Marcus Lemonis Finds Himself in Crazyland: WorldWide Trailer Sales
This one could have been an interesting case study when you recall that our hero is a self-proclaimed "car guy." Sadly, it falls strictly into the entertainment category. You can rest assured that Marcus's screening process intentionally selects a few guaranteed train wrecks just to keep the audience happy. The popcorn lady episode was another one of these as well as Maarse florists. I know from my own traffic logs that the train wrecks are the most popular searches even though they tend to offer the least in terms of business lessons.
Marcus must have known going in that WorldWide Trailer Sales was a hopeless situation because of the people involved. You don't just talk to people once before committing to bring over with a full production unit to tape a one hour show.
The two big business issues with WorldWide Trailer Sales were the inefficient manufacturing process being split between two locations hundreds of miles apart and the lack of proper accounting. Splitting the manufacturing like that for no other reason than the convenience of an owner was a dumb decision. If you really don't want to live in the place where the business is situated hire a professional manager to run it for you and have her or him send you weekly reports if not daily. Even then you need to tour the site at least monthly to determine if there are any problems the accounting system doesn't identify, such as personnel issues.
The two partners also didn't even know what their earnings were. $400K or $200K? Or was it $400k with half siphoned off by one partner? When I was working as a business broker it never ceased to amaze me just how many long term business owners didn't have a handle on how well or badly they were doing financially. If you are buying small businesses and have a basic understanding of accounting, including how to read financial reports, you will tower over sellers. They will look upon you as a mini-Warren Buffett.
In closing, I'll just share one of the best insights into human nature that I've come across: When it comes to people what you see is what you get. Don't try or expect to save someone from themselves by getting them to change. They won't. Just assume that they will always be the way that they are and then ask yourself if you really want them in your life. Why the two owners remain in such a toxic relationship is beyond me.
Frankly, I am amazed that Marcus invested so much time on this. But then it's all about the ratings, isn't it.
Watch the episode online. This is even crazier than the popcorn episode.
Do you have what it takes to be the next Marcus Lemonis?