Saturday, June 24, 2017

The next great American brand?

LaVar Ball is a nobody when it comes to professional sports. His athletic accomplishments ended as a practice player for the New York Jets of the NFL. He played for the defunct WFL but no one cares about that.

He's loud and proud.
He's the illegitimate child of Don King and Hulk Hogan.
The NBA hasn't seen anyone like him before.
But lace 'em up. He's here now.

Lavar has three sons.
His oldest, Lonzo Ball, was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers this year.
Mr. Nobody predicted his son would go to the Lakers with the 2nd pick overall at the draft.
He was right.
The media loves him.
The fans can't stop watching.
The league will hate him.
On draft night, Mr. Nobody predicted "Championships, championships, championships". He said his three sons will all play for the Lakers. Together they will bring the top prize back to Los Angeles.

Besides being a larger than life blowhard, Mr. Nobody started a shoe company.
His sons are opening him a window of which he is taking full advantage.
You see, LaVar has a gift.
He's been given the body of Zeus and the mouth of Donald Trump.
He can gather attention like a circus ringleader.

He's a business man. Without his oldest son, this man is no one.
He is seizing an opportunity.
He created a brand: Big Baller Brand.
They have sneakers and larger than life clothes.

Sneakers at the high end sell for $250. Big Baller Brand will retail for $495.
That's ball-sy. Sorry for the pun. I had to do it.
I like the pricing strategy but not the Barnum and Bailey routine. He is getting attention for himself and his brand, so I applaud him for that.

The price makes the product a luxury purchase.
BBB may be the next great American brand.

His target audience is cocky kids who think the world owes them everything. While they owe the world nothing but to show it how great they are. Sounds like LaVar is coming along at just the right time for millennials.

Could this be bigger than Nike?

If his sons fail to live to up to expectations, he will still be Mr. Nobody. Time will tell.

My friend Cedric Yau started a brand two years ago called Baller Yoga Mats. Yoga Mats typically sell for $20-$40. Baller Mats retail for $1000.

Cedric is one of the nicest people you could meet. He's the opposite of Mr. Nobody.
In either case, they share an exclusive brand in different industries with similar names.

Check out this article written about Cedric's product which is made from the same leather as NFL footballs.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Network Marketing is not for you, if you're like me.

You're sitting at home and the phone rings.
You pick it up like every other time.
But this time it's different.
Someone you know says he has a business idea that they want to share with you.
That's weird, you think to yourself.
No one ever calls about business ideas.
It's a friend so you agree to meet up.

The friend comes to visit and he is not alone.
He has brought another person you've never met.
Both are well dressed enough that they could be selling bibles or going to church.
Your friend never dresses like this except to weddings and funerals.
It's odd but you allow it to happen.
The friend did say it was a business idea.
Maybe the stranger is the business head.

This IS a business meeting.
Business meetings happen this way, right?

After a few minutes of learning who the stranger is, you're told about the opportunity.
You've heard about Network Marketing.
Most of it is bad.
You've heard of someone doing well at it.
And you want a piece of that pie.
You want more time, money and stuff.

Unless you're a North American monk, we all want more...
It's the way our economy was built.

The products look cool.
You see the benefit.
You want the products.
Plus you can make a bit of money at it.
It sounds like a win-win.

But there's a catch.
If you just want to use the product, you're a buyer.
You won't make any money this way, unless you sell your friends on the same idea. Or if one of your direct connections is a rockstar and sells like crazy, putting you at the top of the "Line".

Results are rarely achieved by what others are doing. 
Results are based on what you are doing.
Do little, get little.
Do lots, get lots.

If you want to make money, and become a rockstar, you'll need to trade your "free" time at nights and weekends to work on selling this idea to your friends and your friends' friends.

You work 40 hours per week to provide food and shelter for your family.
There's baseball, hockey, soccer, dance classes, etc in your "free" time.

