These hidden charges could swallow up your improvement money. Never under estimate the redevelopment costs.

You will only be fooling yourself and, if the money runs out before the works are completed, you will be frustrated and losing money, waiting to sell it.

Before buying any property, decide what you are going to do with it. Are you going to sell it as soon asit is finished, or, are you going to rent it? More money has been made from renting than constantly selling. I make this last statement with several caviats.

Between 1998 and 2005, buying, improving, and selling was probably as profitable as anything, simply because property prices were rising regardless of condition. Even this fabulous situation has its drawbacks.

Houses were rising so fast that, by the time the legal and mortgage paraphernalia had been completed, the house prices had risen, so, you already had to pay more out of the profit that you had just made, to start at the same level.

Your eventual profit was much more than your starting stake money provided that you didn’t finish up holding a high value property that wouldn’t sell before losing much of its value due to the recession.

This situation leaves you again with 2 choices; rent and wait, usually several years, until prices returned to their pre-recession prices or, cut your losses by selling for as much as possible, and hoping that you can buy -in at the bottom.

Renting is not always a win – win situation. You may get the tenants from hell, or just clumsy ones that gradually destroy all your good work. If you know that you intend to rent before modernising the property, you have the opportunity to instal cheaper or stronger fittings.

Better quality houses, or houses in better quality locations, can often eliminate the bad tenant scenario. Remember: expect someone to live in a sty and, they will live like pigs.

The housing associations have found the winning formula with renting to the over 55′s. These people have usually downsized in order to provide their adult children with funds to get them on the property ladder, or their partner has died.

They are more considerate, look after one another, and one another’s property. Everything you want as a landlord.



Buying to Sell



To repeat the old over used adage: The 3 most important rules to buying are, location, location, location. Sorry but, it’s true. Buy the best house you can afford. Stretch your resourses to breaking point.

Buy the worst house in a good street and make it the best. Never buy a good one in a bad street unless it is a steal. Don’t ignore the garden, it’s the first and last thing they see, and leaves a memory.Spend most on the kitchen and bathroom. A little touch of over the top luxury can swing the balance in your favour, and make the difference between a buy or no buy.

When it comes to pricing, the same rule applies to selling as it does to buying. Check your newspapers, go round several estate agents, and believe one tenth of what they say.

They are not in business to make money for you, no matter what they say, or how genuine they appear.

Consider this: if they work on a 2.5% commission, if they sell your house for say, £200,000 they get £5000. If they sell your house for £180,000 you lose £20,000 they lose only £500.

If you were an estate agent would you rather have £4,500 or nothing for perhaps months. Because of this, they often try to gently convince you that it is a good idea to accept the lower price…it is for them.

Whatever their argument, it takes a heck of a long time, for most people to make £20,000.

For specific advice on problems that you may come across whilst redeveloping property, check out our “Build It” section.

If your specific problem isn’t covered there, ‘contact’ us and, we will do our utmost to provide you with clear instructions.







Any questions or comments, please contact me via the ‘Contact Us’ tab (left hand side) I will always do my utmost to answer all your queries regarding any of the subjects above.



Steve Goldman.

‘The value of your investments can go down as well as up’.

‘You may not get back all the funds you invest’.

While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. Any perceived slights of specific persons, peoples, or organizations are unintentional.

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