As I wrote last week, I went to the Entrepreneur Growth Conference in Miami, which was a tremendously educational event. I used to attend many trade shows and conferences, but I was really pleased with the quality of the speakers and the overall program.
At the end of the day, they gave away a bag of goodies. It was partly filled with items from The UPS Store, some of the speakers (for example, Skull Candy founder and owner Rick Alden gave a free set of earbuds), and others who wanted to reach this audience of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
In the bag, were three books: The one that grabbed me wasn’t from one of the speakers and so I’m not sure how it got into the bag, but I’m glad it did. Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing by George Cloutier with Samantha Marshall (No Affiliate Link).
In this book, turnaround ace, Cloutier, gives advice about growing your business. Not much fluff, but controversial and tough, really tough, counsel. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I have to respect him for standing out in the crowd of warm and fuzzy approaches. Here are his profit rules and the chapter titles alone will express his views on business:
Profit Rule 1: Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing
Profit Rule 2: End Denial
Profit Rule 3: Forget Sweat Equity
Profit Rule 4: Love Your Business More Than Your Family
Profit Rule 5: The Best Family Business Has One Member
Profit Rule 6: Delegate, Don’t Abdicate
Profit Rule 7: Live and Die by a Real Plan
Profit Rule 8: Pay for Performance
Profit Rule 9: “I Am Your Work God” (as in the boss is always right).
Profit Rule 10: You Are Not in Business to Pay Your Vendors
Profit Rule 11: When Filing for Bankruptcy Is Your Best Option, Do It Early!
Profit Rule 12: Don’t Treat Sales Like Your Mother-in-Law
Profit Rule 13: Give Up Golf, Retreats, Off-Sites, and Trade Shows
Profit Rule 14: Teamwork is Vastly Overrated
Profit Rule 15: It’s Not the Economy, Stupid, It’s You!
Again, I don’t agree with everything Mr. Cloutier advocates and strongly disagree with him on a few points (such as Chapter 10 about Vendors; I believe you should negotiate, but that you should be fair to them, too, by not paying late). But I see his points about cash flow being everything in a small business. My friend, Denise O’Berry also has written a fine book on Small Business Cash Flow (No Affiliate Link) and its worth a read.
His rule on sales is eye-opening. Considering that I help companies with online sales, I was rocked by this chapter. Rocked into waking up. The bottom line is, if you’re the owner of the business, to always be personally involved with making and driving sales for your company. If you have a sales team, get in there with them and keep everyone, including yourself, accountable to daily sales progress. Stay in touch with your customers and prospects. In this economy, or in a booming economy, don’t let your guard down and don’t give up.