top of page

“No Poop, No Profit”

There is a proverb in the Bible that reads, "Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean; But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox." (Proverbs 14:4). Owning a business is hard; every day brings new problems. Be thankful for these challenges, since with the problems comes the profit.

Tough Customers

Nobody wants to deal with ox poop. I get it. But if we want to enjoy the benefits of the ox, we are going to have to deal with his poop.

Sometimes I hear people on my own team struggling to make a client happy. Everyone has had to deal with certain customers who seem to not want to find a win; they are just happy to be unhappy. When the call ends, there is a temptation for my colleagues to vent about how unreasonable or unkind the client is being. This poisons the pro-customer environment we need to maintain, and it makes it that much harder to bring our best to our next client interaction.

Dealing with customers can be fun. Sometimes it stinks. That’s okay, because without customers, we have no revenue. So we’re thankful for all our customers—just a little more thankful for the kind ones.


We have a lot of competitors. Anyone can build a website. But not just anyone can get it to rank on Google, make it look great, and convert site visitors into leads. Nevertheless, there have to be a trillion web developers in the world. We’re in a dog-eat-dog industry.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was no competition for what you did? You could charge whatever you wanted, you wouldn’t have to suck up to your customers, and you could work at your own pace. If the customers didn’t like it, tough.

But how good would you be at your job? You'd be terrible at it. And would you want to be your own customer in that circumstance? Anyone who has spent an afternoon at the DMV could tell you, "Absolutely not."

Don’t you want to be proud of how you do your work and how you treat your customers? Then you should be thankful for competition, because without it, you’d have all the heart of a DMV worker.

Employee Issues

"I can’t get anybody to show up." "Kids these days don’t want to work." I suppose business owners have been saying this for as long as there have been businesses.

Certainly, it seems like young workers (if we can call them workers) can be disappointing today. I don’t remember being so unreliable or lethargic when I first got out of school. But maybe it’s just perspective. We all remember ourselves better than we really were.

One thing I am certain of: The people who are working for you… are working for you. No need to take out your frustration about the current generation on them. It’s like a preacher haranguing the congregation about poor attendance; the people they should be mad at are still in bed. The members the preacher is yelling at all showed up for the abuse. Send the shade in an email to the ones who didn’t come; don’t be mad at the ones who did.

Complaining about how lousy your workers are to those very same workers makes them feel unappreciated.

Accepting that your employees are human—that they make mistakes and that they are bound to disappoint you in many ways—will help you appreciate the good work they do for you. Employees aren’t forever, but while they’re with you, they do a lot of work taking care of your customers that you don’t have to do yourself.

Supplier/Vendor Problems

It's maddening enough in your everyday life when you need something but can't get it. When you need something for your business but can't get it, it can drive you nuts. It might also feel like your suppliers are out to sabotage you. Here's the thing, though: They definitely aren't out to get you.

Supply chain and vendor issues are just more of the poop that comes with the profit.

You can't run your business without your suppliers, and your suppliers likewise can't survive without your business. In this way, your suppliers are just as invested in your success as you are. Don’t attribute malice to that which can be adequately explained by incompetence, and never ascribe incompetence to that which can be better explained by supply chain disruptions.

A lot of business owners like to scream at their vendors. Maybe it’s because they want to scream at their customers but they can’t. They want to give like they get. This is a bad character, and bad policy.

Abusing your supplies and vendors sets their hearts against you. You want to be their favorite customer, not their worst. Their job is to help you succeed, and you have the same responsibility for them.

In Conclusion

If you have a business that makes a lot of money and where you never have to scoop up ox poop, let me know what it is, and I’ll join you. For the rest of us, we know that the good comes with the bad, so we are going to be thankful for the good AND the bad. The CEO of LinkedIn has a sign on his desk that reads, "Hard Things Are Hard." Who promised us that owning our own businesses wasn’t going to involve discomfort? I greatly enjoy the freedom and financial benefits of being a small business CEO, so I won’t feel sorry for myself about the messy stalls.


bottom of page