Student studying

Exams & Life Lessons

Welcome to the first LONICblog article

We want to make our website personal to relate to you the occupier. We hope you like it.

For this first blog, I want to write about –  the future.

As I write this, thousands of young people, mainly 16-24 year olds, are sitting various exams. Some will be leaving school at 16 or 18 into an uncertain world – it has always been uncertain.

So many of us get wrapped up in these exams – yet do any of us really know at 16, 18 or 23 what we want to do in the future? Jim Ratcliffe founder of INEOS and now the richest man in the UK, founded INEOS at the age of 40. Sir Martin Sorrell left Saatchi and Saatchi also at 40, to start a small plastics company, WPP. There is something about the age of 40!

Many parents want their child to be a lawyer, doctor, accountant or future Bill Gates/Mark Zuckerberg –  both of them dropped out of Harvard!

On an infinitely smaller scale, I founded LONIC at the age of 30. I didn’t discover what I was good at until 26 – it then took 3.5 years to make it happen, when the timing was right. If you are doing your exams, don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to be – just work hard at whatever subjects you’ve chosen – life is a constant learning curve.

LONIC has been an incredible journey. The business plan at the start has evolved but essentially, we are still an occupier-focused advisor.  It has and continues to be an incredible experience – we are fortunate to have fantastic clients and are grateful for every instruction and mandate – without those, we don’t come to work.

Without wishing to leave anybody out, there have been a few individuals who might inspire those that are taking their exams today. Every project we have carried out over the past 10 years has its own story. The people below were an influential part:-

John Labdon – John worked at M&S as both man and boy for 25 years. He was asked by Sir Richard Greenbury to go and run Brooks Brothers in the USA – a major promotion. He declined! – citing family reasons, as his children were young and he did not want to unsettle them. So was fired on the spot!

He did not know what to do. Two days later, he got a call from a friend who asked him to go and run a nearby hospital project paying £600 a day. Within 2 years, he had 40 clients he was a consultant to. When LONIC started he said to me on my first day “you’ll do our acquisitions” – and was the most loyal friend and client one could imagine – and never held a grudge against M&S. I have a lot to be grateful to him for. Even in his late 60’s and early 70’s when diagnosed first with MS, then cancer, he worked harder than anyone, travelling up weekly from his home near Colchester to London – 2 hours. I miss him. A wonderful individual.

Tony Lorenz & Lloyd Simon –  Tony founded Baker Lorenz in 1973 with John Baker. Anyone who tells you working on one floor is the answer is not strictly correct – it’s about flow and culture. Baker Lorenz had the best reception in London (designed like terminal 5) with the worst offices, all higgildy piggildy upstairs. Yet the firm was fantastic and profitable every year. Today at 71, Tony still works harder than most, sticking to corporate leasehold advisory – 25-hour days and 8-day weeks. He brought LONIC in to act for two major corporates. it was an incredible journey for us and we are always grateful.

Lloyd is now a Principle. When he was an office agent, everyone loved him and he was one of the best. To make the jump from Agent to Principle is not easy but he has done so. Both Tony and Lloyd remain driven and hungry. Tony is a lesson to anyone, the benefit of sticking to what you know. Lloyd in ensuring people like/love you and being the best.

Eamon Jabbawy – only mid 20’s but now running a company employing over 200 people. While still at university, Eamon went to all the banks and asked them what their biggest problem was. Once they told him, he devised the solution. From 1000 sq ft his company now occupies 20,000 sq ft – simples (possibly!). Too often we knock success – he has worked hard to build the business from scratch.

So for those taking your exams, you can be an A* pupil but an F* worker or, an F* pupil and A* worker.  Life goes on after your last exam, regardless of your grades.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do, but when you do get an idea or you end up in a job you love, be the best you can. You will have awesome days and so so days. If you go into professional services, be original. If you go into tech, it is a young industry so have people around you who are wiser.

Align with your favourite sport star and study them – sport and business are two sides of the same coin – even Loris Karius sacrificed his life to be able to be Number 1 for Liverpool in the European Cup Final – mistakes will happen! – try not to make them 😊

Be loyal, treat employers, colleagues, people you meet in the street, employees, like you would want yourself to be treated and surround yourself with people you trust. If you do the travelling thing or have a job that takes you abroad often, make sure you see the places you visit. If you go to University, enjoy it. Whatever you do, never let anyone ever tell you, you can’t do something and constantly learn.

Enjoy the journey and we wish you every success with your exams.