Just like many of my marketing friends, I really enjoy the TV show “The Profit”.
When Marcus goes in to help flatlined businesses it’s an all too familiar reminder of many of the close-minded clients I have worked with in the recent past. Mine is a much smaller scale of course, and I put in my time instead of my money, but the principles are quite the same. Here’s what I mean…
One of two things usually happens.
1) The Scapegoat. People bring me in for MY strengths to compensate for their weaknesses, and yet insist constantly that I do things THEIR way. No, it doesn’t work that way. If your way worked you would not need me. I can’t grow a company your way – heck, YOU can’t even grow a company your way. And when you try to get me to channel you like some kind of “business medium” and I refuse to play this game, it does not suddenly become my fault your company is failing.
2) The Swoop and Squat. This is where they gave me full reign and let me run the show how I know will work best. I come in and fully evaluate what they are currently doing. Then at some point in the future, usually when the money started flowing in, and then they “step in”, take away my authority and started doing things their way again (instead of the new way it is actually working). Then, of course, everything breaks and they are left scratching their head.
Each of these scenarios has happened to me before (such is the life of an experienced consultant).
Let me give you an example, and tell me if this sounds familiar…
You have a few brief conversations, and almost before you realize it you are hired to fix a client’s business.
You fly to the client’s office where you spend two full days going over everything in detail. What products sell the best. Where are the profit margins. How they get new leads, prospects and customers. Where he sees the company in one, three, five years. Etc.
Then you tell them you can help, but you have to do things YOUR way.
They agree. After that you get to work.
You fix huge profit leaks. You refine processes. You create new processes. You set marketing funnels in motion (they never even had these before). You help finish products that had been unfinished for months. You help create new products. You write emails and email series. You fix the broken chargeback process (that was bleeding the company a minimum of $10k/month). You get customer service back on track (and almost completely eliminate chargebacks altogether). You completely re-vamp their CRM platform. You re-vamp the membership area to include upsells and cross-sells, so everyone who logs in can see every offer they have available. You grow new opt-ins by more in 3 months than the entire previous year combined – and beat those numbers by over 400%! You implement a subscription plan and bring in over 200 new members…
And on and on and on.
You are FULLY in charge and making things happen!
Then something changes.
And that’s when you experience the Swoop and Squat phenomenon.
It starts slowly at first, with the owner inserting himself into processes that are way outside his scope. I mean, he has people for that. There’s a fallacy that a business owner often feels they have to know every detail of everything that happens within the company. In my experience, that is the first red flag of a company that is destined to fail.
Then the micro-management grows deeper. The processes you put into place are slowly dismantled. The upward trend the company was on under your leadership then starts to falter and flatline. The business owner panics and jumps in more and more. You try to tell him that the reason things aren’t working is because he is undoing what you did – but he doesn’t listen.
He’s now on a mission and thinks “I can’t let me company fail and the only way to fix it is if I fix it myself”.
Unfortunately, this thinking is what got him into trouble to begin with. But it’s the only thing he knows to do.
By this time he is barely listening to anything you say. He even goes so far as to tell his employees to “do this, but don’t tell them I told you to do it”. He pretends to entertain your ideas, all the while really no longer listening at all.
You call a meeting with him and explain what is happening. He pretends to listen but nothing changes. You have another meeting and tell him that “if we can go back to the way things were, everything will get better again” and again, he pretends to listen, but charges forward with no regard for your words.
Finally, for a third time, you call a meeting to address the issues and let him know that if things continue like they are – in a way that you never agreed to work, where you have no say or control and where day by day everything you have built is being dismantled and disregarded – that if it continues, you won’t be able to help any longer.
Then 3 weeks later you let him know you cannot work in these conditions anymore. And you leave.
That, my friends, is a classic Swoop and Squat.
And as I was enjoying my honeymoon in the North Carolina mountains with my new bride, I started thinking how lucky I am right now to NOT have to deal with either of those kinds of issues anymore.
People and their ego’s get in the way too much to be able to help many business owners. THEY started the business so they feel like they are the only person who can make it work. THEY have to be the hero for their business, and even if someone else comes in and makes huge progress for them, they will often break it again so they can then “fix it”.
This is not something I want to battle any longer.
It takes too much energy – and doesn’t pay nearly enough.
Yes, this weekend opened my eyes to a lot of things.
Because I have decided to be the hero of my OWN company from this day forward.
Let freedom RING!
Lee CollinsAir Force veteran and former corporate VP, Lee Collins started marketing online in 1999. He is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet, but also gained recognition as the creator of Hybrid Marketing and Repeat Profit Systems. When Lee isn't helping his clients solve million-dollar marketing and systems problems, he enjoys time with his wife contemplating by a campfire, exploring a mountain or desert trail in his Jeep Gladiator, or planning their next epic BBQ roadtrip.
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