A certain poll informs me that one of the things my readers would like to see is more interesting stories…
…so ask, and ye shall receive—I’ve got one for you.
When Handshake Deals Don’t Work Out as Planned.
Sometimes a business deal doesn’t go how you think it will. I’m posting this because I anticipate that there may be some stories sent around that paint a situation in hues that may not be entirely accurate. If the parties involved happen to come across this, I hope this will provide a better understanding of what went down.
So, a month ago, Rami and I were hipped to a potential opportunity—a restaurant that wasn’t doing all that well and could use a boost to get it up and going again. Sounded interesting. The owner was giving himself two months to get it up and running, or else he was going to call it a wrap. Hm, challenging. So, after getting the details from a mutual friend, Ram and I went to the restaurant to pay a visit and get a feel for the place. It was interesting—roomier than I’d expected and in a prime location. The food’s prices were low, and it offered a good variety of lunch items. A good mix of factors for a successful venture if handled correctly!
So we chatted with the owner, briefly going over what it is that Team R&C could do for his business and how we could go about helping him get where he wanted to be. He introduced us to his chef; we exchanged digits; all seemed well. We even sent out an email that night to thank him for meeting us and to say we were looking forward to discussing things further with him at a later time.
This was when things took a turn for the worse, though we wouldn’t know it at the time.
HIS BAD: He didn’t reply to our email.
That’s fine, I guess—but after spending the time to send out a courtesy email, if you were actually interested in pursuing a business opportunity with someone, you’d likely try to keep the channels of communication open, no?
OUR BAD: Taking too long to get in touch with him.
To give us a little credit, we’d originally stated that we’d get back to him in two weeks—which we did. It was on Family Day, however—a statutory holiday up in these parts—and didn’t realize that his shop would be closed, as most restaurants are open every day except on Christmas. Also, there was no voicemail so that we could let him know that we’d tried to reach him and would get back to him later. Past there, our paths wouldn’t manage to cross again until this week.
In the time that had passed, Ram and I had generated a plethora of ideas that could be customized accordingly to whatever amount of money was available to him for marketing and promotion. I think I remember us working about 4-5 hours straight just blue sky brainstorming and getting all of the ideas down into a document that we’d be able to provide if the client was genuinely interested in moving forward.
HIS BAD: His reaction to the situation at hand.
Since both members of Team R&C weren’t able to both be present to contact the client through a conference call, I decided to check in last night to see how he was doing and whether or not he was interested. After reminding him who I was, he was a little miffed that he hadn’t heard from us in a bit and to pitch him whatever it was that we’d come up with. I informed him that it would be better if we could discuss further with him the next day—either I would come in or we could give him a call together to sort it all out, to which he rather curtly agreed.
When we called today, he was pretty dismissive. Perhaps it was the way we worded it or perhaps he had already made his mind up. Still, when we brought up the ideas of wanting to sit down with him to go over the business and how it operated to make sure that we were giving him the best possible solution and that we’d prepared ideas at different costs, he somehow interpreted it as that we were unwilling to share our ideas unless he put some money on the table first. He quickly dismissed us and hung up, obviously wanting nothing to have to do with the entire ordeal. I don’t know if he was having a bad day, or if his money was even tighter than I’d speculated, but it was a quick end to a brief discussion.
- If someone wants to cut to the chase without wanting to sit down and have a decent conversation over things, they’re likely far past the point where they want to deal with any niceties, and you’re already facing opposition. You can’t make someone listen to you if they’re making an active effort not to.
- Keep your content from falling into the wrong hands. You worked hard on it; it’s yours. This could easily have turned into a situation where the content was provided before a contract got signed, an idea gets used without consent. Then it turns into a battle of the client’s word vs the consultant’s, and that’s a sticky and possibly expensive legal situation that no one wants to get involved in.
- Never see a defeat in one area as the be-all and end-all of a situation. For every 10… every 100 people who shoot you down, that’s experience. That’s content that you’re developing that with further work and diligence can be used in another situation. You did your research. You’ve seen what doesn’t work. That only means that you’re one step closer to finding something that does.
All in all, I’m not pleased it turned out the way it did. I’m happy to shoulder some of the responsibility, but no matter how it turned out, it’s off of my plate. I’ll move forward as I always do—one task at a time.
The 2010 20K Running Total: $192.14