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How Your Business Can Learn From Greece’s Mistakes

Jul 27, 2015 | Entrepreneurs

Greece 2Greece is widely considered the birthplace of modern thought and civilization.  That reputation will not solve its current financial woes, it should outlast them.

Thousands of years of progress spawned from one nation wouldn’t typically be eradicated by a bad decade. Germany, Japan and Italy eventually re-entered the good graces of the world in the latter half of the 20th century.

The same can be said for your business if it’s going through a rough patch.  If you have established a reputation for high-quality service, products and customer satisfaction, you should be able to retain clients as well as possibly attract new ones, albeit slowly or at an initial discount. Failure can sting, but I remind clients that while we work to correct mistakes, to also seek out the possibilities.

I never learned a lesson so much as from failure.

Here are some lessons you as a business owner/manager might learn from Greece’s economic fallout:

You still have a lot to offer

Consider Greece’s tourism industry. The Irish Examiner reported that the Irish, who are a relatively-short plane ride away, still know Greece has a lot to offer and can get more value for their euro by vacationing there while travel and lodging rates are low. The hoteliers, restaurateurs, guides and local economies are dependent on vacationers and would rather welcome them with a discount than lose them to another destination.

It’s not a “going out of business” sale — short of a natural disaster, the country will still be there and its financial status will eventually stabilize.

If your company has endured some hard times but is still afloat, then think of it as your regrouping period.  Attract new business by continuing to take pride in yourself, reducing your fees or prices and maybe offering incentives to long-term clients by way of referral discounts. They’d want you to do it for them, in a crisis, too.

Think and step out of the box

If you’re worried that your custom-built corner office will soon be no more, then this is the time to walk out for lunch and (re)connect with your commercial neighbors. Don’t trumpet your sufferings. You’re not looking for sympathy — you’re seeking opportunities. Co-sponsorships, luncheons, and local/community campaigns are great ways to bolster morale, productivity and awareness in the short-term, and gains in the long.  Many Greek philosophers’ best thoughts were born from shared meals and meetings. The next great idea or suggestion for your business could be had at the diner or coffee shop next door with another patron or the owner.

Set new precedents

You may have instituted or inherited methods that made sense for the company at one time, but are now either outdated, counterproductive or costly (or all three). USA Today reported that Greece’s government had guaranteed a 50-year-old retirement age for pastry chefs, trombonists and hairdressers. Current leaders may not have created this problem, but they must deal with it, and it has meant a two-year increase in the retirement age and also may mean that future baklava-makers will have to work as long as the sanitation workers in order to cash in on their pensions and contribute to the betterment of the nation. If you need to amend certain employment stipulations and agreements in order to make payroll and keep the lights on, and can do so legally and ethically, it may be the best course of action, no matter how unpopular it may be.

In the end there’s only one way out of a mess.


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I formerly worked as a satellite employee from my home state of New Jersey. I ended my employment with my former employer in 2016. In 2018, I was sued by my former employer for $1.1 million in Illinois State Court. I was referred to Brinen & Associates, LLC by a friend who is a client of the firm. Brinen & Associates, LLC came highly recommended. I contacted Joshua Brinen and then had a consultation at his office with his colleague Mark White. Together, Messrs. Brinen and White explained my options...

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