Every morning I get up and write in my journal and a client popped into my head. Funny how that happens, when you wonder what ever happened to a client after you have worked with them for while. But then I thought, it was a learning experience for me, the experience taught me a lot about clients and their thought process in business.
I had a client that owned a tool and die company that made specialized healthcare parts for medical devices. They were doing a fantastic business and were expending. But then something happened. By the way this was a husband and wife business, that is stressful just because of that issue. They came into my office (I really miss my office) and wanted to talk about their business. Business had dropped and they didn't know what to do. The husband wanted to get a boat, go out and go fishing. He also wanted to move the business to a further location. His wife was upset because he wanted to do all of this new stuff that didn't create business. And, he wanted to design a watch and sell it. So there was conflict in the relationship and the business. Plus, he decided he wanted to sell off the business and he thought he had a buyer. This client needed help and redirection.
As we went through their financial statements of how they had been running, I started to ask questions to find out what was going on. The more we talked the more it became known that he had lost a big client and he didn't know what he was going to do so he just wanted to run away. I mean, most of us in business have wanted to do that, buy a boat and sail the world, forget all about the problems in the business. Some of you want to become dancers instead of lawyers, but that is another story. There was good news for this couple and the business, that they couldn't ignore. They had a good business, they produced really good stuff. We put together an action plan that said they could go out and get a couple of clients to change out the old client he had lost. We could work on reducing expenses and improving cash flow. He then saw the value that he had built and agreed he would follow the action plan. He just needed a kick start, a reminder, a review of what he can do to continue building and to move forward.
I scheduled for them to come into the office in two weeks. When they came back they had gained two new clients and were excited. Sometimes you have to sit down and get another point of view when you are thinking about kicking the business down the road. There comes a time when a good adviser is needed to ask the questions and get an action plan in place so the company can live one. Defeat is not the answer when you have a good company and you leave the company to deal with your emotional issues just because of one client. In my business, when a client has left they have always been replaced with two new clients. The reason why that happens is because a negative clients brings in two positive clients and you get refreshed and move forward. My client worked on his business and the last time I checked they were still doing well. I told him, if you really want to sell the company he needs to build it up and then sell it off. Money in the bank.
But my question is, did he ever get the boat?
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.