The Barefoot Businessman

My wife and I were married in August of 1971, and we have been talking about living on “a beach” almost since day one. I would guess it started out as a sort of joke, because we were from the middle of Nebraska and “a beach” is not something that people talk about very often. When one of us would have a difficult day, we would say that someday we are going to be living on “a beach” and we will not be having those sorts of troubles anymore.

In the days before we had any money, we would joke about living on “a beach” somewhere in Mexico, with only a tent, an ice chest and enough money to buy beer. In the late 1980’s as we were struggling to get our businesses off the ground, every month or two, our bankers would tell us we would never be able to make our business models work and that we should think about doing something different. After those meetings, the thoughts of “a beach” would pop up again.

In the early 1990’s the US’s economy went through a stage where credit card companies were sending out applications for credit cards to people when they reached a certain age. I guess it was their way to draw customers. Not knowing that she was not the only person in the country getting three or four offers for a credit card in the mail every week addressed to her, my wife decided that she was some sort of special person and decided she needed a few of them.

We had a “minor” disagreement over the idea that she may not be “self-disciplined” enough to handle several credit cards. With that challenge thrown down, she was bound and determined to “prove” that she was indeed quite “self-disciplined” and to make a long story short, over a two-year period, between the two of us, we had over 100 credit cards in a drawer with a “cash advance” value of over $500,000.00. At this point, the “a beach” story got to be, if our businesses all fell apart, we would just head for Mexico, cashing out the cards as we went and when we got to the border, we would just leave the car and walk across with the cash. Still headed for “a beach”.

As it turned out, we did make our business models work and 45 years after we first started talking about “a beach”, we sold our businesses, rented out our land and moved to Padre Island, Texas. While we are not right on the beach, it is only a mile or so away and we go over almost daily.

We have been here for only eight months, but we are already so much beach people, that the other day I got in the pickup to go to the store and I got three blocks down the street before I realized that I had no shoes on. Thus, the name, The Barefoot Businessman.

I may not remember my shoes, but I do remember how to do business. If you know anyone that is ready to chase their dream to their “beach”, have them give me a call, I am not only “The Barefoot Businessman”, I also teach “The Money Recipe”.

The Money Recipe!!

Ever had a money problem? Has a money problem kept you up at night?  My name is Alan and I am a money person. I teach serious individuals, families and businesses the money recipe. The recipe for money is like the recipe for a cake. If the right ingredients are used and the directions are followed, you get a cake. Follow the money recipe, you get money.  I do not give investment advice and I am not an accountant. I teach about money. I work by appointment, I meet clients in the Corpus Christi area at a time and place of their choosing and the first hour is free. Please only serious inquiries, the money recipe is not a get-rich-quick-scheme. Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish, you feed him for the rest of his life. I teach money. Ready for a life changing experience? Call 867-1291 or reach out to me on the contact page!!

Taxes & Donations

It seems that over the last few years, almost daily I am being asked to donate to one cause or another. Anywhere from hurricane recovery to somebody died and can’t afford their own funeral. While some of these causes may be worthy, I can’t help but think that when “working” Americans are being taxed anywhere from 30 to 60% of their gross incomes, why should and/or would we need to donate to anything? With the obscene number of government entities, all the way from POA’s to the IRS, squeezing every dollar out of the “working” citizens that they legally (and sometimes illegally) can, how can so many people still seem to have so many wants and/or needs? The main reason, too many people live very well without doing any work. With all the “Santa Clause” elected officials running the government entities offering more handouts for votes, too many people are content to live on handouts.

In the last 10 years, the national debt has risen from 9 trillion to 20 trillion. When you add in the 3 trillion collected in taxes and then spent beyond the 11 trillion in added debt, you 41 trillion dollars spent in 10 years. Please remember this is only the federal government’s spending. This does not include all the taxes that all the other money-grubbing government entities, that are always needing more and more of money, have taken from the “working” people.

I for one, no longer give (donate) to anything and/or anybody that I can’t see and even that is going to be cut down. Am tired carrying two or three people who refuse to work on my back and then donate to them on top of that. If I am getting tired of donating, no doubt others are too.

While I have no crystal ball, I am going to venture to guess the “get something for nothing” days will someday come to an end. While today, the people who are not working, but have food, clothes, cars, homes, cell phones, $500.00 tennis shoes, beer, color TV’s, a/c, heat, and almost every other modern convenience (and do not take care of any of it) see fit to riot and shoot policemen, I wonder what will happen on the day the giveaways stop and they really get hungry?

