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Building an Enduring Business: The Three Pillars of Success

Published by Summit Marketing Team on 09 Aug 2023

The Virtual CPA Success Show: Episode 91


Jody and Jamie chat with Natalie Eckdahl, Founder of BizChix, to discuss the three pillars of building an enduring business: enjoyable, profitable, and sustainable. They emphasize the importance of enjoying your work, rating clients and team members, and taking action to improve low-performing team members. They also discuss the pillars of profitability and sustainability, stressing the importance of maintaining a sustainable pace in the company and understanding the financial aspects of the business.



[00:00:20] Jamie: Hello everybody. Welcome to today's episode. Very excited about this episode. We actually did a little bit of pre-show today. Normally we don't do that, but we couldn't stop talking to this guest, so we spent about 25 minutes pre-showing and it was a really fun time and I'm excited to get all this recorded. So first, wanna welcome to the show, Jody, once again. 

[00:00:37] Jody: Yep. Thanks Jamie. 

[00:00:38] Jamie: And our guest is Natalie Eckdahl. She's joining us from bizchix.com and I'm gonna let her tell us a little bit more about herself. 

[00:00:44] Natalie: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. I host the Bizchix podcast, so if anyone's enjoying this podcast they might enjoy the Bizchix podcast too.

[00:00:52] And I own a training company for women entrepreneurs, and we help marketers, consultants, and financial professionals scale their business by building an enduring business, which I consider to be enjoyable, profitable, and sustainable. 

[00:01:08] Jamie: Great. In our pre-show, we talked a little bit about the three pillars, and I think that's what you listed there.

[00:01:12] So I'd love to deep dive into each one of those and why they're so important. Let's start with the first one, which you mentioned, and I know this is something both Jody and I have with summit here. But let's talk about enjoyable. Why is that so important for an enduring business?

[00:01:25] Natalie: Yes. They end up linking together. But enjoyable means it's something that you enjoy doing. You like the work, you, like the team you have, you like the clients that you're working with. One thing that I've started having my clients do is to rate their book of business, their clients on a scale of one to five stars.

[00:01:44] Jamie: Yep. 

[00:01:44] And it's really fascinating cuz I'll say, “why do you have all these clients that are like two or three stars?” And it really helps us to see like what's happening in the business. And then you can do the same on the backend with your team. I will say, no wonder you're stressed out. You don't love your clients.

[00:02:02] You have several clients you don't love, and team members that are not performing or, wow, look at, you have so many four and five star clients and you have all these four and five star team members. So when anyone's less than a four, whether it's clients or team, that's really going to impact your enjoyability of your business as an owner.

[00:02:20] And it's something to really look at and get some help with if it's something that you can't figure out yourself. 

[00:02:26] Jody: So I guess the question, Natalie, is we did the same thing, we've done it for a really long time. What do you do when you get the ones and twos and you get the ones and twos?

[00:02:33] Maybe you got three folks working on the team or are working on that client, and let's say one of them rates at a one or two and the other ones are three, four, and five. How do you look at that? How do you manage that? What do you glean from that, 

[00:02:44] Natalie: I think the thing to think about as a business owner, my job is to take care of my team first and my client second. So I feel like if my team is working well, we are going to serve our clients at the highest level. And I grew up in business working at different size companies, so I've worked at an international PR firm. I worked at. A family owned market research company, a family owned general contractor. I worked at Nordstrom in there and I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My dad was a civil engineer and had his own business with two partners. And what I know is that when you're part of a smaller company, the smaller the team is, the more the high performing team members know the low performing team members are not doing their work and it's falling back on them. So when you have those team members that are one and two stars, even three stars, you are at risk of losing your four and five star team members. If you are not taking action to improve that performance, maybe some of them need to be let go.

[00:03:47] And so when you are ignoring that, it's only going to hurt your organization because you're gonna lose your high performers. They're gonna feel like you're not taking care of 'em. 

[00:03:59] Jamie: I was gonna say, do you, so do you try to correlate the two? So if let's say you have 20 employees and you have a lot of the five and four star employees that are very positive on it, you take their client's scores a little bit higher than the ones that might be the three and twos or how is that part of it work?

