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In this episode we dive into the power of having someone like a fractional CFO (and fractional other titles for that matter) that can help you propel your business forward. Guest Michael Stier is an area President for FocusCFO of the Carolinas. FocusCFO is the leading onsite CFO services provider in the Southeast and Midwest, with over 125 professionals providing world-class fractional CFO support.

Show highlights include:

  • How to hire an executive level person to your team when your business isn’t big enough to afford a full time position for this (2:10) 
  • Why putting out fires every day in your company makes it impossible to work on your business so it grows (8:53) 
  • The one question you must answer if you want to sell your business someday (11:48) 
  • Here’s how to tell if your business is ready for a fractional CFO or not (15:27) 
  • Why a CFO makes getting bank loans or third-party investments a breeze (15:49) 
  • How connecting with a mentor lets you benefit from their biggest money-eating mistakes without making them yourself (21:41) 

If you’d like to connect with Michael and discover if a fractional CFO can help your business grow, you can find more info on their website at https://www.cfo.com/

To get the most out of this podcast, head over to https://buildernuggets.com and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.

Read Full Transcript

If you were coming in from the outside, would you buy your business now?

Welcome to builder nuggets hosted by Dwayne Johns and Dave young. Hey, our mission is simple, build freedom. We are a couple of entrepreneurs turned business coaches who have dedicated ourselves to helping our builder remodeler clients create the most rewarding businesses in the industry. My co-host Dwayne has been a successful builder and remodeler for over 30 years. He's seen the highs and the lows. From the beginning though, Dwayne has been on a quest to find a better way to run a contracting business. In 2016, he found that better way. That's how I met Dave, a lifelong entrepreneur and visionary who measures his success by the success of those around him. He reached out one day with a formula on how to transform my business and the rest is history. Since then, we've teamed up to help hundreds of contractors like you build better businesses and better lives. Now we've decided to open up our network and share our secrets so we can start moving the needle with you. It's collaboration over competition. Each week, we bring together industry peers and experts who share their stories so that we can all build freedom together.

(01:07): Today's guest is an area president for focus, CFO of the Carolinas focus. CFO is the leading on-site CFO services provider in the Southeast and Midwest with over 125 professionals providing world-class fractional CFO support in this

(01:20): We're all our guests works with owners of small and mid-sized businesses who are struggling to balance the financial Intel they need for success. This is frustrating for builders who once again doing it all themselves, don't have a trusted partner to help them think through things like cashflow management, growth, curves development of their business as an asset or strategic exit planning. You're about to learn how to solve some of that.

(01:44): Prior to focus CFO, he was founder and CEO and CFO of a small mid-sized business that went through an 18 year journey that concluded with the successful sale of the business after a two year strategic plan to do just that. It's my pleasure to welcome Michael stear to today's show. Welcome, Michael. Fantastic to be here. Thank you. Yeah. So, so right off the bat, I gotta ask Michael fractional CFO or fractional insert title here. Explain what that means to everyone.

(02:11): Yeah. Substitute part-time for fractional. And it tells you what you need. Not every business is large enough to warrant having need or can afford quite frankly, I'm a full-time, you know, executive level person to do job, whether it's chief financial officer, chief marketing, officer, chief operating officer, et cetera, the rational model is a great way for these smaller businesses to leverage that expertise and that experience without having to pay for a full-time body to do it.

(02:44): Yeah. And sometimes fractional can go the other way where it's like are everything to the business, you know, for over three, as a fraction as well. And when you're, when you're overdoing it yourself and you have to be more than a CFO, more than a CEO, it's tough. We see it all the time in this business. So it's an interesting, this is one of the reasons why Dwayne picked you out to be on the show. It's how do you spread that burden as an owner and how do you get access to resources that you would never be able to on your own? So, you know, we're looking forward to digging into that with you and happy to speak about it. I've had the same experience as just in my own business. I'm trying to figure that out.

