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CNBC’s The Profit: A Lack of Communication Cripples Car Cash


Marcus Lemonis says that people are the reason so many businesses fail in America. And he made his point loud and clear on the premiere of his new TV series The Profit.

CNBC The Profit

(The Profit: Marcus Lemonis — Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/CNBC)

Marcus Lemonis is a serial entrepreneur who lives to buy failing businesses. He fixes their problems then resells them for a huge profit. But on The Profit, he’s not in it to buy up the company. Instead, he’ll be helping entrepreneurs get their businesses back on track with an infusion of advice and cash. In return, he gets portion of future profits so there’s a lot at stake for everyone involved.

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In the premiere episode, Marcus visited Car Cash, an auto buying business in New York run by two brothers, Jonathan and Andrew.  Their father created the company back in the 1970s as hassle free way to sell a used car. But as often happens in a family business, personal issues are now eating into the bottom line.

Younger brother Andrew has a lot of great ideas but big brother Jon isn’t interested in hearing any of it. There’s no communication going on between them and that’s led to $200,000 in debt and a loss of thousands of dollars per month.

A lack of communication in the workplace is bad for business on so many levels. According to a recent Harris Survey, 34% of workers said that communication bottlenecks impact their productivity. 19% said they don’t feel like they’re being properly commended for their contributions and 60% said they’re prefer not to communicate with senior managers.

So why aren’t people communicating? Jon of Car Cash had plenty of reasons for not listening to his brother, but none of them were very good.

I don’t have time to listen

Jon said that listening to his brother’s ideas took up valuable time that he needed to run the business. But the truth is, many of Andrew’s ideas would help cut down the amount of time needed to get things done.

What the brothers need to do is plan an out of the office meeting at least twice a month. That way Jon won’t be able to push Andrew away in favor of a ringing phone or new customer.

It’s already working so why change it?

Jon handles the radio advertising for the company even though advertising is Andrew’s job. When Andrew brings up the subject of trying a new type of commercial, Jon stops him dead with an “it ain’t broke, so why fix it?”

What Jon doesn’t realize is that it is broke because if it was working, the company wouldn’t be losing money every month. It can be hard to give up on the old ways, but Andrew needs to insist that they try something new on a regular basis. If it doesn’t work, they can always go back to the old ways. But it’s more than likely that a fresh approach will help.

New ideas cost money.

Car Cash is cash poor, so Jon doesn’t want to hear any of his brother’s grand ideas. Sure, a fresh coat of paint and a fleet of mobile estimators would be nice. But there’s no money, so why discuss it?

While it’s true that there’s no money for improvements at the moment, talk is cheap. If the brothers put their heads together, they might come up with a way to barter for services or creatively finance a few key items that will help them get ahead.

Though most of the communication problems stemmed from big brother Jon, Andrew wasn’t totally blameless. He’s half owner in the company, yet he lets his brother run over him, even embarrass him in front of the workers.

Marcus left him with a piece of advice everyone can use to deal with a naysayer in the workplace: nothing shuts people up like performance. Get it done and they’ll have to listen.

What Do You Think?

How do you deal with a co-worker that won’t listen to new ideas? Leave your comments below or tell us about it on Twitter.

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