Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
**A Forbes Best Business Book of the Year, 2015**
**Winner of the 2015 800-CEO-READ Business Book Award in Entrepreneurship**
When columnist Paul Downs was approached by The New York Times to write for their “You’re the Boss” blog, he had been running his custom furniture business for twenty-four years strong. or mostly strong. Now, in his first book, Downs paints an honest portrait of a real business, with a real boss, a real set of employees, and the real challenges they face.
Fresh out of college in 1986, Downs opened his first business, a small company that builds custom furniture. In 1987, he hired his first employee. That’s when things got complicated. As his enterprise began to grow, he had to learn about management, cash flow, taxes, and so much more. But despite any obstacles, Downs always remained keenly aware that every small business, no matter the product it makes or the service it provides, starts with people. He writes with tremendous insight about hiring employees, providing motivation to get the best out of them, and the difficult decisions he’s made to let some of them go. Downs also looks outward, to his dealings with vendors and to providing each client with exemplary customer service from first sales pitch to final delivery. With honesty and conviction, he tells the true story behind building and sustaining a successful company in an ever-evolving economy, often airing his own failures and shortcomings to reveal the difficulties that arise from being a boss and a businessperson. Countless employees have told the story of their experience with managers—Boss Life tells the other side of that story.
From the Hardcover edition.
some technical tasks, and perform entry-level work without supervision, I can pay more. They also need a valid driver’s license and should be willing to work extra hours when required. (They would be paid overtime per Pennsylvania law.) They should understand complex spoken English. This is also where I start workers who want to become skilled woodworkers but have had no training. These workers require significant attention from management and coworkers, so we can’t pay them much. They must
situations. In aggregate, this system works. Our material costs are lower than what we charge for them, and we use about 5 percent fewer shop hours than the spreadsheet predicts. This system has produced positive cash flow and profit in the past two years. But in a particular case, I am wary of the time-cost predictions. They are wrong as often as right, sometimes in our favor and sometimes not. Which brings me back to my modular table. I’m putting it up on our Web site and I want to put a
options. Everyone’s pulling back on spending. Get ready! Rough water ahead! No heads are nodding in agreement. Keith DiMarino, who owns a company that stores and shreds documents, raises his hand. Over the months, his advice has been blunt but intelligent and on point. “Let’s start with one thing,” he says. “Whatever is going on here is your fault. You did something. I don’t want to hear any more whining about the big world collapsing and poor me being a victim. I don’t see it. Nobody else sees
reading the sales manager booklet. Its opening is in the form of a letter, with a bold-faced heading: “The Dave Kurlan Sales Force Profile™.” “Dear Paul,” it begins. “Blah de blah de blah blah blah.” I read paragraphs of what purports to be a personal letter to me, complete with Dave’s signature. There’s a heaviness to the prose, an inclusion of extra words, sentences, and paragraphs that extend the size and length of the document without adding much extra useful actionable information of any
It takes some hours of Googling to even figure out where to begin, how to switch from just using the program to modifying it. Fortunately, FileMaker is designed to be easy to revise. After the first day, I’ve made some simple changes, like the color of fonts and the location of text boxes. Even after I’ve done these, the program is still functioning, on my own computer anyway. I check on Dan’s and Emma’s machines and see that my changes have propagated throughout the network. Cool. I’m in