Episode 105 – Coffee N5 – The Unspoken Truth About Entrepreneurship with Gene Marks

On this episode of Coffee N° 5, Lara sits down with Gene Marks, entrepreneur and decorated writer and author who’s written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Gene has written five books that focus on management for small- to medium-sized businesses, and he sits down to talk to Lara about his experience and what budding entrepreneurs need to know.

What you’ll learn:

  • Gene explains why running a business isn’t a “romantic thing” — and what Hollywood gets wrong about entrepreneurship
  • Why he advises many people NOT to quit their jobs to devote themselves to their business — and what he suggests they do instead
  • Why Kevin Costner was wrong (Just because you “build it,” doesn’t mean they will come!) and how this principle applies to building a successful business

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​​Lara Schmoisman  0:02  

Hi, you guys. But welcome back to coffee number five. Today, I was thinking about my clients. And I was thinking about all the meetings I have with the prom, I mean, not everyone that I need to become my client because I’m not a good fit for everyone. Um, they are not always a good fit for me either. So I believe in transparency, you know that I believe in finding that we are a really good match and I can help my clients. But lately in the in the COVID staycation I will say that, to name it somehow, I found that a lot of people were trying to take advantage that they weren’t going on vacation to work or their their work slowed down. And they try to become an entrepreneur and try to have a side hustle or become that side hustle their full time business. Somehow they also I think it’s the fault of a lot of the marketers out there that they were really smart. And they created all these programs that you can you can do it and create get 1000 leads in one week, and all that. It’s wonderful, but it’s not real realistic, realistic, if you are not putting your time, your money, and most of that you have the knowledge to do. So today, I have a special guest for you guys. And this is a trade for myself too. And I have Gene Marks. He is a small business owner, a columnist, podcast host, keynote speaker, and of course a CPA, which is really important to understand what we do with our money. But I’m, I’m not a gene and welcomed into coffee number five.


Gene Marks  1:48  

Thanks for having me on. And I’ve got my coffee like me, I’m


Lara Schmoisman  1:51  

so glad you do, because I’m trying to chat with you for a little while. And because I mean, we were chatting a little bit before the pub to start recording the podcast about seeing this pattern of a lot of people trying to try their hand into entrepreneurship.


Gene Marks  2:07  

Yeah, yeah. And you know, I have so many thoughts on this. So you need to stop me from talking if I talk too much, but because you bring up a topic that has been so near and dear to my heart for so many years, I run a business. I’ve been running it for almost 25 years. It is I’ve 10 employees are about 600 clients. And I just want to be clear that they’re all family, family owned b2b companies, you know, whatever. Running a business is not a romantic thing. You know, I am not, you know, you see, you’re the media and Hollywood likes to show like Anne Hathaway in Brooklyn, you know, the, you know, the sexy entrepreneur, you know, running the business of the Robert De Niro was our intern. Yeah, I always say Harry’s perfect, always great. When in reality, the typical small business owner looks like this, you know? So like this? Yeah. So it is it is it’s a hard, hard job. It is thankless. So I’m just, I just want to be clear, and there’s many benefits, you get a lot of control over your life, you can make some money and all that good stuff. But in the past 25 years, countless people have lied to me, they have betrayed me, I have employees not show up to work, employees, you know, customers not paying my bills. You know, when people wish you well, when you start up a business, they they’ll always do that, but it’s a cold world. I mean, then you’re out there scraping and scrambling for customers and money and, and it’s hard, it is really, really hard. And


Lara Schmoisman  3:30  

I think you’re gonna resonate with this, but I always talk to my brother about being a business owner, being a risk assessor, you’re always assessing what risks you can take how many people can you hire? How can your budget, your cash flow? There’s so many things. Yeah. And people when


