Monday, January 3, 2011

Repost From November - BUT OH SO IMPORTANT!

Know When To Hold Em' - Know When To Fold 'Em - Touche Caroline!

Know when to hold ‘em – know when to fold ‘em. This is great advice in poker, life and also in business.
As I was thinking of writing a blog about the importance of knowing what NOT to do and how it is just as important as knowing what to do, I got this post from a very sweet friend and business woman who has made a life changing decision. She is going to close the retail sales of her product at the end of the year, take a break and re-strategize the business model. This take guts ladies and gentlemen. And as a consultant and executive in SMBEs to Fortune 500 businesses, this is seldom done, when often it should be.  
As those of you who have worked with me or know me from my blog(s), I  consult in three areas: marketing, operations and business strategy. The very easiest thing to do is tell a client that most things are fine but if they do “this” and/or “that”, their business will rebound, survive or grow. The MOST difficult conversation (remember this is often with the person who is paying you) is to tell the client that it is time to pull up the tents and go home.
Now, don’t get me wrong, most businesses still have life left in them, but some have run their course or LTV (Life Time Value). You see LTV not only applies to a singular product, but it applies to a complete business model sometimes. The ship has sailed – as they say. Some businesses have a short life span and others longer ones.  I’m sure that you can think of products (which entire businesses were set around) that no longer exist. Let’s do some easy pickin’ and call out beta and vhs. They had their time. There were businesses (especially manufacturing niches) that were built around them and now they are gone. Some of them were able and had the capital to retool for newer technologies, but some did not and had to see the handwriting on the wall and do the unpleasant but necessary action of closing the doors.
 I applaud the ones that ask for help (like from someone like me) when they see things declining and call for help early enough to get help and an outside and unbiased opiniom. (Yes, even though they pay the bill, I am honest and tell them the bad news too! –I’m not saying it is easy ;) – but I do it.) And if called in early enough, often the business can be saved with minor, sometimes major tweaks. The exception to this is when the news of change is met with resistance.
There are organizational structures where staff resistance can put you right out of business and it is so unfortunate, because those employees don’t see that they are resisting themselves right out of a job! In this volatile environment a “go with the flow” attitude is best for everyone. The worst scenario is when the resistance to change comes from the top. When this occurs, the best advice is an introduction to a good bankruptcy attorney and inform the client that this is the Option B to change. Most choose change. Unfortunately, some don’t and I wish them the best and leave a detailed change strategy in their hands (along with the BK attorney contact info) and leave. I’ve watched ships sink and it isn’t fun. So unless I am hired specifically to close up shop, which I have been several times, then I prefer to leave it in the hands of its leader and wish for the best. After all – miracles do happen! Although there wasn't a huge resurgence and demand for vhs, there could have been, right?!
So enough about my views on this and onto a real life example of a leader taking an extremely bold step and closing shop to take the time to re-strategize. Bravo to you, Caroline! I know you will reemerge with greatness –whatever that may be for you in the future.
Here’s a repost of her blog. It is boldly written with heart, brains and thoughtfulness and I commend the decision. (I also happen to love the product – which leads me to make a small plug for the DEAL you can get on it now as they sell off inventory. The product is a t-shirt with a positive affirmation written backwards. So, as you look in the mirror—as those of you who do affirmations and follow law of attraction concepts know you are to do – you can read your affirmation to yourself. It is brilliant, creative and fun and I do hope to see the product return sooner rather than later.
This has been such a very difficult year for so many. We all may think we have been “hit hard”, but trust me, others have it worse. Please visit a local food pantry and even if it is a canned item –drop something off with thankfulness for all that you have.

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