PODCAST EPISODE 176: Freshbooks CEO Mike McDerment on Leadership, Partners and Coronavirus

EPISODE SUMMARY

Crises don’t stop business planning; rather, they just become a part of the agenda. This week, Paul & Cory get a moment to chat with CEO Mike McDerment. Mike speaks on the important components of projecting outcomes and making decisions at this time. He also explains what makes Freshbooks different than its competitors, as well as what is happening along the front-line of business strategy amidst COVID-19.

WHAT WAS COVERED

  • 00:35 – Paul & Cory welcome to the show
  • 02:32 – Introduction to Mike McDerment and what his life looks like right now
  • 03:17 – Kick-Off questions for Mike: how Freshbooks got started
  • 06:01 – How Mike got through the 2008 financial crisis
  • 07:40 – Don’t put your faith in a spreadsheet
  • 09:53 – What to do before you make your projections
  • 13:09 – Mike speaks on the Co-Founders roles, and business scaling
  • 16:49 – A message from Sound Financial Group (Commercial)
  • 17:49 – Cory Welcomes us back to the show
  • 18:20 – Making your own decisions
  • 21:28 – Making decisions as the business evolved
  • 24:18 – What makes Freshbooks unique: every employee does this one thing
  • 25:04 – What type of business should consider using Freshbooks
  • 26:53 – What is going on in the business front reacting to COVID-19
  • 31:51 – Paul shares his take-away’s from the show
  • 33:45 – Show ends, thank you for listening

TWEETABLES

LINKS

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Learn More about Freshbooks at Freshbooks.com

Sound Financial Group’s Website for a Financial Inquiry Call – Info@sfgwa.com (Inquiry in the subject)

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Sound Financial Group on LinkedIn

Paul Adams on LinkedIn

Cory Shepherd on LinkedIn

Cape Not Required (Cory’s Book)

Sound Financial Advice (Paul’s Book)

Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself

Mike Michalowicz’s Book – Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine

Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America

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MUSIC CREDITS

Contains a sample of “King” by Zayde Wølf courtesy of Lyric House.

Full Episode Transcription


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Paul 0:01

Welcome to your business, your wealth, where your host, Paul Adams and Corey Shepherd teach founders and entrepreneurs how to build wealth beyond their business balance sheets.


Hello, and welcome to your business your wealth. I am Paul Adams. I’m your co host and founder CEO of sound Financial Group. And as always, unless I’m left unsupervised is Corey Shepard,


Cory 0:47

the man learns to do that as little as possible.


Paul 0:50

The man who is vibrating uncontrollably not being able to go out and be social right now in the midst of COVID-19. The most social man I know Cory shepherd.


Cory 1:01

It’s true. Although my neighbors we share a small, low fence, they have a selfie of themselves, holding the drinks that I had passed them over the fence with me and my family 20 feet away around our fire pit and it’s our social distancing Sunday brunch. Yeah, it’s great.


Paul 1:17

Well, in the midst of everything going on business challenges, difficulties we know that many business owners are facing or the difficulties that you’re wondering if you’re going to face we’re getting a chance to do a profile conversation with Mike McDermott, the founder, co founder of fresh books, and he’s gonna share with us a little bit about his journey, the difficult times he’s been through a business that started in 2003. So he’s seen some mileage on the road. Mike, I’m so glad you could join us today.


Mike McDerment 1:47

Oh, thank you for having me.


Paul 1:48

Well, now one of our favorite things to do and you guys have experienced this in the past if you’re a regular listener is when Cory and I do this only one of us prepares for this conversation and they can have leading


Cory 1:59

Super, like yeah, more often than not, it happens that I get to meet our guests for the first time. Right now. So Mike, nice to meet you. And I’m excited to hear about why we’re having him on and what I know a little bit.


Paul 2:14

Yeah, of course, of course, actually, what an end now in the midst of COVID-19. Mike is actually like, he’s the CEO. He’s built a successful company you’ve seen advertisements for and yet What’s he doing right now? Taking care of mom, tell us a little bit about where you are today?