Gene Marks  3:47  

they work, you know, you mentioned this in the, in your introduction, that, you know, there are a lot of people that were working from home during COVID There are a lot of people that during the pivot and they had their corporate jobs so they started up side gigs, you know, and now they’re thinking like, should we you know, maybe I can have my own business you know, doing this, but I’ll tell you something, you know, when you have a job at a corporation, you know, if you if you don’t feel like working that hard some days you can you can get away with it, you still get your paycheck, you know, your health insurance, you have your retirement being paid for you can move your way around, you know your company for a while without it. You can’t do that when you’re a business owner, like you have to work. Because your last you know, I have one client is worst day of the year is New Year’s Day, because he always says to me, no matter how great a year we had last year, I’m starting all over again this year, and I’m exhausted because it’s back to the fight. You know what I mean? It just, it just it is that that is what it’s like when you’re running a business. And you have to realize that all of that is on your shoulders. The other thing is what people don’t realize about running businesses is that it’s, it’s not romance, it’s math. It’s and I can say that as a CPA, like my best clients know how to buy something for a buck and sell it for three You know, they know their margins, they know their cost, they know their p&l, they know their, you know, their inventory. And it’s


Lara Schmoisman  5:05  

not about making 10 bucks. It’s about making those two bucks. Oh, yeah. And make anything.


Gene Marks  5:12  

That is exactly right. And when I talked to my, we have 600 clients in my firm, and then I have, you know, I have a lot of people that follow me online that I talked to, and a lot of people that read my stuff in The Guardian, and they will and wherever, and I can tell you, I can tell you this much are you there is there there is nobody there that says that running a business is any kind of a romantic thing. And none of my clients say they’re trying to change the world. On TV, in the movies, we’re going to build a business to change their world. It’s you’re running a business, because it’s a challenge and a puzzle. And it can be fun and good. But it’s your livelihood, you’re trying to make it


Lara Schmoisman  5:49  

like I told you before, it has to be the right fit. Like when you find a match, or you find a CPA, you need to find someone that can be transparent that you can work with. And the same has been a business owner entrepreneur is about enjoying it in one hand, but also feel comfortable for the role. If you’re miserable every day. I mean, for me, it’s a huge commitment have to pay people every end of the month is a huge, and it’s


Gene Marks  6:16  

funny if it just look at a typical small business. So it’s one of the most common small businesses in this country are like restaurants, you know. So I often meet people that like to start up a restaurant. And by the way, do you wonder why four out of five restaurants fail in their first five years, you know, because there’s a lot of chefs that say, like, Oh, my God, and so I’m going to change the world, it’s going to be great, I’m going to make my great food, and everybody will love it and love me and I’ll have a successful restaurant. But know that, you know, there are people that you have to hire that aren’t going to show up to work, there’s taxes, there’s permits, there’s regulations, you have to fill, you’ve got to market your restaurant, you got to deal with inflation and cost issues that people are that all restaurant owners are dealing with right now. That’s even before you actually get up super early with the deliveries Correct. You have to accept your deliveries very early, you’ve got to stay there late, you’ve got to clean the place up, you’ve got God forbid somebody throws a rock through your window, because you’re in a city in a bad you know, in an area where something like that happens, if there’s just a lot of headaches to running a restaurant.


Lara Schmoisman  7:15  

Also, we have people complaining about the food, the writing the marketing, it’s like people are gonna put a bad review on with you online, because they just seem like the service or because your waitress was having a bad day.


Gene Marks  7:27  

Correct. And so we’re seeing all these things, and I don’t like I don’t want people to get discouraged from doing this. I just want them to understand the reality of what it’s like to run


Lara Schmoisman  7:38  

a successful restaurant because I always use the same example for marketing to a restaurant. Because I say when you’re going to have a restaurant and having you’re going to plan a menu, you need to plan a menu. So go you can buy the ingredients is the same in marketing, you need to plan what you’re going to offer and when. But also people don’t understand having a restaurant is not about the love of food is a business.


