Yesterday, Mr Designer's business partner received a big blow, from me. He had to meet me alone as Mr Designer suddenly told us that he was spending the weekend with his parents in PD. The poor guy wasn't prepared for the bad news that I was about to deliver.
As talented and resourceful as Mr Designer may be, he has a serious time management problem. There was this one tiny old project that I'd been working with him on, way before his partner came into the picture. He had been cruising on the amendments for far too long. I managed to extend the deadline by 2 weeks. Unfortunately, it looks like he's still going to miss it. I understand his frustration from having lost the files as he had to change laptop frequently until he got a new MacPro. He had to re-construct each design and do 1 new one - he seemed to have a major hick-up with this one.
So, finally, on Thursday morning, I asked his partner to take charge, that was the 2nd time I asked him to oversee this project, even he thought it was already settled. He assured me I would get everything by that evening. However, I didn't get the last one until Friday morning, and the problematic design still didn't meet my brief. In fact, it was so 'off' that I couldn't help thinking that he was making fun of me. It was as if he was testing my limit. He also didn't take me seriously at all, he was putting other client's job before mine, even the one-off small ones. This time, he was pushing his luck too far.
Hence, I told his partner this clearly and bluntly. I didn't think he could manage Mr Designer and I didn't believe that they are the best choice anymore. No doubt the end result will be high in quality and the cost is low, but my stress level will hit the roof. As the first warning, I'm recommending another supplier for a new job (though Mr Designer's company did offer us the lowest price). I had even delegated the new job to my staff to ensure that I won't be able to change my mind later. I'd look fluffy if I go back on my decision. Following that, they don't stand an equal chance to other suppliers for future jobs. They are at a disadvantage, no more in a neutral position. I've also retained their cheque for a previous job until they get that last design right.
This was no way to treat a potential retainer account. I even told him that I was very close to recommending another supplier for the biggest chunk of the pie. All I needed to do was wait for my staff to negotiate a better deal with them. Their quality of designs is at par with Mr Designer, but the cost is much higher. That is reasonable, considering their seamless service. No stress for me at all. He realised I was damn serious. That really threw him off. Messing up on 1 tiny job would cause them a future major 6-figure deal.
Yeah, I'm finally putting my foot down. People say that lady bosses are emotional. Well, this one surely is a professional decision. I felt so relief after making it. Regardless of how much I care about Mr Designer, if I don't be firm with him, I'm not going to be proud of myself when I look back 5 years from now. If he is not sincere, his true motive will emerge after this new development. I am prepared to lose everything
I pity his partner though, he was like a magnet to disaster. The guy is an amazing listener. He said this kind of things always happen to him. 10 years in business, whenever a partner screws up, he would be the one picking up the pieces, even during school days. Once, he had to make amend with his friend's girlfriend for him. Nevertheless, he got the message. Mr Designer has to fix 3 things: 1) Convince me that he could do the job, 2) Convince me that he is serious about working with me, and not making a fool out of me and 3) Convince me that he is sincere and has no hidden motive. Later last night, he said he had given the jist of our conversation to Mr Designer but the bulk of it had to wait until he returns to KL tomorrow. He said it was too important to convey over the phone.
Mr Designer's partner also assured me that he has met the guy's family - his parents and siblings. They are decent people. So, he had a good feeling that he is good person too. Oh, he delivered a bad news - Mr Designer's father is very sick and a few days ago,the doctor predicted that he would not make it longer than 2 years. That's why they decided to have the family retreat in PD this weekend.