I am so bitter. How do I take my revenge?

Hi Aunty B,

I need some advice from the worldly mind of Aunty B.

I have been trying to sort out a bad business decision I made with a company that was based in Australia and is now trading from China.

I got quoted and paid $15,000 for a product to be made and it has never made it past the prototype stage as they keep dropping the ball. I have given them answers on how to solve some of the obstacles that they quoted for. Every time they say that “we are three weeks away”, I follow up four weeks later and we are back at square one. A three month turn around has turned into a 15 month joke.

I saw a lawyer, but the amount is too much to write-off and too little to pursue.

What do I do Aunty B? This is leaving a very bitter taste in my mouth and we aren’t even trading yet.

Do I write a name and shame blog like they have in the US?

I know you can’t publish the company name but it is formally based out of Melbourne. His brother is the company contact in Australia.

Signed Demoralised

Dear Demoralised,

Whenever I interviewed entrepreneurs I sometimes gag (metaphorically). The reason? I would ask them about their biggest mistake and they would cheerfully tell me there is no such thing as mistakes: just learning opportunities. And then I became an entrepreneur. And one day I found myself, after being told of some massive stuff up, “Well, we’ve certainly learnt a thing or two from that blunder.”

You see, when you make a mistake as an entrepreneur it is devastating. There is no one to bail you out and the mistake can have massive implications for a small business. But herein lies the problem. Entrepreneurs are usually doing something for the first time. They are usually learning a lot of new skills on the job. They are sometimes doing something for the first time ever. When we were setting up SmartCompany I often used to ask my staff: how is everyone else doing this? And then we would realise – we are first. We are the leaders. No one has done it this way before. So of course we are going to make mistakes.

But what can you do? You can’t sink to the floor and scream. You can’t pick up a chair and hurl it across the room. You can’t start a blog to name and shame because no one will have anything to do with you in the business world.

And so you have to reframe it. You tell yourself, it’s okay. You tell your staff it’s okay. And you put it behind you and get on with it. The reason? Because you are going to make so many mistakes as an entrepreneur that the bitterness will kill you unless you turn it into the kind of perky, optimistic resilience that is a hallmark of every successful entrepreneur I have ever met. And you want to promote a culture with your staff where the “right” mistakes are okay.

And guess what? Unless you are a dill, you never do repeat that mistake. You do learn from it. And that actually makes you a better entrepreneur.

So here is what you do.

Buy a nice navel orange. They are just coming into season. You peel it, divide it into segments and then you slowly eat it. Focus on the sweetness. Let it dribble down your throat. Then fix that image in your mind. The next time you have a stuff up, which will probably be next week, you will close your eyes and think of slowly eating that orange. You will taste the sweetness and you will let go of that bitter anger. And you will get up and keep going.

And one day, you will make everyone gag as you calmly comment on how the latest stuff up is really a valuable lesson in disguise.

Good luck!
Your Aunty B

To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

Email your questions, problems and issues to auntyb@smartcompany.com.au right now!


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