[00:04:14] Natalie:  I think that's an owner decision to make.

[00:04:16] I was actually just talking to a client earlier today and we were talking about she had her team. So she had rated her clients. But she had the team, everyone working on that account had them rank the client too. And she actually found out that one of her team members really didn't understand that client's business very well, and that's why she was rating them low.

[00:04:39] And so I think it's a way for you to understand more what's happening and create conversation within your team. “Okay. What is going on?” And I really like this one to five stars because we're all rating things all the time as one of five stars. We're on Yelp rating things like, it's become, we're rating movies and so it seems to be something that everybody at every level of business and even team members are able to do.

[00:05:01] Jody: Do you flip it over and then do you send that one to five star out to the client and have them re the team as well or is it just the one way street? 

[00:05:08] Natalie: I have not yet, but I think that would definitely, would really give us that like 360 degree view and it would be a really nice check-in, with a client in some point early in the, you could do that as different times in the timeline of working with a client, whether if you have a year retainer with them.

[00:05:25] Maybe you plan to do one within the first two months and then, a few times thereafter. Definitely not. Don't wait till it's renewal time to be asked again.

[00:05:33] Jamie: One, one of the tools we use is called Ask Nicely. And the nice thing that ask Nicely does it's, it does reach out to your clients, but it does it on a sporadic basis, right?

[00:05:41] So we have one survey set up during onboarding and it's reaching out to the client every week. And then the next one after they get outta onboarding, it basically reaches out to clients at different times, right? So if you're always surveying one client in February and there's some big deliverable in February, of course they're gonna be happier or set based on that deliverable.

[00:05:57] So you can mix it up throughout the year or throughout the relationship so that way they get it maybe in February, and then another one in June, one year, and the next year maybe it's March and August. And so it just mixes up when they get these surveys and it does that for you. And so that's something that we've found to be really helpful is just they never know when they're gonna get it, but when they get it, they usually respond because, “Oh, I haven't heard from them for a while. It's time to give my feedback.”

[00:06:17] Natalie: Yeah, I really like that. I think that knowing the kind of life cycle of your client and you guys are a CPA firm, so it's a lot of heavy lifting at the very beginning onboarding a client. And a lot of their own, they're doing a lot of heavy lifting too, getting you everything you need.

[00:06:34] Making sure that experience is a great experience is so critical really. And then yeah, then they may not have a lot of needs going on for a while, but I love that. I was thinking, “I would like to receive that from a few of the people I'm spending money with.”

[00:06:37] Jamie:Yeah, for sure. 

[00:06:37] Jody: It kinda gives you that transparency, right? It gives you that ability to critique somebody or just say, “Hey, things aren't going well, or things are going great.” Just so that you're not blindsided at the end of the engagement or towards the end of the engagement.

[00:07:01] Why are they not renewing? Or whatever that might be. Or maybe they leave and you just never knew they weren't happy, cause your team thought they were happy cuz the team was delivering everything. Maybe they're blind to what the client's views were. And so I think it's important to go both ways.

[00:07:15] Like you'd mentioned the people and the clients view too.

[00:07:18] Natalie: Yeah. Cuz as service providers, we wanna be able to course-correct if possible. I actually have a client that does operations for agencies. And we were just having a mastermind call with a small group of women and we were talking about how when you start out with the relationship and you're like so close together I have my hands parallel to each other, and then you can start to veer apart more like a V if something's not going right. But if you don't know what's happening, if you haven't checked in, you may not know from the client's point of view how they're feeling.

[00:07:49] And then if you have those conversations like we're talking about, you can course-correct. It needs to be enjoyable for the client too, or they're not gonna stay with us. And so then you can come back together. And so those touchpoints are really, we need to have those touchpoints in every relationship we're in, whether it's our client or our team. So internal and external. 

[00:08:10] Jamie: Great. So let's go to the next pillar here, which as two virtual CFOs who like to work with companies on this item. Let's talk about profitability. So what are you telling people when it comes to this?

[00:08:19] Natalie: I feel like maybe I should become a CFO. I love profitability.

[00:08:23] I think it's so important. I want women to stay in business. I really want anyone who's in business, I want you to stay in business, and that's not gonna happen if you don't have profitability. Focusing on, not only profitability, but as a whole, as an organization, but also profitability by client and understanding what's going into each engagement.

