Posts Tagged ‘James Siminoff’

How to Tell Employees Bad News

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

All you entrepreneurs out there–especially those in high tech–can imagine the panic of discovering that a giant company just released a product almost exactly like yours. Even worse, that industry-dominating giant is giving it away! Yes, that’s right: free!

How do you tell your employees the bad news, and how do you assure them you have a plan for staying in business and thriving, even though your product is on the market at a premium price point? As reported in Fast Company, James Siminoff, CEO of Unsubscribe, faced that reality when he was running his previous start-up, Phone Tag, a voicemail transcription service. When he learned Google had introduced a product nearly identical to his, Siminoff was ready. He knew such a situation might develop and had prepared for the worst.

First, he flooded the media with his core story: Google may be bigger but our product is better and our customers agree. He commanded attention by being outrageously outspoken to the point of profanity, realizing that the media loves wild behavior.  Second, he informed employees by sending out a group e-mail followed by conversations with each individual. Then he kept them focused on customer service, sales and close customer contact.

Initially Phone Tag lost about 25% of its business to the new service, but eventually the company won back 4/5 of them–and added 30% more new customers. About a year later Siminoff sold the company at a handsome profit and started his current start-up. He says in retrospect, he’s grateful for Google’s entry into the voice transcription market and wouldn’t change a thing about how he told his “bad news” story.

Read the whole story here: