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-It sounds to me-- and I want to make sure I summarize this because it's such a powerful tip-- is if you get a customer today-- if I'm watching this and I have a business and I have a customer and I did some great branding and great marketing and I came up top in Google and I am the best print pieces and my office is sweet and my staff looks great and I'm all dressed up and if my stuff does not deliver, you're not going to get the customer back.
-That's correct. It's-- it's what you deliver. As a matter of fact, one of my tips in my basic five-point program before your start your own business is that-- is that all of this has to be pre-thought in advance. That-- in the final analysis, one of the tips is give more than is-- than is expected. I love the idea of having satisfied clients or satisfied customers or satisfied participants.
I think one of the greatest thrills I had was when I started my own company. I went to one of my favorite customers, which was a bank that I had been doing a lot of work with. And I said, Mickey, you're in for a big honor today. And he said, what? I said, you're going to give my new company its first order. And he did.
-that is the--
-that was the trick, but that's relationships. I know-- two things happen there. One, I knew the individual. I was friends with him.
-And the other, I knew the company and what they needed.
-Now, tip 29 is, it says here, "a good accountant is not just a scorekeeper." One more time, "a good accountant is not just a scorekeeper." I'm going to marinate on this one here. What do you mean by that one?
-There are so many ramifications to business. People don't realize how much happens in the money department. I don't mean just the buying and selling of merchandise. I mean using the money for different reasons. A good accountant who can follow through and give me good advice as to-- as to my objectives with a certain account, there are certain events that have to happen financially to make it happen. And that's what you want. A scorekeeper is a guy that says there's the score. It's six to five. There's no disputing that. But what does it mean? Who's the team that's behind? Who's the team that's ahead? How do we catch up?
CLAY CLARK: Right.
-So a good accountant is also someone that can advise you and once more, you know, there's this term. If you're trying to get your minimum taxation, they call you "aggressive." "Aggressive" is the trade term. Well, I don't need an aggressive accountant. My taxes and I pass my dues.
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
-And I-- it's one of the few things. I look at everything financially. I read everything. I-- I must admit I have so much confidence in my accountant who I chose when I retired to put everything in its right place and do all the filing and so on. I had complete faith that maybe I'm not-- maybe I'm not getting away as cheaply as possible. Maybe I'm over-- it was not even important to me.
The important thing is what the accountant can help me do. And the other thing is-- is in choosing a good accountant is without the-- the prejudice, being able to say, Jack, you can't afford that or you can't afford-- you can't carry those payments. That business won't carry it. He's got to-- he's got to give me that kind of-- I don't want an accountant or an attorney renegotiating my deal.
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
-See, now I've had the other experience with the other accountants. I've-- I've walked away from deals where I had made a deal with the owner of the business and the accountant or the attorney decides that certain terms they want to change. And I said, did I come here to-- I came here to sign the deal, not to-- not to renegotiate. If you want the deal that we have, let's do it. If you don't, you know, let's call it a day and depart
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-One that came to my mind-- this is an example of this. There was a business I worked with years ago that was in a party rental space, that kind of world. For special events, they rent tables, chairs, that kind of thing, and they had credit card fees that were I can't remember the number, but 3% or something.
And I sat down with them as kind of kind of move number one I said, hey, just kind of make two big moves today that can make the biggest impact. Let's look for two moves that can make the biggest impact.
When was the last time you raised your prices? And they go, well, I haven't raised my prices in however long. And I said, well, here's the deal. On all your purchases, let's just make sure that you-- the customer doesn't need to have on their statement that we added in credit card fees, but the point is, let's just raise your prices three point whatever percent to cover the cost of your credit card fees.
-Good for you.
-And, well, over $700,000 of revenue times 1.03, whatever, they came out tremendously ahead by just making that little adjustment, and that's just a numbers thing. And so I think for anybody watching this who doesn't have a good accountant-- that's not uncommon, to have a bad accountant. I would say the majority of most professionals are not that awesome at anything, but you have to find a good one.
But what are some things to look for? If let's just say right now I'm watching this and I'm going, my accountant is bad, what do you recommend I do?
-It's the same thing with the banks. A bank can be there to serve the common things, or you could put out that extra service. My very first deal, I never seen a statement of my life. I didn't go to college.
It was my own statement which he showed me and explained it to me, and my point was that the action that had to be taken that, for example, the good banker-- which was in my case, I'll give them a plug, Union Bank, because they're still around, they're still doing great things-- he actually showed me how to do something, how to carry the financing. It was terrific.
I did a leveraged buyout, which I loved the word because I didn't even know what it was, but I did it, and the leveraged buyout, it [INAUDIBLE] what you're doing is buying that company with its own assets. But you need to go to the bank for financing, so the president of the bank-- he wasn't the president at that time, became president next year-- I won't say because of this-- but he said, why should I lend you the money instead of that corporation that you're trying to buy? Why should I lend you the money?
