"In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends" ~ John Churton Collins
The quote above is absolutely true, and no more applicable than in these challenging economic times. The quote was brought to focus for me recently when we did a transaction with a vendor of used tooling that we'd had frequent dealings with in the past. Historically, there had always been a large degree of trust that we shared, on his side knowing that he'd get paid, and on ours knowing that he'd send the tooling and that it would be in good condition upon arrival. It was a good relationship, and profitable for both companies.
Unfortunately, as the quote above mentions, hard times test the true character of everyone. Our most recent transaction with this individual (and unfortunately our last), wound up with our company short several hundred dollars and the vendor unreachable... no product had been shipped to us, and he had taken off with the money.
This true test of character was failed miserably.
Of course, this was not much more than a disappointing occurrence in the grand scheme of things, however we've heard more and more stories of formerly ethical businesses and individuals taking the low road to make a quick buck at the expense of others. The most concerning of these revolved around the sale of a very expensive piece of large HDD equipment sold to a prominent and well-known contractor. As it turned out, the "bank repossessed" drill had actually been salvaged from the bottom of a river or ocean (I forget which), been cleaned, repainted, and marketed as a great, low-houred drill.
Character test failed.
Now, I have no doubt that people get desperate, and that they have a true and necessary need for money to keep them afloat. Unfortunately, in my mind at least, there is no excuse for theft or deception in the business world. HDDBroker was founded on the ideals of honesty, integrity, and leadership. Business practices contrary to those ideals are not just an option... they don't exist.
On the flip side, however, I've also seen some of the best instances of cooperation and teamwork in many years emerging as a result of this time of economic hardship. Speaking from personal experience, I know t hat we've been approached by several manufacturers, and through a combination of aggressive pricing and increased marketing have managed to move new inventory for some of them to areas that they would never have penetrated before. Similarly, we've been approached by other companies who have extended their hands in partnership and forged new relationships with us that will (hopefully) prove to be beneficial in the near future and allow both companies to accomplish what would have been impossible for one alone (stay tuned for news on THAT!). In both instances, I truly feel that it is only because of the challenges posed by the state of the industry right now that those opportunities surfaced.
Life, I say, is what you make of it. There will be those that crumble under the pressure, and those that soar because of it.