August 2010 Update

Double Dip – Even considering the recent stock market drop driven by FED comments – the only way this happens is another self-fulfilling type scenario.  Here is some of the evidence of recovery:

  • Recent ISM report points to growth in manufacturing and service sectors.
  • Construction spending up in June.
  • Car sales strong in July.
  • Mortgage purchase index up
  • Job creation now happening
  • Majority of companies in S&P are profitable and project growth this year
  • VIX, a volatility index which measures fear, is relatively calm and heading the right way – well mostly the right way versus 1 year ago.

Business lending, for small companies, total outstanding bank credit dropped to $663 billion in the first quarter of 2010 from nearly $700 billion in mid-2008, according to quarterly regulatory filings. The share of business owners who say they cannot get adequate financing rose to 41 percent, according to a National Small Business Assn. (NSBA) survey released in July, up from 39 percent in December and 22 percent two years ago.  We continue to help companies that are growing and can’t obtain enough credit through the traditional channels.

Once again Texas tops the best states to do business.  A study in the behavior and incentives.  How does a state like California with the abundant natural resources, wealth, etc., get so far off the tracks?  CEOs were asked to gauge relative regulation, taxes, attitude towards business and worker quality.  Yeeeehaw.

[see the results here]

“Our research shows that the more tax incentives and less regulation you have, and the less likely businesses are to get sued, the more likely it is they’ll want to come and prosper in your state,” said Brooke Rollins, president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Well, he finally passed the conditioning test. Albert Haynesworth with the Washington Redskins should be embarrassed to call himself a professional athlete. Just so you know: The test required him to to run six -50 yard sprints in 70 seconds, rest for 3 minutes and do the next six -50 yard sprints in 73 seconds. Just to fully understand,  go out to your local football field (the grass is nice this time of year and the fresh air will do you good) and try this sometime. We would be surprised if you can’t do it. Let us know how you do…we might even put your name in our next issue. [check this out]
Have you ever had a meeting or a business conversation with someone and while you are speaking they reach in their pocket and pick up their phone? Makes us think we’re really boring.  For a business meeting, make a point to leave the phone in the car so as not to be tempted. Multitasking is a problem and really makes you look like a bush-leaguer.

500,000,000 users of Facebook – fastest growing social media site. What does this mean for your business? This medium is quickly replacing email and a very new style of communication is already the norm.  Most of the folks on this distribution list (approximately 4000) are professional types, but we bet most of you have some presence on FB.  The lines of personal and professional are blurring very quickly. How many of you use this medium for business purposes?

See the top 3 keys we believe build a great team

#1. Treat ‘em right…
You have to put the right folks on the bus.

What a classless move Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavs, demonstrated after Lebron James left.  To bad mouth him after many years of James busting his ass is crap. You thank your employees for building your net worth last time we checked.

58 Million Dollars : The NBA should lift the bogus player salary cap – another example of incentives at work. Nobody puts caps on the owners.  Talent should flow to the highest bidder – remember there are no salary caps in your industry, so focus on taking care of your employees.

Does drinking from the fire hose that is email count as work? Try this: check your email twice a day and organize your inbox sorted by employees – clients – prospects – and then respond according to importance.  Being responsive is important but focusing on strategic objectives is what makes for real progress.

Immigration – pot legalization – border violence – we found it interesting that the Feds basically blackmailed the city of El Paso to drop a resolution they previously unanimously voted in favor of to legalize marijuana.  Feds don’t have to live next to it so they basically said we will take away your stimulus money if you don’t mind us.  As with most problems, this will have to get worse before it gets better, but legalization of some sort is coming, so get ready. [read the full story]

Kudos to John Thain! The turnaround effort at CIT is impressive.  Remember CIT was deemed too small for the government to save.  Love to see the market at work.  Last quarter’s blowout results were a result of making more than $1Billion in loans.

Tiger Woods shooting 18 over at the Bridgestone basically shows us the law of mean reversion, what goes up usually must come down.  In business, this shows us that if you fill yourself with excess of any sort, it will usually show up in other parts of your life, you can’t necessarily “compartmentalize”, like Bill Clinton showed us.  Good news, we are all human and have a chance to redeem ourselves.  This is instructive for all of us, don’t count him out yet.


Where are you in terms of your goals for the year?  Summer is a great time to re-assess whether or not you are on track to achieve your goals.  Our practice is to have them written and to review them at least weekly.  A simple and effective way to hold yourself accountable, remember that hope is not a strategy.  If you are not on track, write something achievable, but not a layup.  The best business plans are simple documents that focus on the numbers.


Not only should you review your goals this time of year, but it is a good time to review your mid-year financial performance compared to your budget.  Hopefully you can find it fairly easy. Pay special attention to line items that exceed plan by more than 5% and ask hard questions. Some managers believe you shouldn’t revise your budget mid-year. We disagree. Things change too rapidly to stick with old school ways. Revise your budget and reforecast revenue based on today’s information.

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