What is the “Bon Bini” Business Model (Part One)?
(This is Part 1 of 2, of the story of João and his “Bon Bini” Business Model. Checkout the next blog for Part 2 here).
It all started with an adolescent boy many many years ago working for a little grocery store in the suburbs. This boy, let’s call him João, had a dream, and this dream was to one day become the owner of this little store. Now, many years later he owns a Perpetual Money Making Machine. I call this the “Bon Bini” Business Model.
Location, location, location
This little grocery store is now a very popular Supermarket, located right at a busy intersection between lower-high middle class and lower class neighborhoods. Public transportation from and to the city and both sides of the island flows right through this area, and the bus stops are right in front of the store. At the other side of the road there is a gas station, and a bunch of fast food restaurants.
The Full Story
This little boy grew up and finally took over the grocery store, but he didn’t stop there. Next to the store there was a little bakery. When the time was right, he took over the bakery too. So he kept growing and expanding the grocery store, but he needed more space.
He needed more space for the store, for the warehouse, parking space, and the electrical sub-station right next to it, was not built for it’s own energetic demands and the area surrounding it. As he kept expanding at the back side of the store into the urban area, the neighbors started to panic.
It’s time to talk
The neighbors living right behind and next to the grocery store (which was rapidly morphing into a super-store) started to talk to João. Expansion and building plans came on the table, complaints about the noise, littering, hygienic issues (rats and the like, lots of rats), potential fire hazards (because of close proximity), but it quickly became clear that there was no stopping this madness talking.
Looks like someone is going to need a lawyer
So, the neighbors united and after collecting some evidence and legal stuff, they decided to fight the battle in court. They contacted one of the best lawyers they know, a lawyer from the same neighborhood, someone they grew up with.
Turned out, the supermarket was one of his main customers.
It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove in court
So, they settled for second best (the fees of their childhood friend lawyer were too steep anyway). Long story short, the United Neighbors lost the case in court, and to this day, this second best lawyer never even returned to cash-in a couple of thousand bucks they still owed him.
The supermarket was violating all kind of laws and regulations: fire regulations (on 35 points), infrastructure and civil construction regulations, expansion without building permits, labor laws, environmental laws, plus the United Neighbors thought that they could win based on something called EOP, which basically is the master development plan of the government. The United Neighbors thought they had the law on their side.
So, what really happened here?
What happened here doesn’t really matter anymore. Whether the crappy lawyer jumped over the fence or not I’m going to leave to your own imagination. More importantly is asking the question: “What are the lessons learned from this legal fiasco…?”
Number one: Don’t hire a crappy lawyer.
Number two: Don’t go to court to simply fight a moral battle. If you don’t have enough reasons to believe you can win some kind of money claim or restitution, don’t go. Fighting in court for rights, dignity, and stuff like that is nice, but at the end of the day, when the judge starts to look at both sides, often times economical factors come in to play, like: how many jobs are at stake, what is the overall socio-economical impact for the local area, stuff like that. And if they can make the judge to believe that they can iron out all the “minor” imperfections in their business practices within a reasonable amount of time… you are fried meat.
Number three: Don’t hire a crappy lawyer.
Would hiring a better lawyer have saved the day for the United Neighbors, we simply don’t know, but I’ll say it again: Don’t hire a crappy lawyer, even though you may think you have the law on your side!
Ok, back to João and his “Bon Bini” Business Model…