also known as: We have to do business as the Business that we are – not who you want people to think you are.
A really good, dear friend of mine came to me a few weeks ago with a problem. She had been working for about a year to separate from her business partner. They just weren’t on the same page and it was affecting the growth of the business. So, after lots of conversations, conflict and resolutions she was coming to the end of the process of separating.
As a part of the separation, she needed to rebrand the business. This can be really hard. And I’ll talk in another post about what the issues are and how you really don’t think what you think you think about it – you will actually be relieved when you do it and it’s an awesome feeling.
The task is daunting. She had built the brand as it was and was attached to it – see above. But more than that, she wasn’t in a place where she felt like she could afford to pay someone to design a new brand. And this made her angry at the old business partner – it’s normal. But this is what leads us to say things like, “Never let them see you sweat.” “and you have to spend money to make money.” And all kinds of other things that are smart when our head is clear and can be very dangerous when we are muddled by the emotional issues of business divorce and exhaustion.
She called. We talked about the issues and the context. Context is everything. Then she talked about how she was going to scrape together the +/- $5000 she needed to pay the “right” person to design the new brand. I listened. I asked some more questions. (This is my friend. . . I wanted to know what she really wanted. I asked more questions.)
Then I could see myself making this same decision two years ago. I saw the things swirling around me like a dream – ex-partners, peer-group (HUB), disengaged investor who owed me money for services. And the new potential business partner who was in the throws of a divorce from a spouse who had spent all of her money and lied to her. . . she wasn’t exactly clear-headed either. And both of us were wearing our pride in our ability to handle this like a shield in the world. Oh, so ugly.
I could see myself signing the contract for $20,000 for a new name, logo, colors, website. . . I think there was other stuff. And I could see how I got bullied into it – by my feelings and a few people with good intentions. But those intentions died and I was left with the bill. (This moment, I still owe money on that bill.)
So. . . I like to share my experience when it’s been won by hard work and stupidity in action. I told her what I had done and why it was the wrong decision. And asked her to talk to me for a few minutes to map out some options. But that as a friend, I really wanted her to know that a fiverr logo was going to be fine and it also wouldn’t last forever.
This is what makes sense for today. And you know what you want. And you can work toward that. But don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself when there are other options. Make a good decision for where you are today. Then, work like crazy to make your business healthy and thriving. Do what it takes to grow.
Do business as the business you are. . . and put your energy into becoming the business you want to be - instead of into managing the stress of trying to handle obligations you aren’t ready for.