Mike McDerment 2:32

Well, yeah, I am. I am self isolating with my wife and three children and my mom. So they’re their grandmother, and it just so happens. So we have a six week old, we are selling our home is on the market, which is just let me tell you an interesting time to have that happen. And and by virtue of that we were moved in with my mom and have been sort of self isolating for the past. Sort of three, four days as we do. So, if a little small child comes running in here, don’t be surprised. All the better. All the better as far as we’re concerned.


Paul 3:07

Well, good. Well, Mike, I kind of want to kick off. And we’ll we’ll definitely turn around to current events here in a few minutes. But I want to start off with where you began the business. You were before internet marketing companies were a really pervasive thing. You had an internet marketing company in 2003. And it was some breakdowns you had in that business that had you start fresh books.


Mike McDerment 3:32

That’s, that’s right. So I got into internet marketing before it was a popular thing. And, you know, for me, I had a business school background and I like the creativity that came with marketing, but I love the marrying of the creativity with the math, right? The best thing but digital marketing is the measurement, the ability to test an experiment to learn and, and instead of just loving the creative, you might have an advertising and the idea you could actually get the response and the data. And so I went and built up a client services firm. And then one day I saved over an invoice by accident. I was using Word and Excel like so many people do to manage their their books. And you know that day I just kind of snapped and said there has to be a better way to do this. And so I programmed a very simple simple thing for for myself to build my clients that no no grand ambitions about turning it into a software business. But that was that and this is now we’re about, you know, sort of 400 people today going to sort of 500 by the year end. Customers in over 100 countries around the world. Over 28 million people have used the service since we started and and you know, right now we’re just thinking a lot about the many you know, the business owners that we serve and how we can best support them in these challenging times.


Paul 4:53

Well, in speaking of challenging times, one of my favorite things in reading up before our conversation today is that a blog post you did back in 2008. And you talked about the I think it was a seven or eight ways I have a list in front of me, I should be looking at it, that I nearly killed freshbooks. And that was 2008. We probably have more to add to the list now. But could and you wrote that in 2008, before the financial crisis? And I would imagine that you’ve gone through other difficulties sense, but maybe just to start with the things that I know that are out there’s one you’ve traveled through things like 2008. Yes. And you’ve also had co founders, that now we’re no longer on the leadership team on fresh books. So maybe let’s just start with 2008 what that was like for you at fresh books, Canadian based company, but certainly impacted by the global financial crisis of that time. What you guys did to journey through that and and what were some of the difficult things that you had to do and the things that maybe were beneficial that you didn’t expect out of that


Mike McDerment 6:00

Yeah. So, you know, it was an interesting time for us because we were, you know, we were a relatively smaller company, we just, were just on the cusp of actually raising some Angel financing. And, you know, the quantum of that financing and the plans and what have you, you know, in the span of a few weeks just changed. And so we had to change what we were doing and literally look at, we were 20, I think we were 26 or 26 people at the time. And it was like, I don’t know if we can be 26 people anymore. And these these kinds of very, very difficult, you know, things and the good news is that we learned a lot about our business, which, which is we’re very sort of down turn resilient. We have many, many people who, you know, pay us a relatively like, do we have no customer concentration, like there’s not one big customer who’s going to go and move on, that can be scary. It’s a recurring revenue model. So so there’s just a stability in sort of cash. flows there. And then these times often lead people to start businesses. So, you know, I think so just, you know, Thing number one, for and I say this almost if any of our customers are watching, it’s like, there’s a really good, we know we have some a pretty good idea. I’m not saying this will be exactly the same as 2008. But we have a pretty good idea that, you know, our business is less likely to be impacted in a big way. But, but it is indeed a scary time. And it’s a time to go ahead and you know, just, you know, hope for the best but plan for the worst and a lot of cases and you know, and I guess I’m getting a little off track from answering your question directly, just not not my intent. So


Cory 7:39

I have a question about one of them on your your list. So item two on your list of ways You almost killed freshbooks was placing your faith in a in a spreadsheet, and this one’s heart like, I love spreadsheets, I can humbly say, I could probably build 80% of anything. I could imagine that I wanted a spreadsheet to do, but I’m dangerous because I can’t do it really fast. So I could take three weeks to build something that I should just hire someone else to do. So I have a lot of faith in spreadsheets. Tell me about how this one messed you up.


