VIDEO: Dryrun Customer Guy Bauer Discusses Cash Flow Management with Dryrun

Posted 09 May by Blaine Bertsch in Accounting, Bookkeeping, Budget, Case Studies, Cash Flow, Customer Testimonials, Entrepreneur, Small Business, Videos

Dryrun customer, Guy Bauer, from Guy Bauer Productions, a rapidly growing Chicago-based video production company tells the story of his business to Barbara Easter, Director of Partnerships at Dryrun.

Guy shares how he started his business, the big challenges he faced and how he grew his business to the point that they’re opening a second location. He talks about the importance of cash flow to a growing business and how Dryrun has helped him plan for the future.

Transcription:

Dryrun Customer Guy Bauer discusses Cash Flow Management with Dryrun

Hi all,

I’m Barb Easter with Dryrun. I’m here today with Guy Bauer of Guy Bauer Productions, he’s kindly agreed to give us a few minutes of his time today.

Guy is the CEO and visionary behind Guy Bauer Productions which is a video production agency headquarter in Chicago, Illinois and rapidly expanding throughout North America.

When we met last year, Guy as a consummate storyteller, was telling me about the difficulties he’s had through his companies growth with cash flow. He’s agreed today to share some of those struggles with us and some of the solutions and philosophies that he’s put in place as he gets to a different point on his growth curve.

So nice to meet you, thank you so much for agreeing to speak with me today, I’n just going to hop right into it if that’s ok with you.

Guy:

Sure.

Barb:

Ok, first evidence of your growth mentality shouts out from every page on your website, and it’s evidenced in so many of your videos as well.

So would you give me a quick overview of how Guy Bauer Productions got started and then how it grew.

Guy:

Got started almost unintentionally, I had never owned a business, I’d never actually worked in a video production company, video was always my hobby growing up.

I was an executive producer of a morning radio show here in Chicago and in November 2009 which was smack dab in the recession we all got laid off.

So my goal was to go get a job, I sent out 150 resumes and I didn’t go on one interview.

Finally I just read this article in Money Magazine of how to make money in 2010 because I was really desperate and it said if you have a, like a talent or a hobby you can go on these freelance sites, Guru.com, or Upwork.com, and go get little freelance gigs.

So my intention was just to supplement unemployment payments, I scored a gig, it was a 50 dollar gig to edit a puppy video so this guy sent me a bunch of puppy footage and I put it to music and he gave me 50 bucks, gave me a 5 star review on the platform and it said Guy is very professional and then I just used that to get a 70 dollar job, a 100 dollar job, 300 dollar job and it kept going and going and going.

And then really, it was May 2012, and I was now working a 100 hours a week, 120 hours a week and it was just insanity and I remember just crying in the shower one day and thinking I need help…

Barb:

Chuckles

Guy:

Smiles…I actually did cry. And I was like, I need help, so I started hiring people and here we are today we have 32 full time team members and it’s crazy. And it’s all really just, the whole thing is just full of errors and mistakes, I mean again, I have no knowledge of running a business or a creative business so I mean I’ve made every stupid mistake there is, every one of them, I’ve made them all.

Barb:

You are also rapidly expanding right, so people who are not afraid to fail fast and who could just go with the flow and have some creative charisma could actually submit their resume is that correct? Like you are opening another office isn’t that, did I read that?

Guy:

Yes, slowly, slowly we are but yeah, but my, I like to hire people with gumption and fire in their belly because that’s what I am, I’m a complete amateur and I think that’s kind of our advantage in the marketplace because we don’t know how to do it.

I don’t know all the bad habits. You know, I don’t know good principles or bad ones so there’s a lot of good ones that we missed out on because you know, I’m an amateur and one of them is cashflow and actually looking at numbers and stuff like that.

But then, we also don’t have a lot of bad habits and I think that’s our advantage is that again, the company started with no knowledge of how to do this.

Barb:

So I think you’ve hit upon something that I’ve long thought and that’s that it’s actually easy to learn things it’s much harder to unlearn things. So in terms of good habits versus bad habits.

So o.k., so does this team of 32 people and growing slowly, do they see you as a leader? Like that’s the capacity, you are the CEO right?

Guy:

Yes

Barb:

Ok, what about other struggles in terms of leadership, cashflow management…anything like that, anything you want to touch on would be…I need to hear about it, this is like, I love doing these because like they are such authentic stories. Right.

Guy:

Yes, the biggest thing that I learned is…and we can get to cash flow next because that is a gigantic lesson.

I would say the biggest leadership lesson I’ve learned is when I hired my first employee I made the classic mistake of thinking that everybody would care about my company as much as me and that also that everyone is as multi use as me.

So, you know, when you are starting up as CEO it is the Chief Everything Officer. And I was actually good at a lot, you know, I only stopped doing our books 3 years ago.

I was doing our books, I was doing the creative, I was shooting, I was editing, and I could do all of them fairly well and I think that was a driver of growth actually, because I didn’t have to outsource the labour. To this day I still do our website so I’m very multi-talented across a bunch of stuff, I’m good at a lot of stuff.

