The Benefits of a Fractional CFO
The Benefits of a Fractional CFO
On this Exit Your Way roundtable live we had a very great conversation with the business wiz himself, Ken Wentworth, AKA “Mr. Biz”.
Mr. Biz is a successful fractional CFO. He provides businesses with various financial related services. His most valuable service as a strategic advisor is helping his clients to run in a cost-effective manner. He has experience of over 20+ years in helping companies improve their businesses and profits.
Ken starts off by explaining some of what he does and how he does it. He elaborates it with an example. There are people who have a particular skill but not the right knowledge to turn that skill into a business. This is where Ken’s service comes in handy.
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He then elaborates further on how he got on social media which consequently led to a wider online following. Ken says his main reason for joining social media is to help his clients have easy access to his information. Even if they are from a different geographic area, they can always get to him via social.
Further, into the conversation, Ken talked about various other business ideas. The ideas that are unique and effective at the same time. For example, he quoted a business about roofs. This is a very simple business idea, where a drone captures a picture of people’s roofs. This way people don’t have to visit their roof to get dimensions or have a look at it etc.
Apart from this, ken also talked about when he started making online videos for his clients and people to understand him, business topics, and the services he provides. He talked about his concepts in those videos and keeping them easy to understand as well.
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To make his online videos more relatable, he started including his family. It was interesting to hear the “stage names” he made up for each member of his family.
By the end of the conversation, Mr. Biz talked about a business like Amazon. He said that if a person has a business and wants to shift it online, he should construct it like Amazon. He said this is because Amazon is among the few e-commerce businesses that make returning a purchase extremely easy. Consequently, people tend to buy more from a place where the return is as easy as the online purchase.
Lastly, Ken introduced his YouTube channel to the viewers. He also mentioned that he does YouTube videos on special requests as well.
Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.
We want to thank Ken for spending the time with us and sharing his knowledge.
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Ken Wentworth, Damon Pistulka
Damon Pistulka 00:03
All right, welcome today to the exit your way round table. With me today I have Mr. biz, aka Ken Wentworth. Thanks for stopping by today, Ken.
Ken Wentworth 00:16
Yeah, Damon, thanks for having me. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since we started talking about doing this.
Damon Pistulka 00:21
Yeah, well it’s it’s it’s really cool to get to talk to you professor Pete Alexander and to introduced us and and he saw the episode where you’re on his his podcast as well. And I then did some research on you. And you’ve got a quite a following on Facebook. And and let’s back up a little bit first, because you are a you help people with CFO services and things like that. If you could explain that a little bit. Let’s start there. Yeah, so
the term you can use a variety of different terms on demand CFO, part time, CFO, fractional CFO. really all it means is that I help owners operate their businesses more profitably more efficiently. That’s how I break it down in brass tactics. Think about someone who is and I always use this silly example. So I apologize to Paul the plumber, but you’re Paul the plumber, you’re a business owner. And you’re really, really good at plumbing. But you might not have you might have 2030 years of experience with plumbing, and you’re just an absolute master plumber, but you don’t have the business experience.
And some parts of that are uncomfortable for you. And you’re you know, you know, you need to improve on them. You’re just not that good. Those are people that I can help have a massive impact. Because a lot of times they’re in it sounds bad, but I don’t mean in a bad way. But they’re they’re successful despite themselves, right. They’ve got some Yeah, some blind spots that sometimes they don’t even realize. And then when we we open their eyes, those blind spots and fix those things. The business just absolutely rocketship takes off. So it’s super fulfilling. I absolutely love what I do.
Damon Pistulka 01:59
Very cool. Very cool. Now that leads me to the to the thing that we talked about in you simply don’t see finance people that have the type of following that you that you have on on social media platforms, what kind of inspired you to tell your story and start using social media in that way?
Yeah, I’ll tell you I had zero social so my 20 plus year corporate career was in a for a fortune 15 company wasn’t made it to the top 3% and just decided to leave and left and start doing business. And at that time, didn’t even know what I do now is a thing because I had been in the corporate world for so long. But I figured out pretty quickly that I needed to establish some business social media.
And the I heard I started following Grant Cardone. And, you know, he has a lot of really good material. Some of it’s a little over the top for me, but nonetheless, some of its really good and explain to Damon, it was very interesting. I never thought about it from this perspective. But he said, you know, you, you think about this, McDonald’s, how successful is McDonald’s is McDonald’s is successful, because they have the best food. Hey, no, they’re successful because they’re ubiquitous, they’re everywhere, right? People know when it’s a known brand.
And so he talks about it’s not always the best product or service, of course, you want to give good service and good value, but it’s the best known right people that can they know like and trust you a lot sooner so he the way he explained that really struck to me and he said if you have a an expertise or a talent to where you can help people and you’re not doing everything in your power to get in front of those people, so they know that you’re there if they need to help then you’re kind of being selfish.
And so it kind of flew all the way back around I thought man that that does make a lot of sense. You know, someone I’m based in Ohio, in someone in Idaho needs my help. If I’m not getting out there and putting myself out there how they even know I exist to where I could help them especially when everything’s going on with the pandemic and all these businesses failing it just breaks my heart but so I started started all these different social media platforms and honestly a big part of it too I think has been the Mr. biz brand which started from I’ve got a radio show Mr. biz radio and they the general manager of the station long story but their manager station heard a guest refer to me as as you like Geez.
I feel like I’m talking to Mr. Business here like Mr. biz. Yeah, manager. This station just had me walking past and he turned around and looked and said, that’s it. You’re Mr. biz. And I’m like, No, no, no, not that. And unbeknownst to me, the radio station started promote the show with promos that said, featuring Mr. biz. Yeah, I didn’t even know they were doing that.
Well. I go to a networking event here locally and someone comes up to me and says, Hey, Mr. buis blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I thought they walked away. I thought that’s really strange, who, you know, the only three or four people in this conversation? How did this get out? Yeah, at first, I was very hesitant, but then I just kind of rolled with it. And I think a big part of it, you know, I get, I had someone flagged me down in the Orlando airport and said, you know, Mr. biz, and I’m really bad with names. And so I was, like I said, I’m really sorry, I apologize. I don’t remember your name. The guy said, oh, I’ve never met you before. He said, But I follow you. I watched all your videos, I feel like I know you.
