If you want to run a successful, high-performing team, it's important that you trust your team members. That's the advice Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis tried to give actress and struggling entrepreneur Monica Potter in this week's episode of "The Profit," but she did not take it so kindly.
When the Golden Globe-nominated actress isn't busy being filmed, she works on selling skin care products, room sprays and candles at her Cleveland, Ohio-based business Monica Potter Home, which she founded in 2014.
On "The Profit," Lemonis revealed that the home-goods business has been suffering in recent years. He learned that Monica Potter Home loses almost $100,000 a year and has entirely lost the $1 million Potter invested in the company.
Notably, there is one primary culprit to the company's problems: Lemonis said that Potter can't adequately manage her team because she doesn't trust them.
"If I can't convince her to trust my process, Monica Potter Home may be at risk of closing forever," Lemonis said.
From the moment Lemonis first stepped into the store, he saw the problems begin to surface. He said he got "a bit of sensory overload" when he saw not only skin products but also an assortment of scarves, clothes, dishes and other home goods.
"I'm really trying to understand how all these products got here? Who bought them? What was the logic? Who's in charge?" Lemonis said. "It literally felt like the Wild West of buying."
When Lemonis found out there was over $60,000-worth of unsold merchandise, he uncovered other issues as well: The staff had tried to sell the goods without Potter's approval.
"This is the problem, there's no communication," Potter said. "It's like you guys are afraid, you can't walk on eggshells with me. Tell me so we can address it."
Lemonis then asked the staff whether they had defined roles.
"We all do everything we can do, every day. There's a lot going on in this business," Caity, the company's director of operations, told Lemonis. "Sometimes I have communication issues with Monica due to her schedule."
Caity also detailed the trust issues Potter had with her.
"I was hired to make decisions," Caity told Potter. "I don't feel like I can do those things without you thinking I'm going behind your back, really I have your best interests at heart."
Most of the staff admitted they had thought about quitting at some point due to Potter's distrust and micromanagement of the team. Potter's sister, Jessica, did quit because she felt she "had nothing left to offer to help this business" and didn't want to fail. However, she ultimately returned to the store because she missed the customers.
In another attempt to fix the company's problems, Lemonis explained that there would need to be a change in leadership. While Lemonis thought the company's margins were great and was ready to invest in Potter's business, "the hard part is that one person has to be in charge that isn't you," he told her.
Together with Jessica and Caity, Lemonis discussed restructuring the company's leadership.
"We've had issues in the past with the dynamic between Jess and Monica that has caused chaos across the board," Caity said. "If Jessica's around, Monica will call her and say 'What's going on? or 'FaceTime me, I want to see everybody's desks.'"
Lemonis explained that in order to move forward, the team would need to air out their issues in an open dialogue to keep the business from being further negatively impacted.
He worked with Caity on creating a system to track their financials even while Potter is in Los Angeles with the hope that it would "put Monica's mind at ease and allow her to trust everybody, including Caity."
Problems aside, Lemonis agreed to invest $100,000 in the business. He even set up business meetings with a graphic designer, packaging company and fragrance laboratory. However, Potter refused to allow the team to move forward with Lemonis' suggestions.
Just a few days after Lemonis left Ohio to let the team start working on the new business plan, he received a phone call from Caity, who said she was "running on fumes."
"Monica is very resistant to change. Every time we try to do something, whether it's developing a new scent of candle, the product line, rebranding, ... it becomes a very tedious process," Caity told Lemonis. "Monica pulled the plug on it. I think she's a self-sabotager."
That's when Lemonis noticed a "very odd pattern where Monica agrees to changes and then she backtracks from them," which ultimately showed him the reality of the situation. He decided to step back and allow Potter to continue leading the business in the direction with which she felt most comfortable.
"I'm disappointed that I'm going to miss the opportunity," Lemonis said, "but sometimes it's better to get out while you're ahead."
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