I was called in to a business. A friend of the family (that owns the business) asked me to call one of the family member principals. Their business is in dire straits and they need my help. There are two owners – the person I met with and the main decision maker. I spent two hours with my contact, gathering information, listening to the story and trying to provide some comfort.
There is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is the business will absolutely fail if it stays on its current course. The good news is there is a path where the business may be saved.
Here is the reason I am telling you this story. The decision maker will not make the changes to get off his current course and onto a better one. There is no arguing with the facts, there is no denial that the current path is doomed. This person is very intelligent, very well educated and has been in business for many years.
So what’s the problem? He is embarrassed. He cannot tolerate the idea that someone make think less of him because the solution “outs” him. Here are some of the things he has to do and yet won’t:
- Lay off long time employees that are not productive.
- Talk to his landlord to get some relief ( I know the landlord and he will do this).
- Talk to the prime vendor to get better terms.
- Have a staff meeting to tell them what the problems are and what we need to do to solve them.
Yes, these things are difficult. But look at the alternative. Just because you hide out in your office and don’t have to face people does not mean bad things aren’t going to happen.
This is very personal for me. I know how much better their life can be once they implement my recommended changes. They can bring me in (I offered to do some work for free and other work with barter) to do the heavy lifting. I can negotiate better terms with the landlord and bank. I can negotiate a great deal with the vendor so they can fill their shelves with product. Dealing with layoffs is difficult, you are affecting other people’s lives. But better to lay off a few people today than for everyone to lose their job a month from now. I will take care of this.
So please let me reach out to every one of you that is in crisis or may be approaching crisis. It is never as bad as it seems. There is almost always a better path than the one you are on. And it’s my job to find that path for you and help you onto it.
We, the small business community, are the backbone of American business. We provide most of the jobs in the U.S. It is my mission to help you when you get into trouble. All you need to do is reach out to me.