My notes as I explore various business and financial topics

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Setting Expectations - a Valuable Lesson Learned

I recently had a business deal fall through.  The buyer insisted that he was serious about the transaction and had asked me to extend my deadline . . . twice. Then, as we approached the last cutoff, he canceled on me, doing the complete opposite of what he had promised in his last email.  Here is an exerpt of his last message.

" . . . I am swamped for the next 2 weeks and then after that I can start with this. I will put you down if you will give me this extension and it will happen, i won't be flaky."

Needless to say, I was pretty pissed when he canceled after two months of waiting.

At least, I would have been--if not for these three valuable lessons.

Lesson 1 - I own a valuable but underdeveloped asset that people would pay money for. I need to get off my butt and get to work on it.

Lesson 2 - I successfully managed my expectations. I never considered the deal complete until I saw the cash in my account.  You've heard this one before - "don't count your chickens until they've hatched."

Lesson 3 - The only thing that you can control is your attitude and your actions.  I could have gotten all pissed off but that wouldn't have changed anything. It wouldn't have contributed to my success and would have alienated a potential/future business contact.

This event proved to be an extremely valuable experience--one of the best lessons I've had. I started working on my neglected account again. I never considered the deal closed despite reassurances from the buyer. And, I carefully considered lesson number 3 and acted upon them accordingly.

Lesson 3 is the most valuable one of all. I had done some homework and discovered that the buyer was in business with his family and I knew that he would need a consensus to complete the deal.  So, when the bad news came, it didn't surprise me.  If I hadn't known about the buyer's background, I probably would have been pissed with him for backing out at the last moment.

But, think about this for a moment.  Even if I had been intentionally deceived, what would getting upset have accomplish? 

Lesson 3 - the only thing that you can control is your attitude and your actions.

Instead, I got back to work.

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