Alice wept for opportunity lost.
My father was a small business owner, he worked from six thirty in the morning until ten at night, every day of the week. He worked until the day he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of seventy two. He had big dreams of financial success and strove for it every day. The business provided him with the income to support our family, but there was no retirement nest egg for him to do the things he longed to do.
He never complained because he loved working for himself. But it could have been so much better.
Soon after my Father’s death I met with the owners of a Locksmith and Shoe Repair business operating in regional South Australia. Gregory and Alice had been referred to me by a government business agency for assistance to improve the profitability of their business. They were gentle people, active in their community and both worked long hours for a reward far far less then they deserved. In that regard they were the epitome of business owners.
Alice hardly spoke during our forty-five minutes together, at the meetings conclusion she wept.
I was taken aback and muttered an apology, for what, I was not quite sure. Leaning across from the chair next to her Gregory embraced his wife, gently kissed the side of her head and then motioned for her to stand.
“Come on darling we should be going, thank you Philip that was very interesting.” Alice looked at me and smiled.
“There is nothing to apologise for Philip, it’s just that I knew, I knew, there had to be a better way, if we had found out sooner it could have all been so different.”
I never saw Alice or Gregory again, and I never forgot them.
It was not unusual for people to show emotion in my office, I have cried with a client at the loss of a family member; tried to console clients forced to sell their family home; witnessed the despair that comes with utter frustration, and I have shared in client’s grief of separation and divorce.
But it was Alice’s tears, shed for opportunity lost, that have impacted me the most. For me those tears represent the feelings of so many that have toiled in business, including my father. Those tears drive me in my attempt to make a difference. Because I know it can be different. I know that because I have seen it.
This site exists to make a difference, to recover some of the opportunities lost.