Cover Image for MSNBC's "YOUR BUSINESS"


Phil Town
Phil Town

A few weeks ago I was asked to do a guest spot on a new show at MSNBC called Your Business.  It airs at 7:30 EST Sunday mornings, so TiVo is a nice thing if you party like a rock star. 

This kind of thing is definitely a perk of having a New York Times best selling book. Doing TV interviews is fun, but they tend to be 4 or 5 minutes, in and out.  This show is a blast because we can actually discuss some things. 

The idea of the show is to give small business owners a lot of information in an entertaining way.  The key to that is the host, JJ Ramberg . She is just a cool woman and really easy to work with.  JJ goes on location at interesting small businesses, interviews the founders, and finds issues that are of concern to the owners for us to discuss.

I've been teamed up on two shows with Wendy Bounds from the Wall Street Journal.  She is incredibly knowledgable about small business issues, while I look at it from the point of view of a Rule #1 investor.  Sometimes we see things quite differently. 

For example, we were discussing whether a small business has to offer health insurance to its employees.  Wendy thinks yes in order to attract good people.  I think I've funded a lot of startups and never had one that provided health insurance.  If someone isn't coming on this ride because of health insurance, I'm thinking they haven't really bought into the BAG, knowwhatImean?  And let's keep that Margin of Safety baby!  I hate it when a business is spending money its does not have to spend since I'm the owner and THAT'S MY MONEY!!! 

A lot of what I write about in Rule #1 I learned while doing Venture Capital.  Businesses that don't have Meaning, Moat & Management just don't make for very good investments at any stage, even at the startup... maybe even most importantly at the startup.  So if you are an investor and you are thinking of starting your own small business, remember that those 4M's are going to be really important all along the way... Even for a laundromat. 

Does it have a Moat?  Do you understand the Meaning of the business?  Are you a great Manager?  Are you getting in with a good Margin of Safety?

I hope you enjoy the MSNBC Your Business show.  I'll be on it a few more times, I'm sure.  It's play time for me.

Now you go play.