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Daddy’s Home!
Sep 25th, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

 

Looney thoughts, perspectives, and insights on the world of business!

— By Blake Glenn

 

Back in the olden days of business it used to be that the hard-drivin’, hard-drinkin’, chain-smoking executive busted his derriere (and in the olden days it was almost always a male) to move the company forward. He had to maximize profits, increase the stock price, and satisfy investors. He not only leaned in, he willingly dived in … head first!

Yep. These old-school ladder climbers routinely worked 60-hour plus weeks, including weekends. They missed anniversaries. They missed school plays. They missed birthdays. They missed youth sports. They missed weddings … and holidays … and all other sorts. And because of it they many times suffered spousal separations and divorces, child estrangement, and high stress levels.

Man On Journey

 

 

 

 

 

But it was worth it. There were spoils galore to be had. And what spoils they were. You see, in return for a few, uh, small sacrifices, these hard-grizzled men gained wealth and status and occasional fame. They gained magazine covers and conference key notes and notoriety as big-time players in the game. They leveled up in the business world!

And no one ever questioned how much time they spent with their families. It was just, well, understood that this was part of the deal.

  • But what if, say, a man decided to not go along with this anymore?
  • What if a man decided that his family WAS more important than his job?
  • What if a man’s time with the kids was a much richer gain than a magazine cover or additional wealth?

 

WAIT … WHA? … WHHAAAAT!

ARE YOU INSANE?

HOW DO YOU SPEAK SUCH BLASPHEMY?

WHY I’LL … I’LL REPORT YOU TO THE INTER-GALACTIC EXECUTIVE WORKAHOLIC ASSOCIATION FOR UTTERING SUCH BLABBER-TASTIC NON-SENSE!

Stop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok hold on now. Just hold your horses for a minute and hear me out.

This actually happened recently. In an August blog post, Max Schireson, former CEO at a tech startup called MongoDB, actually said no to any more “workaholic hard-climbing”. He cited reasons such as incessant travel, time away from kids, stress on his wife (and therefore probably his marriage … though he didn’t say this). And by the way, Max’s wife is no 1950’s Leave It To Beaver Mom. She’s a doctor and a college professor. AND she’s been carrying the child-rearing load to boot.

So Max has decided to “lean away” for a change. It sounds like he’ll still work. Just not in a position that requires too much family sacrifice. It will take a few years to see if this is a very public shot across the bow of the traditional male (and increasingly female) executive work ethic that signals a trend, or if it’s simply a temporary anomaly that will eventually fade into oblivion.

By the way, here’s an interview with Max a few weeks after the announcement. Max seems happy. Very happy. Most excellent for him and his family.

Home

 

 

 

 

In the meantime it’s back to work for me. You see I’m still the hard-chargin’, cigar-chompin’, over-achiever seeking my billionaire dollar pirate’s plunder in the game of business. I’ve been hittin’ it real hard non-stop. Let’s see what the clock says. Oh boy, I’ve been working a whole 15 minutes now. Whew. Where did the time go?

F*@k it.

I’m taking a nap!

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive  blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

 If you dare, he can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

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P.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

Jimmy’s Descent Into Hell: A Cautionary Business Tale … Part II
Sep 6th, 2014 by LOONEYEXECUTIVE

A true story ripped from The (Mis-)Adventures of The Looney Executive

– By Blake Glenn

 

Click Here … to catch up on Part I of the story

 

Jimmy Spills The Beans!

Slowly Jimmy unwound the story from deep within the depths of his knotted up stomach. You see, Jimmy and his wife owned a business that supplied nuts, bolts and related items. Fasteners is what they call these things. They had purchased the business a few years earlier from the previous owner. And a big chunk of the purchase price was loaned to them by the prior owner in the form of a note. For instance, let’s say the purchase price was $1,000,000. Jimmy and his wife make a down payment of, say, 20% ($200,000). They pay the remaining 80% ($800,000) over, say, a 7-year period in monthly installments … with interest of course.

Wad of Bills

 

 

 

 

 

Yea, fasteners is real boring stuff. And the industry was cluttered with small mom-and-pop shops doing the same thing, with absolutely no differentiation and consumed by commoditization. The low price was usually the winner. It’s a bad, bad business model dependent totally on volume.  At its peak, Jimmy’s firm brought in somewhere around $1,200,000 in revenue. I deduced that they cleared at least $200,000 to $300,000 annually for themselves. But now it was just a few months after the September 11, 2001 attacks and business had fallen off dramatically. Customers just stopped buying. Jimmy was panicking because sales were down to about $700,000, a nearly 50% drop. I thought how terrified he must be. He didn’t say it. But then, he didn’t really need to. His face told the story.

