In 2005 I had no idea what I didn’t know about running the company I had just bought into. I had been running operations at Date-Line Digital Printing for a few years and felt like I had a pretty good handle on what it meant to keep the machine moving forward. That belief coupled with the thought that owning the company seemed like a great way to keep my job was all I needed to make the single largest purchase in all of my 29 years on the planet seem reasonable.
It would take a few years for the dust to settle and the truth to surface:
I had no idea what I was doing. I was actually pretty great at ensuring the trains ran on time, metaphorically speaking, but as an owner it was my job to lead and I wasn’t doing much of that at all.
By late 2009 I had coasted us right up to the precipice of disaster. Sales had suddenly dried up and so had our cash reserves. The business was facing an extinction level event.
Staring down complete financial has a way of waking you up. I immediately altered a few business practices that should have been addressed months (or even years) ago and I had the unenviable job of looking one of our 3 employees in the eyes and telling them we couldn’t afford to have them on the payroll. Except that wasn’t the whole truth.
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