Why Fahrenheit’s Russ Gambrel is Bullish on Small Business
|Russ Gambrel, CPA May 2013|
I've been the world's biggest Mad Men fan since the first episode aired in the summer of 2007. I'd read that the creator had been a writer and producer of The Sopranos and that was all I needed to know to at least take a look. I was floored by what I saw and instantly hooked. I haven't missed an episode in six years now.
The reason I watch, however, is not exactly what you hear from most fans. They love the cool retro clothes and the look and feel of 1960s New York. They love how every line of dialogue drips with subtext and they love the existential crisis of Don Draper's seemingly perfect American life. I've even read that Mad Men is merely a show about cigarette smoking. Some writers argue that it is the greatest show in the history of television. I disagree. Mad Men is the greatest show in the history of business.
Sure, I watch for a lot of the same reasons everyone else does but more than anything I watch Mad Men because it presents a master's class in small business week in and week out. At the end of Season 3 the main characters -about to be swallowed in an agency merger- break free and start their own smaller firm. Since then the show has served up business lesson after business lesson for those of us who champion the smaller guy.
Mad Men reminds me that successful small businesses never fixate on what they can't do. They don't focus on how much bigger the competition may be. They simply roll up their sleeves and make up the difference with creativity. One of my favorite clients right now is an Ashland business that has been exceeding expectations for 25 years. While their walls may not be full of Ivy League degrees, it doesn't matter because their halls are full of smart, loyal improvisers who always impress me with their energy and company spirit. Their exceedingly-approachable upper management and President all deliver an unspoken message. Namely, that everyone must make an impact. Being a consultant, and thus an “outsider” of sorts, I probably see this more clearly than even the company's own employees. Not to mention that I also have the benefit of comparison. Large companies will always have the luxury of bloated payrolls. They can afford mediocre employees doing things a 2nd and 3rd time. Not so for the little guy.
I'm a champion of small business because they are forced to do more with less. They are lean by necessity. As we heard Don Draper lament in last week's episode, all the good ideas come from small business. The big guys don't need good ideas when they can merely swipe them from the real innovators. And knowing this to be true, it is probably the reason I so relish the opportunity to reverse this transfer of knowledge. Say what you will about the big guys but one thing they master is business process. With so many moving pieces they have no choice. Unfortunately and inherently, the vast majority of small businesses will never have access or the opportunity to develop similar processes. And that is why I love bringing my knowledge of these efficiencies to the little guy. I like to think I'm evening the playing field in my own way. And that is why I am so bullish on Fahrenheit Finance.
Setting aside that we too are a lean firm finding success on a not-always-even playing field, the stable of talent of which I find myself surrounded is unlike any I've seen in 20 years of extensive international experience. The knowledge, experience and pedigree of our consultants is unmatched in Richmond. Whether you need help with SOX, IT conversions, SEC filings, fractional (CFO) resources or the aforementioned improvement of your process, Fahrenheit is passionate about small business and has the horsepower to help guide yours.
P.S. With all the comparisons flying, I feel compelled to point out that unlike the fictional office portrayed on Mad Men, Fahrenheit Finance generally frowns on excessive drinking, smoking, and philandering. Oh, and bad haircuts.
Connect with Russ to learn more about his background and how Fahrenheit can help you.