There's nothing "free" about this time.
It gets spent like everything else.
You have a choice: own fancy cars, have beautiful vacations, own the house of your dreams OR miss out on all the little things you're going to miss with your children.

Mind you, many of us spend our free time watching tv or surfing Facebook.
So if you're doing a lot of wasteful time on your entertainment, you've got time to go make some extra cash.

Very few people get all the fancy stuff. 
It's hard. 
It can be done.
But if you work it like a hobby, it will pay you like a hobby.
If you treat it like a job, it will pay you like a job.
If you care for it like a business, it will pay you like a business.

Very few people do the last one.
But those that do, become extremely wealthy.

Here's how you care for it like a business:
All free time is dedicated to the growth of the business.
Vacations are secondary to business.
Actually many vacations are taken around business meetings.
It's how you write off the expenses.
The business isn't seen as work. It's fun. 
And who doesn't like to get paid while they are having fun?

Your friends will change,
which isn't a bad thing if your current friends are toxic.
You won't watch as much TV.
You'll start hanging out with your business associates, upline and downline.
And business becomes the most discussed topic.
That's what business people do.

I believe anyone can make money at Network Marketing.
Not everyone wants to do the work to get there.

I'm not a Network Marketing guy.
I was involved in one once.
It was good. Some of my old friends are making millions at it.

I've been asked many times by different friends to listen to their business plan.
Here's what I say to them each time,
"I'm sure your business is great. I love what Network Marketing can do for people. It's not for me. So unless you're looking for someone to practice on, you're wasting your time on me."

I make money a different way. It's not for everyone either. The risk is higher.
Risk is directly proportionate to reward.
My business isn't dependant on 8pm meetings to get someone's friends to buy into an idea.
If you don't know how to make money my way, then Network Marketing is probably a great option for you, 

If you're willing to do the work.

Otherwise, save your introduction fees. It'll be the best money you never spent.

You can't have it

Has there ever been anything in your life that you wanted.
And you couldn't have it.
No matter how hard you worked to try to get it.
Every step forward forces you two steps back.
Others can have it and don't want it.
Others strut around and don't give any thought about the gift they have been given.

Why can't you get it?
You ask God for help.
You threaten him.
You plead for forgiveness.
You cry yourself to sleep.
Only to wake up the next day,
Realizing you did not wake up from a dream.
You're living an unfair life.

Why do others have it?
Why can't I?
Why is it seemingly so easy.
But so impossible for me.
What have I done to deserve this?
Why me?
Why me?
Why me, crying to yourself.

There are two things I'm certain of:
1. When you are at a crossroad of life, the road less travelled is usually the right choice.  The easy choice is the wrong one.
2. Life's challenges are God's way of asking you if this is what you really want.

I'm about to say something that may make you uncomfortable - I apologize for that.
But it has to be said.
I believe when you believe in something, you shouldn't be afraid to shout it from the rooftops.

Stand for something or stand for nothing. Politicians are good at sugar coating issues. And my momma didn't raise no politician.

I hate abortion.

It's not a religious thing.
It comes from a place of pain.
My wife and I couldn't conceive a child.
We wondered why others were so fortunate.
While we withered in emotions.

I hate abortion.

I have two children that could've ended up at the bottom of a garbage can. Their birth mothers were mentally strong to see their pregnancy through. And for that I will be forever grateful to those women.

I count my blessings every day despite the tantrums, the arguments, and the differences of opinions.
I'm a dad today.
12 years ago, I didn't know if I ever would be.

Some people want to have kids and they can't.
Some can and don't want them.
That makes me cry waterfalls as I try to understand the injustice.

Getting pregnant is not a right.
It is a privilege.
If you're not sure, ask my wife or countless other couples who can't conceive.

I understand that every situation is different.
I can even appreciate the varying shades of grey that pregnancies create.
It hurts to watch young women use abortion as a form of birth control.
It kills me to think that a human life has so little value.

