In my many years of being in the workforce I have been through a number of acquisitions and closings. It is a rough time for everyone. It is hard to stay focused when you are worried about if you will have an income in a month. We all have bills to pay and many of us have families to take care of, but in times like this it is important not to lose your head.
So here’s what happened to me last week. On Monday morning at 7:00 am I arrived at my largest client’s office just like every other day for the past 18 months. I put my key in the door and it did not turn. Now sometimes the door stuck but this felt different. It was still a bit dark out so I pulled out my IPhone, turned on the flashlight and saw a shiny new lock.
Deep down inside I knew this day was coming. However, it still was a punch in the gut. I had been told I would be given a couple weeks notice so I was already working on other options. Nevertheless I still had to deal with the unexpected closure of the business and the business’s clients who had projects in process.
So instead of focusing on how this was going to affect my bottom line (and it does greatly) I focused on taking care of the business’s clients.
You see four years ago I had to close a business that I put my heart, soul and money into only to have to shut it down. I do not regret the decision as it was the right thing to do. It was a very hard and painful decision. My client is going to have some work ahead and it will not be easy.
Here is what I learned from my experience:
- People who you thought were supporters suddenly disappear.
- The good news is you find out the true character of people when things get rocky.
- Some of the clients who owed money for services provided will not pay.
- Rumors will be spread about why the business closed and my client. All will be untrue.
- Some people like to celebrate when other people go through a business failure.
- You will feel like a failure but in time you will realize that the only way to truly fail is to give up.
Here is what I did to help my client:
- Talked with my client to see what I could to help service the clients who had projects in progress.
- Made sure all of the accounts and invoicing was updated in the system and final invoices were sent out to collect outstanding payments.
- Followed the direction of my client on how to handle the client inquires.
- Offered my help in any way possible.
- Presented my invoice and received payment for my final services.
- Requested a letter of recommendation.
- Remained calm and focused on being helpful during the entire process.
While the business is gone the person behind the business now has to make an even harder choice to let this define them or let it only be a chapter of their unfinished story.
How would you have handled the situation?