And I thought, because you're going to get paid. I'll pay you back. They still owe you $40 million that you don't know whether you're ever going to see again. He says, you're right.
So he was more confident that I would pay him back than the big company was, which he would have to stand in line for. So this is also the value of a good bank, the value of a good accountant, the value of a good lawyer or any of these advisors who are able to, say, sit down with you and what I see is you have to tell them what you want and they have to tell you how they can help you get it.
-So if you're talking to an account right now and you tell them declaratively, this is what I want, and they can't explain to you how to get there, then move on.
-Find another one. Find another banker, find another accountant.
-He's not right for you. He just isn't right
-Now, tip 49, and again, you have 50 and they're all worth reading. I encourage everyone to buy this book. Buy it twice. Buy one for yourself, buy one for your--
JACK NADEL: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
CLAY CLARK: I may need to buy one for yourself, put one in the bathroom, have a second copy, get one in the car because this is more of a handbook or it's more of like a guidebook. Or if you have a VCR manual-- no one has a VCR any more. You have a manual for some computer and you go back to your manual when you don't know you're doing, this is kind of like a manual for entrepreneurs here. This is good stuff.
JACK NADEL: Thank you, thank you.
-Now, tip 49-- it says the trip to success should be as much fun as arriving at the destination. One more time, because this is a big one-- the trip to success should be as much fun as arriving at the destination. What does that mean, my friend?
-It means that you're not doing anything distasteful and the process of getting what you want, you are doing things that are constructive and that you're not hurting anybody else in the process, and the effort itself is fun because if you have that kind of creative streak inside, it's after a conversation like I've having with you right now. I feel invigorated by it, and let me tell you something, when you make a 91-year-old guy invigorated, you're doing something good.
-Oh, wow. I'm excited to leave next month, when you and your wife have me leave next month. I didn't talk to her about it. I just kind of inferred. So I'm moving in my stuff here in a little bit.
Now I want to ask you this here, because this is something-- if you look back on your career. Now again, I am believing you've got another probably 47, 48 more years of entrepreneurship in you. But as you're looking back at your career thus far, did you get out of it what you wanted? Would you do it all over again? Were you happy with the outcome?
-If I had it all to do over again, I would. I'm sure there may have been certain things I may have done a little differently. But if I take the overall package, I'm very satisfied that I did the things that I wanted.
And the things that I can't do now, I have already done. Even the fact that I like to travel, I travelled extensively. I did business in 50 countries around the world. So I didn't know the country from the outside or from a Hilton hotel, I knew it from the inside, with natives that lived there and did business there and did it every day.
So the fun was really-- I can't go any further than the 180 degree turn from combating the Japanese, actually trying to kill each other, to where I just love the Japanese. On that first trip back, I fell in love with their traditions and philosophies and were able to have good discussions. And always, always 100% of the time, when the promises were made, promises were kept.
Then to be there in the middle of Tokyo, or better still, to go to Kiyoto, where there's a forest called Nara, where the deer are so friendly with the people and vice versa that the deer walk in the streets and you pet them. You absolutely can pet then. I got such a picture.
And the unexpected that happens. On the very same trip that I discovered Kiyoto and Nara, I met people who became very close friends of mine who were shooting the first motion picture in Japan about the war in 1953-- 1957, I'm sorry. But they were shooting a picture. Let's put it this way, the younger star was a guy named Bob Wagner, handsome guy.
-It wasn't me, then?
-And Jackie Collins. And the guy that became a very close friend of mine named Evan O'Brien. And I had so much pleasure from that trip that it was just a joke of it, just a joke of it. You go to a Japanese nightclub-- and I'm just talking about Japan. I'm not going to talk about France or Taiwan or-- to go to a nightclub in those days was like the old speakeasy scene. You knocked on the door, a guy opened the eye hole, and you'd give him whatever the password was.
And it was hilarious. You go there, there's this band playing American music, singing American songs. You'd think it was like one of the great American singers. And I said, my god, how did they learn to sing that? She doesn't understand the words she's saying. She learned it phonetically. And she is duplicating everything Kay Starr did.
-It kind of sounds like rap music. I think a lot of people have no idea what they're saying. They're just going with it.
-It almost doesn't have any logic to it. But the fun of it, sitting at the first steakhouse, like Benihana-- I think it was Benihana, as a matter of fact. But it goes across-- but the kicks, you're asking about the kicks-- is going to the Cannes Film Festival, is participating in this thing, is seeing Singapore for the first time, with the cleanest streets in the world.
-Where they'll cane you. If you put down some trash, they're going to cane you. Is that right?
-If you throw a piece of gum in the street, you'll go to jail.
-Are you in favor of that? Is that a good plan?
-I'm not in favor, not in favor.
-OK. Just curious.
-It really has no effect on my life. It's relatively unimportant. The mayor of Santa Barbara hasn't put down that decree. And I don't chew gum, so--
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