Category Archives: ownership

Lonely at the top

It doesn’t have to be

LonelyYou could be proud of the fact that you are all alone running your business. You could be constantly complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. Or you can make different choices. It can be lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be.

Sharing your challenges and looking for solutions by confiding in family, friends or employees may not be enough. In fact, some of the issues may be caused by family, friends and employees and you have already learned that sharing with them is not always helpful. You need knowledgeable, experienced, objective input from outside that inner circle. You cannot possibly consider all the viable options and develop the best solutions in isolation.

So how do you expand your circle of confidants to break the cycle of struggling alone looking for better answers?

Consider these options, which have worked well for other independent business owners:

  • Use professional advisors – your accountant, lawyer, business consultant.
  • Hire a mentor or personal coach.
  • Recruit an advisory board.
  • Join a peer advisory group of similar, but non-competing businesses.
  • Select trusted strategic partners – banker, customer, competitor or supplier.

You do not have to be alone at the top.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson



Disaster insurance

Reducing risks

business-disasterStrange concept, insurance. You hope the disaster never happens, but you bet that it will and buy insurance to recover when it does. The insurance company takes your money and bets against you, also hoping it never happens. If it happens, you win (at least on the insurance), they lose.

Flood, fire or theft, commercial liability, death or disability. You can insure against any of those disasters, but should you?

It is probably a losing bet. The insurance company has the advantage of pooling a large number of clients with the same risk and being able to more precisely calculate the odds. Your choice is to take the bet or decide not to buy insurance and accept both the risk of the disaster and the potential consequences. Maybe you can recover with the money you saved on insurance premiums.

You can, of course, reduce the risk and the costs by making good preventive choices. Quitting smoking and avoiding sky diving will reduce both the life insurance premiums and the risk of premature death.

What about business risks? Same concept.

Reduce the risk of disaster and the potential consequences by maintaining security systems, signing long-term contracts and confidentiality agreements, having back-up plans and appropriate insurance coverage, meeting regulatory and environmental requirements, hedging on foreign exchange and receivables and preparing contingency plans. Review the risk management checklist in your original Business Plan and update the status and plans annually.

Don’t wait until the fires are close enough that you can smell the smoke.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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When the seasons overlap, it's hard not to notice the differences between hockey and golf as businesses.

The PGA Tour is almost unique in that it is owned and operated by the players themselves (maybe ATP tennis is similar). For NHL hockey (and most other major league sports) the owners are often in opposition to the players and their union. It's almost socialism versus capitalism.  Or at least democracy and active participation in the business versus rampant exploitation of the hired help. (borderline slavery?)

So which is better? And for whom? 

For the owners, the PGA is better run and more consistently profitable. Hockey team owners are willing to indulge their vanity with huge losses. For the players, both sports seem to do very well for the top performers.  But the PGA is strictly based on personal performance - you earn what you win.  Thousands don't make the grade for the Tour and work for basic wages at the local course.

For hockey players, they have the protection of team mates helping them win and their agents and the union protecting their earnings.  Still thousands don't make it to the big show and take their lunps in lessor leagues.

What about the paying customers? 

Both sports essentially are selling entertainment to their fans and the sponsors.  It seems to work.  You might argue that fans get more for their money at a golf tournament, but you have to accept that the price is determined by the market and hockey fans (in some cities) are fanatic enough to pay whatever it takes to see a game.  TV audiences and commercial sponsors confirm that the fans are there.  For golf there is the "Tiger factor".  And his new notoriety just adds to the attraction when he's playing.

No conclusion - just observations. Make your own choices.