Tough Love: When Walking Away From Business Is the Right Thing to Do

Tough Love: When Walking Away From Business Is the Right Thing to Do

One of the most difficult things to do is to walk away from an opportunity.  Even though you know in your heart it’s the right thing to do, it is always difficult.

A few weeks ago we made a tough decision that only recently demonstrated that it was the right course of action.

One of our trusted partners brought us in early to a consulting opportunity.  We continuously ask to be brought in early versus at the last minute so we can add value throughout the process, and in this case our partner obliged.  We were very pleased to eventually earn a verbal approval from the customer.  Soon thereafter, however, we found the customer’s legal counsel exceptionally challenging to work with in attempting to negotiate a contract.  (I am sure no one else has ever experienced this problem!)

After awhile we began questioning whether we were being too difficult or maybe just not flexible enough. After some internal discussion, we ultimately determined that we were being fair and rational, but we were also slowing the transaction down too much for our partner.  We made the difficult decision that to avoid harming them and even though they brought us the business, we would walk away (with our partner’s blessing), allowing our competition to take the deal so that our partner could close the business.

As you can imagine, we had a few interesting meetings that week.

In the end, our competition could not get the deal done either.  And unfortunately for our partner, during the final contract negotiation the customer was acquired before the deal could be completed.

Lesson learned:  We will remain vigilant in improving our processes so we can continue to be an easy company to do business with, but more importantly, we will always persist in doing “what is right.”  What’s right for our customer, what’s right for our partner, and what’s right for our company.  History has shown that if we do the right thing in the end it’s best for everyone, and all will benefit. Over the long term, there is always a proper payoff.

A few weeks ago this was a very tough decision, and I am sure there will be other tough decisions to make in the future.  We are also aware that we won’t get them all correct.  But the best thing we can do is put our customers and partners first, even if it means we shed short-term blood.

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