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A majority of small businesses fail, most within a few years of start-up, some after a generational change in management. Nearly two-thirds of such firms are owned or managed by women.
2005 244 pages
A Rough Introduction
Lindsay Roberts re-read her emails. Again. She knew she was wasting time on trivial things to avoid facing her real business problems – if only she could clearly define them and find answers.
As she neared the front door, Lindsay caught a glimpse of her father’s portrait in the hall. “Get well soon,” she muttered under her breath. “I don’t think I can handle your job much longer.”
Several Roberts Quick Printing Co. staff members looked the other way as Lindsay walked by. They felt uncomfortable around the new boss. They missed Jack Roberts’ confident charm, though it often masked the little print shop’s difficulties in adapting to changing times. The staffers found the 32-year-old daughter a poor substitute for the man who founded the company 25 years ago and would still be at the helm if his fragile health would allow it.
Lindsay was now striding purposefully down the street to the coffee shop. She recalled how elated she’d been just a few months earlier when her dad asked her to take on running the firm while he followed doctor’s orders to take it easy after a mild heart attack.
But that thrilling moment had ended abruptly when she saw the disappointment in his eyes. She realized her sudden promotion was owed solely to her status as his only child – there was no accompanying faith in her ability to run the company.
As she lowered the paper to turn the page, she was startled to find an older man in a business suit standing right in front of her. “Can I help you?” she glared, annoyed by the intrusion.
“Perhaps I can help you,” the stranger replied. “I’m the StreetSmart Marketer.”
“Wow, that’s fascinating,” Lindsay said sarcastically. The stranger smiled in response. He clearly wasn’t getting the message that his presence was not required – or wanted. “You know,” Lindsay added sharply, “you look a bit like that Michael Hepworth marketing guru in the business section.” The man’s smile widened.
“But he’s much better-looking,” she jabbed. Then she raised the newspaper to block her view of the stranger; an obvious signal the conversation was over.
Lindsay had resumed reading the newspaper. As she lowered it to turn the page, she was annoyed to find the smiling man still standing in front of her. He hadn’t moved an inch.
“I came back to retrieve my newspaper – for the business section.”
Lindsay’s face flushed red with embarrassment. “Oh my Lord, I’m so stupid. I had no ideal. I’m so sorry. I feel terrible. I’ve been so rude to you, I, I, I don’t know what to say… I’m, I’m…”
“A young businesswoman with marketing problems,” the man said, completing her flustered ramble.
“It’s that obvious?”
Lindsay smiled. “That’s good to hear – I apologize that we got off to a rough start. Please forgive my earlier rudeness; I’m stressed out from running my Dad’s business while he recovers from a heart attack. Things aren’t turning out as I’d hoped – nothing’s working. I thought some time away from the office might help me think more clearly… I’m Lindsay Roberts. You mentioned that you’re the StreetSmart Marketer. I’d sure be interested in hearing any advice you can give me. I imagine you have some lessons I can learn, some keys to achieving success.”
“Actually, if I can find time, I can share eleven keys that unlock the secrets to rapid growth in your business.”
“Yes, I’m giving a speech in a few weeks and I’ve been writing down points I’ll be covering. I have to leave now, but here’s the course outline – hope you’ll find it useful,” he said, handing Lindsay a paper with 11 lessons in summary form.
Lindsay began reading the list. “This is amazing, when can we go over some of this?” she asked looking up from the list.
But the StreetSmart Marketer wasn’t there...
About Michael Hepworth
Michael Hepworth is President of Results Exchange Group and founder/president of all StreetSmart Marketer enterprises.
Hepworth established the personal brand StreetSmart Marketer, along with proven marketing strategies that have helped thousands of clients achieve success.