 

THEY LOST EVERYTHING!!!

A couple of weeks ago, hurricane Harvey came ashore twenty miles north of where I live. Many homes and businesses were, to some extent, damaged. A week or so after the storm, I overheard a couple of people talking about the damage and one used the phrase “Lost Everything” when describing what the storm damage had done to a family that they knew, they had “Lost Everything”.

This caused me to start thinking about this phrase “lost everything”. I am a very detail person, so when I heard that this couple had “lost everything” the first thing I thought was they have nothing left. If a person loses building(s), personal possessions and even their business it is a very bad deal, but “Losing Everything” is bigger than that. “Everything” is much, much bigger than that!!

My wife tells me that I am sometimes a bit cold-hearted, I prefer to call it realistic, because like Rush, I live in realville. My idea is that people should spend more time planning for times when things go wrong. The building(s), personal possessions and even the business should have been insured. But, more than that they should have spent at least a little time over the last several years thinking about what they would do if for some reason they would have the misfortune to go through a hurricane. Do they have some money saved up for emergencies? Was the money in cash, in the house? Do they have a backup plan?

I can understand if my house was destroyed in a hurricane, where someone might use the phrase he “Lost Everything”, but I can assure you, because of hard work, going without a few things over the years and planning, I would never be in the position where any one event would cause me to “Lose Everything”. It could be and would be a very hard situation and I would not like it any better than anyone else, but, “Lose Everything”, not a chance.

For anyone who is not ready for something to go wrong in their lives’, maybe they need to think about talking to a “Business Consultant”.

 

Why utilize a Business Consultant?

#1.  Save time and money – since professional consultants have years of business experience, many of the problems and/or decisions a business owner may be facing on any given day, a consultant has faced many times. Instead of several sleepless nights thinking about the problem or decision, spending an hour with an experienced consultant can help go through the options and help the owner get the problem resolved. The owner of any business will be much more productive while running their business instead of being preoccupied with some problem.

 

#2.  Experience when needed, as needed – when a business owner hires a consultant on an hourly basis, they can get experience immediately. Using a consultant for an hour, a week or even a month is much more economical than going to the time and trouble of hiring and training a new employee for the same job.

 

#3.  Compliment business owner’s natural strengths – not everyone can be good at everything. Utilizing a consultant to help in areas of the business that the owner either is not as good at and/or is not as interested in, makes good economic sense.

 

#4.  Hiring 50 years of experience, by the hour – speaks for itself. What is “been there and done that” worth?

Generations

I am a fan of “old sayings”. One “old saying” that you will hear when discussing longer lasting family business operations is the one about generations. The old saying goes something like this. The first generation ‘starts it”, the second generation “grows it”, the third generation “lives off of it” and the fourth generation “farts it away”. Not every family business fits into this type of situation, but if you pay attention to family operations of any size, you will see this plays out often. The reason I bring this up is because every member involved in a family operation, needs to recognize if they are the first, second, third or the fourth generation. This is important because it makes a difference in the way you make decisions. Since the first generation is usually starting with nothing, they can (and usually do), make double or nothing bets. If you don’t have much, you don’t lose much. The odds are a lot different if you are third generation. If the third generation makes a double or nothing bet they have a good chance of “farting it” away. Also, if you are married it is very important both spouses need to be on the same page as to what generation they are in. A husband who thinks he is the first generation, with a wife who thinks he is the third generation, will have a very hard time making their marriage work.

It is very important for all members of a family operation to understand the generations and where each member stands. If one member doesn’t like the generation they are in, they need to communicate to the other members that they do not want to be part of the family business. This is one of the reasons that family operations do not last. If you have five members of a family operations who are in the third generation, and two want to continue to “grow it” and the other three want to “live off of it”, it will be hard to keep it going.

“Generations” just one of things business people need to keep in mind on their way to success or failure.

Passions (Find a job you love & you will never work a day in your life)

Are you doing a job that you really don’t like? If you are, may I ask you why? Of all the different careers and/or jobs in this country, why would anyone work at a job they do not like. The answer to this question is often a lead up to a much bigger question. Why are there so many people who have never figured out what they are passionate about?

