Beginning Balance

Jesse Mecham

Jesse Mecham and Mark Butler teach you how to manage your business cash flow, hone your business model, and not freak out about money. read less
BusinessBusiness

Episodes

Signs of Success: When Business Growth Plateaus
15-03-2024
Signs of Success: When Business Growth Plateaus
Mark and Jesse ponder the question -- what do you do when growth slows and the business plateaus? Mark recalls a story about a successful businessperson who failed at several ventures before striking gold, and notes that the "gold" business was never hard. It grew a lot early on, and continued to grow steadily from there. He juxtaposes this result with some of his clients who spend hundreds or even thousands of hours working on a business, yet never really take off. There were signs of sucess early on in the good business, and likewise there were not signs of success in the failed ventures. Looking for signs of success is a good indicator of whether a business has legs or not. If you don't see any, it's a good indicator that your time is spent elsewhere!   Antifragile by Nassim Taleb https://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Incerto-ebook/dp/B0083DJWGO/ref=sr_1_1?crid=JMRX5RI5RNZ8&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.C3e4IagEiQHRzgC0W8S0KkU1s2tYPbhDWivIreUIOtwe2xEXBRSw7sYgY8vGAZxpOF13z-5F3MCQJ00OZnI2iuM5RFHBnnqqX5yeUs348hp-T297HGOx2e0-cQ-XPjqTBF2D8WYJx5Kt0LCnHhsFfmbdwGDgxb3pwniTQYHi71ahb0q4CkhWvUHmByV0dJqUkoIHy2PEFt18GVXgLjePclPH4zK4uOKDXX14x9cdoAc.MlGqTaeOx35qrIkulkswcuGJuF4GOAXfSoFOGSpA4z8&dib_tag=se&keywords=antifragile+by+nassim+taleb&qid=1710465424&sprefix=antifragile%2Caps%2C102&sr=8-1     Mark Butler, Virtual CFO The Money School: https://moneyschool.works https://markbutler.com https://letsdothebooks.com   YNAB https://www.youneedabudget.com
Diversification... or Distraction?
01-12-2023
Diversification... or Distraction?
Mark shares a recent conversation with a client fixated on "diversifying" her business, which to her meant expanding her coaching services from 1-on-1 to group coaching. Diversification is one of those concepts that sounds wise (of course you should diversify!) and is a bedrock concept of investing. However, as Jesse points out, what most people think of as diversifying is really just expanding -- expanding product and service offerings, introducing new price points. The expansion still serves the same market. True diversification is decoupled entirely from the product or service, like using excess earnings to buy Treasury bills. The value of T-bills is independent from the performance of the business.   There is nothing wrong with expansion! It's natural as busineses grow and accumulate more institutional knowledge to seek out new opportunities to leverage that knowledge. But it's not diversification. That prompts Mark and Jesse to ask the question, why? Why do you want to diversify? What's the thought behind the thought? The answer can reveal the true nature of the problem -- maybe the business owner is worried about some risk exposure in the business and is trying to sidestep solving that problem (or perceiving the problem to be bigger than it really is), or perhaps the owner is simply bored and looking for a new problem to solve.   Whatever the answer, before you take steps to diversify your business, understand the why behind the motivation so you don't end up merely distracting yourself from the core business.     Acquired Podcast on Costco: https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/costco     Mark Butler, Virtual CFO The Money School: https://moneyschool.works https://markbutler.com https://letsdothebooks.com   YNAB https://www.youneedabudget.com
How Mark Gets Things Done: A Tale of Two Time Management Styles
22-09-2023
How Mark Gets Things Done: A Tale of Two Time Management Styles
Mark explains his unique system for managing his day to day tasks after years of struggling with ADHD. For Mark, it's all about managing his energy and honoring his mindset in the current moment. If the "dirt pile" calls (his affectionate name for an ongoing earthmoving project in his backyard), then that's what he does, whether or not it's the "best" or most important use of his time in the moment. Over the years, Mark has learned that allowing himself space to indulge in physical tasks often has the benefit of settling his mind and, therefore, putting him in a good headspace to tackle bigger, more stressful business challenges. For Mark, productvitiy follows his headspace.   