Normally I post my Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie Division of the SBA blog just before Christmas, but this time I’m posting an article that I’ve pitched multiple times, but has failed to find a home in print. Since we’re business consultants ourselves, I’ve always had real-world thoughts as I’ve watched the movie.
The BS&L Business Audit, Prepared by Cooper & Powell,
Family Business Consultants for Over 75 Years
To review the parameters of our recent audit of your business, our process included interviews with key personnel, interviews with clients who were suggested by you, and interviews with centers of influence, that being other lenders, credit unions, the chamber of commerce, city council members, etc. Below are the most critical points presented to you in the briefest form possible. We can meet with you in the future for further discourse regarding each of these items and/or provide you with the documentation that brought us to these conclusions:
> To the best of our knowledge, the National Savings and Loan Trade Association has enacted no provisions regarding pets or animals on premises, and banking directives do not apply to BS&L, but in spite of a lack of regulation, we believe that allowing a Crow to fly free in a place of business is not prudent. We had by far the strongest comments on this subject, from the fairly mild, “Well, I think it’s Uncle Billy’s, and you know how Uncle Billy is” to the very angry and explicit, i.e. “The xxxxxx thing crapped on my head.” If you find it impossible to ban the Crow from the building, we would at least suggest that it be caged as a matter of course.
> Because all members of the Bailey family save your brother are dependent upon BS&L for their livelihoods, and because your mother has lived alone since your father died, you might consider suggesting that your uncle live in your mother’s home to help defray expenses. It also might be time to consider not employing a maid.
> By far, our greatest concerns are involved with William Bailey. Listed here are behaviors that we either observed during our visits or heard about in our interviews:
- He has alcohol hidden in his desk drawer, although “hidden” might be a misnomer, since everyone seems to know it’s there.
- Whether having to do with the spirits or with diminished mental capacity, William seems to operate in a haze. He appears to be perpetually confused and befuddled. This is perceived by a few to be acceptable, as in “that’s just Uncle Billy,” but the majority of those that we interviewed found it off-putting, and expressed their concerns about William handling their funds.
- William seems to have an alarming tendency to disrobe when he is at his most confused. I do not think it necessary to cite any governmental regulations. This is highly undesirable behavior for any place of business.
> Although we believe that having knowledge of your competition is prudent and practical, many mentions were made of the fact that BS&L – especially yourself and William – seem to be fixated on Potter & Associates to the point where that fixation is perceived negatively. There’s no question that knowledge is power, but it seems that the company is consumed with Potter in a way that might not be in your best interests. The time spent contemplating Potter might be better spent creating new processes and providing checks and balances.
To close, we don’t think that we can possibly be any clearer about the potential recipe for disaster that exists if you keep William Bailey on the payroll or allow him to operate unchecked. We have consulted with family businesses for years and well understand how emotionally difficult it would be to take the appropriate action, but we believe that it is in the best interests of BS&L to do so. Although these suggestions may seem punitive and difficult, we believe that they are in your best interests, and hope that you’ll allow us to work with you on these issues in the new year.
George, we know that this is a lot to absorb, and we hope that you take this Audit in the spirit in which it was intended. The best to your lovely wife and children, and have a wonderful Christmas!
Cooper & Powell, Family Business Consultants