Our Agency

Business quotes designed to improve your bottom line, or, at the least, your disposition.

Don’t F**k With The Gravy

Short quote: Big Message:

Frank Maguire is one of those folks who seems to have had a knack for being at the right place as history is made:  in the Kennedy White House; alongside the Fred Smith  when FedEx’s first plane landed, and with the Colonel when Kentucky Fried sold.

In fact, it was at one of the first meetings the new owner/CEO had with his staff that produced one of the shortest, but impactful, quotes I’ve heard.    The new head honcho was  talking about pending changes when Colonel Sanders took his seat at the boardroom table. “What’s he talking about, Frank,” asked the Colonel.  Maguire tried to avoid answering, but pressed, he quietly explained the new owners thought they could put close to a penny more per customer to the bottom line reformulating the gravy by substituting water for milk.

Col. Sanders bristled, and when the CEO finally asked, he answered as directly as a  80  year old with a bloated bankroll would.   The response from the head of the table was something along the line that the conglomerate now owned the company and changes benefiting profitability would be made.

At that point, Maguire says Colonel Sanders gathered up his papers, stuffed them unceremoniously in his briefcase, pushed away from the table, and with a laser glare told the new CEO, “Don’t f**k with the gravy.”

The temptation to mess with the gravy, regardless your business, is omnipresent, good times and bad.  As The Colonel said …

Bud Carter
Senior Chairman Vistage Atlanta
Publisher of the Business Quotes book entitled: Chairman Carter’s Collection of Pithy Quotes (Quotes designed to improve your bottom line, or, at the least, your disposition).

7 Comment

I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time… however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues.Great stuff as usual

Thanks for this post I will be forwarding it to my sister.

This is really something I can understand. Thanks for the article I have subscribed to your rss.

Your site is gaining more and more popularity thanks to sites like Youtube and other social media. Thanks again for the awesome post I’ll be back for updates.

This style has reached a complete new level with the help of online blogging services that you can take on the road. Since most students spend more time online, blogs like help them kick their research into overdrive, Jodi Weikle

Bud, as you know, Frank is one of my favorite people on the planet (next to you). Frank was and still is Right on with the gravy!!!

I agree with Elise about the gravy and Frank! Ha, great humor…

Leave a Reply

Best Places, High Honors and Cosmic Compensation

Part of the compensation in our profession working with CEOs, is the sense of pride experienced when a member or a member company wins recognition for something beyond profitability; or, in this economy, survival.

Three member companies in the same Atlanta Vistage group have been named as among the Top Places To Work in Atlanta.   McKenney’s, Inc. (member John McKenney) and DeKalb Office (member John Rasper) both finished 17th in their company size competition, while Wells Real Estate Funds (member Leo Wells) was named The Top Place to Work in Atlanta in the mid-size company category They have 400 employees. The awards, made annually by The Atlanta Business Chronicle, provide public recognition for local businesses who have created unique work environments, and also serves to create a strong sense of pride for team members as well as strengthening the critical areas of recruiting and retention.

McKenney’s (Mckenneys.com) had coffee mugs and bumper stickers made for their employees and tout their accomplishment on the welcoming screen in the lobby. Wells has posted their team’s accomplishment on their web page (wellsref.com), emailed the news to the thousands in the field who offer the Wells products and commented about his company’s unique workplace on his own web site: www.leowells.com.

Wells, since the newspaper award, won individual recognition when he was inducted into the Hall of Distinction by the Southeastern chapter of the Real Estate Investment Advisory Council and Georgia State University. He is only the fifth person to be so honored.

The award, REIAC Southeast’s highest honor, is presented “to recognize the people and commercial real estate projects that have made the most dramatic impact on Metro Atlanta.” REIAC is a national nonprofit trade association serving the commercial real estate industry.

Leo founded Wells Real Estate Funds in 1984 and was recently named a member of the Board of Governors of NAREIT®, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts®, and a couple years ago was a national winner of a Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. He has been a member of Vistage group #150 for 15 years.