So I thought that that’s how this employee who I hired…

Barb:

Everybody would be…

Guy:

And so I hired an editor and then I was like, well, why can’t you answer the phones right and then I had her shoot something and I was like, this isn’t good, like why can’t you do that and it took me years to understand that like oh, A. The thing that led to the company being what it is is that I have a very unique skill set and then B. No one cares as much as I do, they will never care as much as I do.

Barb:

And never will.

Guy:

And you should get over that and that’s not, they are not bad or evil or anything like that.

And the other thing, the big, big thing about leadership and I’m still learning this is you can’t be punitive, you have to like be inspirational and you really have to trust. And that’s so hard for a technician, because I’m a technician at heart and it’s so hard.

Impossibly hard, but you just have to get over it if you want to scale.

Now, getting to cash flow, I mean, from the very start our company, was under capitalized, I mean actually my accountant I remember told me something like you know, you started the company with a negative equity, so I mean like…

Barb:

Oh, (smile)

Guy:

I figured, she had to do something special, I was in trouble, I didn’t start at zero, I started at negative …

Barb:

Like negative, but that’s means zero looks like a milestone right? When you hit like…

Guy:

(Laugh) Yah, exactly.

So I started, so what I was doing back in the day was, I was booking a 300 dollar job and then spending 298 dollars on microphones to do that job.

Barb:

Got it.

Guy:

It was like that.

Cash is so important to a small business it’s not funny. I would actually put cash is more important than profit. Really when you are in the start up phase, because cash will let you live to see another day.

Also, you could be profitable as all heck, with your cool accounting, but if the cheques don’t come in, you can’t make payroll, I mean, you can’t pay rent, the whole thing shuts down.

Cash is the oxygen, the blood, you’ve heard them all. It is so important.

Here’s how I can equate our scenario before Dryrun. Is that when you drive in the fog, when you drive in heavy fog you can see a hundred feet out, like you can’t see like a thousand feet out.

So, you can stay in the lane, but you can only react to that 100 feet. You can’t see that a mile down the road is an accident or something. Until you are right up there. And then you only have a hundred feet to react and maneuvere.

Now imagine you were driving on a clear day and you saw an accident up above and then there was a detour. Like an easy route that would save you lots of time and money that you could also see you can then plan ahead and move around.

That’s how I equate like we had no visibility.

So think of it like this, the other thing is, when you are an owner it is incredibly emotional, when we just had a total swing in our cash over the past 2 months.

2 months ago, we had no cash, lines of credit almost maxed out, everything was like…

Barb:

They are redlining, they are like beep, beep, beep…

Guy:

Yah, seriously.

Now, now all the money came in Receivables came in, our debt came all the way down and we have tons of cash.

A year ago, because I was driving in the fog I would go, oh, look at all this cash, now we can, let’s buy that new camera, let’s go do this now, let’s do this. But little did I know, that maybe in 2 months, 3 months, there was going to be a cash crunch and me spending money when there is cash is only making the crunch worse.

Barb:

Yah

Guy:

So now with Dryrun I can see down the road. It’s basically taken the fog off, I can see down the road.

We can model, we can not only model things we want to do today and see the effect that has on in October but we can model things in October and see how that has an effect on things next February.

And so it’s given, I’ll tell you what, it’s the number 1 tool to let me sleep better at night. Because I don’t think…

Barb:

That’s awesome to hear.

Guy:

I don’t think profit, I don’t think profit keeps me up at night, I mean, it does it’s important but I think it’s the cash.

When you are an owner it’s like, I would feel like an ultimate failure if I couldn’t make payroll. Like to me I think that’s the thing always chasing an owner is,

Barb:

Yah

Guy:

You know, so it’s like very emotional that you don’t want to let anyone down. And now I feel like I have visibility and now we can see down the road farther and we can make maneuvers earlier that make those…so we don’t have to stop short, you know…

Barb:

Yes.

Guy:

We don’t have to hustle and kind of like, light things on fire we can make moves smoother, and smarter.

Barb:

You know, I remember vividly actually talking with you last year, and you were like, oh, I don’t know if this is for us and I was like, no, really, like you guys need the visibility, everybody, not just you not specifically Guy Bower Productions, but virtually every business of a certain size and certain phase of their growth needs a tool like Dryrun just one that is…so it’s simple to use right, and visual and collaborative.

But it’s so gratifying to hear how useful you have found it to be in growing your business and in managing your business and in sleeping at night.

I used to actually, actually joke with clients and users and say oh well, it’s unlimited scenarios, you can have a scenario, you can create one every morning at 4 am when you wake up going (sucking in air) and then you know that was like a little too real, I think, for a lot of the business owners and I actually stopped saying that because the looks on their face was I was hurting their feelings right.

You understand, right, but you are making light of the fact that I haven’t had a whole night sleep, really, I think for a lot of the business owners and I actually stopped saying that.

You understand right, but you are making light of the fact that I haven’t had a whole night sleep since 2002.