[00:08:42] So having, setting up those things on the backend, because at the end of the day, you might have this great business, but you might be enjoyable. It might feel sustainable but if it's not profitable, you're not staying in business. So I'm in the business of keeping people in business and helping them grow their businesses.

[00:08:57] So profitability's really important to me. I have our clients, we have a group coaching program, and our clients every month turn in their numbers to us. So it's not something a lot of coaches do. A lot of coaches don't look at numbers. But I like numbers and I like profitability. I like money and I like helping other people grow businesses so they can not only build wealth for themselves, but for their families and future generations and to give back to their communities. So it's really an essential part of having an enduring business. 

[00:09:25] Jody: Yeah. And when we were working with agencies and when, a long time ago, when we first started about 10 years ago, working with agencies, profit was a bad word.

[00:09:32] It was like, I think people were embarrassed to be profitable cuz they felt they needed to give back and all that kind of stuff. Why is that such a bad idea to look at profit in that way? 

[00:09:43] Natalie: To look at it as a negative? 

[00:09:44] Jody: Yeah. As a negative. Yeah.

[00:09:47] Natalie: If you don't have a certain amount of profit as a business owner, it will not make sense for you to stay in business.

[00:09:53] You will be pulled into the job market, you will go get a job. And because there's so much involved in running a business, if you're just getting a paycheck it's really not going to be worth it for you as an owner. So we need to see, I don't know what you guys will. I would like to hear what percentage of profit do you like to see in your clients?

[00:10:11] Jody: Yeah, it's a great question. So on a typical agency that is I would say north of a million dollars, we'd like to see between 20 and 25% bottom line profit. We'd like to see that they have at least 10% of the annualized revenue in the bank. So if they're a million dollar company, they should have about a hundred thousand dollars sitting in cash of some sort, part of that. And Savings account that's earning interest, not all of it. And just line in a checking account that's not earning anything, but they really want to use that as their line of credit. So they really need to get that profit in order to build that savings account to really help them be secure, take advantage of opportunities and then be able to sustain growth.

[00:10:46] Cuz growing is pretty tough and it will strain profits for sure if, especially if it's not done right. If you hit a home run every time, then really doesn't make any difference, right? But how many of us hit home runs every time? 

[00:10:57] Natalie: We have to be able to weather the ups and downs of an economy too.

[00:11:00] So losing one client can't take you out of your business. Can't take the business down. So we're on the same page. Yay. I encourage our clients to have three months of operating expenses in the bank, but it takes time. When I work with businesses that are usually earlier stage than your clients, they can't yet afford a CFO.

[00:11:18] So I'm hopefully putting them in a good position to come. They'll be ready for you guys. They'll be they'll be like, “wow, you already have this.” But I know in my business I have three months of operating expenses in the bank, and it involved me as an owner sacrificing profit as I built that up. I was still taking some profit, but not as much out, so I could build that up. And it wasn't as fun as the years after. I like the years now that I have that set up. Profitability's a lot better. That's what I see is that I find that as working with primarily only women that the word profit is even, and making money and wanting to make money and wanting to be wealthy, it can feel even harder for women to say that they want that. So I love helping them to do that. 

[00:12:04] Jody: No, that's great. That's great. Yeah, about 15% of your revenue is roughly that three-month mark there

[00:12:13] And so we do the same. And that's typically what our average client is right now; it's about 15% in the bank. So very similar to what you're telling your team, the folks that you're working with. I think ours is roughly at the same area. Profit is so important, and understanding how things work.

[00:12:26] As you dive into things, what really truly generates your revenue and what truly are your costs associated with that revenue? And then what's what, what's everything else look like? What's your marketing spend and everything else look like? In order to generate that, it's important to understand all of that.

[00:12:42] And so what I hate is when I hate to see owners. Give that away to somebody and not pay any attention to it. Like maybe a bookkeeper that comes on, or they'll give that responsibility to that bookkeeper who's not a CFO, who's not a finance director probably doesn't have a ton of experience and they're entrusting their livelihood on that individual without really a whole lot of oversight.

