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Is Night Wish Group a “Ponzi Scheme”?
Written by Bryan Flowers
“A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud that lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors. The scheme leads victims to believe that profits are coming from product sales or other means, and they remain unaware that other investors are the source of funds”
There are a few people writing on social media (from questionable FB accounts) that NWG is a “Ponzi Scheme”. We naturally expect a few haters due to the fast success of our growing business.
There are people out there that are uncomfortable with the idea that success and an honest decent living can be made in Pattaya, this concept can make them feel deeply inadequate. There is a lot of negative stories about failure, but most of these failures involve drugs, alcohol, poor spending or lack of work. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt and argue that its a lack of understanding of the work, staff, and processes that are behind this success.
A lot of hours go into running and expanding our group, our core management team are working around the clock 7 days a week, (we don’t drink because we have to be able to work all hours) everything we do is trying to improve our customer experience and keep it maintained across all bars as we expand. We are working the hardest on recruitment more than ever before, trying to bring in an oversupply which spills over into other establishments around town. We do our best to deliver our brand promise and align everyone in our team, the bar managers have to oversee things 7 days a week and have meetings on their days off, recruitment team, head cashier, security, 2 general managers, etc. Our work ethics have spread like wildfire and I am proud of this fact, as good leadership is about many things, especially teaching good work ethics and in return, everyone makes more money. Worth ethics is this town has great headwind from everyone around us on holiday. The money we earn is a direct byproduct of keeping our customers coming back and happy.
What you are seeing on the outside is fast organic growth (by using mostly profit) that can often look careless and aggressive. What is really happening on the inside, is that everyone is under a lot of pressure working their asses off. We get the odd loan and finance deal but we’ve always paid back. Our business/personal accounts getting a hammering, our personal lives are often put aside, we are constantly improving systems, communication, training, rules, guidelines. What we have built is a real company with many levels, jobs, departments and we don’t have or need offices. We have over 100 or so chat groups to communicate in. Some of these bars we seem to open fast but I often get the deals in months or years ahead. I have discussed our business online before regarding teams, recruitment and I have answered many questions on PA that other bar owners wouldn’t answer (quite rightly).
I have been very honest about our operations and it has worked with us and worked against us, but I am happy that we have many people that enjoy following our progress.
We have a few disgruntled people that like to say we are a “Ponzi Scheme”, but where did this start? We have had money-laundering accusations, drugs etc, yet I am very public and easy to find. Anyone that knows us or knows me will laugh at these things.
I have ignored these comments for a while because they are laughable but also at the same time, I have always shared my thoughts on certain things. Although I don’t respond anymore or participate in Pattaya based groups that are just negative about life in general.
NWG has 7 investors including me, most of our 20+ managers can name them, in fact, they are often on the Soi as customers, one of them is my dad, but I do not wish to name them here. Many managers (100 plus) over the years have met them. Most importantly all 7 investors can name and contact each other. Try asking one of them to sell their percent and you will find that none of them want to sell, ever. So I am not sure how it could be said that we are a Ponzi scheme? All investors happy and paid regular fixed dividends, natural growth and we have healthy projections.
All 7 investors get access to daily emails from each bar. All managers and cashiers see our daily sales.
Around 6-12 months ago I posted a flyer looking for loans to help us expand NWG, and I was completely honest and I told everyone we don’t have any real security against the loans. We could have used smoke and mirrors as other people do, but I have always been honest, I shoot myself in the foot short term, but growing long term trusting relationships. Two guys contacted us about 1m baht each but they wanted to be part of decision making, see our books and mentor me. 1m baht is a lot of money for me, but for this business its a very small amount, both guys were great guys, but that deal isn’t worth it for us (can buy less than 1/3rd of a bar with no renovation and have the renovation costs on top). I currently have 6 bars in sight, (it’s me that lines them up). I removed the adverts and I changed one advert for a 5m loan, (just in case) https://nightwish-group.com/investing/
No one from outside the group has lent us any money except for only one instance, and it was paid back, but I haven’t been pushing it either. However, I did offer the deal at a higher rate to a few friends privately. We are continuing to buy bars at a slower pace than we wanted using profits and free cash flow alone….. It’s frustrating to have opportunities lined up and the right process, but we are all hampered by borrowing funds.
During the last 6 years that we have been operating, we have had over 100 managers (I would wildly guess). All of them that made it past cover managers have seen our sales in one bar or in all of them. All the managers know each other’s bonuses which are a percentage of profit, we have 35 cashiers right now and they all see our sales. So if we are a “Ponzi Scheme”, why has no one spoken out about a lack of sales? How do we pay people and expand? How do we pay a per cent on the so-called “non-existent” profit? Yes, it’s true that the later partners that came in later paid more money for their shares. The business was simply worth more as we grew it. All of that direct investment gets spent in refurbs and more bars, but this is normal business practice. How do you have a “Ponzi Scheme” with 7 people? How do we fake sales every day and everyone is in on such a big secret? Why have none of the ex disgruntled or fired ex-employees blown the whistle? I think the answer is simple, even for the haters.
For those of you in the business world, you will know the power of compounding (critical mass) you will see this in our staff, education, bars we are buying, likes on our facebook pages; it’s an unstoppable machine (providing we keep learning, training, improving, getting past any market forces and adapting quickly)
This business has a lot of depth to it that people do not see, for example, I am learning most of the day and this gets applied and passed down and across the team, everyone is improving, learning and sharing ideas. We are growing connections and networking more than ever, we are ready to scale up, but organic growth from profits is the better choice.
We / I have made mistakes but we have learned from them and improved the way we do things. At one point we might start taking more profits off the table, but this has been primarily a growth business with limited dividends. What you are seeing from the outside is the efforts of a lot of pressure, pain, misery, stress due to stretching ourselves and our resources, then growing our team continues to take the next few bars on.
We now have more than 500+ staff (last official count) and 26 locations, we have a responsibility to them and ourselves to keep this company growing. If you see someone saying we are a “Ponzi Scheme”, please kindly link them to this article.
Maybe ask them how 7 investors can make a “Ponzi Scheme”? Maybe they would be interested in some flat earth articles?
One thing I have learned in life is that most people cannot keep secrets about bad things, it causes fatigue and effects well being: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/experimentations/201901/how-does-keeping-secrets-harm-us
Therefore all these crazy conspiracy theories I do not believe, because there are more good people than bad. Good people speak out if they see bad things, because it hurts them long term, although secrets for the greater good protect this fatigue effect.
The only way to keep people quiet is by paying them a big retirement and holding it over them, but people still expose bad things, a “Ponzi Scheme” is a very low life thing to do and if we were doing anything bad it would have been exposed by now. As for laundering money and drugs, I can’t even be bothered to argue that one that it’s so silly. I am looking to stay here forever, I am happy with good honest slow and steady growth.
However, most importantly, without all of our customers, we would be nothing. We have created many friendships between customers, girls and managers I have met so many decent guys throughout this experience, that’s what drives us more than money ever could. So, thank you to all those that have supported us, and continue to visit our bars.
For those of you not convinced after reading my self serving trumpet-blowing article, here are 20 conspiracy theories you can get stuck into.