August 2021 Newsletter

J Curves

by Tim Fulton

"If you are not genuinely pained by the risk involved in your strategic choices, it’s not much of a strategy." -Reed Hastings, Netflix

How often do you get stuck on a big strategic decision? If you're like many small business owners, the answer is too often. It may be a key employee hire, a capital decision, the purchase of a large fixed asset, or even the decision to exit the business. None of these are easy decisions to make, but it is easy to get paralyzed by making the final call.

One of the best tools I've found for making tough strategic decisions is the J Curve. A popular blog for mid-size businesses, ShortTrack CEO, said the following about J Curves: The process of identifying, prioritizing, and managing J Curves is the most important determinant of entrepreneurial success.

By definition, a J Curve investment is any strategic decision to spend money today for a benefit tomorrow. Any hiring decision is a J Curve. Any significant new customer is a J Curve. Any major allocation of capital resources is a J Curve. A marketing decision, such as the offering of a new product or expansion into a new market, is a J Curve. The list goes on.

Imagine the capital letter “J”. The first phase of the J Curve is an investment. How much will we need to spend in time or money on this investment? If it’s a new piece of equipment; this would include the cost of the new asset, set-up and training time, and any costs associated with ramping up the new equipment.

In the early 90s, Gus Cawley moved to Atlanta with lofty goals and a degree in accounting from Le Moyne College. He paid his dues working on accounts payables during the day and selling subscriptions for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution door to door at night. Gus diligently combed the Sunday classifieds and faxed resumes until he landed a job as a CPA. Years later, Gus would put his job-hunting skills to work for others, leaving a successful position at Ernst & Young to begin a career in the recruiting industry.

Today, Gus is the chief executive officer of three recruiting firms including Staff Financial Group, which places top-tier accounting and finance professionals. Gus is also the creator of ZipApply, a productivity tool for job seekers designed to help people get hired faster, a 2020 Vistage Impact Award Winner, and a contributing writer for the Forbes Business Council in Atlanta.

In this episode, Gus Cawley joins Tim and Taylor to talk about finding and retaining workforce talent. An expert in attracting high-level talent, Gus shares insights into today’s talent shortage, what top candidates are looking for, the importance of speed in the hiring process, how to maximize LinkedIn groups, and the importance of peer mentoring.

Opening Session is Aug. 26

“Just fantastic! I was someone who started a business doing what I loved, not necessarily knowing business. Tim and the Boot Camp helped me focus on the business, turning what I saw as hard and overwhelming into something fun and exciting. This has been an invaluable tool for me which I will refer back to many times in the future. I highly recommend!” -Matthew Boyd, Evoke Design
More than 3,000 small business leaders have participated in this training nationwide. Our next program begins on January 28, 2021, with five full days of executive development on the following Thursdays:

Jan. 28 | Feb. 25 | March 25 | April 22 | May 27

Topics of discussion include Strategic Planning, Leadership, Marketing, Financial Management, and Organizational Design. We’re confident the Small Business Matters Boot Camp will drastically change how you run your business, but don’t just take our word for it… here’s what past boot camp graduates had to say:

You Matter
This inspiring three-minute video on life and leadership stimulates wonderful dialogue—depending on the question(s) you create after you watch it. 
-Available on Amazon-

Ransomeware Protection
The following guidance comes from Vistage speaker and tech guru Mike Foster.
If you get ransomware that encrypts your files and restoring your backups doesn't work, try this:

Go to and upload two of your encrypted files. The site will analyze the files to determine if it has a tool that can decrypt your files for you. Alternatively, you can upload the ransomware note you see, and the site will attempt to locate a decryptor based on that note.
There is no charge to use the tools. Law enforcement and cybersecurity organizations banded together to create this project, and they've helped millions of people recover their files. Their decryptors work on more than 150 families of ransomware. There are no guarantees, but you might be lucky. There are many variants of ransomware attacking the globe, and the goal is to avoid them all.
Please forward this message to your friends so they know a last-chance option might decrypt their files if they cannot restore from their backups quickly enough.

Keep Your Network Safe.
Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

Remember, small business does MATTER.

President & CEO
Small Business Matters
(678) 427-9436

"Dedicated to Increasing the Effectiveness and Enhancing the Lives of CEOs"