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A controversial claim for small businesses

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

By David Parker - Purple Accounts


Here’s a controversial claim: Not being a numbers person could be the best thing to ever happen to your business.

eggs with painted faces

Let me tell you a bit about Levi Roots, (if you don't already know him) a UK-based entrepreneur who turned a seemingly disastrous blunder into a recipe for success.


Humour me a few minutes… It all happened on a sunny afternoon in 2007, on a reality TV show you may be a fan of called Dragon’s Den. Where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a group of venture capitalists, hoping to secure investment. Levi, a charismatic character with a product named ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce,’ was preparing to make his pitch. Despite having rehearsed his lines meticulously, nerves got the best of Levi. He incorrectly quoted his business’s valuation at £2 million instead of the accurate £240,000. The mathematical blunder was quite significant, considering the revenue was only a mere £4,000. But the dragons were impressed by Levi’s passionate pitch and his ultimate vision. Two dragons, Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh, decided to invest £50,000 each for a 20% stake in Levi’s company. After the show, the Dragons discovered the financial misrepresentation, but they decided to stick with Levi and renegotiated the equity stakes.

So what happened next? Levi’s Reggae Reggae Sauce hit the supermarket shelves, quickly becoming a household favourite across the UK. The sales skyrocketed from £4,000 to a mind-boggling £30 million in just over a decade. This fascinating turn of events shows that, sometimes, knowing your numbers is less about perfect precision and more about understanding the broader narrative they paint.

Now, you might be thinking, “What does this mean for me and my business in Warrington?

Am I suggesting you should dive headfirst into your business ventures without having a solid grasp on your numbers? Not quite. The crux here isn’t Levi’s numerical error in itself; it’s what he did afterwards that made the difference. Once his initial fumble came to light, Levi didn’t pack up his Reggae Reggae Sauce and head home. Instead, he owned up, renegotiated and most importantly, learned from his misstep. This is the essence of knowing your numbers today: Knowing your numbers isn’t just about getting them right the first time or reciting them off the top of your head. It’s about seeing them as tools for understanding your business, making it better and achieving your goals. A slip-up like Levi’s could be disastrous for some, but only if they fail to grasp the real lesson. Knowing your numbers is not just about accuracy, but also about perception and application. It’s about recognising when a ‘mistake’ is actually an opportunity in disguise - that you can’t afford to miss. Remember, it’s not the size of your business that determines success, it’s your understanding of its numerical narrative. Now that’s food (or should I say ‘sauce’) for thought! Speaking of ‘numerical narratives,’ wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a service that not only provides the numbers but also helps you understand them? So you can do better and achieve your goals? A really useful service that takes you beyond the surface level of figures and percentages and into the heart of your business’s performance. This isn’t about crunching numbers, it’s about interpreting them and using them as signposts on your journey towards growth and profitability. Allow me to introduce the ‘Management Accounts Insight Package. This package is designed and delivered by me personally as a Chartered Management Accountant with CIMA. (That’s corporate jargon for ‘big business expertise without the big business price tag!) You’ll get a comprehensive understanding of all your key numbers every month, without you having to delve into spreadsheets or financial statements. Consider it your personalised business insight report, taking the complexity out of financial analysis and delivering clear, actionable insights. Here are some of the package highlights:

  • You’ll know how and where your business is generating or consuming cash.

  • You’ll know whether you made a profit last month and by how much

  • We’ll identify potential levers you can pull to increase your profitability

  • We’ll assess the effectiveness of your marketing

  • We’ll check whether your overheads are under control

  • You’ll get a thorough review of your margins and pricing

  • We’ll provide profit and revenue comparisons to previous years

Essentially, the ‘Management Accounts Insight Package’ is your secret weapon for turning financial data into a powerful growth strategy for your business. Curious to learn more? Get in touch directly with me to arrange a chat and let’s start turning your numbers into narratives that fuel growth. You can learn a bit more on our web page. Until our ledgers cross again, stay saucy! David P.S. One little nugget that the Levi Roots story leaves us pondering is how crucial a role numbers play in our lives and businesses. Knowing your numbers is like having a road map to your destination. Sure, you could drive around aimlessly and still get somewhere, but why leave it to chance? It’s exactly this expert help that separates a struggling business from a thriving one. Just like Levi, may you always find your recipe for success.


Purple Accounts is a family run Chartered Management Accountants and Xero Gold Champion Partners supporting business owners in Warrington and across the UK.


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