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April 2014

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Contractor Tip of the Month

Your Company’s Wellbeing Depends on What You Consume

How frugal are you when it comes to spending? Do you buy what you want or what you need? Do you invest in those things that give you an immediate return for the dollars you are investing? And, what are the long-term effects of making the wrong purchasing decisions?

We all want the vacation house, the boat and the lavish lifestyle that can come with owning a successful business. After all, isn’t that the reason we started the business in the first place – to get the nicer things money can buy? Wait a minute. Even if we have done extremely well, there can be huge consequences to consuming the wrong things.

Making purchasing decisions based on what we want, instead of what we need, can do to a company the same thing that making the wrong food choices can do to our bodies. I recently took my operations manager, Chubby Charlie, with me to a lunch meeting to meet a potential client, Fit Freddie, and one of his top managers, Big Joe, knowing that if we could sell them on what we have to offer, they could be a large future customer. (Of course, these aren’t their real names, but you get the picture.)

This was the first time I had met Fit Freddie or Big Joe. While we were waiting to be seated, it was obvious that, although we were all about the same height, we were all different sizes. Fit Freddie, the owner of the company we were trying to sell to, was fit and trim. Big Joe, his manager, was heavy. Also, my manager, Chubby Charlie, is a few more pounds overweight than me, but nothing serious. Since I have been watching my weight lately, I thought to myself, “I am going to observe these guys eating habits to see if what they eat has any correlation to their weight.”

Here’s what I observed: When the waitress brought the rolls out, I passed them on to Fit Freddie without taking one as bread is high in carbs, figuring he would pass, too, as he was so fit, and he did. Then, Fit Freddie passed them on to Chubby Charlie, who never took any either, and passed them on to Big Joe. Of course, Big Joe tore into the rolls putting plenty of butter on them. We all passed on appetizers, so the waitress took our order. I order grilled salmon with broccoli, Fit Freddie ordered a grilled chicken salad, Chubby Charlie ordered crispy chicken strips with French fries and, wouldn’t you know, Big Joe ordered chicken alfredo, one of the most fattening things on the menu. From the smallest to the biggest, we all ate according to our weight. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

What do consuming the wrong foods and spending money on the wrong things have in common? They can harm our well-being. Most entrepreneurs seem to inherently have large appetites when it comes to purchasing things. That’s fine, as long as you are purchasing the things that will secure your future. However, unless you have extra money to speculate on future luck, you should not buy anything that doesn’t begin to give you immediate returns on your purchase. Boats and motor homes are nice; however, they constantly consume, instead of produce, for us. This all adds to overhead that, once it gets to a tipping point, can become unmanageable and make it so difficult to prosper.  

So, the next time you make a purchase, ask yourself two questions. Firstly, ask yourself if you want it, or if you need it. And secondly, ask yourself if this purchase is going to give you an immediate return on your investment that adds to your bottom line. Whether we are talking about feeding our waistlines or our businesses’ bottom lines, consuming the wrong things can cause big problems for us in the future.


Damian Lang has a masonry contracting firm in southeast Ohio, along with three other companies. He is the author of the book “Rewarding and Challenging Employees for Profits in Masonry.” To order a copy of his book or to attend one of his seminars held specifically for mason contractors, call Sherry Wittekind at Lang Masonry, 740-749-3512.

Provided by Damian Lang, President of Lang Masonry Contractors, Inc., and EZ Grout Corp.