My daughter and I have a tradition. Every week, we go out for sushi and visit the nearby bookstore. It might not sound like much, but being able to consistently share something that we both enjoy means the world to us. As the founder and CEO of a business, work keeps me very busy, so the time that I get to spend with my family is precious and rare.
But by mid-2012, my company was facing the possibility of bankruptcy. We’d invested our entire marketing budget into just one strategy, and when that strategy failed, we were left in the lurch.
This didn’t just put my business at risk. It jeopardized my health and my relationship with my family. With the threat of financial ruin came a barrage of stress, anxiety and insomnia. Coming home from work and putting on a happy face was a constant struggle. There were even a few nights when I pretended to be asleep because I didn’t want to worry my wife.
As things got worse and worse, I had to cut my own personal expenses, which meant no more weekly books for my daughter. I had to spend more and more time at work, which ate up more and more of my family time. I began to worry that we’d have to abandon our weekly tradition altogether—and the thought of that practically broke my heart.
Fortunately, my employees were incredibly supportive throughout the entire ordeal. I’m lucky enough to have a team of incredibly talented and loyal individuals; they worked tirelessly to improve our marketing, customer service, and other systems that keep us in the black.
It took a great deal of hard work, but we gradually made a full recovery. And once my company’s financial wounds had healed, it was stronger and tougher than ever. In fact, we recently made it into the Inc. 5000, a ranked list of America’s fastest growing companies.
There’s nothing quite like a crisis to bring people together. Since the storm clouds hanging over my business cleared, the bonds between my co-workers have vastly improved; I’ve noticed a visibly stronger sense of trust and camaraderie between team members. I’ve definitely come away with a greater appreciation and a new-found respect for all of the work my team does every day to help my company thrive.
This experience taught me that no business survives with just one person holding it all together; it takes a commitment from everyone involved, even people who don’t actually work at the company. I’d never have been able to make it through without the unconditional love and support of my family.
Thanks to those ongoing efforts, my personal life and health have recovered, too. I’ve been able to go back to buying my daughter the books she loves … and that sushi has never tasted better.
Vladimir Gendelman is an EO Detroit member and the founder and CEO of Company Folders, Inc, the standard bearer of online folder printing. He has spent over a decade immersed in the print marketing industry and working with clients such as Sony, Hallmark, Ford and other Fortune 500 companies, as well as a multitude of universities and government/non-profit agencies. Vladimir specializes in knowledge related to helping businesses create an image they can be proud of.
Categories: Entrepreneurial Journey Guest contributors Inspirational members Sales
I am a business owner and have been so my entire life. I have been successful many times and not so successful an equal amount of times. Most of this happened while I was young and single when being broke and lost is sort of ok and par for the course. But now with a wife, 2 kids and all the trimmings I relate completely to your story and actually have taken some valuable insight away from it. My business is not a Fortune 500 but even with small businesses the fear of that downturn, that time when things can go bad is always in the back of your mind. Even in prosperous times the fear of the bad can cloud your vision. So thanks so much for sharing, it reminded of some things I have lost track of. I’m going to take my daughter to a bookstore.