[00:13:04] And when you see that type of thing you probably start cringing, huh? 

[00:13:08] Natalie: I like to say that and I just did a training for my program on this is that managing cash flow, which is part of what we're talking about here, is the most important role you have as CEO. Because if you're not watching the money coming in and out of your business and have clarity and visibility to that, someone has to do that. And we can't just trust someone that's outside the business. You as a CEO need to have understanding of that, even if you're not a numbers person, if you, even if you don't like spreadsheets.

[00:13:36] So understanding that, because I work with women, as I was saying very early on in their business and if they don't know what's happening with their money, they will not make it to ever become your clients, right? Because they're just gonna go out of business.

[00:13:50] I love to help teaching women about the backend managing the money in their business. And I require all my clients to get a bookkeeper as well, because I think it's really important to have someone else looking at the numbers as well. But again, you need to be the person who takes ownership of it all as a CEO.

[00:14:06] Jody: That really even goes all the way up the food chain, right? Whether you're a 20 million company or five million company. If you have a CFO on staff or if you have a virtual CFO. They're gonna report the information to you, but ultimately it's your responsibility to understand that information.

[00:14:20] And I think a lot of people. Maybe they're scared of money. I don't know. Or maybe they don't understand it or what, whatever it might be. We'll just say blanketly, “hey, you take care of it. And I don't want everyone to look at it.” And then surprise, surprise happens, a few months down the road or a couple years down the road, the money's not as much as they thought it should be.

[00:14:38] And really, when it comes back to it, it’s the CEO's responsibility. That's what their job is.

[00:14:43] Jamie: And your money and your expenses reflect your decisions as a CEO, right? So yeah, you can make decisions, you can do things, you can spend money, but ultimately, if you're not managing your money, you're not really making decisions.

[00:14:52] You're just like spending money. And so I think that's where a good bookkeeper will categorize those expenses. They'll put it together for you and they'll tell you what happened. But you either need a CFO or you need someone you can talk through and be like, okay, now where should I be spending my money?

[00:15:04] Here is where I spend my money and where it should be.

[00:15:05] Natalie: Yeah. And the forecasting, right? I love, when people can afford A CFO, because then they have someone who can start to look out into the future. Your CPA, your accountant and your bookkeeper, generally the person doing your taxes. That's all like the backward look, right?

[00:15:19] So having someone who can look forward with you and help you with that forecasting. I have a tool for my clients where we create, it's a sales forecasting tool and it's just a chance to see what's coming in, what's contracted to come in the future, and just to have visualization of that. Cause it's so easy to get stuck in whatever the biggest problem is at the moment. 

[00:15:38] Jamie: It sounds like your clients are extremely lucky for the size that your companies you're talking about and the tools you give them. Like I think a lot of our clients would love to, since we had some of those same tools,  and again, the size you're talking, that's amazing the service you're providing. So let's hit on this last one, let's talk about the sustainable. So we've talked about enjoyable. Talked about profitable. Now let's talk about how to be sustainable. 

[00:15:58] Natalie: Yeah, so sustainability for me is a couple of things.

[00:16:01] It's internal and it's external. It's internally the pace of the company. So are you able to sustain the pace long term? We all have, times in our business where. It's at a break neck pace. Maybe you're working 60, 80, a hundred hours for a period of time. We cannot do that ongoing.

[00:16:19] We cannot work ongoing without a break. That is not going to be healthy. Eventually, you will break yourself as a CEO, which again will break the business. And then in externally, it's really in a sense going back to a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. What are the weaknesses in your company?

[00:16:36] What are the threats in your company? For a lot of marketers right now, a threat is ChatGPT, how is that going to impact their business? How is that going to impact people's spend? So that would be something to think about. Does ChatGPT threaten or does AI threaten the sustainability of your business? For, I would think, most people, especially if they've gotten to a multimillion dollar business, they can pivot and figure out how that's going to impact them, how to embrace it and make it part of what they do.

[00:17:04] But that's sustainability. It's internally the pacing. So enjoyable is enjoyable is liking. Sustainability is more like the pace of what you're creating. And is it sustainable for you and your team. 