And he starts quoting things that I’ve said, like, many things I’ve said about my family, my daughter’s my wife. This is the biz kids, you know. So we just kind of run with it. Have fun with it. And I think that’s been part of it, too, is I think, you know, Damon, probably a lot of, you know, business finance type people, the content they’re sharing on social media. While it may be informative, it has to have some, some air of entertainment to it. I’m not talking about tap dancing and telling jokes the whole time. But there’s got to be some charisma, some some personality to it, I think makes it engaging for people to watch. It’s not just boring, like someone lecturing to you. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 06:10
yeah. Yeah, you know, I suffer from the fact that I went to engineering school for five years. So it’s, it’s, you do have to break out of that? Because it is, it is we are we as as people like yourself working in finance, or me working in, in business and more technical parts of businesses. It is you have to people want to listen to it, right. They want to learn, but they don’t want to learn from a dictionary. So that’s what I’ve noticed about your videos, too. I mean, you’re talking about, I mean, they’re, they’re not easy topics, but you you make them simple for people to understand. And I think they relate to that.
Yeah, that’s the goal. I mean, that’s the goal. It’s like I said, it’s easy for us, any of us, right, and it doesn’t matter what profession we’re in. Yeah, yeah. Go back and pick on Paul the plumber again, if Paul, the plumber starts talking to me, in plumbing terms, he loses me because I don’t know crap about me, right. But if he breaks it down, when he puts it in layman’s terms, all of a sudden, I can understand better what the heck he’s talking about.
And I’m engaged now because I understand and I’m learning. Whereas if he starts throwing out technical plumbing terms, and they’re over my head, I just disengage and say, I don’t understand. And you know, so I think it’s easy for us, any of us to do that no matter what your profession is. So I think it’s very important to sort of, you know, keep that at a level set that people can understand things, they don’t just zone out.
It’s much easier. Of course, when you can see them, you can see the nonverbals, right, you’re speaking in front of a crowd, or even one on one or one to many. And you can start to see the nonverbal communications like, Oh, crap, I think I lost them. With that. Let me back up. All right, let me explain. I just threw out a term that I can tell you guys quite understand. Let me back up. Let me let me try to break this down a little bit more. So I think that definitely is help is helped with, you know, all the videos I’ve done in the following and things like that.
Damon Pistulka 08:00
Yeah. Yeah. So what do you see? I mean, you’re you’re in businesses today. I mean, what do you see as the biggest challenges that the pandemic has really caused for businesses overall this year?
Well, I hate to use the word that everyone hears and seems to be just, it’s almost like nails on a chalkboard but need to be the ability to pivot. Yeah. And I gotta come up with a new word for that. Damon, that means this. Oh, my gosh, he’s saying pivot again. Everyone says pivot. Yeah. But it’s, look, here’s the example I’ll give that I know everyone will relate to. When people talk about pivoting in your business, what they’re talking about really is think about this. You don’t want to be Blockbuster Video.
Yeah, right. Exactly.
Blockbuster Video did not pivot, you know, whatever, 20 years ago, and they weren’t thinking ahead, and the ways that their industry was going to change or could change. They had their head stuck in the sand. They let their business happen to them. And now where did it leave them? They didn’t, you know, and so the pandemic, I looked at it as from a business perspective, as I look at challenges, opportunities. And so what opportunities can we create during this and I don’t mean that in a nefarious, like, make money thing.
I mean, like, this is an opportunity to think it forces you to think ahead and to say, okay, in each individual business of my clients, and depending on what they’re doing, what do we think that’s going to look like in 235 years? So we’re not Blockbuster Video, the pandemic forced you to look and gave you time for many people even time right? Yeah, yeah. They often don’t take so it’s been you know, that that challenge has been in critically important I think. I preach to everyone so often that it sounds real obvious when it comes out of your mouth, but it’s gosh, you I don’t care what business you have. You better have an online store
and go oh,
I have a Fill in the blank business, an online store won’t work. I say. I say bullcrap, think about how many people shop online. And by the way, as everyone knows, over the last six months, that number has skyrocketed even further, you ever want number two, it’s it’s think of the generation this think of generations the agenda. Many people they have grown up with smartphones, they have grown up with the way of life is you buy stuff online? Like, that’s, that’s where we’re at as they age, that’s only going to become more, proliferate more.
So yeah, I don’t have an online store now and start to start to, you know, again, not be blockbuster, Blockbuster Video, get out in front of that wave. And think of ways, when you tell me your business and online store won’t work. Again, I would challenge someone tell me what your business is, I bet you I can find ways you can have an online store that would work.
Damon Pistulka 10:51
Well, and and we you’re speaking right down the line that we speak a lot now. And in fact, we we’ve been doing a series on this. But yes, every business, if they are not online, now they need to figure out how the hell to get there pretty soon because their competitors are.
And even if you say that my my product is so custom, that I have to talk to every one of my clients, there are ways that your competitors that have that same product or same type of service, they’re selling it somehow a portion of it online, because that Gen Z or will not pick up the phone and want to talk to you to learn about you, they have to at least learn about you and get farther down that sales process. Or it’s just they’re not going to consider you. You’re a while ago, you’re not don’t have to be the best one. That’s just the one that they find.
Right. And here’s a staggering statistic. And this I think the stats from 2018. So it’s probably a little bit dated. But only 26% of businesses in the US have an online some form of an online store. Only 26%. So the way I flip that around is I tell people, hey, if I told you, I’m going to give you a tip that will give you an advantage over 74% of your competitors. Would you like to hear that? Right. And again, I think that hopefully the number has gone up now over the last couple years. But it just goes to show you how important that is. I don’t know I think Amazon’s done fairly well, especially over the last six months.
Right? And why is that because people are shopping online. Look, I have a client that I started working with about two years ago now. And Damon, you will appreciate this people, people around our age will appreciate this. He sells windows for your house. 100% online, no sales people ever come to your house. Mm hmm. And when I started working with him, I said oh my gosh, your business is going to absolutely explode in the next 10 years. Like you’re not you haven’t you what you think your business is capable of?
You have no idea. Because again, the person just like you mentioned Dame and Gen Z person. They’re not used to like we are right, someone you want to get new windows in your house. salesperson comes out to your house. So there for three hours, they show you a demonstration, blah, blah, blah, hundred percent online. His business in the last six months has tripled.
Damon Pistulka 13:22
because people don’t want you in their house. But they need windows. So it accelerated his growth now the pandemic but because he was out in front of it. I’m super, super important. And video. My gosh, video is so so important for your business. I tell any business owner Look, it go I don’t like being on camera or I’m just not good at it. People like authenticity. So even if you’re in let me pick on Paul the plumber, Paul says I’m not good at this.
That’s part of your authenticity. If you have a you have a southern drawl or an accent, it doesn’t matter people like that because they know you’re a real person. It’s not some, you know, actor or someone scripted. They want to see Paul Plummer, when I hire a plumber, I don’t care if the guy’s articulate or not can Is he good at plumbing? That’s all I care,
Damon Pistulka 14:09
right? Yeah, yeah. And you you make a and also with video that that people don’t I forget, I think it was Brad Smith, a friend of mine told me a while ago, he studies studies this kind of stuff. He was talking about the the impact that video makes over phone tax anything else because the people can visually see you. And it’s like, I don’t know, 50% 75% more engaging for them and they trust and everything it builds. And you’re 100% right.
I mean, I’m one of them that I used to. If someone had told me this time last year that I was doing video, I would have said you’re effing crazy because I mean, I’m not going to do it right? Look at me, I’m all in gray and it’s just not my deal. But when you when you start to do this and you realize that there there are there things that people, you can help people by sharing, sharing this information and talking about talking about issues that make a difference to them. They’re there in their lives. And they get to know you doing that it is a powerful thing for businesses.
And Paul the plumber, can tell people about how Paul a plumber is a great plumber once in a while, or Paul, a plumber can tell him about, you know, his, his backyard project, and they want to know that Paul’s a real guy, he’s hanging out in our neighborhood, he, he has led kids in school, he whatever it is, you know, and that’s important to people now. But it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot of the way we’ve had to integrate our lives. And, and the way that we were trying or people as you said, our age, we’re trying to keep that separate. It really was hurting our businesses, I think. And by bringing using video and other means to bring bring our lives, at least share our lives. With with it makes it a lot better for for our customers and our businesses.
Yeah, I originally when I started, I start doing videos a couple years ago, and when I started doing them, I was very, I’m strategic to a fault. So I’m always thinking way out. And I say to a fault because I trip over the curb that’s right in front of me sometimes. But nonetheless, that’s a story for another day. But when I started doing the videos, I wanted people to get to know me. But I was very hesitant to share anything about my family or anything like that, because we’ve got three girls and kids and you know, I don’t want I don’t want people I was looking ahead, I don’t want I don’t want people stalking me or you know, bothering my family or whatever.
But what I found is some of the entrepreneurs that do video that have grown a following and have very successful in business people like Grant Cardone people like Gary Vaynerchuk, Gary Vee, those types of people, they share things about their family. And so I started slowly starting to do that. Now I don’t refer to anyone in my family by their real name. Actually, the kids came up with this my three girls, we have Jr. biz, we have little biz. Yes, Damon little that’s Li l little biz. There you go. And then we have kid biz. And we have Mrs. biz. So you know, it’s a funny way for me to refer to my family and show that, you know, talk about some of the things we are.
I did a video one time and I got tons of comments. And it was hilarious. When I was talking about the importance of a budget, and creating a budget, and I started by saying it’s the B word. I’m going to tell you about the B word and how it can help your business and people are probably like, Oh, geez, I got to tune into this. What’s he talking about? And I said, No, no, no, not that B word. And I was talking about and I said, by the way, Mrs. biz is allergic to the B word. She has no idea what a budget is. She doesn’t know how they work. She doesn’t know what you know. And people were commenting, especially a lot of women and then there were husbands to it, like oh my gosh, I can relate to that. My wife has no
Damon Pistulka 18:01
you know, women are like, Oh, you’re full of crap. You sound like, you know, it was hilarious. And we get a lot of engagement with that. But yeah, I think video is super, super important. Because, again, like you said, people get to know you. And, you know, I come on sometimes to tell people about things I’ve screwed up. Right, I make mistakes all the time. So I think that, you know, again, that authenticity, I think is very important. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 18:23
yeah, it is. That’s, that’s cool. Because it’s like you said it. Well. And the other thing is, too is we as people that are helping business owners realize that we’re not right for everyone. And I would like them to be able to take a look at me and listen to the way way I do things and understand enough about me to go maybe it’s not for me. I mean, I’ll be the first to say and I tell a lot of people it’s like, Listen, if you if you want an easy way, this is probably not you don’t want to come with me.
This is not I mean, we’re gonna get there. But if there’s a mountain, we’ve got a shovel out of the way we’re gonna shovel a mountain, you know, and that’s the kind of kind of thing that and I hope that people get to see that and I hope that people appreciate just like you’re saying they get to know know from the videos, and you can do that. make that decision.
Yeah, I tell people all the time. Same thing. I agree with you hundred percent. I tell me all the time, like if you want, you want to hire someone who’s going to tell you how great you are. And pat you on the back and play cat pancakes with you. I’m not your guy. Yeah, but I’m not going to be mean to you. But I’m going to tell you I’m a truth teller. I’m going to tell it like it is and give you real feedback. You know, we’re talking real life here. And now I’m going to give you that real feel feedback so we can figure things out. That’s how do you get better? You know, you need constructive criticism to be able to get better and meet myself included. Of course. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 19:46
yeah. Well, I think that’s that’s one of the things that that I don’t know if I do the right thing or not, but I’m pretty open with my clients. If I don’t understand something. I’m gonna find somebody that does or my make mistake. I I’m going to say I’m a mistake. Yeah. Geez. But I’m gonna fix it. It’s like, Yeah. Because right, because we were all human in this and and that’s the one thing that I think that you know people appreciate as well and we need to we need to be cognizant of is no one thinks that we’re flawless or anything like that and I just think that it’s it’s we want to do business with the people that that you can count count on in in the good and the bad. It’s not always. Absolutely
Yeah, I same thing and you and I are on the same page for sure. Dammit, I agree with you. And what better way to do that than video? Yeah, again, someone can never meet meet you. But they get an really good idea of your personality. And you know what you’re like? So why is Mr. Bizarre as Damon? Or is that my flavor? Right? Is that? Is that going to work with me? Is that jive with how I am? And if not, that’s okay, that’s fine. But it gives you a much better idea. Without you know, even jumping on the phone or any of that stuff you can kind of think a lot from from video.
Damon Pistulka 21:10
Yeah. So now you’re you You and I are kind of on the same same opinion here the the people that are needed, if they’re not on digital, they need to get digital and things like that. But what are some of the really cool things you’ve seen come out of this. And we’re going to use that ugly word again, where people have made that pivot and you go, Wow, this really is cool. Now when I see that wasn’t quite like that yesterday, but it’s here today. And it’s really working for him.
I got a real good example. And actually the guy, it’s hilarious because he gets teased because he uses that P word. So often. I’ll spare everyone here and again, but he, he and his father run a digital signage company. Yep. And as you can imagine, that’s a lot of brick and mortar, a lot of retail type stuff. I mean, they do they do digital signage all over the place. But during the pandemic, when everything was shut down. You know, they’re they’re kind of stuck in the water, right? Yeah. Well, they quickly he started, he didn’t say was me go into the fetal position, crawl underneath his desk and say, Oh, my gosh, I hope I make it through. They sat down and said, Okay, what is this going to look like? How can we help people?
Right, and, and tie it into what he already does. So they partnered up with a manufacturer to create these little mini kiosks, to have inside the door of any, you know, any retail space office building like that, that has that can take your temperature and has a hand in hand sanitizer. Yeah. So completely, a completely different thing for his business, right. But he, he pivoted right, and he said, the same people that are already buying digital signage, and already had bought digital signage for me, they’re going to need these things. And so let me be the person to help them and provide it. So he went through when everyone else was like, chillin and just not doing anything. He figured it out. And that became a huge thing for them.
Damon Pistulka 23:14
Well, no doubt. I mean, it’s something that’s totally, totally needed by just about every business around and, and the digital signage, if you could incorporate that into it to be it would make can really open up even advertising possibilities as you come in. And yeah, yeah. So yeah,
yeah. So he, so they went and they took once they develop that kiosk and the product, and they got everything worked out all the details, and the cost and all that kind of stuff. They went back to all of their prior clients that had bought digital signage for him and said, Hey, you guys are probably going to need this. We’re trying to get out in front of this to help you. You got you know, it’s like doing business with if you’ve done this before, let us help you. Right. So then they got a ton of business from that. And then as they’re going forward, things start to open up, and they’re selling digital signage. And they go, Hey, by the way, do you need this? Because we also offer that people are like, yeah, it just exploded their business in a positive way.
Damon Pistulka 24:09
Yeah. Yeah. I that’s, that’s very cool. That’s very cool. Because I, I’ve seen some of it, but not not to that extent. And that is that is a really good, you know, here one of the local examples that we saw that I don’t know how how monetarily successful it was, but when the when the distilleries switched over and started making hand sanitizer, and I don’t know if that, you know, militarily if that’s even close to what they need to do, I didn’t have a client that was doing it, but I thought that was a pretty good way to, you know, if nothing else, you know, do something good for your community.
And, and, and continue on, but I also know someone that was was selling those kind of products and they were not available for the first four months of this thing at all. So I got to believe At least for a while there were some demand that they they’re able to satisfy, which was kind of cool, too.
Yeah, no, I look at that as a huge win win. Right? So not only it’s good for your business, but like you said, you’re doing a very socially responsible thing and helping a community and helping people get those products that they need during that particular time that challenging time.
Damon Pistulka 25:19
Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s a that’s a great example. And I still, and I’m thinking about your, your online window. person you mentioned that is that is, that is a very good idea. I had someone that talked to me about a roofing company that doesn’t go out to do bids anymore, there’s some way that they’re doing satellite or something like that. And it’s completely virtual as well. And that, that, to me, I was thinking some, when I heard about that it was something similar is, you know, traditionally roofing on my wife’s family has been in roofing for years, you think of the guy coming out and doing the bid and looking around the roof and all that. And there really is not a reason to do that.
When you have the right technology. And another thing that when you when you look at it, because we were talking about with this, this this person that was on the receiving end of an estimate from and I was thinking about it like the the virtual window sales, it’s, even if you do have to have a follow up person that needs to go out and do something after it, it can be.
It’s scheduled more on your timeframe, rather than from the business owner standpoint. First of all, it’s better for the customer, right. And then from the business owner standpoint, if I’ve got all these things where I just need somebody to go out and take a picture of the roof, I don’t have to talk to that homeowner, I could just schedule just a route and go by and do this. I was thinking the efficiencies that you get from your sales people and your end the customer satisfaction because you are incorporating those kind of methods in your business that would allow you to operate when the pandemic was going on, like nothing happened.
Yeah, and I so it’s funny, you mentioned that because I have, again, not a client of mine, but a friend of mine that has a roofing company. He lowered his workers comp insurance by like 37% 30 plus percent, because his salespeople never go up on roofs anymore. Wow, he bought a 200 and some dollar drone. Yeah, yeah, worked it. So that sales guy comes out to your house or girl, and they send the drone up, and they take pictures of your roof, they take pictures of the damage, they can land the drone on your roof to take real close, you know, they could do whatever.
So they take drone pictures of the roof, they can measure the roof with the drone, they can see the damage with the drone, but they never have to get up on top. So like our house, I have no idea. I don’t even have a ladder that reached the top of the roof. nor would I want to get up there because I end up killing myself. But yeah, like I can’t imagine being up there. So no need for them to get up there anymore. So it’s all drum. Now of course when they’re installing a new roof they of course the installers gonna get up there, but not but yeah, the the drone technology, you know, utilizing that to your advantage to be able to do that.
Damon Pistulka 28:18
Yeah. Yeah, that’s that’s something. That’s something. So when when you got a pretty good framework here and seeing the the the overall business ecosphere. So what what do you see happening in the next few months for, you know, the economy businesses in general?
Yeah, you know, it’s, it’s a little bit tricky, because I do think the election is going to have in the US at least the election is going to have an impact on that, at least to some degree. Maybe not. Maybe not in the first, you know, the first seven, eight weeks, although who knows how long it’s gonna take to have final results before we know exactly who’s won the presidential election. But nonetheless, yeah, I think it just really depends on how quickly the pin I mean, so much is up in the air stone so much still with the pandemic and with each individual governor and what they’re comfortable with as far as opening up and things like that.
I just had a conversation today with a guy who is a restaurant owner, and he’s, he’s been in the restaurant business for Gosh, probably close to 30 years. He’s got several types of restaurants. And he said if they don’t allow me to open up at full capacity soon because again, I’m in Ohio, the weather is gonna turn soon so he’s been relying a lot on patio. Yeah, patio and he said people aren’t going on patio I can borrow space heaters I want at some point going to get too cold in Ohio, no one’s going to go on the other hand heaters are not. And if I have to operate my inside, at one third capacity, even if I keep that one third 100% full that’s not enough. I can’t make it. And he’s like,
Damon Pistulka 30:02
You called me and he’s like, tell me tell me where I’m wrong. Tell me what I can do. You know, I, I think that’s one of the things that that everyone’s grappling with in the restaurant industry. It’s same way here where I live in the Seattle area, we outdoor, allow the restaurants to really do Okay, once they could open back up, but I there just doesn’t pencil on when the when it gets cold, you have to be inside. That is one of the things
and the carry outs not I mean, the carry out doesn’t you know, that helps a little bit supplement. But it’s not enough. I mean, you think about especially in the restaurant industry, how thin the margins are in that industry. And you’re running at a 7% net margin not to get too technical with everyone, but essentially what I mean by net margin, it’s just, it’s your your profits, the end of the day, your net income divided by your total revenue, what ends up going into the revenue that comes in the door ends up in your pocket the other day, if that’s only seven 8%, which for in the restaurant industry is pretty good margin. And then you can only operate at a certain, you know, capacity. And then you know, again, takeouts only so much.
So, yeah, and that’s what he was talking about. He’s like, man, I think there’s gonna be a rash. I mean, there’s been a lot of closings, but he said, I think there’s gonna be a rash of closings. As the weather gets colder in Ohio, if they don’t allow, you know, things to open up more.
And then who knows what that looks like, right? We have all this, then you have all this, you know, commercial retail space, that what’s going to happen with that? Are restaurants going to reopen whenever, you know, things finally clear whenever that might be, or people are going to say, Okay, forget this, right. doordash Uber Eats, like, just open up a little small kitchen, and I’ll fire stuff out of the kitchen, I don’t have to have a place for people to come sit down. Maybe it’s just you know, more of the boozy places that are the nicer places make it in the fast food, like maybe that sort of massive market that’s in between the fancy restaurant and your McDonald’s or, you know, fast food. You know, maybe that part of the sector just goes away? You know? Yeah, he’s just take out.
Damon Pistulka 32:08
Yeah, yeah, it is. It is very interesting time for that, that part of the restaurant industry, that’s for sure. Because it you know, it is, like you said, it’s not people that are making tons of money, it’s people that are working hard to make a living. That’s what they’re doing. And suddenly, they until that changes, that’s the Intel the occupancy changes, they’re not going to be able to make a living in those in those restaurants. So you’re kind of in the manufacturing belt there. What do you see in manufacturing overall? I mean, is that getting hit? Hard or not?
I’ve got a, it’s, I swear to everyone, Damon did not ask me to ask me this. Although if I’d had an opportunity, I would have had him ask me this. I have two manufacturing clients that are having one’s been in business for 17 years owns a business for 28 years. And this year, they’re both going to have their best year ever. Yeah. Because, again, the P word, I gotta find a different word for it. But we shifted things about that we shifted things a little bit with some of the challenges and shifted how we were doing and what we were doing, and marketed to a different segment in both businesses, both manufacturing different things.
And it absolutely helped us, if we would have stayed doing what we were doing and just stayed in our lane, we would have been okay, right wouldn’t have been in danger of not of failing or closing or whatever. But because we were able to shift and anticipate some of this, we’ve stayed out in front of it. And so they’re both gonna have, like, when I say record breaking years, I don’t mean they’re gonna make like, you know, 100 grand, more like I’m talking about better than their best of the first 17 and 20 years of their business better by one business will probably be close to 30% better than their best year ever.
The other one will be high teens, low 20s. So just absolutely killing it. Again, these aren’t businesses that are new, like they’ve been around for a good while. But, you know, we had things set up, you know, being so I anticipated an economic downturn. I did not anticipate a pandemic. So I didn’t know that. But I did expect that this year and I started preparing my clients way back, that I wanted to be prepared for an economic downturn that would start on July 1 of 2020. I thought that’s the earliest any type of economic downturn is going to happen. And my clients that were, for lack of a better term fat, dumb and happy from the 10 years of economic prosperity, we had no dates, right?
They said oh my gosh, Ken, you’re paranoid. like things are great, blah, blah, blah. humor me, let’s just, you know, make sure we’re prepared. So when the downturn hits, again, not knowing what’s going to be in this form, but that we’re prepared for it, and we have a strong balance sheet, so not only we can survive, but we can see some opportunities during that time, and not in nefarious way. But again, thinking about how to pivot and shift things. And so we did that. And so now my clients think that I’m Nostradamus, because they’re like, Oh, my gosh, I thought you were crazy last year.
Clearly, you’re a genius. I’m like, No, no, I didn’t know any of this was happening. I don’t know anything like this are gonna happen. But so it was kind of a little bit of dumb luck. But But yeah, we, you know, both, both of those clients, one of the things that we’ve been able to do is, because we had a strong balance sheet, not both of them have had one had two competitors, one had just one of their top competitors locally, go out of business, they make it through. And so we were able to help their customers, and massive win here, hire some of their employees, we have this huge increase in volume, we have people who are experienced in the industry, and they’re out of a job.