Gene Marks  8:01  

Yeah, that it’s 100%. Right? I mean, sure, you should be passionate about what you do. And yes, it must be, um, I’m not a cook. But it must be incredibly gratifying to to do have great foods that people enjoy. I mean, that’s a wonderful thing, you know, for business that, but like you just said, in the end, it is about all the costs that you have to incur, it’s about a refrigerator in the middle of the day going out. And suddenly you got to spend, you know, $4,000 to replace that money that you don’t have, you know, or you know, or there being a pandemic that shuts you down for because we’re your local legislators don’t let you reopen or have people sitting in it, you’ve got all those things to deal with you to run that business, you have to be a business person first, and then a cook after that. Because if you don’t have that attitude. Now, having said that, I do want to say, you know, for those that succeeded doing this, that once I get that and they balance it, choose, you’re running a business, like a restaurant or any small business, you do have a lot more control, you do have the ability to make some money, but you do have the ability to, to figure out puzzles and get good challenges and work with great people and be your own boss and you do not have to answer to a boss your answer to 1000s of bosses with your customers. You know, there’s a lot of really great things


Lara Schmoisman  9:17  

about also being a boss so being a business owners meaning meaning that if even a cook doesn’t show up that day, you’re gonna have to fill it up for them.


Gene Marks  9:27  

That’s correct advice. You don’t have a business running. Yep, it comes down on you. Now we talked earlier, we’re talking about like, like, even like if you wanted to sell online, because a lot of


Lara Schmoisman  9:36  

I want I want to go to that because there’s so many people that they tried to go into the online business, and it’s crazy.


Gene Marks  9:43  

It is, you know, is there is this thing that people have to realize and it’s just funny you bring it up because I have a good friend who works at a big company in New York. And she has been she created like some, you know, clothing that she sells from a website and she was asking me about like some advice She’s because she wants to open up an Etsy store. Now remember, she has a full time job already at a company I know, you know. And I said to her, Listen, you know, sure, you can open up an Etsy store, go and google Etsy tips. And there’s plenty of people that will tell you how to do what you got to do on Etsy. But it is to succeed on one of those online marketplaces like Etsy, or Amazon or eBay. It’s like a full time commitment.


Lara Schmoisman  10:24  

And it’s so much work,


Gene Marks  10:26  

there’s so much competition, there’s so many things that you have to know. And then you need a budget, because how are people even going to find you on Etsy, all these blockers,


Lara Schmoisman  10:35  

you need the money, but also, for everyone who’s out there in the agency, we work with marketplaces as well. And get to know I have specialists for Etsy, I have specialist for Amazon. Each one is their own language. And each one has their own rules. It’s so much and they change all the time, like we got where you guys talk about how Google change your roles all the time on Facebook the same, but it happens with each platform. So having an idea for a business, it’s great. Anyone can have an idea. But if you don’t have a plan, how you’re going to execute things and the knowledge


Gene Marks  11:12  

and the money in the money. Yeah. And it’s so funny that you said that, because I said to my friend, I said, Listen, unless you quit your job, and devote yourself full time to this Etsy shop, which I don’t advise that you do. What you should do is you need to hire a specialist, like you just said, or you know, because you’re right, you can go on LinkedIn, and find a consultant that specializes in Etsy marketing, you’re designing the right Etsy site, that somebody that’s familiar with all these platforms have all these tools available, they have marketing tools, they have the ability to do search engine optimization on that site, and advertise on that site as well. But I mean, come on, I don’t know how to do all that stuff, like, you know, I mean, nobody knows you have to be a specialist to do that.


Lara Schmoisman  11:57  

I mean, I even me having an agency, I understand the basics, I’m training myself all the time, but I have specialists for each of these. Because otherwise, I cannot do it all and my my team really specialized in those things. And it’s crazy, because you need to be changing the picture, oh, let’s see if this picture works better. Or this picture, let’s see if these keywords what our competition are doing. And then you’re going to have competition copying you. And so you have to be always on the go.