[00:17:19] Jody: So with the sustainability part, I think this is a really, obviously all three of these pillars are really strong, but sustainability I think is the one that kind of creeps up on you and you don't even realize it.

[00:17:28] You're profitable, you love what you're doing, but then you find out that you don't have time to take a vacation. Or you feel, or you've created a situation in your company where everybody's so dependent upon you. Which is a fault. And because that dependency, you're stuck.

[00:17:45] You're stuck in a job now versus a building a company. And I think the sustainability is the one that, like I said, they can really creep up on not even realize it until it gets to that boiling point where you've gotta make a decision. “What do I do? Do I fire myself and figure out how to replace me?”

[00:18:02] Maybe that type of thing, which is always a possibility, right?

[00:18:04] Natalie: You can hire someone else to run the company and you do the very part, one, part you love. You also, a lot of times in those cases, If it's feeling like it is that people are, have too many direct reports, right? It doesn't feel sustainable.

[00:18:19] They need to add in a layer of leadership below them so that they don't have more than five direct reports. There's too many people coming to them needing things. Another issue could be their own, it could be a leadership issue. They haven't empowered their team to make decisions. They're micromanaging and requiring people to come back and ask them like, “Can I do this thing?” instead of empowering people and allowing people to make some mistakes.

[00:18:44] And that's gonna happen if you're dealing with humans. 

[00:18:48] Jamie: Yeah, I think sustainable is the one that people probably forget about the most. Obviously I wanna do something I enjoy every day. I wanna make money while doing it. But oftentimes I think that third one is where you get into it and you're like, wow, I love what I'm doing.

[00:18:59] I'm making a lot of money doing it. Then all of a sudden you find yourself at your desk 20 hours a day. Like I always think of small business restaurant owners, right? Like they love cooking, they love feeding people, they love making this business, but then they end up like, being up until two o'clock in the morning making bread for the next day, and that's not sustainable. You can't live that lifestyle very long. 

[00:19:17] Natalie: You can't, and it is something that creeps up on you. I've started asking our clients now how many hours are they working a week so that I can get a handle on that. I had one client and I didn't realize that she was working seven days a week, like six days for 10 hours a day, and then also on Sundays.

[00:19:36] And. I had no idea she hadn't had a vacation in years. She's now going to France this summer. With her family for 10 days. We've also figured out a way, hopefully it's okay with you guys, I think it will be we figured out a way for it to be a business expense for her and her husband's flight.

[00:19:51] They actually have, both have business over there. So it's working out and yeah, so I think just having an idea about. If you want this business to continue, if it doesn't have each three, if you're not hitting each three of those pillars, and let's be honest, it's not gonna be all three all the time.

[00:20:10] But if it's only two of them all the time and not a third, the business is not going to stay functioning. It's just not. And I love helping business owners stay in business. I want people to have enduring businesses. 

[00:20:23] Jamie: I think the other part about sustainable too, that's important to know is take it from someone and both Jodi and I were in public accounting and we worked those 70-hour weeks and 80-hour weeks. 

[00:20:32] At some point there's a lot of diminishing returns where your brain just doesn't work as well. I remember being in an audit room saying, this work paper I'm working on should probably take me 20 minutes and it's taking me an hour and a half because I'm having to reset my attention. And I think as a business owner, you need to have that attention where you are thinking about the business.

[00:20:48] You're being creative, what's the next step in my business? If you're constantly wearing yourself thin, your business isn't gonna be as successful as it could be. So I think that's another part you need to think about. 

[00:21:03] Natalie: I was just gonna say, as you're building a team as well. Your team is watching you. So if you are keeping this pace, are you going to expect others to do that as well? And they're watching you, they're seeing everything you're doing, and they're also thinking, “is this a leader I wanna be under ongoing?”

[00:21:22] And so to keep top talent, you need to really think about that. Are you setting, an example for what you wanna create. And then the flip side is I also hear people say, “now I am actually like not at my desk as many hours and not doing as like visibility if you like, watched me” be like woah, what are they really doing all day?

[00:21:40] So that could feel, there can be some guilt that comes in because you've spent all those time you've done all those things. But sometimes being out going for a walk, walking around downtown, that could be where you get the biggest idea for your business. I hear some different stories from people about both sides of that working a lot of hours, but also this guilt when you like, make some shifts and have done some great hiring and you're like, “now what do I do with my time?” 

