Welcome to the inaugural issue of my new newsletter, “The Triple Double.”
My real business education isn’t from my CPA or MBA. It began when my family almost lost everything. They bought a business…but they couldn’t find any advice on how to survive 23% interest rates or how to manage or grow that business. Advice was just not available.
My formal business education began back in 1979 when I was just a teenager. My parents and Aunt Norma and Uncle Peter acquired Clear Lake Lodge, a 22 room seasonal hotel located in Riding Mountain National Park.
Fast forward 37 years to now, and my family is back to Clear Lake where we continued our annual family reunion and camping trip. Pictured below, we are celebrating my Aunt Leona’s birthday last weekend at the quaint log built Golf Course restaurant. She is at the top right (blue blouse). To her right is my Aunt Norma, the last surviving member of the original Clear Lake Lodge owners, grandmother to seven kids in the picture, and aunt or great aunt to the rest.
Figure 2.1: Celebrating at Clear Lake
When I asked the family if they would like to take a drive to have a family photo in front of the Clear Lake Lodge building, there was a less than enthusiastic response. To most, the answer was “No!”
Briefly, I was surprised. But deep down, I understood.
There was a lot of trial and error in owning “The Lodge,” as we called it. In 1979, interest rates were 23%, people left early after it rained for two days, we didn’t get paid in advance, and there was no internet to attract customers.
Running The Lodge was tough. We all pitched in. Those were very stressful times. There was never enough money. My parents ended up selling some shares to my aunt and uncle to reduce the financial burden. My parents felt things were out of control. And they were.
The banker was fully secured with personal guarantees and second mortgages, so he was in control. The accountant said, at one point, “I’m surprised that you’re not bankrupt.”
As you can tell, that wasn’t very useful advice. Unfortunately, and like many business owners of their day, my parents didn’t have anyone else to go to for advice.
Stress was high. Funds were low. We ate a lot of bologna and beans. (That created other problems.)
Our families paid a huge emotional price to run “The Lodge” and to learn, mostly from trial and error, the management lessons. Although the owners could talk to other business owners in the local area, everyone was subject to the same interest rates and the same weather. There wasn’t any expertise available to advise owners on how to manage and grow their businesses.
Lorne Schnell, a former banker and current mid-market company president, summed it up well when he talked about his banking days: “Customers seeking financing knew how to run their operations. However, they struggled with management issues, timely financial reporting, controlling cash flows, and strengthening the banking relationship. In short, they needed management help.”
My family’s difficult experience with owning and managing Clear Lake Lodge drove me to seek a business education and professional qualifications so that I could help other business owners.
Today, I help business owners, leaders, and families in business to avoid the painful (and expensive) lessons that we learned the hard way. I help them to achieve success much more quickly and easily. That’s because I see my clients as I wished someone had seen my family: hard working business owners who needed proactive advice and management expertise in good times, and especially in tough times.
As a result, and after 25 years of consulting to hundreds of companies in 40 industries, I’ve developed powerful and proven processes that can help companies to grow profitably, create wealth for shareholders, and improve the quality of life for everyone. You may read about these in my new book, The Business Wealth Builders.
The three most powerful drivers for any business to improve performance are:
- STRATEGY: Develop a strategy based upon the value and results you create for your customers; not on your methodology.
- MANAGEMENT: Build a management team that can lead you to become double or triple your size.
- RESOURCES: Optimize your resources including cash, intellectual property, processes, and most importantly, information.
These drivers will help you to double revenues, double profits, and double valuation. You can achieve “The Triple Double.” It is possible. And, you deserve it.
A tip: Always be proactive. Are you spending your day being proactive on strengthening your power drivers, or are you just reacting to yesterday’s problems?
Thanks for reading!