Being in business for yourself means taking risks. It also means getting your hide nailed to the barn door every now and then. Or as they say in some parts, "Sometimes you get the bear; sometimes the bear gets you." To survive, you have to take these little — and sometimes not-so-little — "bear maulings" in stride.
We’ve all been taken, whether it’s by employees who carry product out the back door faster than you can sell it out the front; by the restaurant patron who first finishes the meal, then announces that it tasted awful and he won’t pay; by the customer who buys the dress on Friday and returns it on Monday…with food stains on the front from her cousin’s wedding cake.
It happens to us all, and the best we can do is (A) try not to get mauled by the same bear twice; and (B) laugh and make the most of it.
From my experience, my favorite (though not my most expensive) bear mauling came when I took a long-term client to lunch. It was strictly a goodwill call with an old friend. So, I was a bit surprised when, as she finished the last bite of the meal, she announced (with embarrassment, I must give her that) that my contract was being canceled. I was doubly surprised when the check arrived and she let me grab it. I felt as if I’d been lynched by a friend…and asked to supply my own noose. I haven’t heard from her since…which, looking back on it, is just fine by me.
Then there are customers just looking for a freebie (which explains why they chain down pens in banks). "The worst example I ever saw," says Will Postma, a retired manufacturers rep living in Wisconsin, "involved a Milwaukee prospect considering a piece of heavy manufacturing equipment. He wheedled a visit to our plant near Kansas City.
"It should have been a one-day trip for one. It turned into a three-day adventure for three (he brought along two staff members). This fellow maxed out my client’s expense account and never even looked at the equipment," Will said, shaking his head and smiling. "He took my client for the equivalent of $2,000."
My all-time favorite "bear-mauling" story comes from an old friend and true entrepreneur. John Trager, from Mazomanie, Wisconsin, cut a deal for the purchase of what he thought were a thousand pairs of shoes that had been held up in U.S. Customs.
"It wasn’t until they arrived and I was uncrating them that I realized I hadn’t bought 1,000 pairs," John relates with a chuckle. "I was the proud owner of 2,000 left shoes. If only I could have found the fellow who bought the other half of the shipment."
Such stories help us all remember that that’s part of being in business. How about you? Any favorite "bear-mauling" stories you’d care to share? If so, let’s hear from you.
And now that you realize that your mistake perhaps wasn’t the worst one ever made, get out there are work hard, make money and have fun. –JRIngrisano, The Freestyle Entrepreneur.com.
* * *
To find out how I can help you make money in your business, drop me an e-mail at email@example.com. (‘Cause I’m not in this for fun. I do it for the money.)
* * *
Popularity: 2% [?]