[00:22:07] Jody: Yeah. Natalie, I was gonna say the exact same thing. So it's funny you jumped in there and said exactly, but did it much better than what I would've said. 

[00:22:13] Natalie: No, I don't know about that. 

[00:22:15] Jody: I do know, Jamie will confirm that. But one thing I did think about when we were talking about these three pillars, is that we're talking about owners really at this point, but really those three pillars also go down to employees, right?

[00:22:26] So employees have to, all three of those have to make sense for the employee as well. So when an owner's looking at that, they're looking at their overall company picture, all the three different things. But when an employee looks at it, they're doing the exact same thing.

[00:22:39] “Do I love this business? Am I making enough money to justify being here? Is this, is my workload sustainable? Can I maintain this?” And I think if we look at it in both there, I think you've got something that you can actually manage a lot better and maybe put some traps in there to prevent your good employees from leaving because it's not sustainable, or the money thing, or they're just not having fun.

[00:23:00] I think there's some traps so you could help better the business. 

[00:23:04] Natalie: Definitely. I gotta add that to my model. Thank you, Jody.

[00:23:10] Jamie: They'll send you a bill for that. 

[00:23:11] Jody:Yeah, don't worry. 

[00:23:13] Natalie: After I send him a bill for this conversation. 

[00:23:16] Jamie: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. They might balance out, actually, I owe you money after this.

[00:23:19] Natalie: Maybe not. 

[00:23:20] Jody: Yeah, I'll definitely owe you money. 

[00:23:22] Natalie: I don't think so. Thank you. That's so true because when, I'm sure when you guys think about your previous work there's probably some parts of it that you really like, so intellectually stimulating, really adding value, but the pace that is required in public accounting is just insane.

[00:23:38] And even so many CPAs, right now we're recording this interestingly on tax day. I'm sure so many people are just about ready to pull their hair out. I don't know what they're thinking, but yeah, it really does trickle down into the organization. 

[00:23:56] So I think if you start to get this right from the top and then bring it down to each team member, and also then thinking to the client too, like we were flipping that earlier. Is this relationship enjoyable, profitable in terms of “Am I getting the value for the exchange of services?

[00:24:14] And is the pace of what we're doing sustainable. It really does go to all three sides, I believe. 

[00:24:23] Jody: A hundred percent agree. 

[00:24:24] Natalie: We solved all the world problems. We're amazing. 

Jamie:Perfect time to turn  the page here.

[00:24:29] So we're gonna, go to our next section here, and what we're gonna do is we're gonna throw out a random question. And so the question I'm thinking of for today's episode is, earlier you mentioned the five star reviews and you said it's something that everybody loves to do, whether it's on Amazon or you're reviewing a company.

[00:24:42] I'm gonna have each of you talk about the last product or service you bought that you would've rated five stars. So I'm gonna start with you, Natalie, you need to go first. 

[00:24:51] Natalie: Okay. Gosh, what did I recently buy? I'm looking around my office. The thing that's coming to me and it's a purchase I keep making, which is not a great thing.

[00:25:03] I love my apple AirPods. And guess what? I have had four now. The AirPod Pro, they're like over $200 each. I now need to buy another pair because my puppy found one ate one. So one side's all chewed up. So I would give those five stars because they are just so convenient.

[00:25:30] I have all Apple products, so they switch back and forth between between products and I keep repurchasing them. I either have lost them, dropped them in water. My child has lost them. So I guess that they had some kind of homing beacon. Maybe it's 4.75 stars. 

[00:25:48] Jody: So, they get the homing beacon? 

[00:25:48] Natalie: A homing beacon. So I could find, I have lost one, but I'll be buying pair number five soon. 

[00:25:54] Jamie: They do have to find my thing, but they have to be still charged, and that was reliable. We've used it with my daughter several times and she's lost hers. All right, Jody, what about you? 

[00:26:02] Jody: Mine's gonna be a funny one, Maybe not. Cutco Cutlery, I dunno if you've heard of Cutco before. Really nice set of kitchen knives and utensils. And the reason why I say that's when I was in college for about three years I sold Cutco cutlery, so that was one of my first jobs while I was in college.

