Many businesses have felt, and are still feeling, the effects of the economic recession. But as the old saying goes, “That which does not kill you only makes you stronger.” And that’s just one of the lessons the recession has taught one business owner in particular. Benjamin Sayers of VoIP Supply LLC, a college dropout who has learned everything he knows about small business from experience, credits the recession as a blessing in disguise for his company.
In “How the Recession Saved This Company” Sayers discusses how the recession actually pointed out some mistakes he had been making along the way. One being that he had hired too many people too quickly:
“Before the economic crisis hit, Sayers had hired 36 new people in six months in a rush to grow the Buffalo, New York-based business, which sells equipment for Internet phone service to small and medium companies looking to replace traditional phone systems.”
And that he had strayed from the company’s core focus:
“Sayers had gotten wrapped up in so many expansion projects that he didn’t realize the catalogue of products his customers used was outdated or, in some cases, missing items entirely.”
This proved to be a reality check for Sayers and he quickly got to work making necessary, yet hard, changes in an attempt to turn the business back around:
“Desperate to get his payroll down after the blow to sales, he gave himself two days to cut the number of employees in half. . . In addition to the layoffs, a savings of $1.5 million a year, Sayers, 38, also eliminated expensive overlooked company perks, which included a luxury box at the Buffalo Sabres hockey arena and a BMW X5 sport utility truck that the employee of the week was entitled to drive around.”
Learning is a necessary function to growth. And for Sayers, learning some of these hard lessons actually proved to be a blessing in disguise:
“In hindsight, the forced retraction of the business was a huge win for the company,” he says “It was unfortunate for the people we had to lay off, but as far as the future stability of the business, it was a blessing in disguise.”
The good news is that last year Sayers cut the company debt in half. In addition, he saved the company approximately $70,000 by purchasing a new building, saving on the higher expenses on it’s previous lease. And the best news of all? Last year Sayers experienced a positive net income of $110,000.
The message here is that it pays to treat challenges and obstacles as opportunities to promote growth and positive change – take those lemons and make lemonade.
Has the recession presented you and your business with challenges and obstacles? If so, how have you turned those challenges and obstacles into a positive experience?
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