Here’s a fascinating question: How old would you think you’d be if you didn’t really know or even have documentation showing the day and the year you were born? As everyone has seen, there are places on this planet where people don’t have birth certificates or anything of the sort to tell them exactly what their ages are. Film documentaries sometimes show such people saying things like: “I think my grandfather’s somewhere around 60 or 62.”
While everyone in the civilized world knows their age and has paperwork to prove it, how many business people know exactly how much money they personally netted last year, after taxes and other deductions (like the pass-through bonus small company owners got from the tax reform)? As important, how many know, without referring to the computer, how much their businesses grossed in the last fiscal year? Doesn’t have to be to the penny, just an estimate.
Juggling all these figures sounds a bit anal, I admit, but I think we’d be amazed at how many seat-of-the-pants operators out there really only have a vague idea how their businesses are doing financially. Like the primitive who thinks gramps is somewhere around 60 or 62, they shrug their shoulders and say “pretty good…maybe very good these days.” Now, who would probably do better over the long haul? This guy or the “anal” gent who devours numbers off his laptop and can read them back as easily as tell you his age and the time of day he appeared on Earth?
Knowing your income history, as well as your business’, are mental tools that go into the whole mix that moves you either to expand your real estate, buy more (or fewer) new games than you normally would, give raises, hire extra staff or cut back where possible. You know the drill. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that the industry didn’t have computer software like it does now, making answers to these questions easily accessible. Back then, a lot of operators ran their businesses by the pencil and paper. But times, they have changed, thanks to the available software on sale today!
The nation is in an economic upswing, so perhaps it’s time to be more adventurous and reinvest in the old route or game room. Also, time to update the old budget (if you have one) or even establish one to give things a nice dose of discipline. Unemployment is way down, Memorial Day has come and gone and the kids are on summer vacation. So, if you really like that new game, as the fabled New York State distributor Johnny Bilotta was fond of saying: “It is possible for you to acquire one.”
–– Eddie Adlum