Do You Believe in Facts or Fairytales?

Small business and entrepreneurism has always been the backbone of the North American economy. But over the last couple of years a curious phenomenon has been quietly unfolding, the evolution of a new breed of entrepreneurs, a highly qualified and talented group of what I’ll call superpreneurs. And that’s very good news for you and your business.

What’s happened is that corporate North America downsized and tightened their financial belts as a knee jerk reaction to the recession. As a result many experienced senior managers, technocrats, MBA’s, engineers, human resource managers, finance professionals and more (including me) were left with bleak corporate career prospects for the future.

We pounded the pavement looking for work that equaled or bettered our previous career, but the simple fact was there were no opportunities available for this highly experienced group of business leaders. Despite efforts by governments to initiate new training and skill sets, we senior executives, with our vaults of knowledge, were left with the perplexing question of how to earn a living.

We are a specialized group with know-how, skills and gifts that, quite frankly, felt that flipping burgers or working as greeters at Wal-Mart was not an option we were willing to adopt. I say we, because I am a member of this highly qualified group.

What’s this got to do with you and the success of your business you ask? Well, you now have a vast pool of smart men and women – proven successful executives – as resources (with no overhead) that can help you to reach your goals without spending the horrendous dollars charged by traditional consulting firms and by banks that are clueless about your business and our industry! These new consultants cover a wide range of services such as marketing, business coaching, selling solutions and in my case financial management. 

However, as a potential customer for these bargain priced consulting services you need to know what is fact and what is fairytale.

  • Fairytale: If you work hard and keep doing what you are doing you will eventually become successful. As Steven Covey writes, “If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting”.

 

  • Fact: Less than 10% of dealers in the industry prepare a financial analysis or business plan.

 

  • Fact: The industry has not taken an active role in mentoring your need to adopt financial management as your core business practice.

 

  • Fact: The majority of dealers in the industry are not realizing their profit potential.

 

  • Fact: As owners and entrepreneurs you need proof that there is a better way to manage. I had a wonderful discussion with Andy Adams of Boating Industry magazine last year about a concept he was thinking about. He recognized that for change to take place, marine dealers needed proof that a different system of managing would result in substantially better profits and growth. He knows that growth in the industry is not just dependent on the products you sell, but in the recognition that this is an industry that new entrepreneurs want to invest in. We need a lot more Andy Adams!!

 

  • Fact: Profit is generated through the knowledge of how your company has performed financially over a number of years, how you compare to the rest of the industry and the preparation of a business plan for the coming year.

 

  • Fact: Every company I have worked with, whether struggling to make a profit or at the top of the profit scale for the industry, have discovered new opportunities to make more profit.

 

  • Fairytale: Since we have never prepared a financial analysis or business plan in the past and we are still around, it must not be necessary.

 

  • Fairytale: My manufacturer is coming out with a hot new line up so I am going to make more sales and profit this year.

 

  • Fairytale: I only need to submit my financial statements and nothing else when negotiating with the bank for an operating line of credit or finance company for inventory credit lines.

When contemplating my own future I had to answer three questions truthfully: 

  1. Is there a market for my services and who will be my clients?
  2. Who else does what I do or in other words who is my competition?
  3. Why do I have an edge over other consultants?

The first question was easy, because I have spent 30 years watching good people fail in the Motorsport and Marine business because they did not have the help they needed when things got tough.

The second question is also easy, because while there are companies willing to provide you with financial analysis, there was nobody willing to hold your hand through the process at a cost you could afford.

The last question requires a little humility, but few know the business like I do and have been exposed to the formula that spells the difference between success and failure.

While confidentiality is guaranteed to my clients, I can tell you that in one case the owner wanted to increase his operating line of credit. He submitted the financial performance analysis and business plan we prepared to the bank and two days later got his increase.

The bank manager commented that they would have never approved the request without the business plan and financial data that he submitted. In every case where I have prepared a business plan based on very conservative assumptions the client has realized the potential to increase profit by substantial amounts.

So what is holding the industry back? Is it the fear of change? Is it a fear that making a change to management style won’t work or maybe it is a fear that the focus will be taken off selling more units? None of these reasons could be further from the truth.

It’s simple. We procrastinate because we are unconvinced that what is being offered has value to our business or personal life. As many of you know I am very passionate about what I do. To help owners be more profitable allows me to fulfill a desire I could not meet while on the other side of the fence in the recreational products industry.

I think this is true of most specialists that get into the consulting business. We see an opportunity to impart our expertise for the betterment of our clients – and for the industry. So I will leave you with this thought.

If you could spend a small amount of money for an opportunity to substantially increase your profits would you be interested? Contact me for a free consultation.

What have you got to lose? What have you got to gain?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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