The Business of Emotions

For most of my salaried life, I worked with engineers.  They were smart.  Usually precise (sloppy engineers don’t last long) and prided themselves on being analytical and data-driven.  Emotions were irrelevant, distracting, with no place in their no-nonsense world.  This attitude always made me a little uneasy.  I had the feeling that emotions were part […]

The Morphing Business Model

Business owners start businesses based on the most rationale of reasons: they know the business from previous experience; they have a unique idea that will have market appeal; they have families who’ve been in the business  for years.  But then things change, not always but enough to bear watching.  For example,  clients of mine entered […]

World Class Restaurants and Cost Management

This is what I know.  Running  a restaurant is a tough business.   About 60% of them fail within the first 3 years.  Profits are hard-won.  They are highly vulnerable to changes in ownership or chefs.  And customers can choose to eat at many other restaurants, an option that they exercise unpredictably. This is what I […]

The Trusted Employee

My father owned an appliance and furniture store.  It was a small business – in the early 80’s it grossed over a million dollars in revenues.  The business benefited from  the economic boom that followed the end of World War II and it rode that sound wave for over 30 years.  He was very proud of […]

The Company Brand

When we think of brands, we reflexively think of Coca-Cola, Microsoft, BMW.  But all businesses, even small ones, have brands.  That is, they have reputations with their customers, their employees,  their suppliers, and the community in which they operate.  But sometimes owners are not specifically aware of what they are.  Or they don’t intentionally communicate […]

The Wrong Problem

I was reading about the Prohibition Era the other day. The constitutional amendment that authorized it was passed very quickly – after  it passed the Senate,  36 of the 48 states ratified it within a year.  It was seen as the obvious answer to a nation-wide problem of alcohol consumption that robbed men of their […]

Data and Running a Small Business

Most small businesses don’t have very good reporting systems.  Other than observation, which works as long as what’s going on is observable, there are no operational reports that tell the owner what’s happening in the business.  It’s not surprising.  After all collecting and compiling data into a report takes time and, usually, from employees who […]

Running the Business by the Numbers

What are the gross margins of your business?  How many sales does it take for those gross marginal dollars to cover your other expenses?  On average, how many days does it take for you to convert accounts receivable to cash?  And what would affect would shortening that time have on your cash flow?  Do you […]

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