Welcome to The 6 a.m. CFO, where finance chiefs share how they jump-start their days and engage with the tasks that are in front of them.
Today, Singing Machine's Lionel Marquis shares how he likes to keep future thoughts in mind, how consistency makes working in a team easier, and how he beats stress by adding in a pre-lunch activity.
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Consumer karaoke product provider (at-home and in-car karaoke entertainment products)
Size: 33 - 40 employees
- Annual Revenue: $45 million in 2021
Weekday wake-up time and the first thing I like to do: Wake-up time for me is 6:00 a.m. without any prompting from an alarm clock and it has been years since I used one. The first thing I like to do is check out the financial news and headlines prior to mentally planning my work for the day.
Coffee, tea, or other morning beverage choice: My beverage of choice is carbonated flavored water from Lacroix or Polar Seltzer. I’m hyper enough without pumping any caffeine into my system, however, I like to stay hydrated in the morning to keep the energy stream alive. On those rare occasions when I might drink coffee, my staff can always tell and they know they are all in for a flurry of tasks over and above their usual responsibilities when I’m on that caffeine high.
Workday start time: I am old school and enjoy being the first or second person into the office at 7:00 a.m. when no one is around and the phones and local emails are quiet.
How I usually spend the first hour of my day: The first hour of my day is usually spent reading emails from our Hong Kong office and responding quickly as there is a 12-hour time lag. They will normally respond quickly if I get the email responses to them before 8:00 a.m. in the morning.
Cash is "king" so I generally look at our cash position the first thing to see what cash has been received before I look at any other dashboards.
The time I send out my first email: My first email generally goes out at about 7:30 a.m. responding to Hong Kong office personnel.
Best advice for writing an effective email: I strive to make my emails as brief and to the point as possible. I make significant use of bullet points. This is how I like to see emails coming my way so I can get directly to the substance and make the best use of my time.
First dashboard I review: Cash is "king" so I generally look at our cash position the first thing to see what cash has been received before I look at any other dashboards.
How I structure my morning meetings: Most of my morning meetings are pre-scheduled and we keep things moving. I always have a meeting with my general accounting manager for briefing and to set expectations from our staff for the day.
Mid-morning snack of choice: I’m not a big snacker. I adhere to the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule unless we have one of our in-office-themed “potluck” events where I could be tempted to try just about anything.
Inspiration and Leadership
Favorite quote or mantra: A quote I heard at my daughter’s college graduation, “You must always fall forward” has always resonated with me. I may be somewhat old school, but I am not a nostalgic person. I don’t live in the past and most actions I take, whether it is work-related or personal, have some sort of future thought in mind.
Favorite leadership lesson: Consistency is the key. I’m not a yeller or a screamer. My team knows what to expect of me on a consistent basis and that makes it easier to work with everyone as a team.
The stress level tends to build each day as the morning progresses, so I generally will walk about one and a half to two miles just before I eat lunch and think about anything but work.
Something important to know about me that you wouldn’t know from my business bio: I was a second-semester junior in college when I decided to quit school and become a full-time musician working keyboards and lead vocals with local bands in New England where I grew up. As we are a Karaoke machine distributor, I’m reminded of that life I left behind in my late twenties to pursue my accounting/finance degree, CPA certification, and my life’s career.
Can you share one way you have learned to manage work-induced stress: The stress level tends to build each day as the morning progresses, so I generally will walk about one and a half to two miles just before I eat lunch and think about anything but work. I usually come back from lunch refreshed and ready to work the cycle all over again in the afternoon.
Favorite number: My favorite number is 12. Please don’t hate me for this, but while I have been in Florida since 1980, my roots are in New England and, yes, I am a Patriots fan and, yes, I am a Tom Brady #12 fan of the GOAT!
Most noteworthy items in my workspace: While I do utilize our shared Outlook Calendar Excel, some old habits die hard. I still have my At-A-Glance turn-the-page calendar which I use as much for scrap paper as I do for calendar planning, a good old Rolodex that I haven't touched in years, and, of course, my ever-handy 10-key calculator which I’m still fairly adept at.
Favorite app on my phone that is not related to business: My favorite app on my phone is Facebook. I’m not one to sit there and post, but I do have a lot of old and new friends that I really enjoy keeping up with all their activities. If I do post, it is short and to the point just like I try to do with my emails.
When do you take time for learning/reading: My time for reading and learning is generally after work hours and on Saturdays as I try to keep Sundays to participate in mindless activities and give that active brain a break before starting the next weekly cycle.