Gene Marks  12:27  

100%. And it’s funny that you mentioned what which picture works best in which because a lot of selling on these online marketplaces is doing a lot of AV testing, doing a lot of metrics, seeing what is working, what is not working, tweaking your advertising, tweaking your design, this takes time to do it’s an investment in skills to figure that out. And just some people think that it’s like Field of Dreams. Remember that movie with Kevin Costner? Like if you build it, they’re not just going to come? Yeah, they’re not going to just come. And you also bring up a really great point, which is that it got good for you if you’re successful. And then the more successful you get, you’ll be punished by a lot of competitors, noticing your success, and then copying you and taking away your sales. So you’ve always got to stay one step ahead of that. So it’s a lot of work to do. And I and I don’t know if it is literally like just maybe it’s the media or your general culture that just makes it seem like oh, you know, I can be an Etsy seller and make millions of dollars. You know, I


Lara Schmoisman  13:31  

think that there were people that were really smart during the pandemic, we were online a lot in the pandemic, there were a lot of marketers really smart, who said, We can do this training for this and offer you to be successful doing something a side hustle that they can leave your nine to five. I mean, otherwise, we wouldn’t have this great recession right now. Right, right. And I was reading an article actually, that all this Z generation, and I’m completely freaking out, because I have chose Z teenagers. And that they’re, they think that those overnight success, they borrow money she has to get or buy random things and try to sell it in Amazon, but then they’re fulfilling their education for them, because they think that they’re going to have success overnight. Do I believe that everyone needs to go to college? No, not everyone needs to go to college. And it’s not for everyone. Not everyone need to get in a hitch that anyone needs to choose their own path. But you’re getting in another kind of that if you borrow money to start a business and you have no metrics or no knowledge to run it.


Gene Marks  14:44  

Whenever I whenever I talk to people, so many people have asked me this over the years that want to start their own business. And whether it’s a restaurant or whether you want to sell on Etsy or eBay or you want to do open up your own whatever you want to do. You need capital to do it. And there’s too too Types of capital that you’re going to need, you know, one is you’re going to need cash any money. So, rather than going into debt, like you just mentioned, because that is that’s really risky, the smartest entrepreneurs that I’ve met, they build up savings over a few years, you know, from their jobs or whatever. And they realize the fact that they’re going to make no money, while they start up their business for anywhere from two to four years, I mean, no money, which means they better have money saved to pay their bills, while they’re building up the business or another income coming some type of income. And so some people have a spouse, for example, that that works. So they got the health insurance and the income coming in, while this spouse you know, then is growing the business, but you need capital, it’s a capitalistic society, you need capital to start up a business. So one is money. The second the second type of capital, and you mentioned about the other person working is you have to realize that, you know, if you are married, or you have a significant other or party of a family, to start a business, you are going to be consumed by it for for those two to four years as well, like 15 hour days consumed by which means missing baseball games, or graduations or things on the weekend, or being irritable or working late at night. And you better make sure that your family that your significant other understands that and is on board with that decision. Because if they’re not ready, you know, if they’re not on board with that, if not prepared for the sacrifices that need to be made, then it could really rip apart your life. So those are the things


Lara Schmoisman  16:36  

I always said that we need. In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to know your resources that for me, there are four pillars, which is to know your time, how much time you can put how much your money, your budget, yes, business. The last one, the next one is your team. Yep, that’s it, you’re doing it on a case you weren’t mentioned it about their friend or you do or that you hire someone to do it. And those are is your time, your budget, your team. And the last one is your knowledge, it’s really hard to manage a team if you don’t know what you’re doing, or going blind and paying someone and not knowing, not knowing how to read the results.


Gene Marks  17:19  

Great advice, it is great advice. And those four pillars are absolutely true for anybody that’s starting up, you know, starting up a business. And I just to expand on what you just said, when you mentioned your team, it doesn’t mean that you have to go out and hire 50 people, it means you can have freelancers, or independent contractors or somebody that helps you whether it’s from the financial side of the marketing side, or some type of expertise that you need, like the at the expert in et Cie, for example, you know, but you have to pay that person. So you have to have the capital to pay, they have to invest in that person, to allow that person to go and do their, you know, to do their thing. It’s the


Lara Schmoisman  17:56  

same for example, we’re not going to go and hire a CPA, I don’t know how to do my taxes, I have zero glue. But I trust that person, you have to have that trust. And what I have found out in like lately, people are hiring in this digital world, a lot of people without knowing really them and also with a lot of people overseas, and not knowing if the the results are white hat like we call them in marketing. So raise your business a lot.