So, anyways, yah that’s interesting, we hear that a lot, actually, that it helps people sleep better. Like it really harmonizes their business and provides that peace of mind. That is very, a very important quality of life.

Guy:

Well, the other thing too is it’s not only that though, so now, the quality of the jobs we book is going up.

I’ll give you a quick example, or I guess a scenario is that you know, what happens when we have low cash is that my emotions get the best of me, right…

Barb:

Sure.

Guy:

And so any small job that comes in, I’m like, take it, take it, take it…

Barb:

Sure.

Guy:

The little ankle bitter things, it’s not profitable but it’s cash and then what happens is then cash comes in, real jobs come in but we are stuck doing all these ankle bitter things.

We have to over extend our staff and then the big jobs, we’re not really knocking them out of the park.

Now imagine, now with Dryrun even when we had low cash, a couple months ago, I was like, yah, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, by the end of May we’ll be completely at zero, no debt and all that stuff.

And it allowed me to hold strong and not take those small jobs. Now we have our cash, we have our capacity, and now when these creative jobs come in we can take them and kill them, so it’s not only, it’s I’m telling you…I’m not, you know…(smile)

Barb:

So great to hear.

Guy:

It’s awesome.

Barb:

So great to hear, like your playing, you are doing business on a whole different level.

I’m going to adopt that ankle bitter, because it’s so many insecurities at play that can keep you off your A game.

What is your favourite feature in Dryrun. If you had to pick one? I realize it’s sort of a package deal but if you had to pick one, big or small, what is your favourite?

Guy:

Oh, boy, ummm. I guess I would say..oh boy, ummm I mean, besides the whole idea of it, and how it works and all of that, I guess the favourite feature is that it links with our QuickBooks Online so I don’t have to enter data.

I just hit refresh and then, I hit refresh every morning. It’s kind of like the first thing I do every day is log into Dryrun, I was taught a business owner needs their eye on the cash, every day.

So, it’s really how I start my day. I check our checking account, check Dryrun, refresh, it takes seconds.

So I would say the linking to Quickbooks but there are so many others and the other big one is, I know you said only one but…

Barb:

That’s ok, I’m feeling popular right now so you can, if you’ve got more, I’d love to hear them. To be honest.

Guy:

Well, I think the really good one is that you are able to quickly model something so you don’t have to go in and make any big adjustments, there is a button and you can say I want to model a percentage or a dollar amount and you get to see it cascade across everything automatically, there is no math I need to do it’s just very visual, like visceral and we have a cash flow committee that meets every Thursday…

Barb:

Oh really? Neat.

Guy:

Yeah, that’s something we have been doing for the past 3 or 4 years actually, but now that we have Dryrun I’m like, oh my gosh, this whole committee was completely useless until now because Dryrun is the tool that actually made the cash flow committee make sense. Because now we can look out at the projections and know exactly where we are going to be and we can make decisions so we just bought a van.

But it’s not the van purchase isn’t making me lose sleep like oh was that a mistake? Was that a terrible, terrible mistake?

I’m like no, I know exactly the effect that that’s going to have, you know, down to December I know what’s going to happen because of that and we are still in the green so everything’s good.

So, I love the modelling feature too.

Barb:

Thank you so much. That is just, it’s so gratifying, like I love cash flow, I love it, I don’t know if I have ever told you this but I love it on the, I don’t know if it comes through at all, I love it in the personal sphere and I also love it in the business sphere. I’ll talk about cash flow with anybody. I could just sit here all day and listen to you for the next for however much more time you have, which is not very much time, I understand that.

But so my final question, actually I have 2 more, (phone ringing)

Can you provide cash flow advise to other businesses that may be starting or may be a step or two behind you? On your path or your growth trajectory? What would you recommend to them?

Guy:

Sure, and I do have a hard stop in 2 minutes…

Barb:

Oh ok.

Guy:

Rapid fire, biggest advice is you have to pay attention, Dryrun, I’m not saying this because I’m here with you, that’s actually the first tool I would get other than Quickbooks Online, now that I know it, is that you have to be a hawk about your cash and hold on to it.

You know, a lot of business folks they say outsource what you are not good at. Yes, when you have the capital, but when you are starting out, keep that cash.

So, teach yourself WordPress, don’t go pay 3,000 dollars, just teach yourself, buy a 55 dollar template, do it yourself. For now.

For people starting out every dollar you have is like is critical, so critical hold on to it and as Mr. Wonderful of Shark Tank says only send it out if you send that one dollar out if you think it can go capture 3 others. If it can’t hold on to it.

Barb:

Like a boomerang, like you are only sending it out because it is going to net you a Kangaroo.

Guy:

That’s right.

Barb:

I know you have a hard stop, so thank you very much for your time today. I really appreciate talking with you. It’s been great to speak with you.

If you are looking to…for anybody who has tuned in, Guy and his team have done some really fantastic work find out more at guybauerproductions.com

Like the article? Please share...Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Email this to someone
email