Has society lost its morality?
A fetus lost in pregnancy in a WANTED world causes everyone to mourn.
A fetus aborted in an unwanted world, is silenced over the huge sigh of relief.

Abortion is not a form of birth control.
For those who have chosen that route, I'm not judging you.
You had your reasons and it's not my responsibility to judge you.
As an adoptive dad,  I am judging the action.
I hate it.
It saddens me.
It tears me into little pieces.

There was a time, people used to take a bag of newborn kittens and drown them at the river.
The comparison is a bit ridiculous but I see abortion the exact same way.

In today's world, we outlaw the inhumane way of disposing of kitties.
But in the wrong circumstances, taking a fetus and throwing it into a garbage can be considered ok.

Getting pregnant and and not wanting a baby is based on choice.
Killing it is also a choice.
You don't need to pop it like a pimple.
There are other options.
It's scary.
It's emotional.
It's difficult.

As an adoptive dad, I can reassure you there are thousands of families waiting for a baby and don't have the same privileges as you have.

Sex is fun.
When you dance with a loaded gun, someone gets shot.
If its you, turn it into a positive situation.
You're going to make someone extremely happy.
It's only 9 months.
It'll be over before you realize it.

Life is the greatest gift you can give.

I know.
I was told I couldn't give it.
I didn't feel full until my daughter was born.
12 years ago tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tend to your garden

I used to hate the garden. It represented work. And at 12 years old, there was always something better to do than work.

I saw my dad and my grampie tend to it with surgical precision.
They prepared the soil by fertilizing the land, loosening the dirt and then planting their seeds.
Once seeded, they pulled and hacked at weeds giving the seeds space to grow.
They turned over the dirt, aerating the soil to keep the nasty weeds away.
They warded off pests who thrived on the juicy leaves, knowing that pests would kill the vegetable if given enough time and space.

Then they harvested after a full season to enjoy the fruits of their work to feed their families through another winter.

There's nothing new about growing a small garden to feed a family. My dad does it the same way today as he did 40 years ago.

We've all heard about the analogies of gardens when it comes to sales.
I'm hopefully going to give you a new analogy.

Your minds are like gardens.
You plant seeds to be able to feed yourself in the near future.
Those seeds are the wants and desires in your life.
They are the positive things going on.

My dad will tell you that weeds can grow anywhere.
They take no time to grow.
They don't need any work.
If you want to live off the positive things in a garden, you have to remove as many weeds as possible.

Weeds are the negative thoughts in your brain.
They don't take energy to grow.
You have to be aware that they can take root at any minute.
They will drain your resources away from your positive thoughts.
Too many weeds, the fruits of your desires cannot take root.
The seeds can not grow and produce.
You cannot achieve success with so many weeds.

It takes a lot of energy to remove weeds.
You have to be aware that they can come at you from any angle.
But if you fend them off long enough, the positive thoughts were surely grow through to your harvest season.

It takes less energy for a weed to grow, but it doesn't give you what you want.
Don't give space for the weed,  when you want the growth of a seed.

Monday, June 12, 2017

There are two types of customers; only one is worth your time.

Advertising is like dating.
Tell enough people you are available and you will find someone you want to spend a lot of time with.

Customers will try your product.
They are curious.
They may or may not buy again.
It may or may not fit their lifestyle.
They may or may not want what your offering.
You may be too far from their home or work.

Long distance relationships don't work!

There are two types of customers for your product.
Relational and Transactional

The relational customer is looking for a relationship.
The transactional customer doesn't want a relationship. They want a deal. They go out of their way to buy the cheapest possible product in the category.

The transactional coffee customer doesn't go to Starbucks.
The transactional computer customer doesn't buy a Mac.

Both companies price themselves to avoid those people.

Marketing tactics focused on a transaction will have a limited time offer with a special discount.
The transactional customers flock to a strong offer.
The relational customer will wonder what happened to the magic as customer service suffers when traffic increases to lesser profitable transactional customers.

