EXIT – Are you planning to get out of your small business?

All Business Owners Have PAIN’s.

If you’re scaling your business, you will recognize these PAINS

exitFor the past 27+ years I have worked for, with or coached business owners / leaders. I recognize that each and every business is different and unique.  The clients I have served range from the single real estate agent to the Executives of a 2000 FTE  manufacturing firm.  Often, our efforts surround finding ways to increase efficiencies, reduce time investment on projects or provide new and timely information have been the focused solutions.   This is apparent that they have PAINs that they would like to have eliminated from their lives.
This pain is most common for business owners that are in their 50’s+, have been working IN the business for years and, very often, will have feelings of being tired, or burnt out, and may have lost much of the energy and passion that was part of the early years of growing their business.  They are seeing the potential of retirement, but have just realized that their biggest asset is their business.
You will hear them say things like…
  • How much is my business worth?
    • Your business is worth exactly how much someone is willing to pay for the business.  The estimated sale price of the same business will vary greatly depending on their role… accountant, business broker, family member looking to run the business, key employee wanting to buy it, or a financial or strategic buyer from outside your company.
  • Who would be interested in buying my business? and how will I make that happen?
    • First – you need to start thinking about / looking for potential buyers years before you expect to sell / retire.  The path to transfer a business (for the value that you expect) is long, often unclear, and filled with barriers and pot-holes.
    • Second – look to the ‘low-hanging fruit’… family member who is working in the business, key employee that has been engage and loyal, or your competitors.  When you’ve exhausted all of these, then a business broker may be another option
    • The ‘HOW’ for any of the above is to gather an EXIT team of professionals together to help you develop and implement a plan… Business professionals could  attorney, bankers, accountant, coach, financial advisor, insurance, and tax advisor. All these can play a significant role and be of great assistance in different part of your ‘trip’
  • I’d like to retire, but who will run the business if I’m not here?
    • Selling the business outright is not always the best option.  It may make more sense to hire someone to run the business and have it provide an income stream to you and your family.  Each case is different and so will be the solution.
  • How do I convert the business I’ve built into cash for my retirement?
    • First – you need to know how much you will need when you are away from the business.  A good financial advisor will be able to help you put together a good estimate.
    • Second – now that you know what you’ll need, you need to evaluate what you have in liquid and retirement assets and an estimated value of the business.  For safety sake, I would suggest that you plan for the lower number on the price range of the business.   There are a variety of industry specific formulas to determine value, but if you take that EBITDA average over the last 3 years.  Multiply that number by .5 and 5.  The end result of the value of your business will (likely) be within that range
    • Having the buyer write you a check is the easiest and cleanest – but it doesnt often happen.  Talk to your EXIT team – they can help you develop a realistic plan
  • Making sure that we have a proven system for generating qualified leads will increase the value of my company… now I just need to figure out how to do that.
    • The value of your business will depend on its ability to consistently grow and scale.  Being able to create a steady stream of new business will ad great value to the business and significantly increase the amount someone will be wiling to pay.
As we mentioned before, the way to achieve your goal of Exiting your business is a ‘long and winding road’, but the following 6 steps can provide you an outline to follow…
  1. START NOW – Exit planning can be complicated and take time. Assemble  your EXIT team now.  Plan for 5-10 years and you may have enough time.
  2. CLARIFY YOUR GOALS – Share your dreams with your EXIT planning team.
  3. BUILD YOUR PLAN –Work with people that know the process. There is much to consider.
  4. MANAGE YOUR RISK – A strong plan should account for all the things that could derail the plan.  Protect yourself, your family and your business.
  5. VALUE YOUR BUSINESS – Find the right valuation formula for you.  Your EXIT planning team can help
  6. REVIEW YOUR PLAN – The only constant is change.  Review your plan yearly to identify any changes
If you would like learn more about how you can develop your plan to Exit your business,  call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.

