Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Monday, October 13, 2014

What do I do? They Owe Us Money!

     A long time client called the other day and asked what they should do-- they had sold some product to a customer over 15 months ago-- and still no receipt.  As we talked through all of the challenges that the client had, the one key challenge was trust-- she trusted the customer to pay after she said, repeatedly, that they would.
       However, 15 months had gone by and now our client was being pressured by her vendor for the money.

        Trust is key in the business relationship.  In the end, that is all that we have.  However, another homily that we use with our clients is that "business is business."  Now, why our clients customer did not pay the bill is not for us to determine.  We told our client that it was probably best for her to turn in the past due client to the collection service for action.

         Our client elected to do that-- this process will take several more months, and then, there is no promise that the money will be realized.

           Ronald Reagan always stated, 'Trust but Verify."  That is the advice that we offer here.  No reason not to trust your client, however, trust but verify that they have the funds or will have the necessary funds to pay your bill.  After all, you have to eat as well.

           What this lesson exposed to our client is that trust is good, however, in business-- it is business.  Probably taking collection action in 90 days was much better than waiting 15 months to engage in some sort of collection action.  In the end, we hope that our client realizes the funds due her business.  We remain hopeful that the collection service and our client's customer will be able to resolve the matter in an amiable fashion.  If not, our client just lost several thousand dollars.

             Trust but verify is key in any business relationship.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Do you Measure and Understand your Employees?

     With the dynamic, changing workforce that we are involved in today, it is important for business owners to know and understand their employees.  Work force violence has become much more rampant than we have seen in many years.  However, there are some tools to insure that your business does experience this work force violence issues.

       Here are some ideas that you should consider when working with employees-- even if only one employee!

  •    Staff advocacy score-- how likely is your staff to recommend your company to work for?  Kind of a simple question, but a very telling one!  High scores here suggest that you have a rich, nurturing environment for workers.

  •      Employee engagement-- Are your employees engaged in the business?   If everyone is constantly giving you new ideas and coming up with new ways to do things, they are engaged.

  •       Absenteeism   -- A low absenteeism rate suggests that people are both happy and engaged in their work.  If this factor is high, determining the "WHY" question is important.

  •      Human Capital Value  -- What value do you place on your employees?  People are the most important part of the workforce equation.  A high value here is reflected in happy workers.
       These are some ideas that show value of employees.  This list was contained in The Big Data Guru, by Bernard Marr, August 12, 2014.   www

Monday, October 6, 2014

How Do You Know So Much About Me? Are You Introducing Me Today?

     At a recent Rotary meeting, our Principal in our Fort Worth office, Joe Michels, was talking to the guest speaker prior to the meeting.  As they talked, the guest speaker said, "How Do You Know So Much About Me?"  Well, the answer was obvious, Joe had read the speakers' biography that was posted in the clubs weekly newsletter!

       Here is what is interesting-- Joe had a friend that attended the same law school as the guest speaker.  They were both at the law school at about the same time, so it was easy to begin the conversation with the guest speaker, asking if the speaker knew Joe's friend.  Well, as it turns out, he did not.  The speaker thought that perhaps he attended the law school a few years earlier than Joe's friend!

         Another Rotary member who was at the same table said that meeting new people was the hardest thing for him to do, however, because he had moved several times, he just had to take the initiative and meet new folks.

          As hard as it is to meet new individuals, reviewing their backgrounds, common interests and some common bonds before you meet them goes a long way in beginning a fruitful relationship!  Go to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any of the other social media platforms and review the background of the individual before you go visit.  At least you know a couple of key points about the individual.  Knowing those key points will allow the door to be opened and the beginning of a fruitful conversation to occur.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Complacency Kills-- Pay Attention to Details!

     An airplane refueling mistake is reported to be the cause of a crash of an air ambulance in New Mexico in late August, 2014.  The airplane had picked up a patient, two medical personnel and were returning to El Paso, Texas when the airplane started to have difficulty about 200 feet above takeoff.
       Smoke poured out of the right engine and the pilot was unable to gain sufficient altitude to return the plane to base before it crashed, killing both pilots, the medical evacuee as well as the two medical staff on board.

        An analysis of the fuel in the fuel tank identified that the fuel was the wrong type of aviation gas for this particular engine.  Lack of attention to detail caused five people to perish.

         One of our clients put gasoline into his diesel truck one day while delivering some product for a client.  Interestingly, he was only about 1/2 mile out of town before he recognized his mistake-- the truck did not run.  It took about 3 hours to get a wrecker to come and tow the truck to the nearest town where a mechanic could drain the fuel, replace the damaged parts and get the truck operational again.  Of course, it took several days as well-- our client had to rent a truck and come back to home base while his truck was repaired.

          Don't become complacent.  Pay attention to detail-- this is a key, no matter what type of business one is in.  Attention to detail is the key to success.  Paying attention to the little details will allow the big details to take care of themselves.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Who is Going to Buy the Big House When We Want To Sell?

     A couple of weeks ago, we had a client meeting at Reynolds Plantation, in Greensboro, Georgia.  This is a golf resort community with 7 premier golf courses, club houses and a variety of home types, both big, large and fancy, as well as simple cottages.

      We stayed in one of the cottages-- we were only there for a couple of nights.  The cottage that we stayed in was nice, about 2800 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, etc.  However, this was small in comparison to some of the large luxury homes we observed around the golf courses which we played.

       A question of interest arose when one of the members in our golf team made the observation, "Who is going to buy these houses when the owners decide to sell?"  Now, that is a question that may not have been raised before, however, in today's environment, is worthy of debate.

        What we learned was that the majority of folks that reside at Reynolds are retired and these houses, for many, are second homes.  No problems there, however, the question still remains, who will buy these houses when the current owner decides to sell.

          What we are seeing in the marketplace today is a generational shift in attitudes and desires of Generation Y and Millennial age individuals.  Golf is NOT a sport that many Gen Y and Millennial age individuals are interested in.  Why not?  Takes too much time away from the family, not fun to be gone for 5 hours, etc.  Interestingly, golf courses have closed in the past several years-- in fact, more have closed and been turned into residential development than new courses that have been built.

           Visiting with a prominent community member who is in the investment business and having this discussion, he made an astute observation.  He said, "I have 2 houses valued at $250,000 each.  I could afford much more house, however, if I want to move, retire early, etc, I can sell a $250,000 house.  I am not sure if I could sell a $450,000 house."

             This was a key factor to consider-- in our minds.  No, you will not be keeping up with the Joneses in this scenario.  However, you will have the ability to "make something happen" if and when you want to make a change.  Kind of an interesting thought to ponder-- "Who Will Buy the Big House When We Want to Sell?