Creative Services Studio Specializing in Logo Design, Graphic Design and Fillable Forms

Business Growth or Death? Lessons from a Monkey

Business Growth or Death? Lessons from a Monkey

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the hungry monkey who sees some food inside a glass jar. The opening of the jar is just large enough for him to squeeze his hand inside. He then grabs the food and tries to remove his hand from the jar, but can’t because the act of closing his fist around the food has made removing his fist impossible. He will stay there with his hand in the jar, refusing to let go, until he starves or is caught by a hunter. He could let go and look for food elsewhere, but he doesn’t. He refuses to let go of what he feels is the obvious answer to his hunger, and ultimately, it will be his demise.

That’s what almost happened to my business. After 25 years, I found myself trapped like that monkey. But there is a way out, and here’s how I found it.

One year ago, out of the blue, my number one client called to tell me they were pulling all graphic design projects in house, effective immediately. I shared the news with my employees and we all knew what it could mean for our company. The client we just lost provided between 70 to 80 percent of our yearly revenue. Without this revenue, the company would die.

You would think as the news sank in that despair would have taken hold. But that isn’t what happened at all.

Tia, my Art Director, simply said, “We need to pray.” It wasn’t the first time we had all come together to prayer as a company. It actually happened quite often when one or more of us dealt with personal or work related concerns. I guess that’s why it seemed natural for us to now turn to the only One big enough to handle the possible end of our professional world.

All four of us huddled together as a collective and we took turns talking to our Heavenly Father. And just like alwayswe could feel His presence surrounding us and He gave us hope.

Moving forward I was filled with peace and assurance. Was our situation dire? Yes. Had our circumstances immediately changed? No. But my attitude had changed. I knew my company and my employees’ futures were in God’s hands, and that was a huge relief to me.

Fast forward to today. It’s one year later, and the following things are true:
– My business still exists.
– We secureda large contract with a new clientthis past year – a contract that we couldn’t have pursued in earnest if we were still handling the previous workload of our former client.
– We moved the business out of my home into a shared storefront studio space in Stanton, Illinois. We are engaging in the surrounding community and enjoying the increased exposure the move has brought.
– We have increased our services and are now offering logo animation, something we might not have considered if we hadn’t lost our main revenue source earlier last year.
– And the best of all – even after losing our big client, the company actually turned a profit last year. It’s a TEENY TINY profit, and nothing like it’s been in years past,but it’s still a PROFIT. That humbles me, and makes me mighty grateful.

So how does this “Monkey” figure in to all of this? The answer to the monkey’s problem and my company’s problem is the same: Let Go.

I have always loved the story of the monkey because of the wisdom it clearly illustrates:

Sometimes letting go of our initial desires can bring us something of greater value.

However, in view of the past years’ events, I gained even more insight from this little story because for the first time I saw MYSELF as the monkey with my hand in the jar.

My company had been enjoying the benefits of a food-filled glass jar for the past 25 years. In my case, the jar’s opening was plenty big, allowing the food to come in and out. However, when I lost my largest client, the neck of the jar closed around my hand and my business was facing certain death. My choices were:
1) Hold on to how things had always been while I mourned the death of my business.
2) Let go of the familiar and let God show me a new and better way.

I chose to let go and trust God. One by one unexpected opportunities opened up. And now my future is bright with new possibilities and hope.

How about you? Are you hungry for new clients and increased revenue for your business? As you reflect over the past and look toward the future, what are you hanging onto that is holding you back, trapping you, or threatening your business success?

Release it. Take a chance on a different direction. Chances are, you will find something even better.

Remember – change is coming.

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