Mike McDerment 8:11

Yeah, I think it’s a great, thanks for going back to those. So let’s talk about that. spreadsheets are a tool. They they do some things very, very well, right. I really encourage people to go out and model their business. And so this is a forecasting time for businesses if they’re at the place where they actually look into the future and forecasts and so spreadsheets can be very, very handy. I think the important thing to remember is, you know, you might spend a weekend you know, re forecasting your business and planning things out and contemplating scenarios and land on something. I think that’s great. And the discipline of contemplating what the inputs are and the trade offs are, is just incredibly valuable. But but like a budget, as soon as you ship it and close the door on that thing. It is already outdated, like the instant you are done, you’re outdated and so on. You know, I think that’s an important concept. It’s kind of the best, you know, best data you have at the time, and you can flesh out your assumptions. But, you know, you just can’t You can’t bank on the projections you put in a spreadsheet. And, you know, there are times when you know, you’re planning a business, you’re getting excited about the future. And, you know, you might go ahead and say, Well, this guy’s just going to keep going up, or we’re going to continue to grow at 400% a year. And the fact is, like, in that scenario, and so that was kind of the sort of scenarios we would have been looking at back then, you know, gravity and these kinds of things will catch up with you. So the point is, do the exercise, do the modeling? I would say just just don’t drink too much of your own Kool Aid. Recognize that. Do it as an exercise to understand your business. But recognize it’s not concrete, it’s Excel, and you can change the variable


Paul 9:52

pretty quickly. How do you for you, in getting as you mentioned, drink your own Kool Aid What do you do in terms of surrounding yourself leadership wise to give them the permission to challenge because I think a lot of our owners and entrepreneurs listening it could be very easy to go into your Batcave get all your projections done come out so confident about that, that it can leave your team with critical input they should give you how do you make sure that your team big company, phenomenal success? I mean, starting from literally a garage in 2003 right to where you are today. How do you make sure that your team can ask those things of you or be critical of the Batcave projections?


