How to lose all your clients and your business too

February 10, 2007 at 2:21 am Leave a comment

Because my company employed family members, I never dreamed I would need to protect it from internal theft. However, that’s just what I had to do when I discovered that four key staff members, who were also family members, were leaving my IT support company and stealing intellectual property to start a rival business.

My story involves an operations manager, a top salesperson, two senior engineers, and the abrupt departure of several clients. When we lost the first major client, I met with the engineer who serviced the account to discuss it. The engineer told me the client hired internal IT staff and no longer needed our services. Soon after, another client working with this engineer left. And then another. In each instance I followed up but did no additional research since sometimes clients do leave for reasons I was offered.

Then suddenly and much to my surprise this engineer resigned. In an exit interview, he said he was leaving the IT field altogether and entering into a new venture with his wife. While his resignation was abrupt, there was no reason to doubt him.

Just days later, a second engineer resignation. Again, I conducted the exit interview, where this individual claimed he was “burned out” and leaving his IT career behind to open an import/export business. The two resignations seemed odd, particularly so close to each other, but I had no reason to be suspicious. While key players in the organization, they were, after all, family.

One day, I stopped by the office of a client who had recently left my business to say hello. To my surprise, I found one of the engineers who resigned from my company working there. I returned to my office and shared what I had seen with my top sales person and operations manager. Neither claimed to have any idea why that prior employee was working for the lost client.

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Entry filed under: Internet Startup.

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About Biz News

My Name is Bisi and this is my blog This blog features stories that I have read that I think are interesting . I usually bookmark the stories that I find interesting but they are getting too many . I have decided to catalog and share them on this site . I am not really promoting the site so you might have accidentally stumbled on it . Thanks for visiting .
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