Speaker/consultant Bob Prosen once said, “Your choice as CEO is to work hard or hire smart.” McKenney, Rasper and Wells obviously do both – and very well.

Bud Carter
Senior Chairman Vistage Atlanta
Publisher of the Business Quotes book entitled: Chairman Carter’s Collection of Pithy Quotes (Quotes designed to improve your bottom line, or, at the least, your disposition).

One Comment

I cant agree more with the blog poster! The thing he did to the game is just fantastic!

Leave a Reply

“Soft” Disciplines with Bottom Line Impact

Two of the so-called “soft” disciplines are more important, some would argue even more critical, during the current downturn in the economy: Human Relations and Marketing.

For HR the challenge is maintaining the company’s culture through one or more rounds of layoffs, perhaps cuts in wages as well. Making sure that communications throughout the organization are clear. That management does its job getting the message through middle management to the front line – a challenge even during good times.

There’s an additional challenge for the HR folks when an acquisition or merger is attempted (regardless the economy). Theirs is the responsibility of helping make sure the cultures align and mesh. Most mergers/acquisitions that fail do so not because the numbers didn’t work out, but because the people couldn’t. When the Stephen Covey and Franklin Planner people couldn’t make it work, the message was clear: no one got around to doing Due Diligence on the cultures.

The challenge for Marketing is to raise the company’s and/or product(s) profile, to make sure they are seen as survivors and to position the enterprise to leverage its position once things start to improve. Jim Cecil is generally regarded as the Guru of Nurture Marketing. His is an approach that urges disciples to “drip” on their prospects periodically over long periods and raise awareness so that when the product or service is needed, your company’s will be “top of mind.”

Cecil suggests periodic, albeit scheduled, mailings of something of value. Communications that give, but don’t ask or sell. A constant “dripping” of value. Kraig Kramer’s newsletter do that – offering without charge or sales pitch, a different tool free for the downloading which can profit your business. And, by the way, when you have need, you’ll remember Kraig and his CEOtools.com web site.

Attuned to the times, Cecil told one of my CEO groups, “Management’s challenge is to sell more with fewer people to customers who demand more service and attention for less money.” A salient snippet, a bit of pithy wisdom indeed.

For many, it was Grand Master of Marketing Cecil who forever defined Marketing and made clear the necessity it be separate on the organizational chart from Sales when he explained, “Sales picks the low hanging fruit; Marketing waters the tree.”

Good (economic) weather will come again in time … are you making sure your trees are being watered?

Bud Carter
Senior Chairman Vistage Atlanta
Publisher of the Quotes Book entitled: Chairman Carter’s Collection of Pithy Quotes (Quotes designed to improve your bottom line, or, at the least, your disposition).

5 Comment

Great blog post, I love the book.

Saw your blog bookmarked on Delicious.

I recently saw a little mini serious about this on uh…CNN? Maybe it was Fox? Don’t remember exactly which station but someone was running a special on it.

You sure got have a lot of knowledge about finance..I got a lot of info from this post.

Thank you so much for sharing. It is becoming more rare to find quality material. Seems lots of sites are offering nothing unique – just scraped content or rehashed rss feed. Your work is appreciated. Anytime we can discover more viable ideas about building our business is a good thing like what we share on http://heavyhitterleads.com.

Leave a Reply

Marketplace Commoditization / Value Added Bankruptcies

It may well be that two of my groups’ most recent speakers will be the two who provided the most lasting message.

Sam Bowers‘presentation “Sales and Marketing in the New Economy” made clear, from his perspective, that the old axiom, “Faster, better, cheaper – your choice, any two” no longer applies. That, in fact, being able to provide your company’s product, its service, better, faster and cheaper is now the price of admission just to be considered. “It is,” he said, “the new definition of Capitalism.”

Sam asked a key question: “What are you providing now that your customer does not value?” According to Bowers, “The concept of Value Added has bankrupted more companies than any other.” Bowers is far from subtle. One of his comments is already on my web site, Businessquotes.com: “Business entertainment,” he said, “is attempted bribery intended to encourage an employee steal.” Later, noting the chaotic economy, said, “The recession will end when consumers can no longer delay the purchase of durable goods.” Makes sense.