Gene Marks  18:26  

Yep. You know, it’s funny, I think the only way you can learn that lesson because I’m I’ve learned this lesson. I’ve hired people in your business, marketing technology, people that just did not deliver what they said they were going to deliver didn’t know what they said that they what they really know. And I’m just convinced that the only way you really learn that is by losing money on it. You know,


Lara Schmoisman  18:49  

I have another option. That’s why I started coaching. It’s another gorgeous consultancy program, that I will come with hand with those entrepreneurs that they can they’re not ready to work with an agency, but someone who can supervise that work that they’re doing with freelancers, because I had so many people coming to me burnt out as far as experiences, right. And it’s so sad for me to have to go and say all this money that you spend is for nothing,


Gene Marks  19:18  

right? Yeah. It’s a very, very good point. And I’m glad you brought it up. But it is a you know, it’s one of the many things that entrepreneurs have to deal with. There’s no question about it.


Lara Schmoisman  19:27  

Yeah, it is on also as part of, I mean, if you had that budget, and you badly spent it without knowing those resources, your businesses come


Gene Marks  19:39  

correct. That’s right. So you have to think about all that kind of stuff in advance and you have to be realistic about what your what the limitations are of your time and all of your knowledge. The other thing is I also see a lot of people they take they cut off their nose to spite their face. You know, they they spend their time doing stuff to spend to save money. And all it does is it cost them like, you know,


Lara Schmoisman  20:01  

I guess I’m so glad that you’re bringing that up. You know, the number one,


Gene Marks  20:04  

I see this all the time. And I say this because I’m going to count and I guess, like, I see like, you know, people starting up businesses and doing like payroll on their own, they’ve got 10 employees, and they’re doing their own payroll, because they didn’t want to pay for like a payroll service to do it for them, you know? And I think to myself, like, what are you crazy, I mean, for what it costs for a payroll service, to handle all these headaches, you know, you can focus on your business, you know, you want to be spending time


Lara Schmoisman  20:28  

with your, that’s what I bring up with time. I mean, how much your time is worth? Yeah. At what you do, instead of trying to do I mean, I could I could to design, potentially, I can do design, but it doesn’t mean that I should, or I work with a lot of doctors also. And I see this that, for example, a lot of people feel like they can do their marketing or their taxes many times that because there are some tools, so they are like Instagram, anyone can use TurboTax everyone can use. And I always say the fact that I can go and buy a surgical kit doesn’t mean that it should be performing surgery.


Gene Marks  21:07  

Yeah, it’s exactly right. And I feel the same way about my time as well. And whenever things come up, the first thing that crossed into my mind is who’s going to do this for me, you know, because I just, you know, there are things I like to do, you know, professionally, you know, in my business. And then I don’t know, I like to play squash or I want to,


Lara Schmoisman  21:25  

I think you’ve reached that point after running your business. And at some point, you realize, oh, my god, it’s so much better if someone else does it than me,


Gene Marks  21:32  

you present. And that was the biggest, it’s funny. I started my business back in 90 Ford, I was in business with my dad, and my dad passed away, like in 2005. And it was really just him and me. And when he passed away in 2005, I knew I couldn’t do it all. And I was providing services, like we were selling software, we still do now. But and I was the guy going out there to like install it and set it up, you know, those many years ago. And so I made the jump and hired somebody to come on and do that work, you know, and I remember a lot of clients were like, No, you know, we only want gene or we’re used to Gene coming out and screwing up our computers. So we’d rather have Jean continue to do that. And I had to pull myself back a little bit. It changed my life. It changed my life. Because there’s, you know, if you can only make so much money if you’re doing stuff on your own. But the more people that you could bring in with certain expertise,


Lara Schmoisman  22:24  

higher in money for changed my life in your life, right in my life. And then at the end of the year, they call they give everything to my account. Clean. Three questions for me. And my success. I’m done.


