Women and Business
About The Book The Pitch
Liz opens one eye only to discover that the reality of her struggling business and deteriorating relations with her son hasn’t changed overnight. She begins her day with the mundane duties that provide the only sense of control she feels over her life. Her son, Justin, comes to breakfast and reminds his mother that he needs new soccer cleats. He can tell by the look on her face that there isn’t enough money. Justin has been playing soccer since he was four years old and having good equipment is the only request he makes because he knows his mother’s event planning business isn’t doing very well. As a single mother for many years, Liz longs for her company’s success but it continues to elude her. After a brief verbal sparring match, Justin storms out for school and Liz agrees that being poor sucks.
Wanting to keep her word to Justin, Liz puts the new soccer shoes on her credit card and is very relieved when the transaction is approved. She later takes her son to his soccer practice; remaining close enough to the pitch to hear the coach’s instructions. What she hears about preparing for threatening weather has some relevance to what she is experiencing in business. She decides to listen more closely and see how many other gems she can apply to her company.
Anticipating a better day, Liz is confronted early the next morning with a call from the bank, letting her know that her business account is overdrawn and she has to make a deposit to avoid having her checks returned NSF.
Desperate to save her company, Liz enlists the help of Justin’s coach. She asks permission to sit close enough to hear what he has to say to the boys. Justin is horrified that his mother would impose herself on the coach and the car ride home is a very quiet one.
Liz soaks up the coaching. She starts by assessing the potential of her work team, enlists them in conversation about their jobs, and finds herself looking forward to improving the company’s bottom line. By focusing solely on the business, Liz loses sight of the other things that matter in her life.
She knows what aspects of the business she likes and is good at, but she didn’t have the option of choosing to only focus on her strengths, so she dives into the one task she hates more than any other – bookkeeping. There is a discrepancy between her deposits and her records. Someone is stealing from her.
Trying to enjoy a morning coffee at her favourite shop, Liz discovers that Justin has never worked there as he told her did. She can’t bring herself to talk about it with him, even though the coach’s words seem to be directed at her when he says, “Just kick the ball.” She can’t. It would be an easy shot, but she just can’t force herself to confront Justin about his lie just yet. She finally determines to sit Justin down and the conversation is explosive. Justin storms out; again.
There are more lessons for Liz Robertson. Mirroring the homework that the coach gives the team, Liz finds herself a mentor. Peter owns the Coffee House where Justin was supposed to be working. Peter is a business veteran, but ready to step down. He only agrees to mentor Liz if she does the tough internal work that is necessary. He refuses to give her answers, but concedes to help when he can.
When one of Liz’s staff quits, things plummet faster. She feels sorry for herself. She takes it out on Justin. She seeks solace with Peter and he turns her out. Liz is alone and near breaking. She realizes better than anyone how the game that must be won first is the one in your head. So, taking Peter’s advice she begins to unravel the knots in her mind. She sorts out what matters to her and how she can better focus on the right things.
Liz impulsively decides to purchase the coffee house from Peter and although business is picking up, she offers to sell Better Events to two of her employees. Running two businesses takes a great deal of effort and energy. Liz neglects home and Justin resents her absence.
On closing day for the sale of the catering business to her staff, Liz learns that Justin has been injured at soccer camp. She immediately heads for the hospital where she comes face to face with her ex-husband. Justin is furious with her for not being available when he called and that his father was notified instead. Through his tears he orders his father out and eventually confesses to stealing the money from Better Events to pay for soccer camp. Liz is crushed. She had dropped the ball, missed the easy shot, and failed her son.
Together, they work to heal Justin and their relationship. Justin works in the coffee house after school to pay his mother back and he continues to play soccer.
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