I recently read a book that was attacking the investment planning industry. The author was generally correct in her criticisms but she is an ignoramus who has no idea what the underlying problem is nor what might constitute sensible investment planning advice. (See my Simple Living Investment Advice for Old Age.)
One of the chapters was devoted to attacking Suze Orman. The author is a mean-spirited person and after mentioning that Suze got her business start working for Buttercup Bakery in Berkeley, the author found someone to say that Buttercup was not particularly good.
Buttercup was great and beloved. Buttercup was the first modern retail eatery in America. It was the source of Chez Panisse and the Berkeley gourmet extravaganza. And the whole explosion of interesting hippie generated food that follwed.
Buttercup served elegant and imaginative homemade breads, pastries and served all its dishes with a wide variety of fresh ingredients and imaginative spices. Buttercup was a member of the Briarpatch and I visited it several times during its early years. It was widely loved in the neighborhood.
More than a decade later the two owners invited me back for an urgent consultation.
The owners, in an effort to expand their kitchen and ovens, had borrowed money with onerous terms.
My visit was in February. The loan came due at the end of May and required an instant repayment with no renewal if specific revenue targets had not been met. The revenue in the previous months had been more than 10% below the target.
It was my job to figure out how to dramatically increase revenues in the coming three months without additional investment.
I did... and the two owners followed my advice. First I had them offer free coffee to the drivers of all the buses that stopped in front of the bakery. The goal was to make the bus passengers aware of the widespread love of the bakery and smell the baking aromas.
The second thing I had them do was create and distribute a flyer to all the residences within a half a mile radius. One side of the flyer offered two jobs in the bakery. It was a period of economic slow down in Berkeley.
The other side explained the wonderful smells wafting over the neighborhood that were due to the new ovens. There was an explanation of the wood fired ovens.
The purpose of the flyer was simply to remind people of the bakery that they all loved.
Revenues immediately grew by more than 15%. The loan was extended.
At this point, one of the most common things about small business, occurred. The owners sold the business and went to Mexico.