Customer Focused Organizational Chart For High Performing Companies

org chartThe flat organization is a concept in managing and motivating employees that has gotten a lot of interest. Instead of a traditional hierarchy with many layers of management, many companies are looking to create a more egalitarian structure. Flattening the hierarchy can allow employees from all levels of the organization to enjoy a work environment with greater freedom and creativity, and — hopefully — achieve higher levels of productivity.

A flat organizational chart does not mean lack of Leadership – on the contrary, it requires high levels of internal communication, focused interaction and a common thread of serving the customer… whether that is the external customer or the internal customer

A recent article in Slate describes what is happening at a few companies that are taking the flat organization concept to the extreme. The idea is called the “self-managed organization,” and it involves no managers. That’s right — no bosses. Employees in a self-managed organization all work as independent contractors, project managers and collaborators. Instead of reporting to managers, self-managed employees report to each other.

One example of a self-managed company is Morning Star, the world’s largest tomato processor with 400 full-time employees and $700 million in annual revenue. Employees there are all equals — there are no job titles and no higher ups. Instead, all employees work according to contractual agreements called Colleague Letters of Understanding (CLOUs) that outline the expectations and responsibilities for each worker.

A self-managed company structure is radically different from how most companies do things, but it comes with some unique benefits:

Better Efficiency

Self-managed companies can improve productivity because they enable faster innovation. Instead of asking their boss and their boss’s boss for permission to try something new or solve a problem in a new way, in a self-managed organization workers can simply consult a peer and get to work.

More Employee Autonomy

At self-managed companies like Morning Star, employees have a significant amount of freedom to decide how they work – and which projects to prioritize. Instead of taking orders from a higher-ranking boss, employees must gain consensus among their work teams.

For example, instead of having pay raises approved by bosses, employee compensation is handled by a review panel of coworkers. This fosters empowerment and initiative, as instead of waiting for a boss to give them direction, workers constantly evaluate their options and collaborate with the larger team to decide on which projects are most important.

Greater Adaptability

Because employees at self-managed organizations create their own sense of leadership and teamwork, there is often more flexibility and adaptability within the company. Instead of having designated departments for each business function, employees can be quickly reassigned to new projects that arise. Ideally, the self-managed organization might make it easier for companies to respond quickly to opportunities or deploy employees for new roles, regardless of the traditional idea of job titles or hierarchies.

Is a self-managed organization right for your business? Even if that’s too extreme an option, the idea of moving toward a flatter organization with more fluid job roles is worth considering. More companies are expecting employees to serve in a variety of capacities, manage numerous projects and contribute to multiple teams. The self-managed organization might not become commonplace anytime soon, but many companies can learn from, and hopefully capitalize on, some of the ways in which flatter organizations motivate employees and enhance productivity.

If you would like learn more about how you can get help to look at your business so that you can start creating a flat organization that is focused on customer satisfaction, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.

11 Insights From Famous Coaches That Apply To Small Business Owners

Employee Screening

Leadership Is Getting Everyone To Buy Into The Vision

Small business owners can relate to football coaches’ winning leadership advice

It’s no accident the 2nd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes football team is also the most valuable program in college football. The program has business built into it, from the head office (Athletic Director Gene Smith studied business at Notre Dame and worked for IBM) to the playing field. Head football coach Urban Meyer has leadership coaches on the sidelines for every game, and hosts regular business seminars for student athletes.

Tim and Brian Kight, co-owners of leadership training firm Focus 3, drill one primary lesson into Meyer’s players’ heads: E+R=O. That is, your reaction (R) to an event (E) is a huge factor in its outcome (O).

It’s a lesson drawn from business leadership—one that most small business owners can relate to.

Small business owners are facing down situations they can’t control every single day. Regulations change, employees call off, customers leave nasty online reviews. It’s how you respond to the action on the field that determines whether your company takes a hit or scores big.

Here are words of wisdom from 10 other winning coaches to inspire business owners this fall:


On Team-Building:

“The secret of winning football games is working more as a team, less as individuals. I play not my 11 best, but my best 11.”

—Knute Rockne, coached Notre Dame (UNT Center for Sport Psychology)

On Success:

“Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. You have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the point where success is possible. Most important, you must pay the price to stay there.”

