July 23, 2015

Books & Whatnot: The Very Picky Customer

“I make a product that nobody purchases under duress. Think about it: are there any critical problems that can only be solved by a custom conference table? Nope. My clients buy because they want to. They can afford my work, and intend to enjoy it when it arrives. And we try very hard to do a good job for them.  So it’s a little jarring to run into someone who goes out of their way to find fault with our craftsmanship.”

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July 23, 2015

Books & Whatnot: What Should I Ask of My Accountant?

“I managed to stay in business for 17 years before I hired an accountant. I did my own taxes, almost certainly incorrectly, but never got in trouble for it. (Hmmm. Probably overpaid every year.) My bookkeeping was a disaster: the classic receipts-in-the-shoebox approach. In my defense, I started my business in 1986, before Quickbooks existed, and didn’t get a computer until 1997.”

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July 23, 2015

Books & Whatnot: Deciding Whose Advice to Take

“Hi everyone. My name is Paul Downs, and I don’t own a bookstore. But I have been running a small business – a custom furniture factory – for the last 29 years. Like you, I’ve been in a long-running battle against the modern economy, struggling with enormous competitors while trying to maintain a viable business. I wouldn’t say I’ve succeeded–I’m not wealthy, and my history suggests that I’m not that smart, either–but I’ve kept the doors open for more than a quarter century.”

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