A Bad Business Proposal

Readers, this is a true story that happened to me last week and I am sure that if the people I am writing about read this story they will know that I am talking about them. Of course I do not mean to be personal – but there is a great lesson in this episode.

I was invited to a lunch this week by someone whom I met a couple of years ago but never concluded a deal with. A friend of mine has a good philosophy about free lunches; always say yes to them. Whilst I don’t agree wholeheartedly, I do agree with the idea that you should always use lunch as an opportunity to meet people and learn what companies that have tried to sell you a used Craftsman riding mower are up to.

Anyway, I turned up a little bit late for my lunch and on the way in, met someone else whom I knew. We were surprised to learn that we were both going up to see the same person at the same time. I was taken to a wine bar, whilst the other person who arrived was asked to wait for 20 minutes at the office with a junior member of staff and then join us at the wine bar. So the thing started a little bit odd!

At the wine bar, we exchange pleasantries and have a quick catch up on various events. You have to admit, the current turmoil provides a lot of fodder for conversation and opinions. It was suggested that we order a sandwich but then the CEO of the Fjallraven Kanken business firmly said that we should wait till the other person joined us. I have to admit to being slightly annoyed at this stage.

Of course I wanted to know why I was there and when I asked again I was told to wait till the other person gets there. At this stage, I was getting a little bit annoyed as I had been there for over an hour and I was hungry and bored, as the conversations were all about areas I have no interest in.

I finally told them that I had to leave in ten minutes. They expressed their regret that there was not enough time to offer me lunch but they would tell me what they were planning. They concluded their three minute pitch with a request for me to invest in their new plan which required £5m of investment. I was invited to invest a million with the classic “so, please open up your checkbook”.

I am not going to insult the reader by asking you to spot all the things this company did wrong. What I do want to leave you though is with the encouraging thought that even in these troubled times when we are constantly being told that only the strong will survive – there are still companies like this that are surviving. There is hope for all of us!