A neighbouring furniture store uses the transactional approach.
Every week, there's a new special, a new flyer, a new traffic generator.
It's the same wolf, dressed in different clothes.
They instigate traffic with low price offering, through a door crasher, low payment options or some special giveaway.

This strategy has the same problems as cocaine.
In small doses, it can make a business feel great.
But over time, it has a lesser effect.
It requires greater dosages to get the same initial effect.
Eventually, too much of it causes the business to die.

The transactional customer is an important customer.
Just not a profitable one in the long term.
When you chase the transactional customer with a competitor, the customer always wins.
So as you both fight for the transactional customer,
Someone wins the relational customer when no one is looking.

A transactional customer is not a bad customer.
It's just one you don't want to focus on.
If they come in to buy, it's your job to sell to them.
If they buy, we call that profit.
They probably don't buy twice...

A relational customer with cars may be a transactional customer with toilet paper.
A transactional customer with computers may be a relational customer with coffee.

It's not up to you to decide who is which.
It's your job to find the relational customer for your product.

Some of you may be wondering how to find the relational customer.
Are you ready for it?

You find them by telling stories that they can RELATE to.
You find them by telling them what you BELIEVE in. If they BELIEVE in the same things, they will buy from you.

My 10 year old once told me, if you don't tell someone what you believe in, you're silently telling them you only want their money. That will be seen as selfish. And no one wants to buy from someone who is selfish.

I agree with his first two points. However, transactional customers DO buy from selfish merchants if it's the cheapest.

Walmart has perfected transactional buying. We don't buy from Walmart for relationships. We buy because it's readily accessible and the price is usually the cheapest.

Even for giants, the transactional buyer will flee. Walmart closed 269 stores in 2016. Half of them were in the United States.

Why does the giant close stores?
My theory is that Amazon is killing Walmart with online selling.

Jeff and Bryan Eisenberg with Roy H. Williams just wrote a book called, "Be like Amazon, Even a Lemonade Stand can do it".

If you want to know how to how to appeal to the relational customer, you should read this book.
Here's the link at Amazon:

Friday, June 9, 2017

Occam, Jobs and The Wizard

I try to make sense out of the insensical.

I'm weird that way. 
Looking for patterns where no patterns go.
Let me explain:
The digital clock shows 5:38 twice every time the earth completes a full rotation.
I witness this number so often I wonder what message could God be trying to send me.

I've even checked out various versus of the bible to see if there is a chapter 5, verse 38 that may resonate. Nothing yet...

Chaos is a series of patterns yet to be discovered.
I don't understand what the message is but I take comfort in trying to be told something.

In science, Occam's razor states the simple answer has a higher probability of accuracy to the complex one.  Occam was probably right. hehe...

I look at the clock so often that it would be hard not to notice 5:38. And when I see it, I get excited looking for the magical message.

Although he may be right, I don't like Occam. I prefer to be a participant in the magician's act and not learn his simple tricks. It's too pragmatic and boring to hear life explained Occam's way.

Here's another example of the insensical.
I was sitting in "The Eye of the Storm", at Wizard Academy in March 2016.
Yes, I said that right: Wizard Academy.
It's a school where Roy H. Williams and his gang of troublemakers teach eager students about the art of persuasion, creative writing, art and general misfitery.

36 people were in the room with 21 laptops.
All of them were Macs.
Not one PC amongst them.

Noticing the nuance, I wondered why.
Apple holds 12% of the world market in laptop computers.
Yet 100% of the laptops in that room were Macs.
To my knowledge, the Wizard of Ads, has never publicly endorsed a Mac computer, besides owning one.

This was chaotic.
No pattern exists, with the exception that all in the room believed in the Wizard of Ads.
Each had been to Austin, Texas many times.
But why wasn't one of the 21 laptops a different brand.

Every one wore different brands of shoes, pants, and glasses.
But all the computers were the same brand.

Occam would probably say that ad people love great brands so they all buy the greatest brand of computer.
I think Occam's wrong on this one.
Why weren't they all wearing Nike's or Chuck Taylor's?

