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Edition 393 – Ramifications

I have a regular, early morning meeting in the City, so I leave home before sunrise and tackle the drive before the Sydney traffic truly takes hold. It’s amazing how many people are actually on the road at 4.30am, making their way in life, one day at a time, on the M5.

On this particular morning, I flicked off the music and switched over to Radio National. The BBC World Business Report is on early and, often, they have an interesting story or two to take in. The one that piqued my interest this day was about the co-working business, WeWork.

Apparently, WeWork are in a spot of trouble. They’re carrying $17 billion in debt and in spite of the fact they’re turning over $850 million per month, they’re still losing $350 million each month. I wasn’t surprised at the loss, given that, according to the BBC, there’s only 500 000 members in 33 countries. I must admit, I always thought it was a much larger business.

The prelude to the story was a vox-pop of WeWorkers in Manchester. They all talked about how they loved the communal setting, the endless supply of coffee and ping pong tables. A number of the interviewees talked about the importance co-working was to them and compared it favourably to working from home. So far, so good and whilst it’s essentially a tech-business, you’d expect that business must be booming, except for the financial results.

The killer strike was a one-on-one interview with a UK based Australian small business operator. He agreed with all the positive comments about co-working. However, through the pandemic, when Government restrictions in the UK forced people to work from home, WeWork refused to work with their “members” in terms of offering financial relief when they couldn’t use the facilities. In essence, it appears that if you were in an agreement with WeWork through this period, you continued to pay full freight. So, combined with getting used to working from home, WeWork’s stance left a sour taste in the mouths of some business owners, and a bit less in their pockets, which they’ve never forgotten.

The pandemic disrupted 2020 and 2021. The UK, like many parts of the world, were locked down for long periods of time. And here we are in 2023 where one company is still feeling the effects, not of COVID, but of the decisions they made at that time, that solved a short term problem (cashflow), yet created a long term one (survival).

How often do the easy decisions of today have a long term effect in your business, or indeed, any other

How often is a “no-brainer” decision at the time, not actually the right one for the longevity of a client relationship, and thus, the business as a whole?

On the flip-side, what are the decisions you have made, where you sacrificed something in the short term, in order to engender a long term benefit for both you and your clients?

I’ve long said that business isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Yet, so many decisions by business owners are made with a “sprint”mentality.

Next time you’re ready to fire the “rocket” email back to someone, why not park it in your “draft” box for an hour, or a day, and mull it over?

When you’ve had some feedback that you didn’t like hearing, rather than be defensive and react, stop and ask questions to arrive at the root cause of the issue.

If it’s an employee that has made a blunder, and that seems out of character, spend a moment with them to find out what’s going on in their lives.

In these and other situations, slowing down your response and thinking long term may well build goodwill, not cause you grief.

This Week’s Tip

Often, quick decisions have long term ramifications.