Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing: No-Nonsense Rules from the Ultimate Contrarian and Small Business Guru by George Cloutier
Business Book Review Rating – 5 Stars
There is nothing in this book that makes me think that author George Cloutier is a nice, warm, cuddly sort of man who I’d want to have a few drinks with one night for light-hearted, amusing company.
To be blunt, he’ comes across as a hard-nosed, business b*stard with ideas from 100 years ago.
He also might just be one of the few people who could rescue and restore your business to profitability if your life depended on it.
I loved the book, even if I didn’t agree with everything. It grabs you by the shoulders and gives you a good hard shake.
His views are so strident that they force you to think about why you are right and he is wrong. In doing so, you might discover that he is right and you are wrong.
I consider it as essential reading for all small business owners and entrepreneurs who are finding business success a struggle to achieve.
The Basic Message Of Profits Aren’t Everything
The main message for business owners is…
“Grow a pair, man up and take control of and responsibility for the profitability of your business.”
The truth is, if you don’t do it, no one else will.
Who Is George Cloutier
George Cloutier is a turnaround professional and the founder and CEO of American Management Services (http://www.amserv.com/).
This is what the website says…
“Founded in 1986, American Management Services has worked with over 7000 small businesses in 400 industries. American Management’s mission is to increase profits and cash flow to small and mid-sized companies.
Having just celebrated its 25th year American Management employs over 120 full-time professionals, all seasoned executives, working in turnaround management, profit management, cash management services and strategic management throughout the nation.”
I’d never heard of the firm before I bought the book but being based in the UK, I’m not well up on American turnaround businesses.
The size of the business indicates that George Cloutier knows exactly what he’s talking about and his tough approach to management is effective.
The 15 Profit Rules
The book is written around 15 rules for profit which are:
1 – Profits aren’t everything, they’re the only thing.
2 – End denial.
3 – Forget sweat equity.
4 – Love your business more than your family.
5 – The best family business has one member.
6 – Delegate, don’t abdicate.
7 – Live and die by a real plan.
8 – Pay for performance.
9 – “I am your Work God.”
10 – You are not in business to pay your vendors.
11 – When filing for bankruptcy is your best option, do it early!
12 – Don’t treat sales like your mother-in-law.
13 – Give up golf, retreats, off-sites and trade shows.
14 – Teamwork is vastly overrated.
15 – It’s not the economy stupid, it’s you.
The titles give you an indication of what’s in the book but you need to read what the author writes to feel its full force.
Where I Disagree – I Couldn’t Work Like This
All the money isn’t enough to make me betray the man I am.
I didn’t like the focus on micro-management by the owner. While responsibility can’t be delegated and accountability has to be maintained, I like employees who are motivated enough to think for themselves.
I don’t believe you should rule your employees by fear.
I don’t think you need to or should work until you drop. In my experience, there are an optimum number of hours and going beyond that point can be counter-productive.
I also don’t like the idea of screwing your vendors for all the credit time you can get. I believe it turns round and bites you when the power in the relationship shifts.
My advice is to read the book and be encouraged to take full control and responsibility for your business. Pick and choose the bits that you follow.
You don’t need to be liked but I bet you want to enjoy your work and make money.
That means being true to your own values. If you don’t want to be a tyrant boss, don’t be.
But do push hard and command respect.
I’ve always been in the “tough but fair” school of management myself. The book makes me feel wimpy, kind and considerate.
You pay the wages and salaries so it’s up to you to expect and demand good performance.
Those employees who can’t live with it should leave as soon as possible. Let someone else be the sucker who employs them.
I learnt many years ago that the biggest employment mistake you can make is to lower your performance expectations to fit the employee. Some people are perennial under-achievers and whatever if you expect, they’ll do less. Eventually I made him redundant and then discovered that he’s been stealing from petty cash and making up the work he said he’d done.
Read This Book If You’re The Owner Of A Business That Isn’t Awash With Profit And Cash
In fact, I suggest you read it regularly when you need a pep talk.
You won’t like “Profits Aren’t Everything”.
In fact I think you will hate some of it. You won’t want to be the tyrant boss.
But you probably need to hear what George Cloutier has to say about turning around an under-performing business.
Decide what you want and what you’re prepared to do and be to make money.
I think you need to make good money while having a great work life balance (see Your Primary Aim and Strategic Objective from The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber). That will help you get your business into more of a healthy perspective.
This book will give you confidence that you have the right to control your future and you can do it.
A Video Of George Cloutier Sharing Some Of The Ideas From Profits Aren’t Everything
He sounds quite reasonable in this short video.
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