Researching corporate values this week, I stumbled on a video of Steve Jobs from 1997. Here's the transcript of the "Think different" campaign.

“Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things diffe

They're not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Twenty one Apple laptops weren't purchased because we were at Wizard Academy.
Twenty one Apple laptops were purchased because the misfits all believe what Apple believes.

The rebels believe they can change the world.
They went to Wizard Academy to learn how to do it.

After seeing the following video this week, I'm certain of the rebels' motivation.
Check out this video of Steve Jobs talking about corporate values and the "Think Different" campaign.

People who believe in the same things like to hang out together. Some call that friendships.

The 21 laptop nonsense finally makes sense.

Now to figure out why the clock keeps blinking on 5:38...

Friday, June 2, 2017

Restaurant Operators: Someone is stealing from you and it's not who you think...

My first year in business, a fellow restaurant owner advised me of the following:

"Trust no one in this business. The minute you think no one is stealing from you, will be the minute someone is stealing from you."

Coming from the corporate world, I thought he was overly cynical of the industry. Until I caught my first thief. It turned my stomach inside out. I never would have thought that someone could do that.

I had too much trust and one punk took that innocence away from me. Over the years, I have come to realize that those initial words of advice were more accurate than I thought.

Employee theft, customer theft, supplier theft and partner theft. It's everywhere. It seems like everyone is looking for a piece of the pie. Whether they feel entitled to it or not.

I wrote a book about employee theft. It's called "The Art of Restaurant Theft". You can download it for free at:

There's a bigger, deeper type of theft.
It isn't illegal, but it is highway robbery.
It is disguised by nice, smiling people, while they rip your bank account of all its cash.
It isn't a scam.
But it is wrong, nonetheless.

I recently analyzed two restaurants in similar markets. One restaurant had their food costs go up by 5% in 2 years. At first glance, it appeared that an employee might have been the culprit, either through theft, over portioning or waste.

The problem wasn't with an employee.
It was the food distributor.
In one year, food prices increased by more than 7%. Although the restaurant was raising prices to keep up with inflation, the food service supplier went well above inflation.
While the operator was asleep at the switch accepting the invoices without analysis.
When it was brought to the attention of the restauranteur, I was told that the folks at the distributor were like family. They would never do that to him.

A quick analysis showed that the operator was OVERBILLED by $50,000 a year for more than 4 years.
The food distributor legally STOLE $200,000 from this operator because he never thought to compare prices.

Relationships have value but not to that extent.
The distributor plays games. If they know you're watching the price of one item, they will be the cheapest in the market, while they inflate the prices of other items that are not being watched.

In the another case, the food distributor disguised prices by offering free vacations, rebate dollars and a free case of french fries from time to time. The second restaurant had a higher volume. In my analysis, they were overbilled for the same products by about $70,000 in the first year. With supplier rebates, the number was closer to $100,000 difference.

Over four years, the second restaurant operator lost $400,000 to the distributor. When they discovered what was going on, they were livid and refused to pay the remainder of their account of $30,000.

Their shiny, happy friends at the distributor took out their false smiles and revealed pearly white fangs as they slapped on high interest rates, threats of collection agencies and legal actions.

The food distributor used to be my supplier, until I found out they were constantly changing the prices of garbage bags to make up for the losses they were incurring on the protein I was buying. While I was watching the price of protein, my garbage bag prices were almost three times as much as anywhere else.

I felt lied to.
They cheated me.
I forgot about their silly games until I met with the above operators.

The two operators I met were both in trouble financially.
They both worked hard, every day trying to make a living.
As these jerks skimmed off their earnings.

This foolishness needs to stop.
I'm making it my personal mission to help restaurant operators from being taken advantage of by greedy suppliers.

Please share with everyone you know.
I will do a free analysis for any restaurant operator who is using one of these dirtbag suppliers.

Contact me at