Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sometimes I just have to be honest.....

I had a moment the other day that I did not like my job. This does not happen very often as I really like the client interaction, the research I do for them and overall helping to grow the economy of Southeast Missouri. It really gives me a charge when I see a new business open up that I assist in the planning stages or a client gets a loan in these times. So overall I really do enjoy my job.

But the other day, it was different. I had a client counseling session scheduled and I knew it would not go well. I had done the financial analysis of the past five years and it did not look good. I did the projections and of course they should look good but based on past historicals, I could not match the hopes of the business owners. I tried changing this number or that number or reducing this or increasing this and it always came out the same - not in favor for the client.

We met last week and I shared with them the results of the financial projections. I made sure they understood what the numbers were saying and what they would tell a banker when asking for a loan. They said they understood but the question still remained - they knew their sales projections were right.

So we talked about what were they doing differently in the business to generate this additional revenue. We got creative in their explanations and even stretched some areas. I would do a quick financial redo on the PC and come up with the same results.

The client started to see where this was headed and finally asked the inevitable question "what should I do? This is my livelihood and I need this money to keep it going."

I was in the moment where I did not like my job. I knew I had only one answer and it was not a kind one. I put on my best counselor face and told them they had only two real solutions - 1) continue to limp along and eventually go out of business or 2) get out now and start looking for a new job or new idea to start a new business.

I sat there and held back my desire to reach out and try to smooth it over. That was not the right thing to do for the client. I let the couple think it over and consider their options.

After a while, they asked questions regarding on how they could get out of the business, sell the equipment, sell the building, and how could they potentially recover some of their investment. We discussed options and methods to do that.

Surprisingly, at the end of the counseling session, the client told me they somehow felt relieved with my honesty and they could now move forward on their own decisions. They told me they had discussed the same options many times but were unwilling to admit their failure. Now that someone from the outside had said it, they knew it was the right thing to do.

So with their minds almost made up, they left the session with a clearer path for their future. I found some relief in the new facts they had shared with me but I still did not like my job that night.

What are your thoughts? Share with me.