by John Murray, III

It’s a new year; start it by doing what you know you need to do.

Everyone knows that running a business is quite demanding. I have personally been in or around several small and large businesses in my life.

Most people know about the long hours expected. Generally, the owner is often the first person to work and the last person to leave. What prompted me to write this column is I had to let someone I care very much about go late last year.

This is someone who has been in my chocolate world since the experiment started back in 2012. 

I have seen people let go over the years of my career. Before slinging chocolate and fudge, I worked at an investment bank. Our group sold high-grade corporate bonds.  I was a research analyst. The absolute worst thing for our bank and our bank’s clients was what was referred to as a “LBO” or leveraged buyout. This was where an outsider would look at a company with very little debt, acquire the company, then use the company’s credit to borrow money in the company’s name.

This sort of thing was devastating to holders of the company’s bonds. It would cause their value to plummet.  Before I get into this story, I just want to state that I was six months out of college at the time. One of our companies was suddenly the victim of a LBO. Our company and a bunch of our clients had very large positions (high dollar amounts) in the company.  The word around the office was our bank lost a cool $1 million on the deal.  The senior analyst assigned to cover this company was named Rob.  He had a 3-month-old baby at home.  It was two weeks before Christmas.  Rob was brought into an office and fired on the spot. 

At the time,  I couldn’t imagine how bad that must have been for our manager, but the bank lost money. A head had to roll. It had nothing to do with the guy being a good guy or anything — it was strictly business.

Bringing it back to me, my beloved, longtime employee was not performing up to standard, after multiple chances and “pep talks.”

The moral of this story is as a business owner, you really need to take a breath sometimes and put the business ahead of personal feelings about someone. I didn’t arrive at my decision overnight; I try not to make flippant decisions.  But as a businessperson, I need to be firm in my conviction that what I did is best for my business — and the person — in the long run. 

If you are a business owner reading this, if you have those people on your staff who are not performing or have fallen below where they might have been, it could be time to make a move. 

I hate firing people. From where I sit, firing is the absolute worst part of my job. If you are reading this and not owning a business, just know that ending an employer-employee relationship takes its toll on the person ending it. 

There are many other examples I can and will provide in these columns to come, but believe me when I say being in business is not for the faint of heart. 

Everyone knows that running a business is quite demanding. I have personally been in or around several small and large businesses in my life. Most people know about the long hours expected. Generally, the owner is often the first person to work and the last person to leave. What prompted me to write this column is I had to let someone I care very much about go very recently.

This is someone who has been in my chocolate world since the experiment started back in 2012. 

I have seen people let go over the years of my career. Before slinging chocolate and fudge, I worked at an investment bank. Our group sold high-grade corporate bonds.  I was a research analyst. The absolute worst thing for our bank and our bank’s clients was what was referred to as a “LBO” or leveraged buyout. This was where an outsider would look at a company with very little debt, acquire the company, then use the company’s credit to borrow money in the company’s name.

This sort of thing was devastating to holders of the company’s bonds. It would cause their value to plummet.  Before I get into this story, I just want to state that I was six months out of college at the time. One of our companies was suddenly the victim of a LBO. Our company and a bunch of our clients had very large positions (high dollar amounts) in the company.  The word around the office was our bank lost a cool $1 million on the deal.  The senior analyst assigned to cover this company was named Rob.  He had a 3-month-old baby at home.  It was two weeks before Christmas.  Rob was brought into an office and fired on the spot. 

At the time,  I couldn’t imagine how bad that must have been for our manager, but the bank lost money. A head had to roll. It had nothing to do with the guy being a good guy or anything — it was strictly business.

Bringing it back to me, my beloved, longtime employee was not performing up to standard, after multiple chances and “pep talks.”

The moral of this story is as a business owner, you really need to take a breath sometimes and put the business ahead of personal feelings about someone. I didn’t arrive at my decision overnight; I try not to make flippant decisions.  But as a businessperson, I need to be firm in my conviction that what I did is best for my business — and the person — in the long run. 

If you are a business owner reading this, if you have those people on your staff who are not performing or have fallen below where they might have been, it could be time to make a move. 

I hate firing people. From where I sit, firing is the absolute worst part of my job. If you are reading this and not owning a business, just know that ending an employer-employee relationship takes its toll on the person ending it. 

There are many other examples I can and will provide in these columns to come, but believe me when I say being in business is not for the faint of heart. 

Everyone knows that running a business is quite demanding. I have personally been in or around several small and large businesses in my life. Most people know about the long hours expected. Generally, the owner is often the first person to work and the last person to leave.  What prompted me to write this column is I had to let someone I care very much about go very recently.

This is someone who has been in my chocolate world since the experiment started back in 2012. 

I have seen people let go over the years of my career. Before slinging chocolate and fudge, I worked at an investment bank. Our group sold high-grade corporate bonds. I was a research analyst. The absolute worst thing for our bank and our bank’s clients was what was referred to as a “LBO” or leveraged buyout. This was where an outsider would look at a company with very little debt, acquire the company, then use the company’s credit to borrow money in the company’s name.

This sort of thing was devastating to holders of the company’s bonds. It would cause bond values to plummet.  Before I get into this story, I just want to state that I was six months out of college at the time. One of our companies was suddenly the victim of an LBO.

Our company and a bunch of our clients had very large positions (high dollar amounts) in the company.  The word around the office was our bank lost a cool $1 million on the deal.  The senior analyst assigned to cover this company was named Rob. He had a 3-month-old baby at home.  It was two weeks before Christmas.

Rob was brought into an office and fired on the spot. 

At the time,  I couldn’t imagine how bad that must have been for our manager, but the bank lost money — a lot of money. A head had to roll. It had nothing to do with the guy being a good guy or anything; it was strictly business.

Bringing it back to me. My beloved, longtime employee was not performing up to standard, even after multiple chances and “pep talks.”

As a business owner, you really need to take a breath sometimes and put the business ahead of personal feelings about someone. I didn’t arrive at my decision overnight; I try not to make flippant decisions.  But as a businessperson, I need to be firm in my conviction that what I did is best for my business — and the person — in the long run. 

If you are a business owner reading this, if you have those people on your staff who are not performing or have fallen below where they might have been, it could be time to make a move. 

I hate firing people. From where I sit, firing is the absolute worst part of my job. If you are reading this and not owning a business, just know that ending an employer-employee relationship takes its toll on the person ending it. 

There are many other examples I can and will provide in these columns to come, but believe me when I say being in business is not for the faint of heart.