Archives for category: Life

I had to put my 7 year old dog down last week.  Before judgement is passed the dog had attacked my 2 year old daughter, I spent 6 months trying to rehome her. Given her aggressive past no shelter was willing to take her in.  Lastly, 2 behavioral experts recommended euthanasia – I signed off on it.

Ethics and political beliefs set aside for the moment, I want to talk about decision.  Specifically, decision responsibilities that come with being a parent and decision responsibilities that come with being the leader of your company.  You know what’s right for your family and what is right for your company.  If you don’t, you have no business being in the business of either.

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Full disclosure, I am social liberal with moderate to left leaning economic and public policy inclinations.  Trump’s election signals real changes in the next 4 years.  Here are my fast takes and over-night plans:

1) AirTrack Factory US

We import equipment from China.  Trump has indicated that a trade war with China is possible.  If that happens, tariffs and taxes could rise to the point of making importing from China not possible.  We need to plan for either secondary supplier options or possible domestic manufacturing.  If we do that, I would want AirTrack Factory’s support and permission to do – negotiation, funding, supplier searching.

I’ll have to study up on the importing and exporting consequences of exiting NAFTA.  Thoughts to come.

2) SD UNITED /  Victory

Trump has indicated a role back of social services, specifically Obamacare.  If and when this happens all of my employees will suffer.  In their suffering, I would anticipate that they would look and – possibly even – demand from me help and support.  Despite my feelings and beliefs,  it’s not financially possible nor my moral responsibility that I take care of them when their government walks away.  It’s the government’s job and responsibility.  My state and federal taxes go to help the collective us – if we as a group have decided not to support one another – that’s our collective choice.  I need to be prepared to deny requests and redirect anger at the proper institutions.

A secondary consequence to the role back of social services would be an increase number of employees that leave expensive San Diego or take on other part-time jobs.  I should be prepared for replacing and hiring on a moments notice.

3) Me and My Family

Republicans have openly sided with the elite 1% and big business. Tax cuts, role back of regulations, government subsidies are all high on their agenda and will all pass.  The only people and entities that are “safe” and “protected” in the Trump Order are the rich.  I need to be sure I’m in that category.  Aggressive growth and expansion can possibly come from deregulation of the financial markets.  More speculative lending could lead to opportunities for me to get money.  I need to be ready to take advantage of those opportunities with ideas, businesses, and assets that can propel our personal financial status into the protected class.

The gyms have a hard-cap on potential income.  That said, with looser lending requirements asset acquisition of buildings or competitors might be more plausible.  The biggest potential growth area is AirTrack Factory US, Parkour Factory, and Cheer Factory.  These e-commerce based brands have very high ceiling for income and depend on sweat equity more than anything else – which we have in spades.  It’s potentially worth keeping eyes and ears open for more speculative opportunities including old ideas like Snowplex or new business opportunities like newly legalized marijuana dispensaries in California.  Anything and everything is on the table to ensure admission to the protected class.

4) Society

To me this signals the start of the “Get Mine” era.  The poor, the needy, women, the sick, minorities, immigrants, anyone other than myself doesn’t matter.  The all-mighty dollar has won out – for the time being – with profit becoming the golden idol.  Republican politicians like Cruz, Christie, Ryan, and Giuliani have all proven willing to sell their soles for their positions.  Democrats are just as guilty in their rigging of the primaries.To me this signals a break down of all grouping institutions.  Republicans aren’t looking out for you, Democrats aren’t looking out for you, Business isn’t looking out for you, Social Services will soon disappear for you to turn to.  That leaves only your family and yourself for you to turn to.I think this is important to realize.  Be sure to adjust expectations of others. Be ready for the cold shoulder from business and government services. Tighten your belt and ready yourself to depend solely on yourself and those closest to you. Know who you can trust. Most of all don’t waste your time expecting or asking more from those that aren’t going to give it to you.

There are real changes on the horizon and it’s my job as a business owner to anticipate and adapt.  The rules of the game are changing and you can’t not play the game.  The world is getting meaner and more competitive and my “12-hour-later-hot-take” is that I have to be prepared to battle.

I don’t watch television because I get enough drama in my daily life.  Two story lines emerged this week – one involving a divorce and one involving an arrest – are directly (positively) affecting my gyms.

