Ex Libris Kirkland

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Subtitle No-Nonsense Rules from the Ultimate Contrarian and Small Business Guru
First Written 2009
Genre Business
Origin US
Publisher HarperBusiness
ISBN-10 0061832855
ISBN-13 978-0061832857
My Copy library hardback
First Read March 01, 2012

Profits Aren't Everything, They're the Only Thing

This is one of those business books where the powerpoint version is really all you need. So here's the whole book, in brief:

1. Profits are the only thing.
> run your business by the numbers: Profit and Cash are the only true measures.
> do P&L weekly
> focus on cash flow & expenses NOW. if money is tight, cut costs VICIOUSLY. then do it again.
> collect receivables! book profits MUST = money in the bank.

2. End Denial
> snap out of it. look at your books.
> look for red flags
> eat your vegetables.
> be honest with yourself

3. Forget Sweat Equity
> sweat equity is working for free. you should work for MONEY.
> take care of yourself first
> don't take pay cuts solo. you're not the benefactor.
> you should pay yourself the first few cents on every dollar.
> pay yourself like a boss.

4. love your business (more than anything else).
> be fully committed.
> work on the weekends
> skip the ballet recitals.

5. Fire your family.
> seriously, they're probably no good.

6. Delegate, don't abdicate
> micromanage.
> catch errors fast
> delegate but verify
> be a control freak and be proud of it

7. Live & Die by the Plan
> think about where you stand with your financial & operating plan every day.
> estimate profits for the year ahead, set that money aside.
> 15c for you, 85c for business. Or whatever is the highest split in your industry.
> Profits First. not leftovers or residual budget.
> bad year? adjust expenses accordingly. never spend extra.
> tell employees the plan and hold them accountable.
> find profit leaks.

8. Pay for Performance
> no more raises. freeze salaries now.
> everyone should be on 30-100% performance pay.
> whiners can quit. winners will stay.
> fire and hire faster. don't tolerate mediocrity.
> review performance monthly/quarterly, and adjust pay.
> don't be shy about deducting for failure.

9. I am your Work God
> be a tyrant.
> tell employees, 'don't think, obey.'
> brook no deviation; accept no excuses.
> you don't need employee love, you need respect.
> be a general, not a king.

10. You are not in Business to Pay your Vendors
> don't pay on time
> stretch payments from 30-60-90 days. then pay a few days late.
> vendors = interest-free financing.
> prioritize vendors to A, B, C lists. Pay in that order.
> Be honest and fair. Talk to them and negotiate.
> Ditto for rent. You own't be evicted for 30days late.

11. Filing for Bankruptcy. Do it Early!
> do it early

12. Sales is not your Mother-in-Law
> don't view it as a hassle. focus on it.
> get out from your desk and sell!
> collect names, build database of customers.
> expand geographic footprint.
> control sales team tightly
> fight for every last dollar

13. Give up golf.
> no seriously, give it up.
> it's a waste of time.

14. Forget teamwork
> team meetings should be quick and informational.
> employees crave leadership and structure.

15. It's not the economy, stupid, it's you
> recessions are not an excuse.
> resist bunker mentality. you cannot wait for anything.
> take action. be agressive. cut costs, sell like hell, fire mediocre people
> invest in areas that generate growth
> don't be a victim.

Noted on March 5, 2012

A really quite fun, abrasive, and brash book about putting Profits - you guessed it - First. In general, Cloutier recommends facing reality, getting tough with your business, setting a single-minded plan to achieve a certain profit, and sacrificing EVERYTHING ELSE to achieve that. Everything includes: your free time, your comfort level, your golf game, your family employees, your vendors, and teamwork. It's aggravating and completely fascinating.

Noted on March 5, 2012

This is a ruthless guide to making a business profitable, and I think the author takes a certain joy in recommending counter-cultural moves. Moves like: You are not your Employees Benefactor, or Pay your Vendors Late, or Your Daughter would Rather you Pay College Tuition than Attend her Ballet Recital.

But this ends up with some dissonance, as the reasons that he ultimately gives for being so ruthless are so that you can 'run your business, take care of your family, and live the good life' - but the tactics he recommends include skipping out on leisure activities, your children's dance recitals, community involvement, and weekends at all. I get that to make a struggling business succeed, you need to make tradeoffs, but Cloutier seems to recommend staying away from family and the good life. I suppose it's up to each person to figure out how those tradeoffs work for them.

Noted on March 5, 2012

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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