By Julia Billen, CEO, Warmly Yours, Long Grove, Ill.
I run a radiant heating products
company — we’re closely linked to the remodeling and new construction
sector, which showed signs of trouble even before the economy collapsed.
My finance consultants told me I was going to lose a lot of money in
2008 — in the many millions — and that if I wanted to avoid bankruptcy I
needed to start cutting costs by slashing my workforce.
I told them I wasn’t going to fire a single one of my 60 employees.
I’d watched my father-in-law deteriorate after getting fired at just 44,
and I never wanted to put someone else through that. Sure, the numbers
were bad, but there was no sense in focusing solely on the negative.
I knew we could make it through if I could just keep the company
moving. To do that, I needed to keep my employees thinking positively.