Mike McDerment 10:43

I think there are a lot of I’ll go ahead and say I think there are a lot of things inside all this so so let’s go ahead and say I think the challenge often for owners as we’ve been running our business for some time, you know, we have a lot of you know, Personal and, you know, NIS caught up in it. But you know, in many cases, it’s like, Hey, you know, almost everybody’s relatively new here. So, you know, you can really get the mindset of I just kind of know, and I’ll go ahead and say like dollars to donuts, you probably do. Okay. And so the question then becomes, you know, you got to go ahead and do that planning. But what I’m a fan of whenever you’re doing a model in those kinds of things is, Hey, everybody, this is the plan, this is what it is. But let me expose to the assumptions in the plan. Okay. In which is a great way to educate people and get a discussion going. So let’s not argue about the input. I’m telling you. This is what’s gonna happen. I’m probably right. Okay. Which by the way, I survived this longer. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I think, you know, it’s hard to take away that kind of moral authority and I’m not even sure that’s the best idea. But then then the trick is to do that and marry it with But listen, I’m open minded. Let me expose to you. The underlying assumptions I have that led me to this output, and let’s discuss those. And I think that’s where people sometimes get stuck. They, you know, they don’t argue about the outputs, argue about the assumptions. And then that and that creates a space where people can be like, Oh, you know, you think, you know, I don’t know, close rates are going to go up in this environment, because x and you know, I don’t necessarily agree with that, right? And then, you know, so you have a discussion about that. And there’s something else somebody may think goes the other way, and you know, in the net, it probably winds up where you were as an owner, but now you’ve gone ahead and engage your team with what the assumptions are, maybe they uncovered something you hadn’t thought of that you do want to reconsider, which, you know, which is really the thing you’re striving for at the end of the day. But it all starts with going ahead and exposing the assumptions and having a discussion around those, I think does so great. And for most owners, we’re not as we’re our baby in its growth, and what it’s gonna look like in five years is super personal to us. those assumptions aren’t as much So, so we can take that, open that up to our team without that extra friction that can come. I think that’s, that’s brilliant. Now speaking of team as you’ve grown your business, many founders originally have partners or co founders that don’t always stay an active part of the business. You know, having grown up in the church world is a great example of it as a the members of a congregation congregation that make up the first 10 families that are growing church aren’t necessarily the same families that you keep, when that church body grows to 1000. The same thing can ring true in business, although it feels much more personal to many people. But I did notice that your co founders are not currently listed on the leadership team of the website. And I’m wondering if you’d be open enough with the audience just share a little bit about what that journey was like for you and for your best estimation for them. That’s right. So I have two co founders. And you know, one of them Joe, he helped write the initial application. He’s a tenured professor in computer science. And he never worked more than two days a week with us. And then my other co founders, Levi, and Levi Levi still operates with us every day and he joins our senior leadership team meetings. But you know, what happens when you scale and this is one of the hardest things about it is you go ahead and outgrow people. And what it was said to me once and I sort of subscribe to is the only role that won’t be run by a professional at scale. or may not be is that a CEO is basically very rare that that people who are with you at the start can continue with us who grow Now, again, we are you know, a pretty you know, I guess we’re approaching medium sized business territory, almost 500 employees, that’s not going to be everyone’s everyone’s business and you can probably work with people and help coach them up and their experiences helpful and, but as you start to go through various organization points, whether it’s 40 or 80 or 100 people you’re going to start a grilling folks and and in So in our case with Joe, how do we work it out? I think the thing with founders is, if you’re always a founder, no one can take that away from somebody. And I don’t think that’s a good idea to even even try. And over the years, we’ve had various decision points we’ve needed to make, like, you know, do we want to take on capital? You know, how fast do we want to go? Should we build this thing? What kind of, you know, neighborhood do I locate the office in and, and these are like, you know, they’re really, they have long term, these decisions cast long shadows. And the good news is,


you know, in our cases, it just really comes down to the people. And I think that’s a truism for everybody, the people in that founding group, you know, like, if they’re good people have shared values, right? And they all have the same information. This is a belief I have. If you know, if shared values, same information, chances are, you’re going to arrive at the same decision. And if not, you can sort of work through it effectively. So we didn’t have a scenario where, you know, we felt we needed to exit somebody sort of from the founding scenario. We just had people who were always trying to do the right thing for the collective. And I think that I think that’s the thing to solve for. And stay away from like, the money for all of us, it was, you know, is like about building something and kind of doing the right thing and when the focus is there, and it’s not like, you know, how much of this thing do I own, which I think is a, you know, just the wrong way to look at


Paul 16:34

things. Right on. Well, in just a minute, we’re going to take a break, but when we come back, we’re going to be talking with Mike McDermott, a little more about fresh books and how its offer has evolved, and what he and his company are doing to deal with the current COVID-19 crisis. Paul Adams here at sound Financial Group. Are you curious what you can accomplish with our help? You’re here enjoying the show. Our philosophy has helped you increase your effectiveness with money. And now we have a way to help you take another step on your financial journey. We have designed a financial inquiry call for you and the thousands of other listeners of your business your wealth. This is a complimentary 15 minute conversation, where one of our team members will ask you some key questions. understand your concerns, and if appropriate schedule a time for further conversation with an advisor. If you look at the episode description, you’ll see a link to schedule a call at a time that’s least invasive for you. And even if now’s not the right time for us to work together, we’ll point you toward resources to help you in your financial journey. We always look forward to connecting with our listeners, and we look forward to talking with you soon.


Cory 17:49

And welcome back to your business your wealth with Mike McDermott, CEO and co founder of fresh books, Mike, going back to your list of ways You almost killed the company. Want to other than I just been drooling to ask you about is placing my faith in consultants. So we’re really big about learning over here at sound Financial Group. And if someone has something really cool that they could teach us, we’re, we’re really open to hiring them. Let’s just put it that way. So tell me about what made that show up on your on your list.