One particular gym has been a thorn in my side since we started.  We are different enough that we can tolerate each other’s presence but similar enough to need to keep an eye on the other.  I – admittedly bias – feel they’ve modified their branding, website, and services to copy SD UNITED.  What can’t be questioned is that they moved from across town to 4 blocks down the street and have tried to hire away my coaches on more than one occasion.  So you can imagine my reaction when I heard that the husband/wife owner are splitting up and looking to sell/close their gym. Enter my internal turmoil of celebrating a competitors personal problems and misfortune.  But while I might morally struggle with how to react to the news, I can’t deny that a competitor’s personal issues absolutely effect me business-wise.  I’ve gotten 3 recent resumes from coaches at their gym within hours of hearing the news.

Now the gym is still there, still open and I don’t imagine anything happening for awhile.  But their marriage or divorce is looking to already play a roll in our numbers this year.

A more concrete tangible example happened IN THE SAME WEEK.

Santee Gymnastics Coach Arrested, Accused of Relationship With Minor

Actual numbers, within 3-days Victory’s enrollment went up 5%.  No joke.  Here again a horrendous story-line that you wouldn’t wish on anyone – clearly not good for the sport or community – but I see immediate benefit from.  I asked my front desk staff to come in a bit early to quickly respond to all phone calls/messages we received over the next few days.  But beyond that there was no outward celebration of another’s troubles.

There are no lessons or statements to be made through these two simultaneously timed experiences. More just my musings over the intricate web that is the small business community where personal owner problems directly manifest themselves as line items on my monthly balance sheets.  I guess in the world of small business it puts further emphasis on “so go I as the owner, so goes my business.”

cpa-adviceI’ve dealt intimately with only two CPA’s during my journey.  Both operated equal part tax adviser, accountant, financial planner, and personal psychologist.  The level of involvement and probing into my personal life always took me off guard.  I think this is because if I’m not successful – mentally and emotionally – they lose a client.  It’s in their interest that I make a lot of money.  Problems in my personal life can be just as devastating as a poor marketing plan.  Here are 3 pieces of relationship advise that my CPA repeats to my brother and I every time we see him:

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Success breeds complacency, complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive. – Andy Grove, CEO Intel

For the last few months, I’ve been battling a problem. A generally good problem but a problem non-the-less. Successs. See, I’m a simple man, I don’t need much. So it doesn’t take much to make me happy.  My businesses basically run themselves.  I play ice hockey 2-3 times a week.  We’ve moved into a nice 3 bedroom home with big backyard.  I splurged on upgrades to my home computer.  Life is great.  But that’s a problem.

Laziness and bad habits (eating, sleeping, drinking) have started creeping into my life.  The fire and drive that compelled me into this venture in the first place have dulled.  I’m not me. And I don’t like it.

Google “Complacency + Entrepreneurship” and you’ll get pages of results about this exact topic.  I have two takes on it.

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I recently came across an interesting podcast called “The Money Pillow.” The host, Sean Malarkey, ends each interview with asking the interviewee about his or her most favorite books.  That got me thinking that I should keep a list of books/videos – especially given my horrible retention ability for details like names and titles.

So here it goes (to be edited down and added to with time):

Videos

  • Something Ventured
  • 30 for 30: Big Shot
  • Jiro Dream of Sushi
  • Hank: 5 Years from the Brink
  • The American Ruling Class
  • Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
  • Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
  • Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
  • Boiler Room
  • The Social Network

Books

  • The Millionaire Next Door
  • Good to Great
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • Outliers
  • Start Up Game
  • Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, And Made A Fortune Doing Business My Way
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • The Lean Start Up
  • All Marketers are Liers
  • 4-hour Work Week

Board Games

  • Diplomacy
  • Risk
  • Settlers of Catan

General Stories/Research

  • Google’s Business Model – Never Afraid to Fail, Core Business with a Multitude of Products which Further Support Core Business.
  • Amazon’s Financial Structure – No Dividend Returns, Zero Profits, Reinvesting, Gross Growth is What Matters
  • Netflix’s HR Philosophies – No bonuses, No Vacation Limits, Hire Right People/Fire Mistakes

Credit Banner

Recently, my personal credit card from Bank of America was switched from a secured credit card to an unsecured card and the limit raised to $1500.  Now I know there is no way in a single blog post to cover everything there is to know about credit but at the very least I wanted to give some insight into my experiences to date.

Let me be clear, when we initially took over the gym my credit score was sub-600.  Which is odd (sort of) because I’m frugal.  I’ve been accused of being financially stingy. I prefer describing it as living simple, living within my means.  So why was my credit so low?

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