Family Business Case Study #43: Goldmine!

Uncategorized Jan 24, 2022



We hit a goldmine! I heard some classic observations “from the heart” from my client – after years of struggle and toil. It was amazing!

Our weekly meeting started with an update as usual. It’s a bit slower now because it’s that unique period between Thanksgiving and Christmas – where some customers hurry up and place an order because they need to clear their expenditure budget before the end of the calendar year and still others take it easy and hold off until the turn of the year.

So, I heard that things are a bit slower. I heard that my client found an old building with about four or maybe five extensions added from the 1940s all the way to just a few years ago. The building could be purchased for about half the cost of the new building – but upon reflection it has some negatives like pillars and posts interspersed throughout the floor plan – although it is all on a single level! Even with some renovations and the...

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Family Business Case Study #42: Inflation

Uncategorized Jan 04, 2022



Does it help or hurt? What to do?

This week I caught my client returning from a site visit to a newly acquired shop. He was in the truck on the highway and so we had a good talk.

The main thing is inflation.

In his view of the world the inflationary effect on his business has been 12% in the past year. This is different than the official pronouncements of about 6.5% inflation. I put the difference down to a variance between a consumer basket of goods (6.5%) and the actual input costs such as wages, insurance, raw materials, etc. (12%).

Still the point is – what to do?

 A big debate going on now is whether the current inflationary pattern is caused by monetary policy OR by money flooding into the market over two years of a pandemic.

Don’t be fooled by that dilemma. It’s a trap. The problem this is creating for a business is the same in either case – shrinking margins.

We looked into the business and checked two...

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Family Business Case Study #41: Navigating Growth

Uncategorized Dec 27, 2021


This week we can see the follow-through or, you might call it, the after effects, of putting together a few acquisition deals, arranging financing, closing the paperwork, doing the due diligence, figuring out new pricing, protecting your margins, and otherwise taking care of organizing the work flow and arranging the equipment in the way you want your production line to work.

The story is short but you can get a feel for the linear, sequential order of things and the non-linear, parallel moves order of other things.


  • Move purchased equipment from the one location that the client did not purchase to two locations – one to a working site and the other to a refurbishment shop.
  • Move other refurbished equipment into two locations. 
  • In all locations install temporary wiring to at least get the machines up and running. 
  • Then go back with permanent wiring, arrange the equipment for top efficiency and sequence, and fine-tune everything. 
  • Plan the workflow...
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Family Business Case Study #40: More Locations, Better Market Response

Uncategorized Dec 20, 2021


HEADLINE: This “empire”, this group of shops, is now complex and interwoven! Because of this we will begin to see great efficiencies and internal advantages for shifting equipment, people, and, of course, capital between and among locations.

At this point, at week #40 of 52, the empire has grown to the point where there are intricate relationships forming between the locations/shops. This brings about a kind of internal dynamic that is hard to see unless you understand what is going on. It’s subjective and not really quantifiable. Yet it actually helps the bottom line and speeds up the business response. 

What is in place now? There are two locations, two more under short term consideration, another one in possible longer term future consideration, and still another one that the client did not acquire but from which equipment and revenue has been achieved in a creative way.

Here are some examples:

  • The out of state acquisition is proceeding. The client...
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How to be a Catholic Running a Catholic Business

Uncategorized Dec 17, 2021


How to visibly demonstrate, by your actions and decisions, that you are a Catholic running a Catholic business:

  1. During the workday- have some quiet time available- if everyone is Catholic at your business, have prayer time at the beginning of the day. 
    • If there are people of other faiths, have a quiet time, prayer, reflection time, etc.
    • It is better and takes more courage to actually say that we start our workday with prayer.
  2. Bible study- during a break or lunchtime, have a bible study
    • Challenge for Catholics is that we use authority to interpret the bible
    • We need to know what we’re talking about or invite someone who knows what they’re talking about, like your parish priest
  3. Display of religious art
    • People are sensitive to this, so many business owners hide their faith.
    • It would be powerful if someone walked into your place of business and saw an icon or a crucifix or some other Catholic art
    • Put a Catholic symbol on your packaging or products, such as...
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Family Business Case Study #39: The Word is Getting Out!

