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No. of Recommendations: 3
I am currently self employed, but for years was an business banking account manager for a major Canadian bank. I have seen the story you told played out several times during my career with the bank and it was usually a business that was "sold" to children of the original owners. Often the story was painfully similar to the one you have related and reading you post brought back a flood of memories.

No matter the nature of the business, I always tried to impress upon business owners that what they were selling was service. Didn't matter if the product they were pushing was hardware, books, clothing, tax accounting, fast food... whatever, if they were going to succeed, they had to believe that the product was the means to the end. The end was service.

It matters little if you have the best product at the lowest price, if you don't WOW you customers with service, the guy that does will eat your lunch, even if his prices are higher than yours.

Alton's downfall was not making sure that his sucessor understood the value of the service he had built up over the years. It was an asset he was selling and he should have made sure Bob understood its value.

Bob's downfall was thinking that he could expect the sales that Alton had built up would continue, based soley on the fact that there was an established clientele. He did not have the necessary training to go into business for himself, and didn't realize that he was buying an asset that he eventually threw out.

Sad for both parties.

Cheers

Bob (No.. not that one!)
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