Looking forwards and backwards…

It certainly has been an interesting year for this entrepreneur.  The year started off with plans in one arena and it looks like it is ending with no results on that arena.  Instead, we wound up with a totally different and distinct business model. Oh, the humbleness! My mother has a saying that translates something like: “We make plans and God laughs them off”.

I will say that the 2016 plans were great. I had two wonderful partners joining me that I knew would bring in a lot of success to this young venture.  But reality has a different way of thinking than you most of the time, and as time went by, so did my partners.  It is not their fault.  As many of you know, first and foremost, I am not an easy guy to work with everyday (although I really have gotten a whole lot better, a little sarcasm remains) but mostly, being a starving entrepreneur is not for everybody.

I wanted to make sure that I had the full experience of ownership, and that means carrying a lot of weight on you, and I did. In hindsight, I should have done it differently. I guess that I made a mistake and even though I was very clear and open about my finances and not-so-pretty expectations for the 2016 year, my mistake was not realizing that maybe I was ready but my partners were not. It is not their fault, it is mine for not understanding that cash flow is king and that when you are not an entrepreneur, if you are not ready emotionally to receive a big pay shave then you might as well not get involved.

Another thing to highlight on 2016 was that I realized that I am a  much better producer when I am out of my office. Unfortunately, I do not spend that much time out of office as I should, so next year I will strive to improve that.  Additionally, I found out that I should listen more to my wife and partner (yes, I know, I will never hear the end of this one.) My business common sense has really developed over the years and I can honestly say I am pretty good at what I do and at judging good business.  However, I found that my wife is really good at being human, and sometimes I go overboard on projects and ideas, thinking they should work one way because it is HOW it should be.  She sees it not HOW it should but how IT IS.  That grounds me immediately and I have started to see things more as they are and think more as a person instead of as a robot.

Lastly, I really enjoy my personal time.  I really like the time I get to spend with my family and I like the down time honestly that I am afforded when I need it.  I will improve my handicap for next year as well and I promise I will be more focused on being a better person.  I also think that next year will be a great make-it-or-break-it year for Hispanic Trade and I invite you to take the ride with me.

Best wishes for 2017 from us to yours!

Stay Calm and Keep Humble…

The complainer…

Before you think I am going to go off on a customer or on a vendor, please hold you horses and just know that this is not what this blog today is all about. The complainer as I call it today is my teenage son, who in his efforts to be the next great bodybuilder has taken the Cheetos and the Pizza out of his diet and substituted it by healthy stuff.  His complaint was that mom mixed two cereals and that one had too much sugar, so he went off like that… First world problems.

As the year winds down, I need to tell you that all of our budgets for 2017 are ready and uploaded into our accounting system.  We have carefully analyzed each one of our vendor accounts and matched them up to our customers.  We see room for improvement in many of our accounts and some room for new accounts as well.  Business should never be static.  The day you decide to stay static is the day your business starts dying.

In my former business life I used to project some crazy revenue numbers every year.  Lots of growth was always my main purpose.  My former bosses hated it because they knew I was not looking for profits.  As you expand and grow, your profit base dwindles and it is a very hard thing for owners to swallow.  But why did they let me ask you… well, because there are very few people which can deliver growth consistently and at a somewhat decent profit.  There were divisions that gave much better profits, but they did not grow.  You can’t expect to grow at the same rate of profits as when you are consolidated.  It is an oxymoron by definition.

Well, my intentions for my company are pretty much the same.  Double-digit growth and small profits.  I would rather have a growing business spreading in different points of risk and diversifying my income base than a profitable business.  I said it, it is not about the money… for now.  There will be plenty of time for that later, when the business is ready for it.  For now, wages and expenses are fine, a decent profit is okay as well, not too much to cripple its growth though.

So, the complainer now is my partner, the lovely wife, who hates this approach.  I am going to have a harder time convincing her than I did my former board, and for those of you who are married, you know that board meetings are no cake walk, but I will take them over “the talk with the wife” any day, and twice on Sunday.

Honey, you know I am kidding right. Remember this blog is for entertainment purposes. Remember that before assigning judgement and punishment…

Keep Calm and Stay Humble…

Back to reality…

Well, we were bragging about how great life was last week. We were sharing with you our good fortune in having our project make it out of the hardest stage, Introduction.  I feel like Jerry Maguire when he goes into that room looking for his wife, telling her about their project. Well, with the slight exception that Tom Cruise and I don’t look alike at all, my wife has not left me and I do not jump on couches to profess my love, Cruisazy-style, there are some other similarities.

One, Jerry was fed up with the corporate culture of his former company – check that.  Jerry had a lot of his close business friends turn their backs on him – check that too. Jerry sang Free Falling like a maniac – yep. Jerry felt a lot of pressure (I think it was all that yelling by Cuba) – ditto. Jerry fought until the end for his project, his wife, his son and his client – you can bet your butt on that one.

Well, today was a good dose of reality, I was busy since the morning until just now.  Took a good dinner break with my kids and wife, and then a good shower.  But the day has mostly been about hard work in a LOT of different projects.  I have been pressured all day to include a new project in my day and so far, so good, with obvious adjustments.

The unfortunate realizations are that when you know you made it out of one stage, that literally means you are at the beginning of the next stage and there is a loooong way between you and the stage after that.  We have to diversify our income streams and make sure that our vendors and clients form a non-risky and balanced equation of cash flows.  We also have to entertain stepping it up for our customers and providing more differentiation tools than the competition – that is always hard.  And lastly, we have to suck it up when we get into situations that make us feel uncomfortable because the commitment to the business is more important than our personal feelings sometimes.  Personal preferences are important and necessary, but do not overrule judgement and logic.

Reality sets in quickly and puts our feet back on the ground again… quickly.

Keep Calm and Stay Humble