12 November 2010

Thick headed update ...

Wow. From great news regarding action by Congress, to some really unbelievably bad news from a client (delivered by email, of course). Seems that when I took several weeks off because of the death of my mother (and the weeks of her being in the hospital and then planning the service and then taking care of my 80 yr-old father), this one particular client took umbrage. Perhaps that's a bit too simplistic, but at the end of the day, that's basically what happened. WWBD?

When you are on a shoestring budget, and have few employees to cover your absence, and there are questions that are asked and the client wants to speak with you personally, well, the next-best choice sometimes isn't best-enough to satisfy the client's demands. So, we had a cease and desist letter (er, electronic missive, otherwise known as an email), notifying us (our company) that we are no longer representing five (5) of the biggest names in the business (picture extremely popular white crooners from the 50's and 60's).

So, whilst we still represent 25 of the biggest names (ugh!!), with one fell swoop we lost five pretty much due to a misunderstanding and because yours truly wasn't there to handle the tough questions. Do I think I could have prevented some of this desertion? Yes, well, at least for two maybe three of the artists. The others? Not so much. WWBD?

But, what really bothered me was the personal relationship I had developed with these acts and the client handling them (the one who sent the C&D). The months and months of meetings and dinners and lunches and sharing our personal lives with each other. So, on a winding road in Malibu Canyon this week whilst in the middle of moving half of my house from Los Angeles, I pulled my truck over to take a conference call with five of us on the line to flesh-out the several issues driving their decision and concern. The view to Catalina island -- twenty-six miles out in the Pacific -- was spectacular. Some Santa Ana winds had cleared out the smog and haze and Catalina looked close enough to swim to.

I'll apologize now for this update being so close to the last one, but I thought it important enough to share the ups and downs of a new business struggling to get its legs underneath itself. Bottom line is that we still have 25 clients, and are still in discussions with two investor groups to bankroll us. In business school we learned that there are many things to focus on when in start-up phase: getting new clients; raising money; hiring the right people; proving up the business plan; etc. If I had to start this over, I would begin with the money first, but then we would lose our leverage if we didn't have the clients signed. Lots of issues to wade through. WWBD ... indeed, what would Branson do?   Gotta love being an entrepreneur.

POST --> Forgot to mention, Dear Reader, that a bank from Nashville flew in to meet with us to discuss our clientele. We've had discussions with banks from Beverly Hills, Nashville, Atlanta, and L.A.. Professor Lassiter of Harvard Business School said, "never in recorded history has the supply of capital not overwhelmed the supply of opportunity." Or, as Philip Broughton rephrased these sentiments in his book, Ahead of the Curve, "there's always money for a good idea." Let's hope so.


Kathy said...

JG..First...I am sorry for the loss of your mother (mine passed two years ago...horrible) ...second...I get a nervous knot in my stomach just reading about your travails....I can't imagine what you must be feeling....oh the excitement of it all.....K

christian soldier said...

Not to worry-someday you will be able to buy the car - about which I have just posted - keep at it JG-

Char said...

good luck with the investors. there are tough times, but persistence usually pays off in the best way! :)

Char said...

ps - i'm very sorry about your mother. i mourned the passing of my mom three years ago yesterday.

Barbara said...

So sorry to hear about your mother, JG and all the accompanying angst and complications that happen with the death of a parent. I lost both of mine within a year with much illness involved. I can't imagine how I would have managed if I had a new business to worry about.
Having a daughter with her own business in NYC, I know what you are going through. Times are tough.
Wishing you the best of luck...and I've missed you!

Caleb S. Garcia said...

Great read Johnny, your spirits are up and you're putting hand to the pavement. Sorry about the flops along the way. But hey the fog is clearing and Catalina is in sight!