Uncategorized Dec 13, 2021


Today’s topic: Can a new acquisition deal just drop into your lap?

Background Note:

While continuing along with the acquisition of that new shop located just outside a major metropolitan area – the one where the current owner was in the process of buying it from the previous owner and where the current owner has some IRS tax trouble, and has actually stopped making payments – another deal fell into his lap. I’m not kidding.

I promised you last time that I would tell you what I would do in this case.

I would do the deal by taking action in two ways:

FIRST, I would urge the two parties to make a deal in the sense that one is not getting paid (and it looks like he will never get his full price) and the other one is not making payments (and it looks he will never be able to continue payments and of course will lose whatever he’s already paid). So, get real and do a deal!

SECOND, I would get my own ducks in a row and start to plan out how to grow the...

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Family Business Case Study #38: Intuition vs. Analysis

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2021


Today’s topic: ANALYSIS or GUT FEEL?

One of the biggest challenges in business is the analysis you need to do for an acquisition. 

I’m speaking of financial simulations, margin calculations, pricing policy, inventory and cash flow, invoicing and collections policy, and so on.

You might be tempted to pull out your spreadsheet and perform all sorts of detailed scenarios such as simulating the life-time value of a customer and bringing that value back into a present value calculation so you can compare this acquisition to the others or to do a high-low calculation on your belief about its revenue generating capability. 

Or you might calculate the sales cycle currently in place at the location and compare that to all the other locations you are studying. 

And then you might compare that to various scenarios of shortening the sales cycle by using clever closing techniques or more intensively using more sales people, more route drivers, and a fancier...

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Family Business Case Study #37: Manufacturing Focus Ahead

Uncategorized Dec 06, 2021



“The main conclusion from today: In-house manufacturing in ONE YEAR and $2.0 million in financing needed.”

More on this in a minute!

In this week’s session we also discussed the state of the business at HQ, the new acquisition, the equipment purchase from the “not acquisition”, and the possible acquisition from the shop located near a major metropolitan area.

It was an update but a really satisfactory one because all seems in order.

Great news – things are going along smoothly, which is an indication that the prudential decisions leading up to the purchase and opening have all proven to be good and sound. 

We also talked about the great advantages of making your own products in-house. This is definitely a focus that we will be hearing a lot more about.

Here is my coded language for various locations: 

HQ = headquarters, the home location, so to speak.

C = the newly acquired...

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Family Business Case Study #36: Steady Growth

Uncategorized Dec 03, 2021


Because we had a short week, so to speak, today’s update is short and sweet.

You could summarize it as follows:

  1. The offer to purchase three machines from the “nine hours away location” is about to be presented. Two will be shipped to headquarters, and the third, after a $30,000 refurb, will go the newly acquired location. The team that sold the new acquisition to my client is buying some of the other machines to continue to operate a sort of “modified” smaller operation there.
  2. There is no question of leasing these – as they are old, very robustly built German engineered equipment, that will last easily another decade after a rebuild.
  3. The father and son team that wants to sell their shop south of a major metropolitan area will do so (probably within the next year my client will do the deal) and then operate the “nine hours away location” as both an easier task financially and effort wise. My client will visit that southern...
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How to do Customer Discovery

Uncategorized Dec 01, 2021


What is Customer Discovery?

Customer Discovery is a valuable addition to the sales tool kit because it is an in-depth process of dialogue with a potential, existing, or past customer that takes place outside the context of a sales pitch. It reduces pressure and invites candid commentary mainly because it takes place outside the sales process. The customer will feel more likely to comment, provide reasons and explore scenarios with you if there is no pressure to sell.

The best person to do customer discovery calls is the CEO – the leader of the business. While it is certainly acceptable and even possible for the head of sales or head of marketing to do customer discovery interviews, the greatest chance for powerful input lies when a leader speaks with a leader.

The Process:

Booking a customer discovery call is challenging, for a couple of reasons. First, everyone is busy and no one has time. Second, there may be a lingering suspicion that an invitation to a customer...

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