Profiting At The Bottom Line™ (addendum)

An addendum as to add more insight into my latest Profiting At The Bottom Line™ article (PATBL)

Over the weekend I was speaking with a colleague who had read my latest installment of PATBL (link here) and we entered into a discussion back and forth on the implications I had outlined for businesses in general. The discussion revolved around differing sizes of business and how people might use or take away insights from what I had written.

As we spoke one thing was prominent: Was this cautionary argument something where the implications were only for sizable businesses? i.e., large national or global corporate entity? Or, how would, or did, it apply to any size?

This was based on comments such as: “How could the small solo entrepreneur (or start-up) use, or what take away example is relevant in your suggestion that is applicable to them in today’s new business models that are popping up everywhere? Do you think they’ll find your example relevant?” I thought it was a fair question, as well as a fair point. For this discussion came to light arising from an incident that took place mere days after it was posted.

In my area a regional based ice cream maker and specialty shop Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams™ recalled all of their products as well as immediately closed all of their 20+ stores in multiple states out of concern for a positive sample testing of Listeria.

What happened and why? Who knows, but one thing will be certain. Procedures and how they were carried out as well as documented will be at the forefront of the investigation by both the company as well as the regulating bodies. To my knowledge as I write this, all locations are still closed, as well as all the employees working at them are currently still idle. All the product (which by reports means just that – all) that’s been recalled will more than likely be destroyed. The cost to this company may well make it financially unfeasible to reopen as they once were. And in my opinion, as I outlined in the previous PATBL a procedure everyone may have taken for granted as “no real big deal” may in the end be the Achilles heel that fostered the need to recall everything, as well as cease operations entirely near overnight.

So in this light I was asked on the fly, “What would be an equivalent example or take away for the little guy? And do they face such repercussions at the solo, or micro level?” I responded, “Of course, forget food or the like. A perfect example of this would be AirBnB™.”

My colleague was a little taken back and asked me what I meant, and how were the two similar. As I said earlier I thought both the question as well as the points were fair comparisons with far-reaching implications that many “know they are there – but just ignore.”

Using the same premise as well as ramifications of all the examples I used prior, including the most recent. One might assume…
“Well that’s all food type issues, or production, or multi-location, or regional, national, global, etc., etc. None of that, or the premise would apply to me. I’m just a single business person barely making enough income to report. Why would any of that concern me?”

Well, take the one overhanging premise that the majority of people dealing within the AirBnB structure not only know about, but are acting in a fashion as if there’s no real issue of concern: Reporting – and taxes.

I would garner from what I’ve seen reported thus far no one is thinking through my progression line of questioning. e.g., “It isn’t a problem, till it is. Then what?”

That “what” in this case is: What if both the local, State, as well as Federal agencies decide tomorrow everything you thought didn’t need to be done – did. i.e., Listing of all the occupants (ever), how many days, how much, taxes paid or not, amenities supplied, and on, and on, and on. Because once a taxing or regulatory body get’s involved? You can be sure the words “simplicity” as well as “no payments or records necessary” won’t be used.

Years worth of back who knows what (fines, records, taxes, et al) may be suddenly due overnight with no recourse. Today, no one knows. It’s still being argued by both the local governments as well as the company itself as to what it is going to be responsible for, as well as the users, and suppliers.

Many are acting as if “it’s no big deal, it’ll be resolved.” Well, yes it may. However, what that resolution may very well be is an unknown. Which is where knowing or preparing for the “Now what?” moment isn’t just for the corporate world. It applies to anyone in business of any size. Even if that size is renting out an 8×10 spare room once a year.

Are you making enough profit and keeping documentation as to answer (or to at least give the semblance of trying) as to conform to any new regulatory demands? Along with: the money required to pay possible fines or taxes if need be? Or, are you acting from the stand point of, “Well they’ve never demanded or needed it before and probably never will.” And you just go about renting out that space under the guise “I’ll concern myself with all this when I need to. For now – who cares.”

Like I alluded, a “Who cares” attitude can turn into “Wait…what?!” in a nanosecond. And knowing a giant overhang of “what if” is dangling above your business, regardless of size, and thinking or believing all one needs to do is ignore the consequences and push on for that’s what “hacking” today is all about. I would implore you to think again, and think constructively. Because in business…

Thinking with a true business mindset – is what real business is all about. For not only it that how one thrives – but also survives. Period.

© 2015 Mark St.Cyr

For more illumination as to what is currently taking place in the AirBnB issues, here is a recent (and very informative) article by Dan Raile written April, 25, 2015 at Pando Daily™.

Also fwiw, this whole discussion came about because of the coincidence in timing of another company  Blue Bell™ a national company that also recalled just weeks before. So the serendipity of all the current events drove a very interesting conversation thus why I expanded on this article.