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Never put all your eggs in one basket

LIQUI MOLY Managing Director Ernst Prost on sustainable spreading of risk

Good morning, dear colleagues,

A quarter of a century ago, we had a handful of products, a handful of customers, five suppliers and three banks. If I remember correctly, we numbered no more than 116 … One of the banks called in our credit, our main supplier did not want to produce for us anymore, and the biggest of all customers delisted us because the Valvoline company put up a huge sum of money to destroy us. Our export took place to just over a dozen countries and the brand was not even registered to us worldwide … All that was not so long ago....

Experience makes you smarter. Everyone is a product of their experiences … And now you know why I hate being dependent. Dependencies can be deadly. In retrospect, I am very grateful for all these setbacks. Today, we don’t need a bank, we have thousands of customers and thousands of products in 150 countries around the world. Risk splitting and the avoidance of cluster risk are right at the top of my agenda. So that nothing bad happens, if something bad happens … Internationalize, diversify and multiply – with this triple ‘liberating blow’, we escaped from the highly dangerous monostructure of that time, and have today built up a stable, sustainable and secure structure in every regard!

“Try a lot; something always works.” This guiding principle is now proving its worth. Because we sell 4,000 different products in different markets, to 150 different countries, we still have something going on. “When one door closes, another opens.” Cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, bicycles, lawnmowers, construction equipment, agricultural machinery, aircraft, industrial plants, stationary diesel engines and much more besides. Wherever an engine is humming and a vehicle (or a workshop) needs to be kept in good visual and technical condition, we are in demand. I love risk splitting. It provides security instead of sleepless nights and is the supreme discipline of prudent business management. Now it is only a matter of cleverly and consistently exploiting our many possibilities. Hard-working salespeople first and foremost (we have the best in the world there), differentiated sales strategies, country-specific marketing, and an individually adapted product portfolio help us achieve double-digit growth rates in normal times – and survive in crises …

We support our customers internationally, nationally, regionally and locally. Wherever they are. This can be the entire world or their home country. Or both – because both belong together … Just like the chicken and  the egg. But never put all your eggs in one basket …

Ernst Prost