Mike McDerment 18:21

My experiences is this balance, right?


You know, what you really want around you is, you know, people who have opinions and advice and counsel. But you at the end of the day, you really have to seek your own counsel. And what I found we were a technology company, we’re effectively a really easy to use small business accounting software in the cloud. And, and when we were getting started out running things in the cloud, that wasn’t even a thing yet, right? It was desktop software. And so we were really, really out there and I didn’t have like a technology background. I’d never worked for anyone else and the point is The list of things that I knew I did not know, was much, much longer than a list of things that I thought I might know. And by virtue of that, you know, it just gets very hard to make decisions, and then you go bump into somebody, you know, and I classically AM, even though I kind of have the business school background, and I’m sort of biased against sometimes MBAs and stuff like this, like people who can just, you know, talk smart, you know, and everything just seems so clear cut, no, no, here’s a framework for this. And I was like, oh, framework, like, you know, what is that? And, you know, and I was, you know, I was kind of drawn into all that and, and what you’ll find is that people, again, you know, people are gonna have opinions. And I found just the certainty of that would draw me in. But, but it was very dangerous to actually go with any of those. Because we basically systematically proved, you know, almost all those to be wrong over time. And and So we decided to like I was drawn, drawn drawn, but and now we won’t we won’t bother going down that path and drawn, drawn drawn. Ah, no, it doesn’t feel right. And so we ended up making a bunch of good decisions. But it was almost always by going the other way from the smartest people in the room. And so I think that’s hard. And so those consultants and maybe sometimes, you know, their board members, or whatever it is, you know, people who can talk authoritative Lee, when you’re getting started, you just need to take that as input, you know, and you need to consider it, I think the worst thing you can do is just dismiss it. I think he got to take it on and honestly, wait, but, but at the end of the day, you need to make your own call and you need to know that, like, you know, you know, at the end of the day, you probably know, you know, you probably know better, but you got to listen. So that’s that’s the tension. It’s like you got to listen, you got to internalize it. But then you really got to trust yourself to make a good decision at the end even if you know not popular,


Paul 21:01

really good? Well, in speaking of, you know, fresh books, and it’s a journey, like I was going on your website and looking at everything freshbooks actually does not to mention all the API’s that can connect to with other programs. Can you just talk a little bit about it started this way. And it’s evolved and kind of what has caused you to make one decision for versus another and the way you’ve evolved that.


Mike McDerment 21:27

So the business started out when I saved over that invoice. And so we literally started out as you know, an online invoicing tool, it’s kind of invoice presentment. And then, you know, we put it out there and people signed up and, and so most of the business was guided by feedback. And so yeah, then we’re like, oh, we need you know, the ability to send a quote or an estimate and then turn that into an invoice. Okay, we’ll go ahead and build that, you know, eventually we got into expenses. And the reason we did that was not to help people manage both sides of the ledger, but because a lot of our clients needed to rebuild expenses and get them on an invoice and so You can start to see this, you know, this pattern of Okay, we put something out there, we got feedback, we iterated. Now, in hindsight, it seems like you know, obvious that you do all these things, but we would never do that


Paul 22:12

comes right out of your a be testing from your early online marketing?


Mike McDerment 22:17

Well, I would say to be honest, it comes from something else, which is far more powerful than any kind of testing, which is to really know and understand your customer and to listen to them. Okay. So I will take you know, an entrepreneur who knows their market and their customer over a B testing any day of the week. And I think it’s a, you know, I think the trick with AV testing is to know where and why and when you’re doing the testing. And I think sometimes people, you know, take it and use it to make big decisions that they really, really should not they need to know their customer and their market. And so we just got to know our customer, we were constantly talking to our customers, we’re getting emails, we always answered the phone, if you call freshbooks today, call us Right now you’re gonna get a real live person who’s gonna probably answer the series of questions you may or may not have on that call not going to be passed on, like, you know all those guys and you can call back and you’ll get another person and they’ll follow on from that.


Paul 23:12

Maybe a software company where they answer the phone.


