Things have moved fast with this new potential business buyer, though not at all in a way that I expected. It turns out that they've tried to do some work in our part of the computer industry, which is a little different and more specialized than what they normally do, and they've gotten themselves into a bad situation.
As a result, we ended up skipping all the preliminary steps, and I spent today working with some of their employees to help dig them out of this hole. I met one of their owners on the way in, but only enough to say hello and exchange brief pleasantries, before I was ushered into their "war room."
Once inside, I learned that they did indeed dig themselves a deep hole, and it will take me a few days to dig them out. I wish I had known more about the size of this disaster, because this company is located about sixty miles from my home, and I would have gotten a hotel room for a few nights if I had known what I know now.
It's hard to describe the situation without giving away anyone's business information, but in short, they've hired some young, inexperienced people you might expect to talk to in a first level call center, and this is a much deeper problem than these people can handle. They're used to selling computers and maybe handling some routine network work, but this project is anything but routine.
All the technical people are very nice, and they know they're in over their heads, and they seem happy to have me there. As long as they don't lose their account with their customer, I should be able to have them limping along tomorrow, with a more permanent fix in place in a few days.