By the time I get the call from most (not all) clients, they are feeling a little desperate. Maybe desperate is too strong of a word. At the very least they are nearing they have seen the sign that says, “Wit’s end ahead.”. Otherwise, they wouldn’t need my help.
Have you been there?
- Frustrated with the direction of your business
- Lack of the right kind of growth
- A financial mess
- Market uncertainty
- Dissatisfied customers
- Disengaged employees
If you have owned a business for any length of time, you aren’t being honest (with me or yourself) if you answer “no” to any of the above experiences. Even the big boys have been there, done that and continue on the path of continuous improvement in all of those areas.
Usually my initial consultations surround the financial aspect of the business, no matter what type of help they are seeking. Why? Because the numbers (when they are good numbers) never lie.
Your business financials tell me what is really going on in your business. They speak loudly to me the good, the bad and the ugly. For the past (almost) decade, I have been analyzing the financials of small businesses. I use numbers as a springboard for strategic growth. If a business owner can understand what their numbers are saying, they can be in control of their business.
There have been times when the news wasn’t good.
I have had to tell prospective clients that they are in a tailspin from which they may not recover. I have had to tell prospective buyers that the business they want to own is out of their reach. I have had to tell inventors that their baby isn’t going to pay the bills.
Usually they listen to me. Why? Because I am honest. Yes, I could give a client a thread of hope to which they would grasp with every fiber of their being. I could milk a few grand out of the deal and walk away, knowing from the beginning that they wouldn’t make it. But how would I sleep at night?
Integrity is the highest valued commodity in business -at least in my opinion-so taking on a client that really has no hope just so I can pad my pockets would make me no better than Bernie Madoff or Kenneth Lay.
[Tweet “Integrity is the highest valued commodity in business. Use it!”]
The business world has enough of a reputation without adding to the mix of charlatans and snake oil salesmen.
I have had to deliver bad news, yes. But I have also been blessed to give hope where it’s warranted and help them develop a plan of growth and sustainability that will set them on a trajectory for success. I have been able to say, “this isn’t all bad, let’s see where we can make it better.” I have helped clients go from their garage into their own building. I have set plans and systems in place to double a businesses size in less than four years. And these are small businesses. Ones that usually have less than 20 employees. It is exhilarating to help facilitate small business growth! I love doing what I do to help business owners!
And although I may not like delivering the bad news, I love that I can assess a business and honestly deliver the information that people need to hear, not the diagnosis that will make me more money.
If you go to a surgeon, they want to cut you open; if you go to an auto mechanic, they are going to want to work on your car; if you come to me, you are only going to get honesty. You may not always like the news I bring, but it could save your time, money and energy that would be wasted otherwise.
That’s why even my bad news is good for you.
At least you will walk away knowing that you have been told the truth.
So what would you rather have? Bad news, or a lie?
What do you think?
Is honesty a hot commodity?
How can being honest help, instead of hurt, your business?
Share your experiences of being told the truth and how it helped you, or of being told a lie and the damage it incurred.