Mike McDerment 23:15

Yeah, it’s a wizard. It’s gonna be less than two rings.


Cory 23:18

For me. It’s Mike’s mom answering the phone. Well,


Mike McDerment 23:23

I mean, it’s funny. Yeah, those calls aren’t ringing into this residence.


Our team of you know 400 plus people you know, but you know, I don’t know 80 of those or whatever in support are working remotely today answering calls in their homes by you know, thanks to the power of you know, technology if you will. So, anyhow, but but that that proc I call it proximity to customer. We really knew our customer we really made we wanted every communication channel to be open, you know, Twitter or Facebook, whatever. However you want to communicate with us. We want to be there to hear from you, which is a different orientation than people but it makes We knew that a lot of businesses, a lot of businesses are like, we don’t want to talk to our customers, we want their money, but we don’t want to talk to them. And we kind of take a different approach, which is, the closer you are to the customer, you better understand them. Everyone spends the first month in customer service of fresh books for every single role, which is, you know, just kind of how Whoa, that was said fast. Wow,


Paul 24:19

every single employee spends one month in customer service, regardless of what role they’re taking on the company.


Mike McDerment 24:27

500% Wow,


Paul 24:30

that that says something and speaks to probably a culture that now exists that couldn’t have been created otherwise, because everybody knows what it’s like to interface with a customer, even if they just got recruited from some other technology company where they never interface to customer.


Unknown Speaker 24:45

That’s correct. Wow, what?


Paul 24:49

But as our listeners are tuning in, what do you think, from your perspective, if they’re in certain industries or certain size are the people that should be going to the fresh books website right now and really considering using fresh books for their business,


Mike McDerment 25:05

as well, first of all, thank thank you for asking. Let me go ahead and tell you so. So what we are is, you know, we are an accounting software platform that is not built for every kind of business. So we don’t really, we don’t serve retail. And we really don’t serve restaurants unless you have like a catering arm and we do your billing for that. So when what we are is what we focus on are basically businesses that send invoices to clients. And so if you invoice and it needs to mechanic go with that we’re really strong in, in the billing and billing workflows that you’ll have payment collections. And by virtue of not trying to serve every kind of business, we kept the whole offering very, very easy to use. And so if you have no employees and you work for yourself, we’re going to be great for you. I would say you know, we can consider our sweet spot up to like, I don’t know 20 to 2250 at that the higher end, which is you know at eight in, in, in service based market segments, so so not again not retail, not restaurant but but service based market segments. So those are the those are the folks that encouraged to go ahead and check us out.


Paul 26:12

Right on Well, we we certainly have those clients and and those listeners that are kind of that, you know, specialized knowledge they’re transacting the marketplace are making between 200,002 million a year with little to no staff. And it’s, it’s just seems like it’s a perfect fit for that even as an outsider just briefly looking at the website. So your, your communication is so on point as we wrap. Would you share a little bit I mean, this this episode’s gonna come out in about a week I think after our recording here today. What is it that you guys are doing and what are you seeing from your perspective because you’re not only head of a 400 person company, but you’re also connected to a lot of other technology companies, founders, etc. What do you see going on as it relates to COVID-19 And of course in Canada, the United States, and what do you see is either what you guys will do to adapt to it and or what opportunities do you see that people may not be thinking about because they’re just got the pandemic right in their face?


