Truth In Advertising

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Over the years, I have met and done business with a number of entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit organizations, charities and corporations and over the years, I have sometimes stepped back from a potential project partner because I don’t agree with how thinly the truth is sliced.  Sometimes, the truth has been completely excised in the retelling of the past which certainly validates why I stepped back from the partnership in the first place.

Recently, I was sent a copy of a newsletter from a small business that showcases exactly what I mean by slicing the truth very thinly in order to leave an impression other than what is accurate.   The paragraph in the newsletter that caught my eye was this:
Now, it sounds laudable that a small business found itself in the enviable position that they were “unable to accept the offer” of money from the Federal government.  Surely, this must mean that business is going very well and they have no need for the money they originally applied to receive from the Federal government. 

The truth of the matter, however, isn’t that the small business didn’t need the money from the Federal government but rather that it was unable to secure what the government requested in order for the government to release funds to the small business.   In fact, this is exactly what the small business stated on their blog site in February 2011.

The story to which the comment refers was a news story on CBC Television that stated that a very small percentage of businesses that are advised they are eligible for funding such as the small business had applied, are unable to access those funds because they are unable to meet the terms of the agreement.  This small business happened to be one of those small businesses that was unable to meet the terms of the agreement.  No one other than the small business is to blame when this happens.  In fact, even the owners of the small business originally stated that it was their inability to secure bank financing that led to losing the subsidy from the Federal government:

What’s odd about the media release, however, is this additional comment where the small business began to pave the way to blame the Federal government for the small business’ inability to secure the required points in the terms of agreement between the business and the government’s Action Plan.

If conventional banks were unwilling to provide a loan to the small business — and trust me when I say that the small business VP posted on various social media networks that they had tried a number of conventional banks, all of them without success — then the terms of agreement could not be met by the small business.  Obviously, the Federal government is not to blame for a business’ inability to meet reasonable terms that are met by nearly all other businesses that are approved for monies from the program.

In an attempt to raise $130,000 CDN, the small business decided it would be a wise business move to offer the government’s Action Plan for sale on eBay.  It didn’t sell.

There are a number of reasons why a conventional bank is unwilling to extend a business loan to a small business.  Sometimes it’s because the business isn’t established; sometimes it’s because the revenues don’t justify making a bank loan.  And sometimes, it’s questionable business practices that leave the bank feeling uneasy about loaning out their depositors’ money to business that admit to such thing as “creative” accounting.

And so, we can see that for the small business to claim in November 2011 that they were “unable to accept the offer” of money from the Federal government which implies they didn’t need the money when the fact is that they were unable to secure their end of the funding from a conventional bank really says a lot about the small business.  It certainly makes one question how trustworthy the business owners are and it makes one question how ethical or moral they may or may not be.

Yes, there are many reasons to step back and take a closer look at some potential partners with whom one may want to partner on a particular project.  But if you take the time to watch how they conduct themselves, the truth in advertising will soon be seen.


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