How I Almost Lost My First Million-dollar Company | Global Business Consultants );

Sam Lee Mohan, Founder & CEO at Global Business Consultants, 05 January 2017 – 3 min read

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“Rinse and Repeat”

I felt like my whole world was falling apart and I was in free-fall. Starting a new company is exciting, no doubt about that. But it’s bloody hard work. After I launched my company, I was on cloud nine. People were responding to our offering. Sales took time but importantly people were interested in our products and services. Things were going great. I could smell the sweet scent of success. All was going according to plan. Then I hit my first major issue. My first real “BP oil spill moment” which scared the hell out of me. How was I going to resolve an issue when I could not even isolate the problem? Is the problem on the customer side; is the problem with our product? Time began to tick, hours passed; days passed and then weeks began to pass.  It was out of my hands. I started to wonder if this was the beginning of the end.  My product wasn’t working for a customer. Is it not going to work for all my customers?  Is my product crap? Have I been found out? All sorts of questions ran riot in my mind.

Now we prided ourselves on customer service. We were beaming with delight that, up until that moment, all customer enquiries were dealt-with within 30 minutes.  It became a key success factor in our business. Bearing in mind, we have been operating for just about three months; so we were still an infant, in the business sense of the word. But we conducted ourselves with the “end” in mind. We did business as though we were a mature hundred-year-old company. This was our strategy. We were confident in doing business and conducted ourselves in a manner that suited our mentality.  We cared passionately about our customers and wanted them to succeed.  That was all there was to it. Customers from all around the world would engage us for our product and we comfortably meeting their needs. We would work all hours, any hour to meet our customers’ expectations; they were the real reason we were in business. Without them, we would have no business.

I recall sitting at my computer, in meetings, in the shower, everywhere that I would be wondering, thinking, is this it? If we cannot resolve this issue, will my business survive?  I invested too much time and way too much money for it to fail. Now at this point, in our very young business, we had almost 600 clients and every day we were attracting between 10 and 20 new customers. It dawned on me that this issue could mean 600 issues. It could mean turning down new clients. How do you recover from that? My brand would be dead-in-the-water. Surely I cannot survive that. With every second and every thought, I was digging myself into a deeper hole. I would occasionally remind myself that I was “me”. I was invincible. Nothing can hold me down and then reality would kick in. I still have this issue. I still have this massive risk to my business.  Suddenly, it dawned on me. Get a grip. Moping around, doing nothing will resolve nothing. Fight and fight hard. Do what you do best, come up with a plan, think strategically, exhaust every avenue and fix the problem.

So, here goes. This is what I did. First things first… Call the client and apologise emphatically. Offer the customer 12 months free subscription. Reassure the customer that her issue was our number priority. We don’t want to ever lose her business. Second, gather the team and test, test, test. Explore every avenue. No idea is a useless idea. Third, touch base with the customer. Fourth, keep running the business as usual for existing and new clients. If you get the same issue from other clients, go back to first things first – “Rinse and repeat”. The key to this process is to do whatever it takes. Doing nothing, is not an option.

After three gruesome weeks since the initial issue and days of testing and re-testing, we cracked it. Issue resolved. Our product was great and back on the market. There was “bug” embedded deep within our product that by some divine intervention, we found it. I am a firm believer of superior intelligence that can be leveraged with complete faith. We have no idea how we found the issue but we found it. Stop whining, start doing is what we did. This issue was my first major set-back. It almost crushed me and all my dreams. But I’m still here, soldiering on. You can too!

 

Sam Lee Mohan

Founder & CEO at GBC

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