Mike McDerment 27:13

So let me go ahead and say the first thing I see is the imperative to behave like a good civic participant. Yeah. Okay. I think, you know, I believe in the good of business, I think some people want to think business is evil, and profit, you know, all these kinds of things. And I think businesses are made up of people and people generally want to do good things and be good people. And so I think this is a wonderful time for business to lead. Right? And to think about, you know, when I think about the 400 people we have, you know, coming into work every day. And normally, you know, that to me is you know, if we can have everybody work from home, which we’ve gone ahead and done, you know, what is the role we can play in forwarding the spread of the virus so that people like our demographics are relatively less likely to get seriously ill. But you know, 400 people moving about and like potentially spreading the virus to people who are more vulnerable is a very serious thing. And so, you know, the first thing is, hey, what what role can we play? What is just the right thing to do? And how do we operate out of, you know, sort of a good sort of moral grounding and our role as a citizen in the communities in which we operate to, to be so so we sent everybody to go ahead and work from home. And we did that we started last Thursday. And, you know, I also then at the same time when I hadn’t sort of checked, myself and my my family into so it’s a Tuesday today, so but five days ago, were self isolating wife and three kids were really not going out. And again, we’re just trying to really not play a role in spreading this to others who may be more gravely impacted and not play a role and, you know, accelerating the spread such that the healthcare system might be overwhelmed. Okay, so that’s, that’s my starting point. Prior to that, we’d even gone And stopped kind of basically getting on planes as a business and business travel. I thought that was a responsible thing to do. And now we’re seeing, obviously late last week, people going and closing down, you know, travel and we’re not even all the way there yet, you know, the Canada US border is still wide open. And to me, it’s like we probably want to put some constraints on even that isn’t as friendly as we are. And state to state even in country, like just claims are kind of bad right now. Right? So anyways, these are the measures we want to take to basically just try and forward it and be a good citizen as for opportunities. I think there are some businesses who are going to be swiftly and immediately affected. You know, I think bars and restaurants, these kinds of things very much retailed very much fall in these categories. And so, you know, I think there is, again, the civic responsibility, things we’re working on right now are like, you know, can we invest in gift cards, you know, and go ahead and buy some of those for future purposes for local businesses. I encourage you all to like, hey, How would you How would you buy, you know, your next 10 lunches at your local restaurant, buy it now and kind of get them to cash to help them get through this as a sign of sort of goodwill and solidarity, which is a small thing, you know, we can all do. And then, you know, inside each business, I think there are opportunities to. So for us, we we operate in a bunch of countries. And, you know, I mean, this is maybe a little more not relevant for every business, but a lot of our operations are on the Canadian dollar, but we collect a lot of our revenue in the US dollar. And so, you know, we’re seeing some currency favorability now. And my point is, there are going to be things inside of here that we can go ahead and do and what I would encourage people to do is try to operate from a place of a what is the right thing to do and be Can we see some opportunities versus fear and reaction, okay, and so with that, you know, this offer up one last thing, I think, as people sort of self isolate, and get very concerned themselves and that their own health, I think, again, back to being a good civic actor, if you will. I think one of the things during these times that that really helps bring meaning and purpose and encourage doing the right things is to just shift from a mindset of me, to a mindset of we all have this is much, much bigger than fresh books. You know, what I want to do is make sure we play a role in hopes of inspiring others to do the right thing. But when I started thinking about all the people that we can help and be there for, at this time, in a variety of ways, that makes me want to go ahead and do that. And it also takes me out of the mindset of like, being afraid that something bad’s gonna happen to me and my family to like, Hey, I think we can safely support a whole bunch of people. And that is a beautiful thing, because I think a lot of people need, you know, a lot of support in these uncertain times.


Paul 31:51

No, it’s really, really well put Well, yeah, Mike, I’m so glad you could make it today. Just even us being on video chatting to Day having you on the podcast in the midst of all of this, this was on your calendar, your team had committed to it months ago. And here we are. So appreciate you doing that. I think that probably shows up across fresh books like a lot of the other values you’ve shared with us. The big takeaways we have today is that idea of similar values, same information, partners, co founders will work it out. The idea that decisions we make today, the big ones, especially as founders and CEOs have long shadows, and the ability to allow others not so much to question where we’re going. But to have those key team members look into the underlying assumptions and have conversations or debate about that rather than about the outcomes and the all the friction can come from it. I think there’s a lot of great things here for our audience. I can’t wait to get feedback about this episode. And Mike, I’m just super thankful that in the midst of all of this, you could make it here to spend time with us today. No,


Mike McDerment 32:59

thank you very much for I mean, I hope you and all your listeners, you know, be healthy folks and we’ll get through this.


Paul 33:07

Very good and to all of you from Cory and I and everybody at sound Financial Group. We hope that this has been a contribution to you being able to design and build a good life.


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