What toothpaste has to do with budgeting, which has to do with life.

I reached that point.

You know what I’m talking about.

When you get to the end of the tube of toothpaste . . . and you’re just trying to squeeze out just another drop.  Or even a half a drop.  You roll it.  You press it.  You stuff your toothbrush bristles into the nozzle itself just to get a little bit of that pearly goo.

I practically broke a brush-vessel last night, as I wrestled a couple more dabs of Crest from my tube.  And during my struggle, I had an epiphany.

I harkened back to a few nights before when I was in a rush and squeezed so much toothpaste onto my brush that I had to wipe half of it off.  Or the week before that when I shot some toothpaste into the sink and missed my brush entirely.

“If only I hadn’t wasted that paste along the way, I wouldn’t be squeezing so hard today,” I thought.

I wasted the paste.

Then I realized how many Off Broadway shows, Broadway shows, and so many other businesses do the same with their budgets.

They start their shows and spend money like they’ve got a never-ending ”tube” of the stuff. . . only to find themselves months or weeks later, in serious trouble, trying to squeeze out just a bit more so they’ll make it to the next week!

And it kind of works, just like it does with toothpaste.  You can usually get a few more performances out of the show.

But the run usually ends prematurely anyway.  And they spend the last week or so scrambling and sweating to make it all happen.

What if, however, we started our shows like we were at the end of the tube run?  What if we built an economic model that included the cuts and reductions that almost all shows institute when they’re in trouble?  (I bet it’s 70% of shows.)

Most Broadway shows don’t do this.

Instead, they’re built for perfect economic storms, that usually never come.

My advice to you? Your operating budget for your opening week should be built as if you’ve been told it’s your last operating week.  Squeeze every drop out from the beginning of the run, and you’ll end up with a much longer, and more profitable one.  And less work along the way!

I promised you that this blog would also have a life lesson as well, so here goes . . . and get ready, cuz this one is going to get serious.

I’ve talked about saving toothpaste . . . I’ve talked about saving money.

But you know what this metaphor of mine is really for?


The most valuable asset of all.

Don’t wait until the end of your days to try and squeeze a bit more out of life. Toothpaste and money actually don’t mean crap compared to time. If you want to do something . . . anything . . . start it now, today. Don’t waste the paste!

If you want more tips on how to get started today, click here.


  • DW says:

    Really well written piece Ken and so so True.

    Ive witnessed it for over 3 decades. Im glad you included Business in general because you can witness it everywhere if you pay close enough attention. Ive witnessed more than a few times in over 3 decades of business. Currently witnessing it with a few companies now. Sadly, its more the rule than the exception. It cant be taught. Some cant even learn it but the smarter ones can. The innovators can. The ones willing to put in the work can.

    Sometimes early results are promising and profitable and you scale up way too early and it isnt sustainable. Ive seen that too.

    The more seasoned the professional, the more likely they will be the ones pinching the tube early because they too have made the same mistakes early in their careers. Its one of those lessons you hope you learn early.

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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