Link To Guest Website: Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers

Title: “What If…?”
Guest: Mark Furman – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Interviewer: Jeffrey Davis – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jeffrey (0s):
Well, hello everybody. And welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs. My name is Jeffrey Davis. I am the host of Radio Entrepreneurs, and as we wind down 2021, I want to go into our files and interview our longest standing reporter. One of our two Mark Furman partner at Tarlow Breed, Hart and Rodgers, Mark Furman, and the law. Welcome back, mark.

Mark (24s):
Hi Jeffrey. Great to be with you. Season’s greetings.

Jeffrey (28s):
Thank you very much, mark. Same to you, health and happiness to you and your whole family.

Mark (32s):
Thank you, you too. So I wanted to bring a holiday present to the listeners and I’ll confess I didn’t spend a lot of money on it, Jeffrey, but, but he is my present. I asked business owners to ask themselves what if this happens? What if entrepreneurs are so optimistic and so focused on, you know, how they’re going to be successful and how all the deals they do are gonna work out great.

Mark (1m 15s):
And the Scrooge Ferman, you know, has to ask the question, well, what if things don’t work out the way you hope they will? So I do find that many business owners are less inclined to focus on what can go wrong, as opposed to what can go, right? So to bring it into kind of what’s going on in the world now, what if you agree to supply widgets to a customer, but you need to get them from a foreign country.

Mark (1m 56s):
And the supply chain is all messed up, as we all know. So what if, what happens if you can’t deliver? What liability do you have? What if the price of obtaining the goods could Drupal’s so that instead of making a 20% profit, you’re going to lose substantial money. If you fulfill the order, what if supply chain issues have ruined the business of your customer? What if they can’t afford to pay you? What happens if they can’t afford to pay?

Mark (2m 40s):
So I think occasionally I don’t want to lose, I don’t want anybody to lose their optimism because our country is built on optimism and capitalism is, but once in a while, step back and take a look at what happens. If something goes wrong, a related situation is, you know, people receive these long agreements and they’ll send them to a lawyer. And one of two things will have happened.

Mark (3m 23s):
One, they’ll say I signed this agreement, but I was hoping you could take a quick look at it, but I don’t want you to make a big deal about anything, but the agreements already signed. Maybe we could reverse that and show it to the lawyer before it’s signed. And then I want you to take a look at the agreement, which I haven’t signed, but, you know, I just, just a really quick look, that’s a 25 page single space, the green, what am I supposed to do? What is a lawyer supposed to do without really reading the agreement closely?

Mark (4m 8s):
And then is the example of a client who bought a business and say $10,000 by know, I’ve using a lawyer. And there were a few problems that ended up costing the client in excess of a million dollars to straighten out the clients save the $10,000 up front, but it wasn’t necessarily the best business decision. You know, a lawyer wouldn’t check where there any tax swings on the business. Were there any other lanes? And they might’ve find out that there were hundreds of thousands of dollars of liens on the business before they bought it would have been useful information for them to know.

Mark (5m 0s):
And, and then my last example, of course, is the insurance example, no insurance with all due respect to people I know in the insurance business is not the most exciting thing in the world to think about, to talk about. And, you know, we’ve had some good times in business, certainly, but we’ve also are old enough to have been through some recessions. And what frequently happens when there’s less money is people cut back on their insurance and that’s fine if they make an informed decision, but if they are thinking of insurance, just as an expense, as opposed to protection, you know, maybe they would think differently and make some different decisions.

Mark (5m 58s):
Decisions they could make, for example, are instead of eliminating product liability coverage, because it’s too expensive. What if they increase the deductible? So the amount there they’re insuring themselves to bring the costs down while preserving the company against a catastrophic situation. I’ve defended wrongful deaths, product liability situations, where there was no insurance coverage. It’s pretty scary for business and incredibly expensive.

Mark (6m 38s):
So here I am Mr. Negative Scrooge during the holiday season, but trying to provide some thoughts about actually how you can save money in the long run and how you can provide greater security for your business against downside risk.

Jeffrey (7m 4s):
You know, you say a lot scooch and make mark, and I just want to address a couple of them. You know, first of all, you know, I think this whole issue of supply chain pricing delivery has just created such mayhem, not just for the person purchasing, but you’re right for the delivery company and making sure that they take a look at their contracts, how they’re written, how things can be dealt with this is critical and an just an essential investment. And I know some companies have told me that they used to give a quote and it was good for a year. Now they’re telling me quotes, aren’t good for two weeks.

Jeffrey (7m 44s):
You know, if they’re on a different timeline. So that type of protection, the insurance protection, I think you’re right. You bring up a really important point and that is, you know, your deductible, if you’re worried about increased expenses, increase your deductible, but keep your insurance covering yourself, you know, protect yourself for that day where you could have some damages. And I’ll just say, you know, as a management consultant, I tend to bill my clients as you know, on a retainer. So I’m sort of a, on-call sort of a concierge management consulting service. And there isn’t a 48 hours that goes by that a client doesn’t call me and ask me a legal question because it doesn’t cost the money.

Jeffrey (8m 27s):
And I always say to them, I’m not an attorney. You know, you really have to call your attorney about this. And people call me about tax advice, legal advice, you know, employee advice. And I go, I’m going to give you as the management consultant, my perspective, well, what’s best for the business, but you have to call your attorney. And I really do believe there’s resistance on a lot of people to call their attorneys. I really feel that they have to get over that if they want it to protect their business.

Mark (8m 55s):
Hey, I agree. I mean, you can look at every line item is just a pure expense, but you can also look at well, why do you have that line item? Why does every business have, you know, a line item for counting and legal and it’s, you need to protect yourself. And because in my experience, in the life of a company, there’s almost no company that makes it through its life without having something go wrong. And, you know, for a lot of companies, it happens a lot for whatever reason for other companies are more fortunate, but no company goes on scale.

Mark (9m 49s):
And so just asking the question and investing the time and the money, not to the detriment of the business, but for the benefit of the business and feel it for privately owned companies. It’s not just, I mean, the business is the asset of the family. It’s the family’s wealth, it’s the family’s equity and

Jeffrey (10m 18s):
Everything’s account. I’m sorry, it’s the family savings account, correct?

Mark (10m 24s):
Correct. So, you know, we, it’s really important to protect it against the things that can go wrong as well, without taking away the incredible optimism that I love about entrepreneurs and love working with them because of that and the way they are able have to, and are able to make decisions on like bureaucracies. So I don’t want to, I don’t want to kill the positive.

Mark (11m 4s):
I just want to protect them.

Jeffrey (11m 8s):
No, I think you’re correct again on your two points. And I see it from my side, there are some entrepreneurs who were constantly skating on the edge of the razor, that’s their style. And so they’re, they’re really good at it, but even the ones who are the best, sometimes it doesn’t work out right. And they have to be careful because they’re always skating on that blade. And then there are the regular entrepreneurs who I think are always some degree, more risky than all. Then let’s say employees, that’s their nature. And there’s always a problem in that in the life span of a business. And that comes down to good leadership and good advice to sort of get, get yourself in and out of it quickly. If someone were looking for you to get some advice during these very dynamic times, I think it is a very dynamic period economically.

Jeffrey (11m 56s):
Well, how would they find you?

Mark (11m 58s):
I can be reached at 6 1 7 2 1 8 2 0 2 5. That’s my direct line or M Ferman, F U R M a

Jeffrey (12m 13s):
On a thank you for all your contributions this year. We’re not done with you yet. And to remind everybody that this was, and is Mark Furman from Tarlow Breed, Hart and Rogers. My name is Jeffrey Davis and we are Radio Entrepreneurs.

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