Gene Marks  22:38  

Yeah. And you think about all the time you were spending back in the day doing your own books, and and no offense, you probably weren’t very good at it, because that’s not your expertise.


Lara Schmoisman  22:47  

So much money. It wasn’t tagging things right. So they deductions weren’t right. I’m sure. I’ll give you another


Gene Marks  22:54  

example. I’ll give you an example I had speaking of bookkeepers, so for you know, for years, I was like doing collections like I would get like my accounts receivable. And I’d be like following up with clients if they fell behind on paying their invoices. Not only was that a time I was taking it was like affecting me physically. Because I’m like, What the hell with this guy, we did the work two months ago, and they still haven’t paid and I you know, it was like making me so frustrated and angry. And this was like 15 years ago, I said enough of this. And I just I gave it to my bookkeeper. And I said, Listen, I don’t want to know, unless it’s really far gone. You know, you do the collections you follow up. And my bookkeeper she and she’s amazing. And she’s a very even tempered person was somebody who just, she could call up these clients and pursue them without any agenda. She didn’t get emotional about it, because it really wasn’t her money


Lara Schmoisman  23:45  

wasn’t her money to her business. And that’s perfect. That was fine. You’re


Gene Marks  23:49  

exactly right. And I was one of the best decisions I ever made. Because now I don’t even wearily that she comes to me like this person is still refusing to pay. Now, it’s like she deals with all of that. And I don’t even have to think about it. And I can just focus on, you know, my business and frankly, I was pissing off my customers when I’m going after them for money as well. It was not good. So that I was


Lara Schmoisman  24:13  

starting breeding that relationship. Yeah. That because you are they are to be their consultant. Chasing them for money. Yeah, so separating those roles is a good thing.


Gene Marks  24:25  

Yeah, that is exactly right. And you know, these are all I know, I’m not alone in this because these are all the things that I write about every week. And then I get responses from business owners around the country that have the same issues. And it just it takes it’s hard when it’s your baby and it’s your business and you want to do everything and be involved in you know, in you know, have your fingers involved in everything. But I’m telling you that you can you can you can make a living if you just want to do it yourself or keep it really small and you want to be involved in everything but if you really want to make money, you got to bring other people into your business and trust them to do what you’re hiring them to do. And they will make mistakes, they will make mistakes. But overall the cost benefit of doing that, I think your sanity? Yes. And your sanity it is. I just can’t say enough how important it is to have, like you mentioned the four pillars, having that team, you know, to be able to rely on so you can focus on what you do best.


Lara Schmoisman  25:25  

Listen, I went on vacation, like for four days, four working days plus two weekends. And I was for those four, I’m still work. I still was overseeing things, but I have people to rely on. And I knew that my clients were in. They didn’t have anyone to go to. Yep, yeah. And that was important to me. Before we go in, I want to touch base on something else that we were discussing, and people are freaking out. They say that the recession is coming.


