Thursday, 22 January 2015

Coming back from the Edge

I have just come out of my monthly Management Meeting. We were looking at the final recon for our horribly hard 2014 year - the year in which, after 18 years of business, we thought we would be closing down.

In preparing the final graphs for the presentation I suddenly had a real look at the picture that was emerging: when we were at our lowest point we were making a loss of almost 4 million! That felt like an impossible place to return from! John the Narc was telling me that there was absolutely no hope and that closing or selling was my only option. But the company was so worthless, in his opinion, that anybody would be crazy to buy it. And that he was offering to buy it from me only because he loved me so much and this was the way he could 'do the right thing' by me and save me.

Holy crap! I bought so much of that! I felt like such a failure, and I lost all my hope and fighting spirit. And my body just crumbled underneath me and I succumbed. I had nothing left in me to take it forward. I was so grateful when the new international company came in and offered to buy me because it felt like a complete lifeline - and that this was the only way I was going to save myself and my family and the employees and suppliers of my company. Somehow, even in my collapsed and broken state, my survivor voice was screaming at me to NOT sell to John. That I would be condemning myself and my team to endless pain if I did.  Thank heaven I chose the international company.

AND. Thank heavens it's taken them so long to move and actually officially buy my company. Because what happened while I've been waiting for the final transaction to come to be, is that we rescued ourselves! We pulled this crippled and broken company back from the edge just as I was doing the same for my poor heart and body and soul. We have a recovery curve on our profit/loss line that starts at a 4 million loss and ends, in December, at a loss that's less than 1 million! We recovered 3 million in just over 4 months!! And a 1 million loss is a much easier place for us to come back from! So even if, for some reason, the international guys suddenly left the table, we would still be able to survive, and then thrive, on our own.

And so I'm walking into this new international partnership with an intact business. My head held high. And the personal satisfaction of having walked next to this turnaround. I know I can't take full credit for it - I was off for a lot of that part of last year. I know my execs had to step up and deliver while I was recuperating. And even when I finally came back to work - I was more of a figurehead than an engaged and performing party. But I set up this team. I took the very hard decisions about cutting costs, retrenching people, and firing John-the-Narc. The results are playing out for themselves. And just by taking John on, facing him in court, and gearing up for the next round which I'm sure will come soon, I'm warrior woman - fighting to protect myself. My Team. My Family. And my Legacy.

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