The Hush of Closures and the Roar of Success

Amongst the startup community there is a “celebration of failure.” This phrase is intentionally shocking. Who wants to “fail fast?” What does that mean? For those in the know, it means, “we learned what not to do” and for the very best, we learned what not to do very inexpensively! In most large organizations the […]

Deemphasis by Emphasis of Tangible Assets

Growing up on a farm I was surrounded by tangible assets… land, buildings, tractors, implements, shop tools, etc. Maintaining and building stuff gave everyone on the farm a sense of great pride. “We did that” was a palpable, daily utterance… even if only to ourselves. The work, save, buy model of business is a fundamental […]

When to Develop Neptune Services

“Neptune Memorial Reef” is a branded service of SCI Corp, whereby a loved one can be cremated and laid to rest at the bottom of a reef off the coast of Miami, FL. As a Midwesterner this type of funeral service might be considered rare. Although, I’m not in the funeral home business, I think […]

The Books We Recommend During the Little Engine Ventures General Manager Training

Following a recent blog post, a subscriber said “it’s nice to see what you are reading, but what do you recommend?” And, then, “How do you put the learnings into action?” At first this is a huge request because we’ve drawn from so many books, each having influenced us in subtle ways. However, the question […]

Reflections on 2023

We published 15 blog posts for the year, including this one. This is far fewer than our earlier days, when I was ripping out 4-6 per month. I suppose one can take comfort in that I’m ranting less and working more? Our publication frequency certainly felt less intense this year than previously. Looking back at […]

Regarding Capabilities

As a young man, I used to say, “What I lack in experience, I make up for in ability.” It was a cute way to disarm older people and get them to hire me. But, fundamentally, I believed it. And generally, it was true. Today, as a middle-aged man, I find experience to be of […]

Small Team Ventures

Little Engine Ventures is a nod to small but mighty teams that humble themselves before troubled customers, and help them climb. We are excellent at managing small teams at multiple locations. Our team sizes range from 2 to 25 per location. When others think “that’s barely a company!” We think “small but mighty.” A large […]

Measuring the Pace of Onboarding

Few small business owners that I have met have a systematic onboarding process. I believe this is one of the reasons they stay small and complain about their inability to hire good people. Frankly, their standards are too high and their system is too weak. They people that could succeed are too rare. Once you […]

Reading Annual Reports of Public Companies to Influence Your Small Business

Each year I pick a reading theme that fills in my time. My primary blocks of reading time in our marketable security business line are filled with companies I have already researched before. Once current on those I like to explore. Having a theme for the year helps give me structure so I don’t wander […]