As with any race, there are some points where you are in front and some where you are trying to make up for lost time. John Creasey realised this after he went into business with someone who didn’t share his vision of the future for his bodywork company Paint Perfect, a business that he has never given up on.
Now with a turnover of half a million pounds, John is looking to fulfil another dream – winning the British Touring Car Championship, the highest platform of British Motor Sport, after just three years of racing.
From a young age, John had a passion for cars, the sound of the engine and the finish of the paintwork. His ambition even as a teenager drove him forward into the world of automobiles. Originally wanting a chain of garages on the mechanical side of the industry, his vision quickly changed after doing some work experience at a bodyshop.
This feature interview was first published in issue 69 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.
“I’ve always dreamed of working for myself. I always knew it was what I wanted to do,” said John. “I knew nothing about bodywork whatsoever but very quickly fell in love with it.
“I took every opportunity that I could at that stage to go there in the holidays and Saturday mornings. Anytime I wasn’t at school, I was working at the garage. I put everything into it. I wasn’t interested in doing anything else.”
He took a job at the bodyshop when he left school but he still wanted to go out on his own and create his enterprise. An opportunity arose three doors down and before he knew it, he was renting a corner space of another garage with his own spray booth and his journey began.
A challenging course
John’s father passed away when he was just 17, bringing him and his mother closer together. She became a guiding hand, helping him on his new venture. The company grew year on year, moving to larger premises and employing his first two staff. But as the company developed and things moved faster, things took an unaccounted turn.
“We got an opportunity to take a car sales business on that was selling up and we incorporated that into the body work side of things. But I took a partner on at that point and that was my biggest regret. It just never worked.”
With two different views on where the company was going and what the future held, John realised that it was a bad match. The company went into debt and John was left with less than nothing.
“After all of the hard work I had put in for three or four years, I really found it difficult then. I thought it would help in support with two people running a business. But we really struggled. It was a conflict of what we wanted to do and where we wanted the business to go. We had two different minds and it just didn’t work. It was a big, big learning curve, ultimately to the point that we nearly went bankrupt. We had a really tough few years.
“Then I got given the opportunity for here. We went our separate ways after deciding that it wasn’t working, calling it a day.
“Coming out of that, I basically started with nothing. We were in quite a bad state when we separated, with quite a lot of debts associated with the company. I took the decision to keep my reputation, work the debts off.
“Ever since I have gone back as a sole trader it’s just flourished, everything is on my head. So if you struggle, you struggle, but there’s nobody else to blame for it. If you succeed, it’s your own doing, your destiny is in your own hands.”
Continue reading the full cover interview with John Creasey in Issue 69.
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