So we can help save those jobs, while helping our company deal with the increased volume and we get experienced workers. I mean, it’s like the perfect plan. Like if you lay it out exactly how you’d want it to work out as far as being able to save jobs for these people. And everything. Absolutely worked out perfect. So yeah, so for me at least that, again, I got two manufacturing clients here that are going to have record breaking year. So I think if you position yourself well, and you shifted as needed, it shouldn’t kill on it, or you couldn’t be killing it. I guess it depends what you’re manufacturing. But I think both of them are very different than what they manufacture. And we were still able to shift and and do well. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 36:54
Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s good to hear. I think that, you know, what I saw in the beginning in the manufacturing that I was worried about is there was a lot of the wait and see attitude. And I hope that that I don’t follow it that far. The clients that we work with didn’t didn’t wait too long. But, you know, because that is, that is the unfortunate thing about a lot of manufacturers, they, they their their sales, were not digital they and they were not ready to, to embrace video conferencing to do your sales.
And, you know, there were still a lot of a lot of on the, on the planes in the cars, you know, meeting those clients and doing those kind of things that they thought needed to be done. And I I hope that wasn’t that it’s not too prevalent anyway. Because it is that I think that for for me, I’m I’m an old hundred K a year kind of actual flight miles guy, you know, I know what that that road warrior kind of lifestyle and you when you start selling like that, and your business is, is is hooked on that kind of sales.
And you get thrown into something like this. That’s a heck of a change. Heck, yeah. Those people are, you know, you you’ve got people that that’s what they know how to do, they don’t know how to flip open the computer, and and set an appointment and do a video call and just how you have to communicate differently and how that works. It’s it’s all away from the personal aspect of it, you know, from from being gone that much than not being gotten that much is quite a quite a change personally, but just to be able to get business done had to be a rugged change for some of these people.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’ll tell you one of those manufacturing owners, which he and I had to have a kind of a, it was it started out as a difficult conversation because he was starting to get into the woe is me, what the heck am I gonna do? Like, it could be the end for me like and I said, I didn’t physically do it. But I basically kind of, you know, given one of these and said, snap out of it, like I said, and here’s what here’s what I’ve mentioned, I’ve said this so many times. This is like the P word product for my clients. As I said, here’s the thing, no one has ever shrunk themselves to prosperity. So get that mindset out.
Don’t tell me about it’s not gonna work. Let’s figure out how it can work. But start with Yes, we know, we’re smart, we’re gonna figure it out. And things might look way different than they have. But throw everything out. Don’t worry about how you’ve done business for the last 1520 2530 years. Let’s, let’s throw all that out. And let’s say okay, we’re starting a new business today. What’s this going to look like? How can we make it work? We’re going to grow into prosperity not shrink. We’re not going to be in the fetal position on our desks. We’re going to be looking at opportunities while this you know while this is going on.
Damon Pistulka 39:57
Yeah, that’s a good way to do it. I bet But they appreciated that after after the fact not so much at that time, but after the fact that things start to move, and it probably was a lot better.
Yeah, yeah. And that one particular owner, that meeting Turner, you know, started off pretty rough. And even when we ended, I left and he’d been a client for three years now four years. And I drove away and I thought, I don’t
Ken Wentworth 40:24
know, you know, because I could tell he was pretty ticked off.
A few days, it took a few days. And he said, he called me and he said, Alright, I’m ready to sit down and talk about growth. Then I’m like, okay, as soon as I walked in the next time, he said, You know what, honestly, that’s why I’m glad that I work with you. Because I needed that. And he said, You know what? He pointed out to the floor, he said, no one out there would have ever done that to me.
Because I signed a paycheck, no one out there would have challenged me like that. And so who knows what direction my business would have taken? If I wouldn’t have someone like you in my corner to say, Stop that stop the pity party? Like, let’s, let’s figure it out, you know, yeah. So that was rewarding. Again, I said, I left I thought, I don’t know, he might not be a client for much longer. This guy may have ticked him off of
Damon Pistulka 41:12
Google too much. Yeah. Yeah. It’s similar example. We have, we have one one client that’s in the oilfield industry. And, and they they got hammered. I mean, they got hammered. And they are lucky enough that they, they’ve been in business a long time. So it’s not like this is the first time. And it was actually, it was it was pretty refreshing to talk to them.
And the only because he said, You know, we’ve been through this before, we’re gonna we know we’re gonna do that. And I said, Well, this is the one thing I can I can, I can offer is that, you know, you know, and they’re a big project company, right? So when a project ends, unfortunately, like you’ve been able to do the last 10 years, those those those people, they don’t have anything to do, you have to reallocate the people and some people aren’t going to have have work anymore, you got to make sure that you’re really good on that. Because to as you know, when businesses get big, millions of dollars become rounding almost.
And and if you’re, if you’re not careful, 10s of thousands will be a million dollars, before you know it, and then a million will be three and the next thing you know, you’ve lost money, or you’ve lost a lot of money. And that that was one of the things that I think they did very, very well was, was being honest with everyone, and they worked through it. And and you know, I do have to really commend them, they, they, it was and then the leadership to be able to say, listen, we’ve been through this before, we have a solid balance sheet, because that’s what got me thinking, you said we have a solid balance sheet.
And they’ve they’ve emerged from it so far with with a pretty good. And then they diversified. They pivoted I mean, they moved into some different they did some, they had, honestly, they had already saturated the major oil producing regions, they wanted to hit the United States, and they, they were ready to do the next in a different industry. So it was an interesting one for them. That’s, that’s a great example of sometimes that, that outside influence that you gave your client there, because you’re they’re not signing your paycheck, all of it anyway. And if you have an effective, you know, we’re as advisors, sometimes we’re almost bound to get not bound, but we really should give him the news that they need rather than the news that they want to hear.
Right. That’s a great way of putting it. Yeah, absolutely. You know, going back to what you said, I always start like to break it down. Like said, when you get to be a larger company. And you know, I’ve said a million bucks, it becomes a rounding error to a large company. Whenever I hear anyone mentioned that type of thing. I say, you know, hold on a second, I don’t care if you’re 100 million dollar company and you go 1,000,001% right.
Ken Wentworth 44:08
Here’s what here’s,
here’s how I break it down and really bring people back to reality. A million dollars that’s 20 people at $50,000 a year that’s what people’s jobs for a year. Now what if one of those 20 was your wife? Your daughter you’re right so let’s think about it that way right? a million bucks we just lost jobs for you know 20 people let’s think about that way and think about it from the people perspective. Not just like numbers and cents and that probably sounds crazy coming from a CFO right numbers nerd and like spokesman there’s a definitely especially during the pandemic with all this bad stuff that’s been happening challenging times. is it’s it’s it’s difficult sometimes or it’s easy, I should say to lose the people aspect of it.