[00:26:18] It kinda helped me pay my way through college. And so it was a really great experience on how to meet people and all that kind of good stuff. It was one of those jobs that, you know, and I called a job, but it was one of those things that was like a life experience that I wish everybody had the opportunity at doing that cuz it helps you reading people. 

[00:26:38] It helps you basically just asking for permission, that type of thing. And there's a lot of great stuff there. And when we moved our residence from Indiana to Florida. That was the first thing I thought. I was like, “gosh, I need to get some good kitchen knives here.”

[00:26:51] And so I went and bought them and spent a lot more than $200 on full steps, but definitely well worth it. And so I definitely get would give them a five star. 

[00:27:03] Jamie: Great. All right. So mine is as I've mentioned a couple times on this podcast, I believe. We are doing some home improvements right now.

[00:27:08] So we're redoing our kitchen and adding to the basement. And one of the last steps was picking out countertops so granite or quartz or whatever we wanted to do there. And so the company we've gone with has been so patient with us. My wife and I sometimes take a little while to make decisions and we've probably been in that shop 10 times.

[00:27:26] Every time they have the same passion for their product and they're very good with us and they just walk it through with us and they pull up our kitchen design and say, “we think this is gonna look great.” And so there's, I think the service we've got at the granite place we went to has been amazing.

[00:27:39] And just again, the patience with us. A lot of stores probably been like, “all right, just choose it's time to choose and get this over whatever.” They've just been super patient with us and we're, hopefully it comes in next week, we can see how it actually looks, but excited for finishing that up.

[00:27:51] Natalie: So you made the decision. We did make the decision just last week, so yeah. They good with us.

[00:27:58] Jody: What is it gonna be? You didn't. 

[00:28:01] Natalie: What are we getting?

[00:28:01] Jamie: Granite. We went granite. 

[00:28:03] Natalie: What color? Light, Dark?

[00:28:05] Jamie: It's fairly light. It has some dark splotches in it. But the way they talked about the granite there was like, every piece is a piece of art.

[00:28:11] And quartz is the trend right now. And a lot of companies are doing shop house, they're doing quartz. But the, my wife and I are very outdoorsy people and the fact that granite like comes from the earth and there's no man-made, part of that's why, one of the reasons we went with it.

[00:28:24] We definitely went that path.

[00:28:26] Natalie: Are you a one or five star client to them? 

[00:28:31] Jamie: Oh, I'm sure  this is the most, this is the lowest profit margin customer had for a long time.

[00:28:40] Natalie: Oh, I'm five stars with Apple because I keep buying. 

[00:28:42] Jamie: Yeah, you're the return customer. 

[00:28:46] Natalie:Yeah. I'm a return customer.

[00:28:50] Jamie: All right. I think we've gotten through everything.  I'd love to get final thoughts on both of you. Talked about a lot of stuff today. I know we only went through pillars, but each pillar had a lot to unpack there. So I'd love to get final thoughts and we'll start with you Natalie.

[00:29:01] What's your final thoughts for our listeners.

[00:29:03] Natalie: I think it'd be great. I like to have people take action. I actually say, well now my little son who, when he was like, I have a recording at the end of my podcast of when my little guy was like, too, he says, go take some “Action.” So I like for people to go take action.

[00:29:19] So I think what would be great if you could, my final thought would be to call to action to think about your business and think about what you would give. Is it enjoyable? We can do one to five stars, one to five stars enjoyable, one to five stars profitable, one to five stars sustainable.

[00:29:36] Whatever has the lowest star for you to really look at that and try to unpack why. And is there one thing you could change if there was one thing that you could do that might change that whole section, that whole pillar to just focus on that, to get some relief. It could be hiring help, it could be adding a layer of leadership.

[00:29:54] It could be looking at profitability. It could be firing a client. It could be hiring some, it could be so many different things. But just to decide what's the one thing that would provide some improvement for you as a business owner? Cause we want you to have an enduring business. 

[00:30:08] Jamie: So if that one thing was hiring a coach, how would they go about getting hold of you?

