Tom Billingsly never fashioned himself to be more of an entrepreneur than any other Tom, Dick or Harry.
Yes - he did have ideas all the time about new business to business and consumer solutions. For example, easily programmable electronic arms for mail carriers to hand deliver the mail to each resident — without ever leaving the comforts of their 1988 Ford Festivas. Since he loved to play ping-pong but rarely had a playmate - why not develop a high-tech paddle which, when combined with the Oculus VR, could deliver a night of table tennis fun?
When his father Brad Billingsly Sr. died suddenly from a heart attack on the way home from the office on an otherwise sunny May day, Tom found himself thrust into the role of CEO of Billingsly Enterprises literally overnight. Brad Jr, his younger brother who lived closer to their mother Grace, delivered the terrible news on the phone.
BRAD: “Tom - I have terrible news. Dad is dead. <PAUSE>
The cops found him in his car on the side of the road after a massive heart attack. When he didn’t show up at home within an hour of his scheduled time, mom called the cops. I called Attorney Brinkman right away. He came over with dad’s will. It clearly stated that his oldest son should run the business. Best I know - that’s you.”
TOM: “Brad - I’m in shock. Dad must have done that drive about 10,000 times. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that things would end this way”
BRAD: “Apparently - neither did he. Dad had no succession plan. He was the only shareholder. No other board members other than Secretary Brinkman.”
TOM: “What do I do now?”
Loss is hard to manage and when a business is involved it can get even more complicated. Check back to learn more about Tom and his journey as CEO, the challenges he faces and how he handles them.