Because you’re you’re sold Worried about the dollars and the numbers? And you said, you got to remember that the people side of that to not you, Damon, but you know, as you’re thinking through these things, as we are all thinking through these things, you know, the devastating impact that has, you know, a lot of these businesses are our family businesses. Yes. And they your family business, how many people when your family even extended family, brothers, cousins, sisters, uncles, whatever working in the business, so if that business goes under, think about the impact on that specific family, holy crap, right. could have a massive bad bad impact on that family? So super important to really sort of, even as a numbers nerd, like myself that to keep that empathetic and humans aspect to the whole equation?
Damon Pistulka 45:47
Well, in you, you said something a little bit ago there that, you know, you can’t shrink yourself into prosperity. And that’s, that’s where one of the, you know, the first conversation that we had with any client is, how are you doubling down on your sales? How are you doubling down in your sales right now, because I mean, there, there are always opportunities to sell more, that I don’t care what industry you’re in there, there’s always opportunities. So more. Even if you’re in the restaurant industry, you could sell more, it’s, it’s may be hard, might not be the way you want to, but you can sell more. And and I think as, as people, it was really easy to do the contract layoff kind of thing.
But on the other hand, too, if they weren’t, that’s a temporary, that that only, you know, stop it if they’ve been turned around and then go, Okay, now, how are we selling more today, and really a calling all hands on deck to do that, better than they ever had done before? That that was the thing that I saw in some clients. And some companies where they really did do that. They said, Listen, we are going to have to contract, we won’t be here tomorrow. But now that we’re here, we were all going to go and figure out how to get moving in the right direction. And that that was pretty cool stuff there.
Yeah. And what I challenge people in that scenario is, yes, there are times when you you know, again, just keep the doors open, you do have to contract a little bit. But in most cases, my challenge would be, you’re thinking you’re going to lay off 100 people, I say, let’s lay out 50. And let’s figure out how we’re only 50 people laying off, and it’s still a terrible situation. But in going back to what you said about always the opportunity to sell more little known fact, I hardly ever hear anyone talk about this.
For the average business 65% of new sales comes from one source, existing customers 65%. So most businesses are all chasing that new customer, right? And what’s the cost of acquiring a new customer for your business? Or someone who already knows you likes you and trust you? Because they’re already doing business with you? How can you help them more? How can you provide more value for them, and create that 60 you know, grow that 65%? Because that’s who, who’s easy, who’s an easier to sell a product to someone who’s known you for five years in the business five years, or someone who met you off the street 10 minutes ago, right? Clearly, you know, silly example.
But it’s so true. And the other part is, I think that when people get can get so focused and so shifted on the sales side, that they lose sight of the customer service side. So another that so again, I keep telling you I’m a numbers nerd, I’m proving it because I got all these stats in my head like I’m, I feel like you’ll get this reference, Damon and probably a lot of people watching one, but I feel like I’m Cliff klavan right, I got clipped Clayton’s stats for it from from Cheers. But so taking that a step further 65% of new revenue is from existing clients. 70% when you lose a customer 70% of the time you lose a customer, it is not because of price. It is because of a customer service problem.
Damon Pistulka 49:09
Yeah, I feel like a lot of times, anecdotally at least,
that is the result of I need new sales. I need new sales. I need new sales. Yeah, yeah, I got you, Mr. Customer for three years, okay, you’ll be fine. And all sudden you turn around, they’re gone, because you’ve neglected them because you’re so busy chasing that new dollar. So I think those not losing sight of those what when people start reducing this happened during the pandemic, when people start reducing expenses, I tell them, the first two places that you need to look what’s going to directly impact sales when if I reduce this expense is gonna have any impact on sales.
And then impact is gonna have on customer service, because I want to stay away from or at least the reductions in those areas be as small as possible, because those you lose your pipeline, right of new sales, and then you lose it. You know, you you don’t retain what you already have, which oh my gosh, now you have a real big problem, right?
Damon Pistulka 50:04
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it’s, it’s the, the thing that I like to you Customer service is always the thing. And if you got a great sales organization, your your sales will cover up for your customer service. But that’s another reason I think that’s widely not discussed at all about e commerce and why businesses should should take it start doing e commerce, because when you do e commerce, your customer service is there for everyone to see the level of customer service and you got to be good, or you aren’t going to be successful at it.
But from a management standpoint, or really understanding your customer service, there’s no better way than go try to sell on Amazon, or go try to sell someplace where your customers can leave honest feedback anonymously. If you want to improve your customer service, do that. And it will force you to be better, or you will not sell because your reviews will be bad. No no buy from you.
Ken Wentworth 51:10
Right? Yeah, you’re exactly right. Absolutely. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 51:13
And it’s it’s honestly one of the benefits that we talk about with our clients, when they’re when they’re looking to go into e commerce is and what things they really have to shore up because my customer service as as a manufacturer, or as a business down the street here. Paul the plumber, if Paul the plumber is not selling online or doesn’t have much of online presence, and he has a an unhappy customer, well, he doesn’t have a Google page or he doesn’t have a website, he’s not doing it on Angie’s List or something like that, that would where there is a public forum, people aren’t going to go and say, Paul, a plumber did a bad job.
If he’s selling on Angie’s List, or he’s selling someplace where it’s, you know, and I’m not using the right places, but you know, some places public like that, and he’s got a public presence, people are going to put it out there that he did, he did a great job or did a bad job. And unfortunately, for the customer service world, and if you’re an e commerce, you understand that people that are upset about their service are like 10 times more likely to do anything, but some are even more than someone that had good service. So it’s it is a telltale place to, to see how you’re doing.
Yeah, and I look, I encourage that, oh my gosh, that’s one of my one of my big things is always ask for that feedback. Always, always, always via email, maybe even right, you send you send an email to someone who purchased something you wait, you know, whatever it is, after you think they’ve received it, right? You wait three, five days, and you send them a follow up email, and you say, hey, how was everything? Are you satisfied with your purchase? Right? If not, please reply to us.
