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Avoid the Three B’s of Business Failure

Burned Out

Gathering life lessons from great leaders opens so many doors.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Greg Hicks, owner and founder of Impressions Catering in Cleveland, Tennessee. Greg opened new doors for me.

Despite the rough and tumble catering world he works in, Greg has thrived. Like many of us, though, Greg had to learn some lessons the hard way. With a matter-of-fact style revealing hard earned wisdom, Greg shared, “I was burned out, busy and broke.” Battered by the Great Recession, Greg made the mistake of saying “yes” to every client demand … and his strategy extracted a tremendous toll:

He was busy: Lacking focus, Impressions Catering chased every lead, accepted every client request.

He was burned out: Chasing one’s own tail is tiring.

He was broke: Profit margin played second fiddle in Greg’s decision making process.

Greg summed up his failing business model beautifully: “I eventually learned you will be ‘nothing to nobody’ if you try to be ‘all things to all people.’”

This story has a happy ending. 17 years of owning and running a now extremely successful catering company has Greg extolling the virtues of remaining laser-focused on one’s strengths … and leveraging those strengths. “Not all business is our business,” said Greg as he shared with me how Impressions Catering remains true to its niche; the business of offering full-service wedding catering.

Greg gets it. Although many doors open up to us in our careers and lives, we don’t need to walk through each one.