By Robert Craven, MD of The Directors' Centre

A couple of people have made the observation that the Robert Craven/Directors' Centre approach to helping businesses is a bit harsh.

And I quote from an email:

"The last thing we need when we are feeling a bit vulnerable is someone crashing around our business making rash and damaging threats and statements. What people need is to be nurtured and developed."

These kinds of comments so obviously miss the point and so obviously misinterpret what I am/we are about.

The last thing you need is some kind of bully on an ego-trip acting like a wally - I agree with that, but that really is not what we do.

Anyone who knows us and our reputation knows that often we are trying to invoke a response and recognition that there is a problem that needs to be addressed (and that putting your head in the sand will do you no good at all).

More importantly, the very last thing you need is for someone to visit and charge you to drink nice cups of tea and to stroke your brow and tell you that it will be alright.

Getting out of a mess requires business owners to take action and that is what we are about... and we help clients to do just that (and by whatever means seems to be the most relevant).

There is a recession out there and businesses just like yours are going bust.

Let me explain what that means.

When you go bust:

- all your employees lose their jobs (and as a result most wouldn't p*ss on you if you were on fire)

- all your suppliers don't get paid (see the statements above re: fire)

- you will probably be declared bankrupt which means that...

- you will probably lose your house and your pension policy which means that

- your partner will probably leave you and take the kids with them (maybe a good thing!!! [joke!])

- your reputation will be in tatters and no-one will want to employ you for your skill-set - the very skill-set that appears to have caused your business to fail

- no-one will want to lend you money because they won't want to lose it...

What is required, I believe, is "tough love".

It isn't easy to make the 'tough decisions' in your business. How we get people to make those decisions is actually the real issue. So, maybe we should be a bit less shouty when we talk about being "challenging, honest and goading"... maybe that doesn't suit all tastes... but this cannot change what is at the heart of what we do: getting people to make those tough decisions so that they improve their sales/profits/cash situation!

I don't care whether my people drink triple espressos or camomile tea... but I do care about making sure that as few people as possible have to suffer the punishment of the indignity and humiliation that the current UK bankruptcy laws impose on people - people whose only crime was to simply/blindly do their best to run a business but failed to keep it together.

So which do you prefer: polite or honest? Which one works best to motivate you?

End of rant!

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