Jesse, on the other hand, has a very different style for getting things done. Jesse is a man of systems, and he's also a man with a long to-do list. He mentions how in the past he has been called out for letting tasks slip or needing reminders to follow up on things. So for Jesse the priority is making sure that tasks don't live in his head, but are organized in a good system. He likes David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) productivity system, which asks a person to first organize and sort through their list of tasks before tackling them. With a good categorization of tasks in place, it becomes easier to execute tasks at the time and place when you can do them, rather than relying on your mind's own reminder system which often reminds you when you can't do anything about the task! Jesse adds a weekly review to his process, to make sure he's working on things that matter -- in business and personal life -- and not avoiding challenging tasks by filing his day with low-level admin work.   The takeaway? People can get things done with very different approaches. One key to figuring out what will work for you is to recognize and honor who you are. As Mark's mentor says, you can't will yourself to be the kind of person who systematically categorizes and organizes tasks if that's who you are by nature. Once you accept that, then you can find the system that works for you.   Mark Butler, Virtual CFO The Money School: https://moneyschool.works https://markbutler.com https://letsdothebooks.com   YNAB https://www.youneedabudget.com
Team Compensation: How to Set Expectations and Avoid Landmines
28-07-2023
Team Compensation: How to Set Expectations and Avoid Landmines
Mark and Jesse discuss the process of setting compensation, salaries, bonuses, and communicating those effectively to the team. Compensation is a touchy subject. Businesses want to incentivize employees to perform at a high level and reduce turnover by compensating them well. Employees need to feel like they have space to grow their skills and capabilities in the organization, and be compensated accordingly. And many business owners want their employees to be happy and feel fairly compensated, out of care for the people they have grown close to and relied upon to build their business. Therein lies a minefield, however!   Jesse argues that compensation, including salary, benefits, and bonus, carries a lot of information and expectations. Business owners should set compensation based on market rates for a given role, discounted to what the business can afford (both what the business can afford to pay and what amount of turnover the business is willing to accept if they pay significantly under market). Business owners should NEVER compensate out of a sense of charity, generosity or to "share the wealth," epsecially with unplanned bonuses. While these things can seem great in the moment, they can cause serious confusion for employees. Why did I get this? How do I get it again? Should I expect this every year? If I don't get it next year, does that mean I'm performing poorly, or the business is doing poorly? There are many pitfalls to basing compensation on something other than the cold hard facts of market rates and clear job descriptions.   Mark Butler, Virtual CFO The Money School: https://moneyschool.works https://markbutler.com https://letsdothebooks.com   YNAB https://www.youneedabudget.com
Striving for What? When Enough Is Enough
30-06-2023
Striving for What? When Enough Is Enough
Mark and Jesse dissect the culture of striving that pervades American society, in businesses and consumers alike. There seems to be a tacit assumption that all business should be about more -- growing more, making more money, etc -- and you don't have to look far to see the same mentality in consumer culture. In fact, it's the heart of the economy! The desire for more is endless, a hole which can never be filled. So, how do you figure out what is enough?   Mark and Jesse have encountered peers struggling with this question, and have noted that limitations can be freeing. If you simply tell yourself that what you have is what you will have forever, you create boundaries and limitations which actually spur creativity and help you figure out what you really want (not just want other people say you should want). Mark uses the house as an example on the consumer side. What if you said to yourself, this house that you are currently in is it -- this is the house you will own and live in until you die. With no possibility for moving in the future, or building something else, you're free to think about what you don't like about your current house, and what you would change. Maybe there are some things that you dream about having in a future house, like a pool, that you discover you are fine without. Or maybe you can't live without one and must find a way to put one in!   It's a useful creative exercise to get closer to answering the question -- how much is enough?     Mark Butler, Virtual CFO The Money School: https://moneyschool.works https://markbutler.com https://letsdothebooks.com   YNAB https://www.youneedabudget.com