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Hello. I’m Tony Mayo, the Business Owner’s Executive Coach … with one quick idea you can use in your business …today.

I have a one-question quiz to see if someone has real-world entrepreneurial experience.

I thought of it while I was telling war stories with the owner of a very successful commercial plumbing business. His firm worked on new homes all over the Mid-Atlantic, hundreds at a time. He shared with me his memory from the first Christmas after he had finally earned enough from the new business to pay off the home equity line of credit he and his wife had taken out to finance the launch of the business.

He knew, when he came with the bad news, that his wife had been planning a much more relaxed and generous holiday than they’d felt able to afford during the lean start-up years… He told her, “This has been a great year in the business. We’ve grown the company and cash flow has never been better. The right team is in place and they have done an amazing job to get us here. But,” he paused and prepared himself for his wife’s disappointment and …disagreement, “this rapid growth has burned through cash. We’re profitable on paper but higher sales means bigger inventory and more receivables to float. We generate enough cash to cover regular operating expenses but…” he hesitated again. … “My guys know what they’ve accomplished. Worse, my competitors know what they can do. I should give out some big Christmas bonuses to keep them happy, to keep them on board. And, more important, they’ve earned it, …but we don’t have the cash to spare so…”

His wife finished the thought, “so, we’ve got to take another loan against the house.” She said it, matter-of-factly. So, it took my friend a minute to realize that she wasn’t complaining or resisting. She was …suggesting.

She went on, “It’s the right thing to do for our people. They’ve proven how good they are. They earned these bonuses and soon …their work will earn enough to pay off this loan and then some.

Our family will have one more frugal holiday this year, just to make sure the people working for us have a great Christmas.”

They took out the loan.

They paid out the bonuses.

And, a few years later, they cashed out for millions of dollars. …

Here’s the one question quiz to see if you’ve been an entrepreneur. “Have you ever written a personal check to cover payroll, to acquire a key piece of equipment, to buy your company one more month of survival?” If you haven’t taken that kind of risk, made personal sacrifices, you just don’t know what it takes to make a company.

If you have, give me a call. I’d like to talk to you. Because you …are my kind of person.

Thanks for listening to this podcast. I hope you enjoyed it, that you apply it, and …share it.

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