A couple of weeks ago, after seeing the numbers for November, I was feeling pretty good. We'd been through some good times, some great times, and a few bumps over that last few years, but things were moving along well and everything was consistent. Even "bad" months were still pretty good.
Last week, I got an email from one of our distributors. Apparently, there was a problem regarding the rights to something we were selling through them. We weren't in violation of any laws or doing anything unethical, but there was some contractual stuff with another company, who claimed rights on a similar product, that they didn't feel like disputing.
The bottom line is that the other, larger company won that argument and we lost distribution. One day we were making money, the next day we weren't.
I didn't lose any sleep. Easy come, easy go. There are some things you fight for and other times when your energy is better spent elsewhere.
Yesterday, I got an email from another distributor we deal with notifying me they were terminating our relationship. Still sorting out why. All I can say for sure is that this one was responsible for 10x as much business...
But it's just money, right?
Sure, on one hand. On the other though, it's about people. It's about the well-being of those who work for me and they're counting on me to make decisions and take actions with that in mind.
So what now? That's where I am today.
I've already written about the entrepreneur death spiral and given thoughts on how to deal with it. The "recovery" plan I mentioned is something that I have to go through every time something like this happens...and sometimes multiple times. I've already put that into place.
It's a bitch to get back up when you get kicked in the stomach. That's what I physically feel like right now. I didn't sleep well last night, I'm not hungry, and my mind is so active with processing everything that it feels like I'm going crazy.
It would be extremely easy to blame "big business." That's not fair though.
And I could blame myself for doing these deals, which were ambitious, in the first place. That's not fair either though, because I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing.
The real question... Who is responsible?
It's me. Always.
This isn't over yet. I'm fighting like hell to get it back on track and salvage any aspects of the deal that I can. Beyond that though, I'm keeping in mind that I've experienced a lot worse and there has always been an unexpected silver lining that launched me into the next phase in a big way.
In addition, I'm looking at the positive aspects of what's happening. Something like this, if you let it, can be a great wake up call and help to mold you into an even better person, if by nothing more than shining an light on weaknesses that may not have previously been clear and increasing your capacity to deal with problems.