Lessons Learned: Surviving a Financial Setback

Article by:
Andrea Arena, EO Atlanta
Andrea Arena
EO Atlanta

Running a business presents many challenges, many of which are unexpected. EO Atlanta member Andrea Arena faced a financial setback that threatened to derail her business. Learn how she bounced back into the black.

The Problem: After 17 years in business, I returned from maternity leave to the news that three of my company’s national accounts decided not to renew their contracts. They reported that, while we provided superb service, the economic crisis required drastic measures. Before I knew it, our overhead devoured our profit at an alarming rate, and we found ourselves operating in the red.

The Solution: I began the recovery process by examining how my company spends money. I generated a list of questions about my vendors and learned where I could save, and then I made ruthless cuts and restricted spending. Second, I leaned on my EO peers for assistance with big-ticket projects, using their experiences as guidance and their confidence in me as fuel to keep moving forward. Finally, I renegotiated contracts and looked for discounts with existing commercial vendors. Many offered to cut our costs in half in lieu of losing our business. In the end, I was able to get back in black, but it wasn’t easy.

The Lessons: In three months, we went from US$20,000 in the hole back to profitability. All in all, this experience taught me to always have my finger on the financial pulse of my business. Ever since this realization, we’ve had the strongest sales pipeline in years! Thanks to the support of my team and EO, I survived this rocky patch and can now focus on the future of my business.


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