The same person that does not know what job they are passionate about, will probably not have any trouble telling you which football team, brand of pickup or even what pizza they are passionate about. Why is that? In my experience, it is because in our modern educational system it was never addressed. No different than reconciling a checkbook. Many people are extremely under educated when it comes to business and/or money. Like it or not, your job is your business and you should treat it as such.

I have had several career changes in my life and I have been very passionate about each one of them. What do I prefer to wear, what hours do I want to work, were would I like to work, what would I like to do and any other preferences I may have? As an example, if you prefer to wear shorts, tee shirts, flip flops to work and you like to go to work at midnight, you are probably not going to get very far as a banker.

Maybe if you spent as much time thinking about your job, as you do your favorite football team you would have a job you are happy about going to. Maybe!!

Business Philosophy

Every business owner needs to define their own unique business philosophy if their business is to operate successfully. There are many business philosophies and it can be a very confusing task for a person starting, a new business to define the idea(s) they have for their particular enterprise. One of the simpler ways that I have found for newly forming or formed businesses to define their own philosophy is for them to use the Quaiity-Service-Price method.

The Quality-Service-Price method of defining a business philosophy is as follows: In every business, the owner needs to decide on the quality of merchandise, the level of service and the price he (or she) is going to charge.

As an example, any business owner that decides they are going to sell the highest quality merchandise, give the very best service and at the same time, sell at the lowest price in town, is probably not going to survive for very long. You can do any two of the three or even one of the three but not three of the three and survive.

Take Walmart, when it started Sam Walton decided to go with only one of the three. Walmart went with “PRICE”. For people old enough, you will remember when Walmart was opening several new stores every month, the quality of their merchandise was (to be kind) not very high and their service was terrible, but they sold for a lot LESS.

Without a philosophy, a business will have a challenging time making a go of it.

Hello Corpus Christi

GRC Business Consulting, Inc. is owned and operated by W. Alan Rickertsen. Alan and his wife Gay, moved to the Corpus Christi area from Nebraska, in March of 2017. Alan has close to 50 years of business experience and has a desire to share this experience with businesses (large or small) in the local area.

After graduating from high school in 1967, spending two years in the army, and a couple years in college, Alan joined his father and brother in their farming operation. Between the years of 1972 and 1984, this farming operation (Skyview Farms, Inc.) grew from 1,500 acres to 13,000 irrigated acres, spanning 200 miles north to south and 100 miles east to west. In 1984, Skyview Farms, Inc. was one of the three or four largest farming operations in Nebraska. Due to a heavy debt load, several years of depressed commodity prices and a major hail storm, by 1988, the farming operation was reduced in size to 4,500 acres, but was for the most part debt free.

In 1991, we decided to end our three-way business arrangement and go our separate ways. We sat down one day and went through our equipment list and put a value on each piece. One week later we again sat down and split-up the equipment. If two or more of us wanted the same piece we flipped a coin. We gave the three-revised equipment lists to our accountant and lawyer and one week later, we signed the legal papers. Both our lawyer and accountant said they had never seen any family operation split up so quickly and easily and still remain friends.

Out of the split in 1991, Alan and Gay got three semi tractors and 4 hopper (grain) trailers. By 2010 we had grown to a fleet of 75 trucks and trailers. 50 hoppers and 20 refrigerated, operating in 49 states and Canada. In addition to the trucks, we also did some farming, had a bookkeeping business, a debt purchasing company and a truckload brokerage division. In 2009 we employed close to 100 people.

In 2010 we did another generational succession. We transferred some of our business to our two sons. We had them pay for ½ of each business, gave them the other ½ and we “retired”. In Gothenburg, Nebraska the rule of thumb is when you retire, you sell the ranch and the cows and you move to town. We did the opposite, we bought a ranch and moved to the hills. Our first year we had 23 cows and one bull (Oscar). When we moved into the ranch house, I wrote on the wall, 300 cows and 2,000 acres by 2015. On January 1st, 2016, we had 400+ cows and 3,500+ acres.

Having reached the goal, and getting to old to get bucked off a horse many more times, we joined forces with a local young couple that really wanted to be ranchers and to make a long story short, over a three-year period we did another generational secession. Now they are ranchers and we are 1,150 miles away on Padre Island.

GRC Business Consulting, Inc. is a been there-done that, consulting company with close to 50 years of experience, that is now available to help other businesses (large or small). From basic goal setting for a new business startup, to implementing a succession plan for when a business owner is ready to move on and pretty much anything in between.