 

Problem … What Problem?

The problem was that most of Jimmy’s family wealth was probably tied up in this thing. His nuts and bolts supplier business was rapidly tumbling into the dark chasm below. His firm was descending into business hell and it was taking Jimmy’s wealth (and probably his wife’s) right along with it. Maybe the marriage too. Whether or not that would be a blessing in disguise for either party wasn’t for me to surmise.

It scared the hell out of him to think that all of his hard work was doing a Thelma and Louise right over a cliff! Yep. It was driving Jimmy nuts. He was deeply embroiled in a daily living nightmare. On the upside, his wife still worked a job outside of the business. So they weren’t completely screwed. After listening for several minutes, it was clear that cash flow monitoring (or lack thereof) was a big source of his anxiety. He thought there was more cash going out than coming in on a monthly basis. But he didn’t seem to be real sure how much he was losing.

So I asked Jimmy a simple question … or so I thought.

 

“What does your financial software tell you about your cash flow?”

 

Whaaaat!

Jimmy stood amazingly silent for what seemed like hours. He appeared to be in a deep trance. His eyes widened to the size of golf balls. Then they glazed over. I was terrified they would completely pop out of his hairline-receded oval-shaped head. His brow furrowed. His face wore an expression of complete bewilderment. Based on what I’d always heard – but not experienced personally though – Jimmy appeared to be tripping on  acid.

The Looney Man

 

 

 

 

 

As he fixated his dark golf ball eyes on me, I think Jimmy was pondering whether or not I was an alien from the unexplored planet Chromoton 5. He had no idea life existed on Chromoton 5. No one did. For years, NASA had considered sending exploration missions to that region of space. But they hadn’t even completed missions to Chromotons 3 and 4 1/2 yet. But I was an English-speaking alien. And that was something.

Finally, Jimmy began stuttering through a response. He stumbled for a good answer, perhaps a bit embarrassed. He said that he used some vertical industry software to provide income statements and balance sheets quarterly, but didn’t know how to use it for cash flow analysis, or if it even had that capability. Frankly, I didn’t trust the accuracy of his financial statements. As if that first question wasn’t torture enough, I followed with another. I began to feel a sadistic sensation of power – putting a small business owner through a torture chamber of boring and unanswerable questions.

I was soooo evil!

 

The Evil Power of Boring Questions!

I felt a slight discomfort in connecting to my dark side. But on the other hand, it also felt damned good. A million volts of unadulterated power surged through my body. This evil power was addictive. So I asked another question. Ha Ha Ha!

“So then how do you create monthly financial projections?”

 

At this point, Jimmy looked at me like I was a Chromoton 5 alien that didn’t speak English after all. Now I appeared to be speaking some dialect of Southern Klingon, and without the benefit of a universal translator. But good ole’ Jimmy suffered through and responded anyway. He said the company didn’t do any projections. He relied on what was in the bank account to monitor his cash. This was a typical small biz owner MO … aka Method of Operation. Watch at least 3 episodes of the original “Hawaii 5 0” (pronounced Five Oh) for further explanation of MO.

Voila!

There’s one big problem. He didn’t have an accurate way of determining what cash flow to expect from one month to the next. This caused him (and I imagine his wife too) many sleepless nights. So I told him we’d start with the finances. Over the next couple of weeks we analyzed his finacial information. I also helped him to set up a spreadsheet in Excel specifically to track cash flow … nothing fancy, just basic stuff.

Soon we had a good handle on revenue, expenses, and cash flow. Indeed the business was in trouble. But now Jimmy knew exactly how much trouble. And frankly, it actually wasn’t as bad as he originally thought. While we were analyzing cash flow, we also discussed a number of immediate actions he could take to raise or save cash in Phase I of a broader turnaround plan.

These actions included:

  • Selling extra inventory
  • Providing incentives to get customers to pay earlier
  • Making cuts in perks and other miscellaneous expenses
  • Consolidating personnel functions, cutting staff … etc.
  • Repositioning and charging for value-added consulting services he had been simply giving away for free
  • Restructuring the debt held by the previous owner

 

I also didn’t cushion the blow for Jimmy:

“Death is imminent … unless you act fast and decisively”

 

Skeleton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once he exhausted these steps I knew Jimmy would be in a much better position. Not great mind you. Just better. His business might still be in the critical condition, but he’d be off of life support. He might even survive. And survival was better than, well, death.

 

In Part III and the conclusion of “Jimmy’s Descent Into Hell” … A Potential Murder-Suicide In Van Nuys!

 

Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive  blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via  The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?).

If you dare, he can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com

—————————————————————————————————————

P.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group.  Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.

Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!

 

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