Yesterday a good friend (and client) and I celebrated the 3 year anniversary of the day he came to the realization his business was a complete failure!
You see, my friend had a successful printing business for many years. A combination of a slowdown in sales, excessive personal spending, and the dream to be one of the ‘big boys’ which led him to finance expensive printing equipment, had him running around trying to catch his tail. He started borrowing heavily from friends and family. When that dried up, he charged his own credit cards to his business (a huge no-no!) to be able to cover his payroll expenses. He was deep in the mud and couldn’t see a way out.
A dedicated caring employee suggested they bring in an outsider with business experience to do a real assessment of the situation.
Some very tough measures had to be taken. For starters he had to sit down with his wife and share with her their true financial situation. He gave up his luxury cars, vacations, and put a complete stop to online (impulsive) shopping.
He reached out to all his creditors and humiliatingly admitted the truth and asked for time and terms to slowly pay back.
They focused on what his core strengths were and soon realized that his business model of doing all the printing in-house was actually costing him more than brokering out the jobs. He laid off most of his staff and restructured his business as a full-service business (graphics, design, printing) while brokering out the actual printing.
Thankfully, he was able to repay most of his old debt and is continuing to do so. He has rebuilt his company and reputation, and is able to look back and see the good in what once looked like a very bleak situation.
There is a lot to be learned from his experiences, but here are the 2 points that are really important:
- Sometimes it takes an outsider to assess your business. A business owner may be stuck in the box and cannot see what others might see.
- While giving up is not a virtue, sometimes you need to abort and take a new path.
Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!