When Your Business Hits a Dead End, It May Not Be a Dead End, Part II

Last week in Part I of this blog, I reported that I had heard two stories in the same meeting about businesses that had reached a dead end and found a way to rebound and become much more successful. In both cases the founders were within a very short time window of shutting down. Then, each did something that saved their companies: they talked with an unlikely source of help.

We talked about the first business in Part I. Here”s the story of a second business, a successful specialty food firm that had grown rapidly in its home territory. It had hit “The Wall”, that step in the business when it needed a lot of money to finance the growth that would certainly come based on the enthusiastic response to the products that it sold. A lot of money means low seven figures. The founder talked with a large number of banks, one or two of which were the company”s banks. None of them were willing to lend the amount of money that was needed to fund a well-crafted business plan. They could not imagine the business being successful in the distribution channel that was projected; shopping malls. The company was also running out of cash fast because it was stuck in that no man”s land between start-up and real take-off.

So the founder figured it was time to close it down. The founder returned to the office after yet another rejection and told the assistant that her help was needed in shutting down the business. When the assistant asked why and was told about the inability to raise the needed money, the assistant replied surprisingly, “I know people with money”.

The assistant arranged a meeting with a nearby businessperson that she knew. The founder made a special batch of products that they sold. They packed up the products and the business plan and took them to the meeting. They had the businessperson taste the products and look at the plan. After tasting the products, which he really liked, he took out a piece of paper from his desk and wrote down some notes. He then handed the piece of paper to the founder who realized that it was a check for the 7-figure amount that was needed to fund the growth of the company. And the company prospered.

More of the same lessons-have a good plan, don”t give up and be open to telling your story to even the most unlikely of audiences. You just never know where help can come from unless you ask.

Do you know a story about a company that steered around a dead end? Post it in response to this blog and we can start a collection (with full attribution to the senders of course.)