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Thread: Advice on further action on Golf Course.. (Legal?)

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    Advice on further action on Golf Course.. (Legal?)

    Hi there

    I am new to the forum but have looked around quite a bit and it looks like a great place to get some advice. My problem is slightly long winded but I would appreciate any advice on further steps I should take.

    Just over a year ago I started a small business that would create yardage books for golf courses. For the non golfers a yardage book is basically a map of a whole golf course, with a graphic of a hole on each page describing the distances and how it should be played.

    At the outset I sent a proposal to a few golf courses which stated that they wouldn't have to pay anything for the booklets as I would sell advertising to cover the costs. One golf course got back to me and after a meeting where I showed them example graphics and an example booklet it was decided that they would give me the time on the course with a golf cart to get the necessary pictures to create the booklet.

    After getting most of the graphic work done I found it incredibly difficult to sell advertising, even with offering delayed payment. The only thing holding me back from going to print was the finance for it. I contacted the golf course with the proposal that I pay for the printing at the outset and the golf course sell the book at R20 and once they reordered they would pay me R15 of that money. My problem is that I confirmed this over the telephone.

    Once the booklet was printed and I delivered it to the course I got a call saying that the general manager was not happy with the booklet and "wouldn't give it away if it was free". And that the person that gave me the 'go ahead' was not authorised to do so even though this was the person I had been dealing with the entire time. This shocked me as it was in the same standard as the original pictures I had showed them.

    After a few weeks of arguing about it I agreed to change what they didn't like and reprint the booklet at my own cost ( My logic was to keep them as a client). They agreed and I made some changes only to find midway that the new committee of the course had decided against having the booklet altogether. So now they have decided even if I make changes they do not want the yardage book.

    My question is what further action I can take? I have spent a great deal of time and money on developing the yardage book under the assumption that they would take it. I thought about staging some sort of rebellion and handing it out to members for free anyway and possibly effecting a demand for it. There is one paid for advertisement in the booklet who luckily for me has not asked for a refund.

    Should I be thinking about Legal action or am I a victim of a poorly planned business and out of pocket?

    I hope I have not left anything out.

    I appreciate anyone that has read this and thank you in advance for any replies..

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    You have absolutely nothing in writing?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emporacci View Post
    ......even if I make changes they do not want the yardage book.
    What was the motivation behind the change of heart of the new committee?

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    I think the idea went off the rails when you could not sell the advertising space, as originally envisaged.

    Perhaps it would be better to let the idea quietly slip & not waste further time on it. Why waste further time & effort?
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    tonyflanigan (17-Mar-10)

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    @Dave - I have most of the correspondence in writing. Just not the actual 'go ahead'. The last email I have from the person I was dealing with said that they would check with the course manager and then when I called to find out he said that the course manager had given the go ahead.

    @AndyD - In terms of yardage books for golf courses you get different qualities of products, 1 being worst and 10 being the best mine is about a 7.5. The difference here is I give it to the course for free. If they wanted a booklet closer to a 10, there is a company offering that to golf courses for R110k. This includes helicopter flyover shots. But even for an 8 the course would be looking at paying R35k or more and they don't receive any of the advertising revenue. The committee's basic answer was that even though they cannot afford to spend anything right now to have a better product, they won't go ahead with having a yardage book until they can..

    @desA - I may let this golf course slip away but most certainly not the entire Idea. I have two other courses waiting on me to create this for them (and I definitely will be going about things a different way). But I would like to wrap it up with this course first so that I don't have any black marks on my brand when I go to another course.

    I appreciate your responses..

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emporacci View Post
    @desA - I may let this golf course slip away but most certainly not the entire Idea. I have two other courses waiting on me to create this for them (and I definitely will be going about things a different way). But I would like to wrap it up with this course first so that I don't have any black marks on my brand when I go to another course.
    The idea seems to have merit. The difficulty may be in being prepared to use your own money upfront, until a customer pays up. Not easy.

    Perhaps negotiate an upfront payment - deposit. Use their money to make money.

    The timing of the revenue stream will be the killer here, I'd think.
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I guess you face the choice of enforcing a contract as best you can or writing off the experience to school fees and trying to recover what you can in good will. Pretty tough to decide which way to go sitting where I am looking at the problem.

    Perhaps if you have the books printed already and you have no other practical way of realising a return on them, it might pay just to give the stock to the club.

    At worst, what else can you do with them? May as well give it to someone who might be able to use them.

    And you never know - unexpected gestures in such things can produce unexpected results.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    desA (17-Mar-10)

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    selling advertising for three courses could be more attractive than trying to sell for one only.
    Maybe sell the idea to a few more courses before selling the advertising, then you can sell local advertising to the area around the course and national to all the courses.
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    Thank you for all the responses.

    @DesA - What I've decided to do is sign a deferred payment contract with the courses whereby they pay within 6 months of delivery OR on their next order. The cash flow is not really a major issue at this stage because the margin it costs compared to the profit is quite high and thus worth it for me to risk it in order to hook them in. Once I have a few more courses I'll have to get them to pay a deposit upfront.

    @DAVE - I think for the time being I am going to write this off to school fee's like Dave says. The course itself does not seem interested in even getting the booklets for free. I know many members at the club so I will be giving them the booklets to slowly distribute. The only glitch in that is that the course may claim I am misrepresenting them. Either way I will see what the result is soon enough.

    @wynn - I have considered that but initially the idea was to sell advertising to businesses local to that golf course area, a cheaper rate and should have been easier to sell. At the moment I'm going to try and do a mix of small and large advertisers.

    Thanks again for all the responses, they have given me some clarity on the issue. I'm off to the new golf course..

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Great to hear you're being pragmatic about it.

    It can never hurt to generate a little goodwill at that club. I'm guessing it might just be a case of getting the books in the right hands.

    If it's a good product, you'll stand a fair chance of the wind changing direction yet again, and perhaps in your favour.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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