Posted on: March 2, 2012

You Must Be Brutally Honest If You Want To Save Your Business

Sugar coating the cold, hard truth is often convenient, even tempting. It’s easy to go through life avoiding unpleasant realities — even if you’re a hard-hitting, pull-no-punches businessperson. You may not even realize you’re doing it. I’d like to convince you that you’re better off being brutally honest, especially when it comes to unpleasant information. The truth might hurt, but it can save your business.

The truth is more profitable
Imagine you run a medium-sized business. Your son, Jack, has been involved in the business from a young age. He sees the company leadership as his birthright.
But Jack makes a lot of mistakes. He loses accounts by not paying attention. He wastes company cash on dumb ideas. He never knows his numbers. And he waits too long to fire bad people. If he weren’t your son, you would have hopefully whacked him by now — or at least set him straight.
If you’re like most people, though, you wouldn’t have the heart to be honest. You’d be afraid of confronting Jack. You would spare his feelings. And you would avoid admitting to yourself that your son just isn’t cut out for this job. In the end, you would give him the company — and chances are he would run it into the ground.
But you don’t have to abandon reality. You can stop the madness. When you work for me, we make a simple bargain: you tell me the truth and I will tell you the truth. Period. Everyone’s better off, including the company.

Lying to yourself will cost you
Beyond telling others the truth about their strengths and weaknesses, you also need to be honest with yourself.
It’s hard to be self-critical. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, since you need confidence to take risks. But it’s because you take such risks, often with your family’s money, that you owe it to yourself to face up to your strengths and weaknesses. That may mean admitting that your big idea stinks — or even worse, that you’re not the right guy to run with it. If you found it hard to fire Jack, try firing yourself!
No one said it was easy, but it’s easier than losing everything because of your delusions. Your family and your wallet will thank you.

You can’t hide from the truth
If you tell me your product is selling like hot cakes, that had better be true. Not just for my sake as an investor, but for yours, too. Why? Because the truth will always catch up to you. Let’s say you come to me looking for an investment, and you say that your widget is flying off the shelves at Retailer A. After you leave, I make some calls to put you in Retailer B. Meanwhile, my team sets up a meeting with Retailer A. We find out that they pulled your widget months ago, and they barely remember your name.
What did you accomplish? It must have felt good to walk out of our meeting with everything going well. But in the end, it will always catch up with you. By putting off the moment of truth, you prevented everyone — including yourself — from spending that same time on other, better opportunities. Never pretend you can hide from the truth.

  • Dionn_g

    You are so honest mate, and the truth hurts most people. I have been an avid watcher of Dragons Den(on you tube), and i finally figured you out after watching many many episodes. You went from villain to hero, and i thoroughly enjoy your work. I am hanging out for that famous phrase of yours, “show me how i can make money?” on every episode – just cracks me up! You’re a tough negotiator,businessman, but deep inside, you actually DO care about people( remember that spiritual guy, when you actually gave him money? ). I loved you then mate, and i’m sure there’s a philanthropist there somewhere in your soul(stop laughing mate!). I am sure you are doing many good things with your money, because after all, you are smart enough to realise that when we exit this planet, unfortunately, we cannot take our possessions with us(i’m telling the truth here mate):)

    dialogue between God and Kevin:

    Kevin: Where the hell am i?
    God: You are in heaven Kevin
    Kevin: Who owns this place and how much can i buy it for?
    God: I own it, and it is not for sale
    Kevin: Come on God, everything has a price. Who else lives here?
    God: the Angels
    Kevin: the Angels? Do they own a part of heaven?
    God: no
    Kevin: Well, how about we do a deal. You see, i can be your agent, we can subdivide this heaven, sell it to the angels……….
    Angel: Kevin, this is heaven and we cannot subdivide heaven
    Kevin: Listen angel, do you know who i am? I can make you rich! just bring the money i left behind on earth(save 10mill or so for my family), and let’s get it happening! come on! let’s stop wasting time goddamit! 🙂
    Kevin: What’s that white light?
    Angel: move towards it Kevin and you will be free
    Kevin: are you serious? do you think i am that stupid? i’ve seen this stuff on tv, as soon as you go to the light, poof, you’re gone! i gotta a better idea. Convince God to go into a land deal with me, and i will cut you in for 5%.
    Angel: 5%? How about you give me 51% or i will make sure you go straight to hell
    Kevin: God, are you there?
    God: yes kevin
    Kevin: i have a deal for you………:)

    God Bless
    George Dion

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  • Alex Crawford

    Very inspired by your stuff. I am only 17, but very eager for the business world. I would love to sit down listen to you at a seminar.

  • Gabetron

    The truth will shit your pants…