The second would be Futurist David Houle who told both my CEO groups that “intellectual property is the new currency” and asked each what was the intellectual currency of their business. Houle identified technology, health and medicine and energy has the high growth areas for the future.

The former media executive (he played key roles in the start-up of CNN and MTV) told members that no generation before ours has ever lived through an entire age, but this generation will have been here for the start as well as the finish of the Technology Age.” It is his contention we have now entered into The Shift Age (the title of his new book) – a transitional decade before whatever comes next.

Citing the current economy, Houle provided additional content for my collection of pithy quotes, noting, “Thrift is the new extravagance, the new cool” and later added, “The speed of change today is in constant acceleration.”

Bud Carter
Senior Vistage Chairman Atlanta
Publisher Chairman Carter’s Collection of Pithy Quotes (designed to improve your bottom line, or, at the least, your disposition)

Leave a Reply

Goals, Roles, Rules, Pizza and Profits

Editors note:  Some things have changed in the more than a year since this was posted.  Thought you might appreciate an update:

Through all the economic chaos, with most business leaders struggling up the tough side of the mountain, it’s good to step back and realize there are some, albeit a diminished number, who are having good years. One with which I am familiar, having worked with him now for more than 10 years, is succeeding, profiting, not through luck, but through a consistent application of a strong management system, a diversification of product offerings and tapping into the sage counsel of other CEOs committed to his success.

Pierre Panos fled the violence of his native South Africa in the early 90s after accomplishing the equivalency of a CPA (and spending five years in management with Coopers and Lybrand there) and gaining experience in several food service ventures. Not sure where he wanted to migrate, he composed a matrix of all things important to the young couple in a new country – wherever it may be and graded the possibilities, ultimately choosing The United States and Atlanta.

Here, he applied his restaurant background, earning equity as he turned around a marginal mid-price point operation. Next, Panos created a new concept: Stoney River Steakhouse. Panos and his partner ultimately sold the Stoney River concept and their two local stores (and 2 under construction in Chicago) to the O’Charley’s chain. He then bought out his partner in a popular suburban mid-price point restaurant, Brookwood Grill, and began to diversify.

The 46 year old Panos bought several Papa John’s franchise stores, revamped the Brookwood Grill, and ultimately created yet another new dining concept: F2O – Fresh to Order. Papa Johns is at the low end when it comes to the average ticket, F2O is somewhere in the nine to ten dollars range for lunch and restaurants like the Brookwood Grill usually have price points in the mid-20s.

Choosing good people who are screened and tested to ensure alliance with clearly defined values, Panos likely has a layer of management others would see as a cost, and unnecessary expense. For Pierre it is an investment – a solid core of trusted chiefs who allow him the luxury to work on his businesses, not just in it. The result is that during a down economy, a time when many restaurants are taking it on the chin, some failing to survive, Panos’ company, QSAmerica (QSAmerica.com) has enjoyed two good years, very good, despite a dour downturned economy.

His Papa John’s stores (he is now their third largest franchisee) in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Florida, out-perform the chain’s national average. His F2O restaurants here in Atlanta, and one in Chattanooga, are in the black and attracting a long line of franchise seekers. To this point, the numbers cruncher turned restaurateur has opted to keep the majority company-owned while “testing” the franchise possibility with a couple stores. Ask, and the modest South African will tell you that a rigid compliance with Vistage speaker Will Phillips motivational business quote, “The essentials to successful management are good people, roles and rules.”

To which Panos would likely add diversification.

Bud Carter
Senior Chairman Vistage Atlanta
Publisher of Chairman Carter’s Collection of Pithy Quotes (Business quotes designed to improve your bottom line, or, at the least, your disposition). Businessquotes.com

2 Comment

Thx for this well written post.

Howdy I am so glad I found your weblog, I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Google for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a fantastic post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the superb job.