The two principal shareholders of the magazine stared back at me in disbelief as I calmly explained the simple rescue plan we would use to save the ailing monthly business magazine. Exhaustion and desperation were written all over their faces and in a way I felt pity for them.
The pair had already lost a small fortune in just one year of operation. The only reason why they had not shut down the damned thing was that they were hoping for some miracle that would recover at least half their life savings.
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But then theirs is the story of hundreds of thousands of would-be-entrepreneurs the world over who continue to launch thousands of new magazines every year without the very special skills that are required to run this complex and yet extremely potential business.
All they had left at this bankrupt magazine now was a small demoralized sales team ready to quit the moment they found jobs elsewhere. No reporters, no writers, no budget to get good writers on board.
I quickly called a meeting and tried to inspire the shabby remnant, assuring them that the magazine was now in good hands and that things would improve. Luckily they did not sense the cold fear creeping up my spine nor did they seem to realize that I had already broken into a cold sweat. In business there are no guarantees – you win some and you lose others. What right did I have to make all these promises? What if I failed in this assignment?
I proceeded to swiftly train the handful of sales people and changed them from advertising sales persons into “reporters”. They were to go out and gather information.