Gene Marks  25:55  

Yep. So I’ve been I write I speak a lot about this. And I just I want people to understand, there is a slowdown that is coming later, I’m seeing it with my clients. Right now they’re reporting to me, you know, your drop offs in orders and a slowdown in their business. Right now you and I are talking in June, I’m looking second half of this year, maybe like the fourth quarter, first quarter 2023, we’re going to be seeing a slowdown might even be an official recession, which means two quarters of negative GDP, we’ve already had one. So it is the message that I have for all my clients and also all of your your viewers and listeners, as you know, you don’t panic, this country has had 20 Serious recessions in its history, you know, businesses have been going through recessionary periods since before Kleopatra. So this is nothing new. And this is not a great recession issue that we had back in 2009. There are things going on with inflation, and we’re going to be seeing higher interest rates that are going to be making the cost of capital higher, which is going to be limiting investments, that is going to have an impact on growth in this country. What my advice to all of our clients now is they should be leveraging their their CRM systems, their customer relationship management systems, and making sure they’re in close communication with their customers. So they can be alerted many lead time issues, any pricing issues, keep your customers close is very, very important. Leverage your accounting and ERP systems, because that’s something we didn’t have back in inflation in 1980. My smartest clients are raising prices, specifically on some customers and some products and some product lines, but not doing it across the board, they’re being very, very careful about how they raise their price, because you got the data to be able to figure that out there entering longer term contracts where ever they can try to fix those rates of interest, that protect themselves from your rising costs. And they are investing in technologies. And later I’m seeing this across the board that cloud based applications and even technologies on the manufacturing floor have become so affordable for so many businesses. That to make the investment a perfect example, I went to the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, like a month or so ago. And usually, you know, you go to check into these hotels and they’re like a nightmare with long lines and whatever they used to have, like 15 people behind the desks checking you in, there was one person behind the desk, and there was a dozen self service kiosks instead. And you put in your confirmation number, and you put in your driver’s license, and it spit out your room key for you. It’s amazing. And there’s and that’s the Paris Hotel, it’s an in you know, it’s a hotel, I realized that it’s a large hotel, but it is that’s self service. I mean, there’s chaos probably cost them 100 grand apiece, what is that? You know, what does an employee cost them over a period of five to seven years a lot more than that.


Lara Schmoisman  28:53  

Those kiosks work 24/7 Correct, and they don’t get sick.


Gene Marks  28:57  

And they don’t take health insurance. And they don’t ask for PTO and they don’t wear their hair or their breakthrough uniform. So there’s a lot of benefits to doing that. And with this whole, you know, great resignation and disruption in jobs that is accelerated all of these technologies. And so I’m seeing people using drones in their warehouses. They’re using automated carts around their warehouse to like move stuff around instead of a forklift. I


Lara Schmoisman  29:23  

think all this is fantastic. And we really should use it more and more and as in marketing, we use a lot of software’s just to make sure that everything is correct, but there is something that it’s never gonna change and it’s never gonna get old. That is the work ethics


Gene Marks  29:40  

100% 100% and the work ethic is it’s funny that you say you say that as well, because when people are asking me about where to find employees, and I’m going to write about this next week because I was speaking to a guy at a it was at a windows and doors conference that guy sells like he’s a company that sells windows and doors. He says he never has a problem. Finding people are he says that he, he just keeps his eyes open. You know, when he goes to restaurants and he goes to retail stores, you know, he says frequently I’ll have like some, some young kid serve me dinner. And like he or she is like fantastic and enthusiastic and has a great attitude is really good. And he goes, I hire those people, like I go up to them afterwards. And I’d be like I can I can teach you how to sell doors. That’s easy. I can’t teach you have a good work ethic.


Lara Schmoisman  30:27  

And I find out something I found out that it’s really hard to get people with strong work


Gene Marks  30:32  

ethics. Yep. And you’ll find them you’ll find them when you absolutely. Because there are. There’s this whole thing but people complaining about the Gen Zers. It sounds like you and I have kids around the same age. My kids are in their mid 20s. Yeah, I think it might be a young guy right there. Yeah. So they’re like, you know, their mid 20s. So they’re all like Gen Z, whatever. Whatever you read about, about people complaining about the younger generations that people have complained about younger generations, since there’s been younger generations, you know, we always complain, there are plenty of hardworking plenty of hard working kids that generation. And I’m telling you right now, I go out to eat, I live in Philadelphia, and I go to restaurants and stores, I see many people in their 20s that are working their asses off at what they do. They’re good. And they have good attitudes, and they have a good smile. And you know, and when when I see people like that, my wife just hired a woman who worked at a UPS Store in Philadelphia, because we went to the UPS store a couple of months ago, in the middle of chaos, it was like Rush Hour, and it was a young woman, and she was fantastic at what she did, you know, able to handle the pressure and dealing with whatever. And we walked out of there, my wife got her card and said, I’m gonna call this woman, my wife runs a nonprofit. So like this is, you know, I’ll teach her what she needs to do. But that’s the kind of person I need. Do you want to pirate him? So just they’re out, the workers are out there, look for them the service industry, you