[00:30:13] Natalie: Oh, thanks. I didn't even try for that. Really the best thing is if you enjoyed this podcast, the best thing is to listen to my podcast and subscribe to it. B-I-Z-C-H-I-X I spell chicks with an X. And then you can also go to my website and get in touch with me there, or my email is great, LinkedIn.

[00:30:28] I'm on LinkedIn, that's where I spend all my social media time, so I love hearing from listeners. If people are listening, just search for my name, Natalie Eckdahl, even though it's very hard to spell, but I know you guys are gonna link it in the show notes. 

[00:30:41] Yeah. Find me on social media, find me listen to my podcast, and if you come to my podcast, I’ll tell you how to connect with me more. 

[00:30:49] Jody: Yeah. Natalie, my takeaway is hiring “Natalie,” if you're in a position where you're a woman entrepreneur, really looking to figure out how to get to that next step.

[00:30:59] Maybe growth is a, I, whatever the motivation is, maybe it's security, maybe it's just simply making a ton of money. I think it's important to have a “Natalie” by your side at every level and I wish that our clients would've had you on board way before they became a client of ours. That would be awesome because it's then you're not reinventing the wheel type of a scenario.

[00:31:21] And I think you, from what I can glean and from the experience we've had today, I think you'd be able to help out a lot of entrepreneurs out there that are really looking to get to that. Whatever that level is, security, safety, cash, you know what whatever the goal is, whatever the long-term goal is, maybe it's selling your business in three or four years, getting you to that level.

[00:31:40] Maybe it's just breaking that million dollar barrier. Maybe it's maybe breaking a half a million dollar barrier, who knows what that next level is, but it's nice to have a coach like yourself out there, because it's really tough to do it by yourself. It's really lonely at the top.

[00:31:54] Natalie: It’s very lonely at the top 

[00:31:56] Jody: - that you can cry on, that’s huge. [00:32:00]

[00:32:00] Jamie: Yeah, and I definitely second that as my final thought. I think that what you said, probably four or five things in this podcast where I was like, oh I wish if I was running a 200,000 or a 300,000 business, I wish that was information I've had and that's probably, it's worth weight in gold.

[00:32:13] One thing you mentioned very early on was you require all your companies, would you say monthly to report their profit to you. Having that information come into a coach and that coach tell you about that and say, “Hey, other companies that I'm working with are doing this.” That's worth the price alone right there, just to get that kind of information and insight.

[00:32:28] So you mentioned three or four things like that, that it would be shocking that companies aren't getting value at that size to get that type of information. So I would give that same thing as that sounds like you have a really good business and very exciting business. So it was great chatting with you today and appreciate you taking the time to spend with us.

[00:32:44] Natalie: Thank you. It was so fun. I love meeting new people. I love meeting other podcasters and I always wanna add value, so it sounds like we all won today. Are we all winners? 

[00:32:50] Jody: Yes, we did. Or winners we're winners today. 

[00:33:01] Natalie: No, but thank you for that. Yeah, and I think there's a lot. I will just speak to the coaching industry in general. I think it's really important for people to vet their coaches and to understand, make sure that they have experience, not just doing something one time in their own business and teaching it. So I run a group coaching program, but I don't teach other coaches how to run a group coaching program. I teach people how to build an agency, whether they're that model, whether they're a market or consultant or a financial professional.

[00:33:21] I think that I hear from a lot of people that come to me that they've had difficult experiences with coaches. And so I do think if you're building and scaling a business, your coach should have some understanding of your financials and some visibility towards them. And that could be a great check-in in determining if a coach is a good fit for you in your business at your stage.

[00:33:40] Jody: Great tip. 

[00:33:42] Jamie: All right thank you again and I, I'm enjoying getting this show out there. And again, thanks to our listeners for listening to us and hopefully to get something out of this episode. 

[00:33:50] Jody: Enjoy this podcast. 

[00:33:52] Jamie: Visit our website@summitcpa.net 

[00:33:55] Natalie: to get 

[00:33:55] Jody: more tips and strategies for achieving business success.

[00:33:58] We're here to be a [00:34:00] resource in this ever-changing industry.

VCPA - Episode 91 - Natalie Eckdahl




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