(03:21): We all have and it's, and I know for Duane and I it's, you know, it's changed how we operate, bringing in, you know, we've got somebody who handles all of our accounting. Now, all of our marketing, you know, there's all sorts of aspects where if it's not your highest and best use, you should outsource it either to somebody else on your team. And if you don't have that, how do you go about getting it? And like you said, if you can't afford a dedicated resource or you're not at that stage, how do you get access to a piece of that knowledge? So, yeah,

(03:50): That's key too, because it's, yes, we have a targeted builder remodeler type audience, but it's small business at the end of the day in small businesses. I think a lot of them do struggle with that. Almost get paralyzed because something will come up and they go, I need a, and then they pause cause they realize it. I don't need that full-time or someone to come into. I really need to bring in, you know, a CFO full time or so I, that concept of being able to get pieces of it, fractional of it, but you're still getting a high level professional level services is very cool. So I'm excited to dive into that. So tell us a bit about your background. I mean, how did you end up with focus CFO,

(04:27): As you guys mentioned? You know, I, I was a business owner, myself, a founder started and ran a business for 18 years and then, you know, was knock on wood, was fortunate enough to build a two point where I had interest in, you know, people buying it. And so I was ready for that chapter of my career to take its natural end. And as I was searching for something different to do focus approach me, it folks has been around for about 20 years. Started up in the upper Midwest and I I'd say over the last 10 years or so, it's really developed dominant market share throughout the upper Midwest and then looked at the Southeast as an expansionary. And they approached me for helping kind of lead that charge into the Southeast. But what it did for me is I got to do things that I still really enjoy doing.

(05:15): My prior business was B2B and I loved working with other business owners. I spent 15 years traveling the country, probably literally speaking with hundreds of businesses about what their, what their unique business model is, how they're trying to get, how they're trying to grow, how they're trying to get operational scalability in their business. And ours was my prior business, a good partner for them to do that, you know, so great. But I love building those relationships and digging into their businesses. So with focus, I get to do the same thing, but now it's multi-industry so it's not just in my, in my prior industry, in financial services, I don't have to be on a plane every week. I don't have to manage scores of employees. I don't have to deal with private equity guys on my board anymore. So I'm doing the stuff I really enjoy with jettisoning out all the other stuff.

(06:00): That's pretty cool. How does somebody get started with figuring out the pieces that they need and walk us through that. It's probably, you know, a self-discovery they need first for where am I weak?

(06:13): It is. And the conversations are really interesting when I started talking to business owners that first were, I'm just seeking to understand, just getting to know them, getting to know their business a little bit more, but you know, if there was a sense on both sides that this is a need that they potentially have, I take them through a little exercise that just helps them kind of give themselves a poor quarter scorecard and how they're doing in their business and various aspects from the financial perspective, both from very tactical, very day-to-day to very strategic and just that exercise of kind of self scoring themselves and making them think about it. Oftentimes I get the oh my God, I can't believe I, I scored myself so poorly on these things and it's just it's just a great way of starting the conversation and we just talk about what their business needs or priorities. And we talk about how we work and if we're fit fantastic, we, we start to work together. So tell us a bit about that. How, how do you work?

(07:10): So, you know, like I said, it's a part-time basis are typically our CFO's, I'd say on average our, with a business a day, a week, sometimes a little bit more, sometimes a little bit less, depending on the business owner. And we approach our client service delivery model in a very EOS like fashion. And I know you guys have talked about us a lot, so we talk about what are the longer term goals, the shorter term goals down to, you know, what are the 90 day rocks that are, you know, are the priorities for our CFO within that business? And, you know, we take the owners through an exercise of kind of self articulating what those goals are and we prioritize. And that's how we work with them on their business to see if I was in there, like I said, on a weekly basis, working on those priorities. And then I stay involved on a, more like a monthly, a quarterly basis helping keep a focus beyond just the quarterly rocks, but, you know, strategically where they wanted to go with their business and try to keep that level of cadence going as well,

(08:09): Always had trash involved with, with this stuff. What are, what are the biggest misconceptions or what are the biggest obstacles you face when you're going through that interview with the owner there, there's gotta be some things that come up on a regular basis that are just ingrained in the entrepreneur that, that they struggle with. And this is probably going to resonate with builders who have found their selves themselves in similar circumstances.

(08:31): Yeah. And just like most of your other podcasts while this is a builder focused podcasts, most of the stuff you talk about is not specifically related to bill assist the same thing here with owners, the head trash is, do I need to be the smartest guy in the room, or should I surround myself with people who are a lot smarter than me? That's one so that, you know, the coachable side of it, getting them to think about how to step out of working in the business on a day-to-day basis and starting to think about what do I need to do on my business to make it better, to improve it, to hit my goals. That trash is sometimes difficult because you know, this is owners and I was guilty of it as many times as is everybody else. You know, you get caught up fighting the day-to-day fires and you don't necessarily step out enough to do that.

(09:20): And that's one of the benefits of bringing in an outside resource and outside perspective, whether it's a CFO oriented, the other fractional ones that we were talking about before you get the perspective of somebody who not only is not in there finding your day to day fires, but not necessarily even came out of your industry and provides better perspectives, asked the really good questions, right? Sometimes the painful questions about what's going on with your business and what are real priorities were not real priorities and kind of peel away the sacred cows of what might be in your business.

(09:51): And when you do have somebody buy in and a, they decided they're going to go for it and they start to implement this. You must've seen some dramatic turnarounds share with us. A couple of success stories is it's always great to hear what happens when it works. If you think to some of about some of your clients that came from this place, where are they able to get to, or where are they able to elevate themselves to, by thinking this way and taking action and actually implementing these types of resources,

(10:19): Success stories. There's a lot of ways to measure that, right? And there's kind of short term and longer term ones. So as I think about it, even in a short-term perspective, helping owners get out of being completely consumed by the day to day fires that are burning in their business. And just being able to say, all right, we are my CFO, we've got these, we'll take care of these. You start focusing on some other things, just even those little subtle mind shifts, help or helping them think through, you know, which employees are actually doing a great job for them and our great resources, or it should be developed and expanded and where sometimes it's not working or client relationships or any of those kinds of things, we kind of force that that, that critical valuation of what what's good in the business and what's not, but you know, then, then I can step all the way forward in saying, Hey, you know, a fantastic outcome is when we lose a client, because a, they, we, they gotten healthy enough and built enough value that they were attracted to somebody else and they got bought and we don't need them anymore.

(11:21): Or they grow large enough where, you know, they ultimately, eventually you're going to say, you know, we probably need a full-time CFO at this point because we're now instead of 10 million in revenue where 60 million revenue or whatever, whatever the numbers are to me, those, you know, losing clients like that are great success stories. I love sharing as many of those as possible along the way, but the exit is kind of the cool part because, you know, we've had some, I've talked to some owners where, you know, they, they spent, they're already in this business for 20 years and you know, they're starting to get up in age a little bit probably closer to my vintage, then your guys, they're starting to think about, oh, this, this was supposed to be my retirement plan. And I look at them and sometimes you know, the business is great, has a lot of values. I look at him, I go, if you were coming in from the outside, would you buy your business now? And you know, when they, they kind of look at you and they get that puppy on and they go, ah, no, not really. You know, that's what we need to fix. Right? So being able to owner, sell to Milly, exit their business and have a retirement. That's a big deal.

(12:28): When you exit your job, if you exit a business, you should be able to retire. But if your business is just a job, you got nothing and exiting a job is like exiting any other job, that's it doesn't come with residuals usually. Usually.

(12:42): Yeah. No. And it's usually a painful way to exit. Yeah. Usually there's some feelings that are getting hurt along the way. I mean, and you guys talk about this, I think in a prior podcast, you know, you meet two kinds of business owners, right? Those, those say, well, as Ashley, I have two different versions of that, right? Those, those who plan for an exit and do all the steps, they need to be able to exit on their terms. And those who are forced to exit, because circumstances caught up with them. And then, you know, the converse side of that one is there's owners who are building a business of value, their value builders. And those are just lifestyle owners, right. For what it's worth. And then it's done.

(13:24): Yeah. One of my mentors, Rob talks about building an investment grade business and it's not done in the construction world and something that we're working hard towards, we call it building freedom, but it's that ability to build a business that can run without you, that a passive investor could look at and say, I would like to put my money into acquiring businesses like this. I want to be in a, I want something in the, you know, custom home building sector. And I look at these businesses and I could just go invest capital into there and be a shareholder. And that would produce a nice revenue stream for me says no one ever right now in our business. So if you build your business around that mindset so that anybody could come in here and own a piece of it and not have to do all the work, because that's what happens. The new owner comes in, they're buying it because their job is set up for them when there's a business that they can run. But a lot of the time they are, it's the only, you're only audience is someone who's going to step in and fill your shoes. And that's, you know, not a business at all. That's just roll replacement.

(14:30): I'm thinking here, and maybe you could help the listeners just so who needs a fractional CFO. And I guess if, if you could keep the builder remodeler in mind, but, and I'm sure there's there's cases where someone that's just starting up someone that's, you know, maybe mid-life cycle someone that's exiting, but if you could give it just a few examples of what that CFO could do, and I'm picturing in my mind, you know, the business owner, that's trying to do this stuff on his own trying to make maybe some of these financial decisions or, or forecasting or whatever the case may be. Give us some examples of how some of those different phases bringing in someone like a fractional CFO can just change the mix. You know what I mean? To speed things up, may help help you to make the decisions easier.

(15:09): And I think to go along with that, maybe look, share with everyone a little bit about some of the things, the detail work that that CFO is doing. And the advice that they're giving probably will help our audience discover, Hey, am I in the wheelhouse for this right now? Is this something that

(15:26): Be looking at it? So taking a step back from that, what is, yeah. How do you simply start that conversation about when should somebody bring in a CFO? It's really at the point when you, when you first started business, you know, you'll have an outside account and you'll have your tax CPA and they're essentially backward looking professionals. What happened? I got to follow your tax or Fern, whatever. When you get to a point where you need to start forward-looking, then that's the time that you need to CFO in place, whether it's cashflow, forecasting, you know, shining a magnifying glass on your numbers, what does it tell you about where your business is going? What's profitable. What's not profitable. We have areas that are growth and we need to get financing, but you know, the banks are not really talking to us because we don't have our, our, our act together.

(16:18): We don't have the story to tell. And, you know, I think that that's a big piece of what the CFO does is that a, he forces the hard questions and the hard discussions, but then takes the data about your business and turns it not only into information, but turns it into a story right into a, into a narrative that describes where your business is going. Obviously you need to believe that and you have to, it has to reflect what you're saying, but then that is what helps bring in the finance people as well. It brings in the bankers, the credit analysts, because they need that story in order to make a decision about whether or not you're a credit worthy partner. So it's that forward looking and now SIS and, and turning it into strategy and narrative, I think really sums up what a CFO brings. Maybe that's too high level.

(17:06): No, that's all right. And we would tend to agree with you that, you know, your bookkeeper and your accountant, they're able to tell you, you are here. They can get, you caught up to date and say, here's the current snapshot of what things look like. And good ones can tell you, here's some things that have gone wrong and maybe give you some suggestions for how to clean things up a little bit. And most of them will focus on telling you what you've done, right?

(17:30): Yeah. This will cost you too much. You can't do it. So the, the metaphor I like to use is you remember the, a couple of decades ago that the big station wagons with a third row, it's not the back window. So you're not to be pejorative, but it's still like, you know, your bookkeeper, your tax, CPA, your account, they're all the ones who are sitting in that third row, looking out the back window. Your CFO is the guy who sitting at the seat next to you in front with the map, helping you navigate where you're going. I think that's one of the best metaphor. That's great. We had three of those in a row growing up the Oldsmobile custom cruiser. Exactly. Any of them have wood

(18:08): Paneling on the side. All three of them had the woodgrain. Two of them were the same color too. So it was a, I can tell you as a kid coming from north of Toronto, driving to Florida for three days and vinyl seats in that wagon. Wow. Luxury. Exactly. And, and of course, no seatbelts never used them back then.

(18:29): Yeah. You would take them off to lie down. The looking forward thing is is so important because you get stuck in your daily. You know, this is what I'm looking at. This is, you know, you don't have any new ideas coming without somebody to collaborate with. And you need that trusted advisor. Who's not just going to tell you what to do, but is going to interview you and say, well, what have you tried already? What could we try again? And when we're working with, you know, our controllers who are, you know, fractional controllers and we have a fractional CFO, and you could say in the, in what we're doing, they're providing leadership around. Well, what if you did this in your business? What would it look like if you charge for project management time or you increased project management time, they're asking the questions about the subtleties of the business and collaborating with you on them so that you can share your local knowledge and what you've already experienced, or where you've gotten knocked on your butt, but they will also then challenge you to say, well, maybe you were presenting it wrong.

(19:25): And again, this is where business coaching comes in. A lot of times, a lot of the builders we speak to have tried something and think that it doesn't work because they tried it a couple of times, but they haven't really learned how to implement it. And having strategists like a business coach, like a CFO to just dig in with you and see some of the classic mistakes you're making. These are the things that you can get out of your way and start to elevate yourself. So you must see that a lot too, where people think that they've tried something, but they really haven't. They were interested in it, but they weren't committed.

(19:58): Exactly. You know, and I, I see that in my kind of discovery conversations I have with owners, you know, you'll get the exact thing, oh, I've tried that before it didn't work. And then all you need to do is just ask a couple simple questions. Tell me about that. And it comes out pretty quickly that they kind of, they either didn't do it with any kind of real sense of urgency or commitment to it, or they just, you know, they made mistakes and they weren't really committed to the whole thing. Want to level up, connect with us to share your stories, ideas, challenges,

(20:30): The builder nuggets community is built on your experiences. It takes less than a minute to connect with us@buildingnuggets.com, Facebook or Instagram on access to the resources that can take you and your team to the next level. One call could change everything.

(20:45): Part of what I like. And I know we're not talking specifically about firms or whatever here, but part of what I like to do, and this is part of focus. That's so unique versus traditional CFOs is that we bring in that business overlay. You've got folks like myself, you know, I've got the CFOs who are CFOs, but you got the folks like myself, who the market presidents who by and large were all former business owners are, we've been through all that. I've been through the pain. I have more battle scars and most business owners myself. And you just, you talk about that. And I share, you know, all the dumb things that I did along the way. I remember when I first read traction, you know, the U S book, I was in the car listening to an audio book on the way to visit my daughter and the entire three hours. I was yelling to myself, oh, I shouldn't have done that. That would have been great. You know, all those things that, you know, I wish we had done back then. So, you know, I get to share those experiences good and bad with the owners

(21:41): And think about that as a, as a potential client for this stuff, you get the benefit of all those mistakes before you have to make them yourself, right? So it's like, Hey, I wish I had read this sooner. I w I wish I had done this sooner. If that's not motivation to at least discover what this could mean for your business, you know, so you don't look back and say, wow, I would have avoided all those mistakes for 10 years. Think of where my business would be. Yeah. You know, but curiosity can eliminate regret is you know, if you're curious and open-minded one of the paths to making sure that you're living the best life and creating freedom for yourself is not be afraid to, to have somebody else ask you the questions. I'm gonna have to write that one down, Dave. Yeah. I've never used it before. That's a brand new discovery for me,

(22:27): Builder nugget. There's a nugget right there. And the same thing, you know, with you know, my own personal journey, having gone through the whole process and ultimately selling my business and exit was a catalyst for me to go and get my certification as an exit planning advisor, because while I've been through it, and I can talk about all the war stories and all that, that I went through, my journey was my journey. It was one potential exit path, and there are so many different paths, you know, that that journey can take an owner through and understanding all of those things. And a lot of times it's, you know, the business side of exit planning is just one component of it. One dimension of it, the personal side. I think you guys have talked about this as Samir on the podcast as well is just as important as you, my role as being, you know, the prompt, the catalyst, pour of salt in wounds, whatever, whatever metaphor you want to work to get business owners to think about preparing themselves personally. And, you know, in some cases, the family, as well as the business for, for that ultimate exit journey that takes place.

(23:34): And the irony is if you do it right from day one, you actually don't really need a specific exit strategy. You've just built a saleable business from the beginning. And what you need to decide at the end is what my different options are because you're probably going to be attractive to multiple buyers. It becomes a completely different problem that you're solving when when you get to that stage because of your options. It's like, do I want it, you know, talking about fractional here, do I want to, do we want to do fractional ownership? Do I want to bring in other owners, do I want to get bought out in pieces? That's the fractional element of this, right, right here as well. Or do I want to turn it over to a family members or somebody on my team that I can elevate? Is there an institutional buyer? Like, there's all kinds of things when you build one of these things that, that just start to emerge, but Dwayne's always big on pulling people speak to the fire around taking action and being accountable. Dwayne, talk about that for a second.

(24:36): When I think about the fractional idea, it's what a great solution, you know, when people are stuck and maybe get up against the wall, thinking that this was too daunting, I don't need that. That's too much of an investment that, that the concept of being able to bring somebody on on a fractional basis, I think is huge. I mean, it's, it's something that you can get positive results from, and I'm sure you can customize these things, you know, as far as what level of, of help do you need? You know, some folks are gonna need to obviously a lot more time than others, but I think about the also would, this is the flexibility on all the different things. We talked a little bit about exit strategy, but I'm thinking about right now, when it comes to, especially on the builder side of thing, remodeler side of things, we're dealing with inflation material costs, labor costs, there's there's stuff that are going to dramatically affect the bottom lines of businesses.

(25:24): And that's more than just a, just a quick discussion or a look back at your credit reports from the last few months, you know, that is serious, strategic thinking, looking forward with someone like a CFO around all these little dials that you have to turn, you don't just answer it with all the way we'll just raise your rates. We'll raise your market. You've got to look at all these things strategically. How is that going to position you with your competition? What's your growth plans for the next few years? What, how are our costs going to fit into all of this? I mean, those are the conversations that you have to have. If you're truly thinking about growing your business and setting yourself up for success, why not bring in someone with those professional skills to help you navigate through that? Because you're going to fumble through it on your own. You'll try stuff. You're probably going to end up getting into that look back model, you know of, Hey, well, well, oh, I tried that. Let me look back. And how did that work out over the last six months where, you know, partnering with someone and really focusing on the next three, six months, 12 months, way more powerful.

(26:22): And again, like, do you guys say, and it's not just limited to fractional CFOs. You know, we work a lot with fractional heads of sales that bring that strategic view, but the, you know, the commonalities, you know, then all pretty seasoned, experienced professionals. And just like I said, you know, I've made tons of mistakes in the past. We've all learned from that from our past experiences, you know, the good, the good decisions and the bad decisions and bringing that now to the benefit of owners, multiple owners is, you know, the, the owner of themselves get the benefit of it. And, you know, it's, it's very satisfying and gratifying to those of us who are in this industry now.

(27:01): Yeah, well, that, that coach gets a lot of perspective from the different businesses that they're working on. And it's like, what we're doing in this podcast. We, we bring the things that we learned from guests like you to the, you know, to people on the show or people that we're coaching or interacting with in, in some way. It's about the collection of knowledge too. Not just the, not just imparting it, but I'm going to flip the script on you for a second, a little bit, because you mentioned earlier on in the show about how you go about selecting and interviewing a potential client or a builder or a business owner to work with. This is a reciprocal arrangement. How does a business owner go about interviewing a CFO that may have been selected, a fractional CFO? What are the things the business owners should be asking and looking for in a good relationship with a fractional CFO?

(27:51): That's a great question. So in our experience, most fractional CFO that you may come across, there are sole practitioners, but in our particular case, I have a team of CFOs. And part of what I'm trying to do as I can in getting to know business owners is figure out who may be the best fit personality wise, you know, complimentary from a perspective, personality perspective, et cetera, because, you know, I, I tell folks, you know, a good, most good CFOs can handle 80, 90% of what you need to do. Any of them can do that. But in this model, the CFO is one of your trusted advisors. And presumably this is going to be, you know, a somewhat long-term relationship. In our particular case, our average client relationship length is over six years. You need to want to be able to work with that person. And you want that CFO.

(28:39): You want to be comfortable that CFO's going to be pouring into your management team on a long-term basis. What we do is I spend a lot of time personality profiling in to know them and ultimately part of the defending process we come in and we spend a lot of time just getting to know each other and say, this is, does this feel like a good fit between the owner and the CFO? And it's gotta be both ways by CFOs can veto. We don't want a client arrangement. Cause they, you know, they don't think it's going to be a good fit. And then I'll bring in somebody else.

(29:07): After a deep dive, you want to both be like, you're going to be successful your boat. You both want to add value to each other. I mean, that's, you got to look at it that way. If you're going to put them on your team, you can't just look at it as this is a resource that's coming in, that's going to give me something it's like, what can I do with this resource? So that's what real collaboration is. And sometimes you get caught in that trap because you're paying for something you feel like they're providing you. They're just a service provider. That's where you miss out on the opportunity to collaborate and elevate them as well and work the work together and put stuff in place. That's going to move the needle instead of just taking, you know, what can I do with this versus what can it do for,

(29:44): Right. Exactly. And can I add value? I mean, that's how we look at a relationship. Can we add value to this business, the owner and to the business, you know, and is the recipe right? And the greens right there to do that. And if not, we're, we're all mature enough and secure enough to say this, this relationship is not going to, it's not a good fit. We'll find the next one.

(30:04): I want to be a commodity. Thanks. I feel like you're going to grind me and pressure me and do all of those things that don't give me the freedom to impart what we need to do and go on the same mission together. And if there isn't a mission,

(30:18): Why bother? So Michael, if we've got some listeners out there that are going, man, you know, I think I could maybe this is something that I need. I'm thinking of one way to hold, hold their feet to the fire to take some action is maybe you could just run us through a couple of those. What are a couple of those questions you ask early in the game that challenge people.

(30:35): We have this graphic, this metaphor to talks about how we work with business owners. And it's basically a pyramid with four layers. The bottom is foundational and then it's health, then it's growth and then it's ultimately value. And the only reason I bring that up is because I actually organize the questions along that way, because we try to take them ultimately in our relationship, we try to take them up the pyramid. You know, sometimes it's quick, our charity, sometimes it's the longer journey, but eventually we get up there. So the questions are, it could be as basic. Is, are you, are you getting accurate financial statements on a regular basis to, you know, you, you know, you have a good relationship with your bank or, you know, do you have good processes in place? I mean, then it goes into, are you able to forecast Ukraine, ed, strategic planning on a regular basis?

(31:17): Do you understand which products and customers are your most profitable and least profitable? And then ultimately, you know, have you gotten business valuation in the last three years or five years? Do you know what your goals are? Right. And so it kind of moves up that chain and they get the score themselves. Here's the one mistake we made mistakes. We used to have a score on a one to five scale and I'm going to redo that cause you never give them an odd number of choices because owners will always default to the middle when they can't figure it out. This is what

(31:50): Good information, you know, it's very, very helpful. I think it's getting some folks thinking about some things that they can, they can add into their business for sure. What have you got coming down coming down the path over the next six months a year. So what are you excited about?

(32:02): Quite frankly, we're relatively newish into the Carolinas marketplace and it's just been a little bit over a year since I first started with the farm. And you know, the traction is sorry, pun intended. I guess the traction is starting to really build. And so we're trying to add more CFOs to our team because we have a demand supply imbalance of, of folks trying to add more business owners, strategists like myself onto the team who work different, different parts of the market. Besides just, you know, we have Charlotte Metro, we have the triad, I'm talking to somebody now in Wilmington area, we're in Denver going south down to Greenville. We're really trying to expand this cause there's, there's so many, this is such an entrepreneurial environment. And there's so many businesses and business owners of varying sizes here. And there's, there's this tremendous opportunity. And you know, I think w we bring we bring a pretty strong methodology client service delivery methodology to it that it's just not a sole practitioner. It's just kind of winging it off the side. So I look forward to this thing, you know, it's, it's the entrepreneur me.

(33:04): Yeah, you can feel it. You're building, you're building our business instead of your business. That's what it comes down to is you've got people who still love to do it, a huge need for it. And in our industry in particular, you know, people doing awareness lane says wearing a lot of hats on their own need. Some people to come to collaborate with. Don't always feel comfortable collaborating with their competitors or sharing their war stories with, you know, with the people immediately around them. So surrounding yourself with experts who want to drive your business and are committed to it and who have been there, you gotta be pretty exciting because a lot of builders don't know who to turn to. You know, they, they try and get what they can from an HBA or from a builder 20 group. But when you get down to these individual disciplines, whether it's a fractional marketing person, a CFO, like you said, a business development person, these are all things that they want to work on and learn about and could, you could use help with. So, yeah, thanks for investing your time in and all of us today. So

(34:02): For the listeners out there, if they want to connect with you or learn a little bit more about what you're doing,

(34:06): Can they find you focus? Cfo.Com is our website. We're all on there. All of my 125 ish teammates are all listed there. So they could, you could find me there, or you could find, you know, if you're up in the Midwest and you're in Ohio or Pittsburgh or Indianapolis, whatever you could find, you know, the local representative there as well, you know, my counterpart. So it's easy to find, appreciate

(34:31): I've enjoyed the conversations you and I have had even prior to the podcast, best of luck to what you're doing here. I think it's a really a fantastic need in the market for small business. And thanks again for taking the time to join us.

(34:42): Thank you and kudos to you guys for what you're doing. I mean, this is terrific. You could almost just change T builder out of nugget and builder nuggets and just make it business nuggets. You guys, what you guys cover 90% is any small business owner

(34:55): That's been suggested before. And, you know, we we appreciate hearing that. That's really, what we're trying to do is help, you know, it started with builders, but anybody who's interested in creating freedom for themselves and opportunity for other people, most of the stuff works in any business. Agree, appreciate the time.

Hey, thanks for listening. Dwayne and I love hearing from you. Your stories are inspiring and your challenges can be overcome. Got a cool tip? Idea for a show? Problem that you haven't been able to solve or maybe just struggling to figure out what you need next and where to get it. We can help. Hit us up at BuilderNuggets.com and start building freedom.

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