In 2000 I played in the Jessie Jeans Chess Tournament in Santa Rosa. Jessie and his wife had sunk all their savings into their small business. They thought a coffee shop & deli, live folk music on weekends, relaxed and casual setting and being across from the junior college would make them successful.
Also across the street from the college were Taco Bell, MacDonald’s, Burger King and other coffee shops. Jessie’s patrons had to park in the college parking lot or know to park behind the building and when the Masons did not fill the parking lot. After months of struggle and maxing out his credit cards Jessie Jeans failed.
I felt sorry for them as I do upon seeing any small business struggle and fail, be it a bakery, photo shop, gift store or a competing reputable consulting firm. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about 50% of new businesses survive five years or more and only about one-third survives ten years or more.
Boyd & Nicholas, Inc. were in business from 9/17/93 to 12/31/2013 and we made most every mistake that a business can. I could write a book about it and may someday. I contribute our survival to some “lucky breaks”.
1. The skills of Tom Nicholas and Tom Boyd and their temperament largely made a good fit. Tom Nicholas only threw one item, a book which missed, at sweet loveable Tom Boyd who never did anything rude or upsetting or was ever angry. Thank you to Tom & Tom.
2. Being a 100% ethical firm. In the beginning it was because Tom Nicholas was 200% so we averaged out. Thank you to Tom Nicholas.
3. We survived two lawsuits that were without merit but of course incurred legal fees to defend. Thank you to Bill Fritz and Theresa Fritz our good attorneys.
4. We were severely cash starved due to the insufficient capitalization and the first lawsuit and before resorting to excessive credit card use we were able to borrow money short term. Thank you to Roy Burnham and Robert Boyd.
5. The Interim Payment System (IPS) in 1998 closed some 40% of our customer base, the HHA industry, and resulted in massive bad debts and accounts receivable. My wife, Nancy Boyd, volunteered to work without pay to do collections for B&N, Inc. Her success allowed us to survive. Thank you to Nancy Boyd.
6. The reintroduction of the hospice cost report in 2000 after a seven year absence helped our survival. The key to that was the cold call marketing to hospices by volunteer Nancy Boyd, again without pay, that got us our first ten hospice clients. Thank you to Nancy Boyd.
7. By 2005 we were muddling along as we slowly recovered from IPS. Shortly thereafter we met a marketing firm that helped us focus on our core competency and niche. “THE COST REPORT PEOPLE “. The marketing firm also allowed us to show who we are and to have personality. Our business took off after that. Thank you to H2-Marketing and Heather (Rooney) Thompson.
8. Tom & Tom worked many hours, late and on weekends, traveled a great deal including on Sundays, delayed cashing paychecks and had periods where staff was better paid than us. All during this time their wives were supportive, understanding and not complaining. Thank you to Sylvann Nicholas and Nancy Boyd.
9. In 2012 I discovered I had kidney cancer. It was a reminder that while death is the ultimate exit strategy it is not a good business exit strategy. Thank you to Dr. Kumar for freezing the cancer in one kidney to its death in April 2013 and to Dr. Shulman for removing the other cancerous kidney in June 2013. Thank you to God for the non-fatal reminder of life’s importance.
10. On January 1, 2014 Boyd & Nicholas, Inc. employees and clients became part of Simione Healthcare Consultants. In the time since, the office, the staff, the Points of Light newsletter, and great customer service has largely continued as before and the range of services we provide has increased. Thank you to Bob Simione.