Playing your way to success – the Crazy 8’s of Business…!

On a personal note, I would like to dedicate this post to my Uncle Al Robke who recently played his last hand on earth, may he rest in peace. 

The earliest playing cards date back to around 1000 A.D., originating in China, before spreading into Europe and beyond.  The oldest known 52 card deck is existence is believed to have been made between 1465-1480.   Although games like Poker, Pitch (Uncle Al’s favorite), & Black Jack may be some of the most popular, a fun game I remember as a kid was Crazy Eights.

Crazy Eights is a game where the goal is to be the first to get rid of all your cards.  Eights are the power card, not only are they wild, they are also worth 50 points.   So if another player goes out and you have an “8” in your hand, the winning player gets 50 points for the “8” in your hand.   There is some strategy involved because you want to play your “8’s” timely.  Though, it is simple enough a 4 yr. old can participate, making it a great family card game.

When it comes to business, there is another set of Crazy Eights that you should pay attention to.   This group of Crazy Eights are the eight key drivers that add value to your business.  In the game, Crazy Eights the winning player is rewarded for having played their cards wisely (there is some luck involved).  And likewise, in business, the owner(s) of a business are rewarded by adding value to their business when they focus on these crazy eight key drivers.


What are the crazy eight drivers of business value?  

They’re listed below, followed by questions that should give you some indication of how well your business is doing with each driver….

1) Financial Performance:  How well is your business performing financially.  How accurate are your financials?  What is your top line revenue and your bottom line revenue?  Can you defend your numbers?

2) Growth Potential:  Is the demand for your product growing?  Is it something you can scale?  What is the future of your business?   If the demand for your product increased 5X overnight could you respond?

3) Switzerland Structure: How independent is your business?  Is more than 15% of your business coming from one customer?  Are you overly dependent on a couple key employees?  Do you rely too much on one supplier?

4) Valuation Teeter Totter:  If someone were to buy your business, how much capital would be required to fund the business until revenue from the business would cover operating costs?   Businesses that require less capital upfront typically are valued higher.

5)  Reoccurring Revenue: Do you have one and done customers or do you have repeat customers?  There are 6 types of reoccurring revenue: Simple Consumables, Sunk Money Consumables, Subscription Revenue, Sunk Money Subscription, Auto-Renewal, & Contract Revenue.  These are listed in order of value with Contract Revenue being the most valuable.

6) Monopoly Control:  This simply means you have some control over how you price your product or service.  Two simple questions to ask yourself are:  Does our product or service make us different?  Do our customers care?

7) Customer Satisfaction:  Are you measuring your customer satisfaction?  How likely are your customers to repurchase from you?   How likely are they to recommend you to someone else?   Assumptions don’t count when it comes to this answer.  If you don’t know maybe it is time to find out.

8) Hub & Spoke:  How dependent is your business on YOU?   If you left for a week what would happen?  What about 2 weeks or a month?   Does everything funnel through you or a couple key people in the business?  Is there a division or department that has an information hoarder for a leader?


Most card games require some level of strategy if you want to improve your chances of winning.  Likewise, if you want to win the game of business long term these are proven ways to increase your chances.  If you’re curious about how your business scores with these Crazy Eight Business Drivers, here’s where you can get your current score: Aspire Value Builder Score. (Note – it’s a quick online assessment that won’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes or so).

If you would like to learn more about card games check out The Bicycle Card Company site.  With summer family vacation time heating up and the constant temptation of electronics in our faces, they have an appropriate marketing message to consider: “Let’s Disconnect To Reconnect”.

BONUS: Instructional YouTube Video of Uncle Al’s favorite: “How to Play 10 Point Pitch

So what about you?  How is your business doing on the 8 value drivers of business?   Did some of the answers to the questions excite you or scare you?    What about cards, do you have a favorite game you enjoy playing?    As always we value all your comments in the space below. 

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach