Business 1.0 January/February 2022February 23rd, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs
By Lyle Hill
I regularly receive comments from many highly-respected industry members stating the level of intelligence exhibited by the newcomers to our businesses has reached an all-time low. As one of my long-time peers says, “The ‘newbies’ are getting more stupider every year. They are lacking in basic business fundamentals, and their vocabularies are dreadful. They are great at texting their friends at incredible speeds, but they are terrible communicators and can’t write an intelligent memo or letter to save their lives.”
I do not take these comments lightly. They trouble me greatly because I genuinely care about our industry and its people. However, I have put three kids through the public education system and currently have nine grandchildren plodding along in the same system. I fear that, as an industry and society, we are, as my colleague stated, getting ‘more stupider every year.’
Who to blame for this could be the subject of great debate, but we will not go in that direction because I hate great debates. Instead, I will attempt to upgrade the general working knowledge of the ‘newbies’ and their business vocabularies by offering some fundamental definitions important for everyday usage.
Cash Flow: Similar to the laws of gravity (what goes up must come down). But with cash flow, it is what comes in must go out (and often at accelerated speeds).
ROI (Return on Investment): The most significant investment you will make in your working career is not money but time. If you are not getting a fair return on your investment of time, you need to start spending your time on something else—and usually somewhere else. You may have a chance at getting wasted or lost money back, but you have no chance of getting wasted or lost time back.
A Fair Rate of Compensation (getting paid for what you produce): I have long been convinced that about 20% of the nation’s workforce is far overpaid for what they produce while 80% are far underpaid for what they produce. Your goal should always be to crack that 20% group.
Accountants (the bean counters): Usually the kids who dressed a little funny and got pushed around and laughed at in high school. Now they are your accountant, and they are out to get even.
The IRS: A radical organization that somehow (while no one was watching) got legalized by the U.S. Government.
An Audit: Similar to oral surgery, only performed without anesthesia by an accountant who wanted to be a dentist but couldn’t afford dental school.
Bankers: Ectoplasmic creatures who are your best friend as long as you are current with your loan payments. However, heaven cannot help you (don’t count on your friends either) when you fall behind on your payments. They usually have nice lawns and dress well.
Sales Reps: Great storytellers and rumor-spreaders. The ‘used car salespeople’ of any industry. On rare occasions, you may find one who not only knows what they are talking about but is quite helpful. Adopt them if you can.
Consultants: Usually a person who has difficulty holding down a real job. They know a little about many things but not too much about any one thing. As the old saying goes, “Those who can do, and those who can’t, consult.”
Goodwill: That nice feeling you get when you have a lot of money in the bank or take a sweet job away from a competitor. Not to be confused with good intentions, good deeds, good behavior or the common good.
Passion: An over and wrongly used word that has gotten into the business vocabulary. Passion is not something that should be directed towards a job, product or business. Direct your passion to other human beings.
Profit: Someone who can see into the future and give great advice about what to do with your life—oh, wait a minute. I think I spelled that wrong. I meant Prophet, not Profit.
Cooking the Books: Unless you want to get into real trouble with the feds, you never want to cook your books. It’s much better to massage them a bit or, better yet, have someone else massage them for you.
Write-Offs: What every uninformed person in America who has never owned a business thinks business owners do with the extra piles of money they accumulate to avoid paying taxes.
The ‘Perfect’ Employee: Does not exist.
The ‘Perfect’ Employer: See answer above.
Ok, I hope this helps you to be less ‘stupider’ than you were before. Now, get back to work!
Lyle R. Hill is the former owner of a window film company in the Midwest. He also serves as president of Glass.com®, an information portal and job generation company for the glass industry. Hill has over 50 years of experience in film and glass-related industries and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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