It was four years ago to the day that I was fired from my duties as the General Manager of Cambria Bicycle Outfitters. The owner said I had failed to increase business fast enough.
When I started my tenure the company had just came of a $1.5 million decrease in sales the prior year. I turned it around and ecked out a 10% sales increase the following year. Our monthly uniques increased by over 125%. We booked our first profit in three years. The IT infrastructure was a shambles, so I migrated the internal network/ERP to a 3rd party hosted space. We improved performance and lowered operating costs by over $1k a month.
The owner wasn’t happy with this nor the pace of our turnaround. I pointed out that we missed sales due to out-of-stocks from our poor cash position. He didn’t want to invest any capital. He decided a merger with a San Diego-based competitor was the solution. I couldn’t see the value in the strategy but as a good soldier I had my orders and I complied. After six months and a significant outlay of our cash, we had nothing to show for our side; zip, nada, zilch. I told him that it wasn’t going to work. He didn’t want to hear it.
We entered the winter of 2009/2010 in a precarious cash position. I had already cut payroll to the bone. We flipped into the new year and the owner let me go.
I was now staring at unemployment, with a wife who just completed a cancer battle and three wonderful kids. The cancer fight wiped out all our savings. Things looked bleak that day.
Little did I know what was in store for me six months later.