A hectic life - but a very rewarding one!

Gary Cockaday

Gary Cockaday - Credit: Archant

In a new blog for the Dereham Times, 4sports group manging director Gary Cockaday describes a week in his busy life.

Another week passing by in a blur, another 60 plus hours worked, every deadline met as it has been for the four years that we have traded.

Some times I miss my old 'proper job' working 45 hours each week with eight weeks off a year - but not often.

Running a small business is challenging, hard work but very rewarding, even when strapped to a 'tens' machine - the joy of a slipped disc!

We opened for business on a cold December morning in 2008 without a customer in sight; having spent the previous two weeks fitting out the unit, spending a small fortune with fingers crossed – I have to conclude that start-ups deserve a medal.. funnily enough we sell thousands of medals each year!

So to this week; a week full of kits, staff and work wear, trophies and school hoodies, no one day quite like the other, shirts shipped to Marshall Amp – still having to pinch myself at the thought of 4sports supplying such a world renowned name.

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We have supplied Marshalls many times including, tour shirts for Bon Jovi and Guns & Roses, two of my favourite bands - those two jobs had our attention.

Our week finishes at 1pm on a Saturday; sometimes you look back and wonder how you pulled everything off, anyone running a small business would feel the same, never enough hours in the day, hours spent working on behalf of 'her Majesties' government mixed in with life … every weekend should be a bank holiday.

This week we were asked to quote for a kit for a Pro Handball Team ... having recently quoted Mersey Tigers, a Pro Basketball Club based in Liverpool – the power of the internet.

They haven't confirmed the way forward but we are on their website as an official partner, so encouraging.

We work with some of the best clubs in the county, across all ages form minis to senior 1st teams, every job exciting and satisfying but to have the chance to work with Pro Clubs shows just how far we have come.

Based in Dereham, my team and I supply kits across most sports, staff and workwear, trophies, promotional items to a vast number of businesses, schools, colleges, authorities and clubs, we pack a lot into a 1000 sq ft combining a display room with a workshop offering embroidery, engraving and various print finishes.

Our client list is huge; including some of the county's biggest, Norfolk FA, Active Norfolk, Norfolk School Sports, Easton College, City College - the list is long; last week securing the order to produce 1200 printed T's for the FA's Soccer on the Sands. We have a very good reputation for everything we do; earned through determined hard work, some might call add a certain stubbornness.

On Saturday we ran a full workshop, with Dan, Jack and Tom finishing three kits for Norfolk County FA – which will be worn by the finalists of the county cups, three of which are played at Carrow Road, Three down 17 to go – seems strange having a workshop full of football kits mixed in with the usual cricket kits.

I am very proud of my team; Harry who heads up 4trophies – this week delivering 500 made to order medals to the South Norfolk Youth League, will pop in over the weekend several times to re-load our two engraving machines and Dan, Jack, Sarah and Tom all prepared to come back after tea to get the jobs finished on time.

Six days full of clients, our in-box always full of happy emails, quoting opportunities, boxes arriving, jobs to be done, the weird and wonderful to be found, printed swim caps etc and of course about 500 calls regarding our telephone and electricity charges. If I had a pound for every canvassing call received I could retire.

So to Sunday, the proverbial day of rest, finds me with a joint of pork roasting, Aunt Bessie's on standby and clearing my in-box of the usual spam ready for a hot start on Monday - that said Alice from Prague held my attention for a few moments. Amongst the usual weekend rubbish was a quote request for a new kit from one of our favourite cricket clubs, a sample request from a new workwear client and two orders confirmed – Monday suddenly seems even close.

Over Easter my team had a chance to have a very well deserved break,