Would You Have Got Fired For This?

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I was sat at my desk in an open plan office, having just finished a phone call that had shaken me to the core.

I was bright red, sweat was pouring down my face. I wheeled my chair back behind the partition so at least I was shielded from half of the marketing team.

How could I be so stupid? How on earth was I going to Not Get Fired?

Remember my first marketing job I mentioned in my first email?

It was the late 1990’s and I was a Marketing Executive for a large regional brewery in my native Northeast. For a bloke in his early 20’s how cool was that?

And that fateful morning, less than a year into the job, I was in grave danger of messing it up. Big Style.

Every year we organised three or four big Trade Shows where we invited all the Bar Owners & Club Stewards from all the working mens clubs we supplied beer to – it was sold as a chance for them to meet new suppliers, try new products, speak to their Area Manager – but we all new why they came…


And this year it was my responsibility to organise the Trade Shows.

So the more astute amongst you may have already worked out that yes, I was working in a brewery. And yes, one of my responsibilities was to organise the Trade Show ‘social gatherings’…

You can see where this is going…

Back to this phone call – the day had started well enough but I thought I’d check some minor detail about one of the trade shows taking place in the Northwest, something about the exhibition stand shell schemes, I think.

I can remember the words on the end of the phone as clearly as if it was yesterday…

“No, Mr Whitfield, your booking isn’t for that date and in-fact we have someone else taking the whole of the venue that day, sorry…”


This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if it wasn’t less than a month to go, if all the Bar Owners & Club Stewards hadn’t been invited, all the brewery marketing team, salesforce and senior management hadn’t booked their hotels, if all the suppliers hadn’t booked their exhibition stands and promotional staff…

But it was a problem. A Big One.

I’d somehow managed to book the venue for the week before! 

Remember this was in 1990’s – the days before email was commonly used so it was all phone calls, letters and faxes…

And no matter how many times I looked at the booking confirmation fax, the Booking Date (clearly written in my handwriting) with my signature at the bottom, didn’t change. It was still a week too early…

So what happened to our incompetent hero?

The Trade Show took place on the day it was supposed to.

It was a resounding success.

No-one found out.

I didn’t get fired.

That was a relief!!

Now you’re probably wondering how I pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat

We’ll, that will have to wait until tomorrow, time is running short today and I know you must be chomping at the bit to get started implementing the 10 Minute Marketing Plan.

But wait…before I go I best explain why am I even sharing this story?

I suppose it’s just to show that I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt (and probably ordered a few boxes in completely the wrong sizes…) and come out the other end.

No one’s perfect. You really do learn from your mistakes (especially in marketing).

Since then I’ve been complimented 100’s if not 1,000’s of times on my attention to detail and more importantly how that’s turned into bigger profits for my clients.

Funny how a potentially career threatening event can permanently focus the mind…

But what’s even better than learning from your mistakes? Learning from someone else’s…

That’s why the Small Business Big Ideas Facebook Hub is so useful and powerful – it’s where like minded small business owners and decision makers can come together to share their experiences, ask for advice and generally come together help each other to make their businesses the very best that they can be.

Click here to join Small Business Big Ideas Hub