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 […]

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 […]

The Types of Managers That Fail

We recently hosted our quarterly Advisory Committee meeting in Lafayette, Indiana. Jeff Peterson stuck around afterward to share some more detailed advice. I asked if I could share his notes –which he delivered from memory–I had to write down. He agreed and proceeded to say, “There are 3 types of managers that fail.” Ultimately, each […]

General Manager Training

We concluded our final session of our first-ever “General Manager Training” this week. We plan to start our next cohort May 23. Per my usual, I thought I’d reflect on what worked and share some opinions about what we might change in the future. Purpose: Condense two years of management training into three weeks in […]


In my experience in small businesses, it often takes 2 years for a new employee to reach the same productivity of a senior staff member. I believe this is why many small business owners complain about not being able to find good people –at the price they want to pay. This situation develops because small […]

Purpose is a Deliberate Choice

Purpose is a deliberate choice. The method of achieving the purpose is emergent. Once discovered, the method ought to become deliberate, too. At Little Engine Ventures, our guiding purpose is to help others climb. How we go about accomplishing our purpose has been evolving. Our basic principles remain in place. But, we have refined our […]

Units per Hour

Does everything in business come down to units per hour? Time is our most precious resource and therefore, productivity can be boiled down to the value-added per unit of time, right? We have been tracking our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each company weekly for over a year now. We recently stepped up to a […]

Strategy is Saying Yes to Lasting Margin Increases

For years I have said, “Strategy is systematically saying no.” But, while saying no is a discipline that establishes a habit of operational excellence, there is more that must be proactively pursued. You must say yes to something of greater value than your competitors. So, what is that strategy which is worthy of your focus? […]