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The Keyser Soze School Of Ruthless Business

Keyser Soze

If you’ve seen the movie The Usual Suspects then you know that Keyser Soze is not a nice guy. But he’s sort of the good guy.

Somebody is going to take advantage of you and your business. It’s not a question of if, just when. And if you’re not ready for it, everything you’ve built could come tumbling down.

To quote the movie, this is what you’re up against:

“There was a gang of Hungarians that wanted their own mob. They realized that to be in power, you didn’t need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn’t.”

And this is the Keyser Soze solution:

“And then he showed these men of will what will really is.”

A Test Of Will And Integrity

The ruthless business tactics that some people use are void of integrity. They’re so far over the the ethical line that it should be criminal. Most of the time it’s not. Not exactly.

With experience, you learn to see it coming and you can just walk away from the deal. But even the most savvy business people get taken from time to time. And this is where you have to make a choice.

Do you keep your integrity intact? Or do you get ruthless?

Okay, let’s switch gears here and get a little more serious. The truth is, there are some good, solid business practices that you can follow when you’re neck-deep in it with a ruthless company.

Real Solutions For Bad Situations

  1. Stay afloat. Don’t ignore your good customers. You need all the resources you can get right now. Keep bringing in the dough that you’re great deals with great people give you. And keep cultivating new business. It helps you move forward and brings some light to a dark day.
  2. Keep cool and calm. Overreacting is acting without thinking. The ruthless gang of thugs you’re dealing with expect it. They’re probably even hoping for it.
  3. Strategize. You need a comprehensive plan that probably involves getting paid. And maybe tightening up the ship. You want to figure out their possible reactions to your action. And how you’re going to steer the situation to make their reactions mute. The best plans forge forward no matter what they say or do. Or don’t say and don’t do.
  4. Be persistant. Stick to your guns and execute your plan. If you can’t go around them, keep banging on the door until someone answers and meets your demands to rectify the situation. Every day, go back and bang on the door again. And twice on Sundays.
  5. Learn. Don’t get in deeper once you realize there’s a problem. And if there are similar loose ends in other areas of your business, tie them up so it doesn’t happen again. Exercising some basic diligence with your good customers is important. ‘Cause you never know.

Predatory business people will always be around. They move from place to place constantly; they’re always there for a good time, not a long time.

Hold them in one spot for long enough, and just like sharks, they can’t breathe.

Sorry Keyser. We don’t need you on this one.

Denouement
 

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks Shane for talking about Keyser Soze!

    The biggest lesson he teaches us, imho, is how to create a legend.

    “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

    But thats detouring from your post… :o

  2. Hey Ankesh,

    It’s not really a detour. Some of the best ruthless companies out there are successful at taking advantage of others because they’re the devil that doesn’t exist … they seem like they have everything to offer …

    And then you blink, and realize nothing is what it seemed and you’re in a mess of trouble.

  3. I appreciate this post.

    If you do much online trading, such as Ebay, etc, you run into people constantly who try to exploit the system and take advantage of you. Like you said, with experience you learn to see them coming.

    It’s very easy to lose your cool and start sending emails before you think the situation through. Staying calm is great advice. A lot of times there’s a better way to resolve the problem than acting on your first impulse.

  4. Anthony,

    I’ve heard that Ebay can be a problem sometimes. It’s usually people’s first instinct to lose their cool when they get taken for a ride by a cheat (I know it’s mine!). I walk it off or whatever, and then sit down and work on a plan to resolve it.

  5. All excellent solutions to handle bad situations mate. Integrity is the most important ingredient if you have long term plans for any business. Keep afloat and keep calm keep moving are simply great ingredients. The 5th one is hard though, when you have been in business for a while some of us tend to believe that we know the whole lot. Bit of ego involved there but can be handled there too. I liked the post mate.

    Take care and cheers..

  6. Robin,

    Thanks. Yeah, staying afloat and keeping calm during these situations is critical.

    Our egos have a way of getting in the way, definitely. Mine has seldom gotten in the way of learning though. Guess I’m lucky. Somebody a long time ago told me that the only stupid questions are the ones not asked. Luckily it stuck with me

  7. “Somebody a long time ago told me that the only stupid questions are the ones not asked”, I loved this one and will try to make it work for me too.

    Take care and cheers

  8. I try to ask at least one stupid question every day. Just to stay in practice :)

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