If everything was great, here’s a link to you leave us a Google review or whatever type review, right? And so that encourages not only can you learn from that, right? So if you had a hiccup a boo boo, because those happen, you can make it right. And you’d rather someone, because it’s look, sometimes some people depending on the cost of the item.
I know I’ve done this, I’m guilty of this, I’ll buy something, and it’s not what I expected, and it’s crappy or whatever. And I’ll be like, okay, it was 10 bucks, I’m not wasting my time to complain, and I got a package back up, send it back, forget it, I’m just gonna let it drop. But and then that so that business owner never knows that there was a problem.
And maybe they continue to do that same thing over and over again, next, you know, out of business, right? Because everyone stops reordering from them. But this gives you an opportunity to get that feedback. If you do have a problem a kink in your system, you can fix it. And then if not, think about that scenario, that email. if things aren’t right, no one will make it right. That’s a good thing, right?
So you go you know, not in fact, I’m mad about this, and but they’re gonna make it right. So that gives me a positive thing in my head. If everything’s great, and you would love to leave, we’d love to have a review from you. The reviews you’re going to get there and most cases are going to be nothing but positive reviews. Right? Yeah, they’re gonna, they’re gonna email you back and you’re going to fix it. And then guess what, after you fix it, you wait three to five days, you send another email when you say hey, I wanted to make sure we corrected everything you know, in the right way for and you’re happy If so, here’s a link to loose review. You hit it up again, to you know, help with those reviews and help you be better at business.
Damon Pistulka 54:24
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s a it’s a great a great way to do it for sure. Because, you know, people don’t want to leave a bad review. Usually, it’s just because something wasn’t like they wanted if you if you honestly try, it usually works out just fine. And and they’re happy, you’re happy, you know, and it’s resolved.
It’s a it’s a good thing, but it does, it does help. I do believe it’s a good way as as companies are looking at e commerce or something like that online, so It will be a place that they are going to have to improve as their customer service, they will, they will have to do that, you know, they’re just there’s a myriad of things that people have Amazon has got it, I’ve got a client that does a lot of Amazon sales and, and he said, we hated it.
We absolutely hated it, hated it. And now when you can when you get, so you do well on Amazon, everything else gets easy, right? If you can handle that, and you can handle that volume, everything else handling other platforms and other kind of customer service, things become easy, because Amazon sets the bar very high. And if you can, if you do that, you set your systems and the way you do things at a high level and that that makes it easier to do business like everyone else.
And I’ll tell anyone out there that doesn’t have an online store is not an e commerce and they want to get in it. Here’s an easy, here’s an easy hack. You want to you want to a pro tip slash hack. Look at how Amazon does business. Yeah. I mean, it sounds obvious, but I talked about this all the time with folks. There’s no need to recreate the wheel. Find someone who is doing what you want to do. That doesn’t really well and replicate what they do not copy not plagiarize. But but do it like they do it. Amazon’s got a doubt.
I mean, that’s, that’s part of the reason why they’re so successful. Not only that they you can buy anything under the sun there. But it is. So what I’ll tell you, you know, whatever. 15 years ago buying something online, I was hesitant, because it’s a pain in the butt, you get it. It’s not what you think. Think about like clothes and things like that. Think about buying windows online, think about buying furniture online, which is becoming more and more regular now.
But Amazon makes it so easy to return things. It’s like a risk. Right? You throw it back in the box. As a matter of fact, I took something back just recently from from an Amazon purchase. And there was a there’s a I have a cold store. You can return Amazon stuff at a Kohl’s department store. Yeah, they have a little Amazon kiosk. And I I heard about it. I’m like, Well, let me go check it out. Right just to kind of learn about it, and hopefully make it easy for me. I walked in, I didn’t save the box. I didn’t repackage anything. I took the product back in.
I walked up to the kiosk. The woman scanned it. She said Do you have anything else? I’m like, No, she goes the creditor go back on your car. Thanks for doing business with us. I’m like, it took like I’m telling you it took if it took 15 seconds, I’ll be amazed. Yeah, you just took it scanned it and basically looked at me like what else do you need? I’m like, that’s it. That’s all I gotta do to return something. She’s like, yeah, we’ll take care of it. Holy crap, right. I mean, it makes it so easy to do business with them, which is going to just make me order from them more often. You know? They make it easy.
Damon Pistulka 57:49
Yes. And and it’s I this is I talk about e commerce way too much. But I think that I think there’s a lot of benefits especially for people to do but we’re it as it does sometimes can this the conversation is I could sit here for a long time we’re getting close to an hour and you know what, I do want to have you back again sometime and we’ll we’ll maybe even come up with a specific subject because I would I would like to share more about how you’re helping people and some of the things you do but where are the best places for people to reach out and get a hold of you now if they wanted to talk to you
yeah God you can go to Mr. biz solutions comm go out pretty much any of the social media platforms. If you look from this webpage, you’ll find me I’ll tell you go out to on YouTube if you’re prone to videos, I’ve got a Mr. biz YouTube channel as well. It’s got over 100 videos on it now to check those things out. And you can reach us through any of those avenues as well. But same thing if nothing else, go out and consume a bunch of free stuff right?
And I said I’ve got over 100 videos on YouTube channel and on Mr. Bill solutions, Facebook page, tons of different videos on different topics you can go into the on the YouTube channel and if you’re having some challenges with cash flow, you can search cash flow and pop up all the cash flow videos right watching most of them are four or five minutes long, easily digestible.
So yeah, reach out and and by the way, this will date me again, Damon, but Casey case and we take requests, okay? So if there’s a video, you’d like to hear me, a topic you’d like to hear me? You know, shoot us a message and we’ll we’ll put it on the list and we’ll do it. We’d love it right. Sometimes we’re like, Okay, what do we cover? What should I be covering right now to help people? So we love taking requests.
Damon Pistulka 59:40
Yeah, that’s cool. That’s cool. Well, as as I said, we’ve got Mr. biz a aka Ken Wentworth, was today on the zero a round table. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your knowledge, man. I really appreciate it.
Ken Wentworth 59:57
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me. Damon had a great time.
Damon Pistulka 59:59
You Bad. Bye everyone. Alright man, thank you so much
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