How To Make Successful Ethical Decisions – Part 1

question-marks copyAs we go through our entrepreneurial journey we’ll go through some ups and downs. What’s critical is maintaining a long term direction and staying true to that. Let me walk through a scenario that has come up recently with one of my clients.

“Bob” has been in the marketing and advertising business for 20 years. He’d always wanted to run his own “shop”. He “just knew” that if he could get out there, he could avoid the infuriating mistakes that plagued the companies he had work for. So, while having a celebratory dinner with one of his corporate clients (we’ll call him Joe), Bob mentioned briefly his desire to  go out on his own. His client told him that if he ever left, to call him. He would take his business with Bob to his new venture.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the straw that broke the camel’s back”? Well, it finally happened. I won’t go into the details, but Bob’s corporate employer was bullying their service to a client that clearly was not ready to purchase. Bob advised them not to continue. Eventually, the client decided to take its business elsewhere. That was it for Bob. He decided to leave the “corporate” world and started his own business.

He immediately called Joe. Joe was ecstatic. He knew he would get better service with someone who truly understands and cares for Joe’s business. Joe moved all of his substantial account – a little over 6 figures – to Bob’s new venture. In return, Bob has pledged to Joe that he would always provide services for Joe in a priority fashion.

While he is not currently making a lot of take home money at this point, by any other definition he is successful: he has been in business over 3 years; he has a series of customers who refer him to others; he has a small office with an assistant and he takes his family on occasional vacations. He lives in a nice neighborhood and his 2 children are in elementary school. His wife participates at school and sometimes helps him out at the office. On the surface all sounds fine with Bob.

But all isn’t happy in “Bob-land”. In reality, Bob’s business has been sporadic at best. He lives with the “fickleness” of the market – when it goes up, his income goes up. When it goes down, so does his income. As you may know, we’ve lived through some really turbulent economic times. Consequently, Bob has taken on significant debt. Of course, he has mortgaged his home to keep his business going through the economic down times. Unless something drastic changes, Bob could potentially lose his home.

Then, the market gets bad. Cash flow falls to almost nothing. But just as Bob starts to think about closing his business and going back to corporate job, Joe calls with an emergency order

One bleak day, Bob got a call from the owner of a company – we’ll call her Sharon – who wants to contract to use Bob’s services for the high 6 figures … with one condition: that he cannot do business with Joe anymore.

How would you react? What would you do?

Stay tuned for some of the methods you might want to consider BEFORE you get into Bob’s situation.

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To your success!

Best regards,

Jim Herrera
Chief Entrepreneur
Perceptive Insights

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