Steady As She Goes…
Autumn is in full swing here in the Northeast which means winter could start at any moment - don't say I didn't warn you - it actually smells like winter out there.
About a week ago, I read an article about a beloved college football coach who retired at the end of a game. That's it, he retired right then and there.
Just before the game ended, he called time out, told his assistant to take over, tipped his hat to the crowd, said "I love ya" to his wife up in the stands, and walked to his car. This man had been the coach at this school for 45 years, won 263 games, making him the winningest active college coach in the country.
That's an amazing career but I know I've never heard of him and I bet you haven't either. Along the way, he shaped countless young lives and set an example for consistency, hard work, and in the end, grace and humility.
I know I get sort of curmudgeonly at times but in today's world where tweeting out 140 characters to say "hey world, look at me" is the norm versus just being quietly diligent and doing your job as best you can, this gentleman's action is refreshing.
He didn't ride off on his team's shoulders (which would have been odd since his team lost that game), there was no parade or award ceremony, no reality show with cameras following him around. No, just a tip of his hat, a wink to his wife, and a smiling drive home.
I often see companies like that.
Companies that generate value, companies that no one ever hears about but that treat their customers and their own people the right way, provide value for their products and services, and go on year after profitable year creating value for their shareholders, their customers, and their employees. When I get a chance to work with companies like this, my view from a valuation perspective is that slow, steady growth is usually indicative of a low level of cash flow risk which leads to a lower discount rate, certainly relative to companies whose profitability looks like a scream-inducing, loop-the-loop, corkscrew roller coaster. Depending on the parameters, this can actually mean a higher value for a "boring" company than you might imagine.
The world is constantly changing - and it's not typically a quantum shift overnight but rather incrementally, inch by inch, day by day. Companies with managers who know how to adjust and make small changes as they ride along and roll with those changes are rare - but they do exist - and they certainly make my life easier.
Well, that's all I have to say about that. Now, here are some words of wisdom from people who aren't me:
"Quality means doing it right when no one is looking" - Henry Ford
"To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions" - Benjamin Franklin
"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" - Coach John Wooden
Thanks for reading. Be Good and be well.
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