Lara Schmoisman  31:54  

have to be willing. I mean, I see all these wish lists many times in resumes on searches. And I was actually talking to my office manager today, I think or yesterday, and we were in what I don’t clean paper anymore. I prefer with people. Yes, I want loyal people, people who want to learn people who really, it’s not about the sand, it’s about the extra sand. I prefer an ID that in my career to accept opportunities where less money but my opportunity of growth was much bigger and always pay off. But the off because I showed up. And I learned and I kept learning. And I there were I didn’t take sick days. Come on, I had a baby and I was working from heavy in delivery room and then I took half day off.


Gene Marks  32:42  

Yep, there are plenty of workers out there that have the same attitude is yulara. It’s not, you know, it’s not so much of a generational thing, the only thing that I can say to you know, again, I’ve written about this service to clients, particularly if you’re running a small business, it’s all about the culture of your company. And if it’s if it’s a nice good place to work, I mean, somebody could leave your company to, you know, make five grand a year or 10 grand a year extra somewhere else. But if your company is it’s a friendly place to work if you let people bring their dogs to work, I don’t know, if you have a flexible scheduling arrangement. If you have Friday, your pizza days, or whatever it is, you’d be surprised at how many employees value that just as much as getting extra in their paycheck and will do and be more motivated to work for you. It’s all about the right culture in your business.


Lara Schmoisman  33:31  

I always say that you have to design the culture of your company before you have a company. Yep, that’s exactly right. Something within my team is all over the world. So something that we do really fine is a challenge. Every month we have a challenge. So one who won the month before me to choose the new challenge.


Gene Marks  33:47  

What was the What do you mean? Like what kind of challenge


Lara Schmoisman  33:49  

it’s like this month? The challenge is it’s one by the name of someone else. And so I had to describe that person without saying the name so and at the end of the month would have a


Gene Marks  34:03  



Lara Schmoisman  34:05  

but at the end of the month we have a happy hours and we all need to guess who is that person and that is hilarious. We have the things we have the most crazy things like we send another one was was like the most ridiculous picture that you have the most embarrassing picture.


Gene Marks  34:25  

It’s a great idea. I’m assuming you guys are the baby pictures as well. Right? Because that’s always


Lara Schmoisman  34:29  

features we need. You have to choose a place in the world that you would love to live and send a picture and you have to guess it’s like it’s a crane that work culture how much you know your


Gene Marks  34:40  

team. That is so cute. Great idea. It’s a great idea. It is


Lara Schmoisman  34:44  

the winner that pizza challenge for my project manager because it’s hard for my office manager because it’s hard to get pizza in different places of the world.


Gene Marks  34:58  

Really, do you guys ever get together As a graphic Have you been face to face as a group? No,


Lara Schmoisman  35:03  

no I have people from Pakistan to Argentina all over the world but we do we celebrate everything. We have everyone we celebrate birthdays for everything we celebrate every holiday of every every religion we celebrate. Absolutely.


Gene Marks  35:18  

That is fantastic. That is you know, we should talk separately sometime because I have my own company is all remote as well. We’ve been virtual since 2005. And yeah, so even before virtual was really like the thing to do, we were virtual. And I’ve had I’ve had long term employees and all that but sometimes I feel like we’re the most dysfunctional company on the planet like we never see each other as a group. Oh, we do the kinds of things you do maybe because we’re just accountants and we’re boring.


Lara Schmoisman  35:42  

What kind of talking about that but we were very dysfunctional family. They fight like it sometimes.


Gene Marks  35:50  

That’s so funny.


Lara Schmoisman  35:51  

Well, everyone Gene, thank you so much for being here having coffee with me and to you guys. I will see you next week with more coffee number five. Take care.



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