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Archive for December, 2013

Yeah, that [insert cliche] Tasmanian Joke

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

At nearly 50 years of age I find it increasingly difficult to deal with those boring cliche Tasmanian jokes. Two heads. Inbreeding. And here is my rote response to that banal cliche so that into the future I can just link back to this article as a single response. You can read it at your repeated leisure.

First, your cliche joke is unoriginal and unfunny in any context. So don’t imagine we’ve never heard it. Please, get new material and try not to push statements at me that are about putting me and my family down. I’ll get bored with you.

Second, it’s 2013 and those jokes are no longer socially appropriate – like sexism in the workplace or calling people from other cultures by derogatory names. These cliche Tasmanian jokes spring from the worst level of bigotry because the person saying the joke obviously sees no harm. I’d suggest they go into a gay bar and tell derogatory gay jokes. Or try humouring the Irish with rapier wit next St Patrick’s Day. Or attend an ANZAC Parade and make jokes about the Army or Navy. It’s inappropriate and it won’t be welcomed by the recipient.

Third, I want you to think about the dynamic behind that bigoted conversation about Tasmanian incest and deformity. It’s very high school. From my perspective, it’s having school bullies try to surround me and force me to say horrible things about my own family. My parents; my children. No, I’m not the butt of anybody’s jokes on a 2013 school bus – on or off the Internet. I’m a grown man with several hard earned university degrees and a long history of standing my ground with bare knuckles and blood in the hard yards of Her Majesty’s prisons.

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Understand Cash Flow, Profit & Equity

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

One of the consistent issues that I run across with struggling small business is a lack of appreciation for the importance of maintaining cash flow. If cash flow stops, or even falls below a manageable level, then you’re out of business regardless of any profitability or equity that’s involved.

Look at it this way. Your business is a separate human being (if it’s a company then it’s a separate legal human being) and cash runs through that human being’s veins. The daily trade pushes cash flow through the register (the heart) and out to the world (the senses). If the heart stops – if cash flow stops – that separate human being dies. If the blood pressure is too low then that human being will suffer and if it becomes chronic then it can slowly die.

You can love that separate human being all you want. You can dream that human being is going to grow and prosper. You can believe that human being deserves to exist. But if you can’t keep blood in the veins of that human being – that business – then it dies.

Cut away the metaphor for a minute and this is what you have: cash flow pays the bills as they fall due; cash flow feeds you and your family every single day; cash flow keeps the lights on. If you don’t have cash flow then the people and businesses you owe money will force you into receivership. You’re done.

At the same time, you need to understand your Break Even Point. At what point in your trade do you move from loss to profit. This is a key barometer to understand how you’re business is operating and to know when or how to adapt to the environment.

This is where the confusion arises. “Oh” they say “but I’m profitable.”

That’s actually a false God because you can be unprofitable forever as long as you can keep your lights on. You can be extremely profitable but not have the cash to pay your short term loan installment and you’re toast. Profitability is great… cash flow is essential.

Which brings us to equity – you own a share of the business assets.

Again, I draw the line back to cash flow and keeping the lights on. If you can’t pay your bills as they fall due then the receivers will be cashing your equity into their bank accounts. It’s that simple. You can’t own a business that ceases to exist. When the lights go out from lack of cash flow there will be a whole bunch of people coming for your equity and they’ll have steak knives sharpened with copies of The Idiots Guide to Getting Paid tucked under their flannelette pyjamas.

I’ve yet to see a single sandwich made with equity. Or, for that matter, profitability. The only thing your family eats and your business needs today and day after day is cash flow.

Jerry McGuire nailed it right there… Show me the money!

When I look at your business it’s always going to start with your cash flow.

Old Film:: The Wood Train (1940s)

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

My father’s family, for a time in the 1940s, lived and worked at Risby’s Basin logging camp at Maydena, South West Tasmania. My father had left school after grade six to help support the household. His family would help fill a wood train every day. This photograph is scanned from a 6cm x 9cm film negative made by my grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986). I’d take a punt that the boy in the centre with the dark hair is my uncle Kevin, known as Nig. My father (1933-2000) told me the boys all loved the wood train.

On the train with the engineer

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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