—Vince Lombardi, coached the Green Bay Packers (

On Preparing for the Unexpected:

“Making judgments under severe stress is the most difficult thing there is. The more preparation you have prior to the conflict, the more you can do in a clinical situation, the better off you will be.”

—Bill Walsh, coached the San Francisco 49ers (Harvard Business Review)

On Focus:

“Eliminate the clutter and all the things that are going on outside and focus on the things that you can control with how you sort of go about and take care of your business. … It’s the process of what it takes to be successful.”

—Nick Saban, coaches the University of Alabama (New York Times) 

On Hard Work:

“There are many people who don`t know what real pressure is. Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”

—Barry Switzer, coached the University of Oklahoma (Chicago Tribune) 

On Losing:

“Losing doesn’t make me want to quit. It makes me want to fight that much harder.”

—Bear Bryant, coached the University of Alabama (

On Leadership:

“Positive leadership, in my mind, comes from two things…No. 1 [is] do your job. No. 2 [is] put the team first.”

—Bill Belichick, coaches the New England Patriots (ESPN)

On Decision-Making:

“Not making a decision is the worst thing you can do. So long as you feel you made the right decision based on the information you had at the time, there’s no need to fret about it. If it fails, you’ll know what to do next time.”

—Bo Schembechler, coached the University of Michigan (Bo’s Lasting Lessons)

On the Cost of Success:

“Nothing that comes easy is worth a dime.”

—Woody Hayes, coached Ohio State University (commencement address)

On Public Relations:

“When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.”

—Paul Brown, coached the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns (Men’s Health)
If you would like learn more about how you can provide strong leadership to your team to get the types of results these coaches have seen, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.

Case Study: Start Up Funeral Home Takes 18% Market Share


Funeral Provider

Business To Consumer


Client Situation – AT A GLANCE


Find a niche and serve it extremely well … the clients will come


  • New provider of funeral services to a market that had the highest concentration of funeral providers per-capita in Wisconsin.
  • Limited working capital
  • Consumer education of the benefits of alternative funeral services


  • Solid 10-year business plan with realistic projections for growth and market share penetration.
  • Business planning included an exit plan for the owners after 5 years in business.
  • Weekly measures of KPI’s
  • Alternative guerrilla marketing strategies to reach their target market
  • Multiple product and service offerings to generate value-add service to prospective client base


  • Investors were secured to allow for additional cash flow needs
  • Non-traditional marketing methods focused on relationship-building strategies with prospective clients and strategic partners.
  • Annual growth rates ranged from 23%- 57%
  • After just 3 years in business, 18% of the funerals conducted were performed by this provider.


Less than 4% of business that started 5 years ago are doing business today. Those numbers reduce to 1% when you look back 10 years. Those numbers are not encouraging, but entrepreneurs are willing to face the challenges in hopes of overcoming the odds to achieve success.

Funeral Service is a business that most people don’t know, or understand, but is one of those things you don’t think about until you need. Understanding the business model and being very clear on the products and services needed by your target market were the keys to success for these Start Up business owners. After meeting the owners and investors, we conducted an in-depth Evaluation / Alignment with the team members, vendors and suppliers. From those meetings, we were able to create a clear picture of their desired results.

When Advanced Business Coaching was introduced to the owners, we generated a 10 year (long-term plan) , a 36 month Road Map with success metrics and milestones and a 1-year action plan that would be visited monthly to ensure the Road Map would be followed. Quarterly meetings were held with investors and team to ensure that transparency of all ac- counting and activities was achieved. Immediate focus was placed on dividing roles and responsibilities of the principles of the business. The Organizational Chart for High Performing Companies was used to establish balanced growth and accountability. Empowerment measures were put in place to allow for key decisions to be made with- out unnecessary meetings.

The needs and wants of the Baby-Boomer demographic was a key component to the establishment of the marketing programs being developed. Focus groups and over 100 interviews were conducted. From this information, a plan was developed to deliver ‘education-based’ presentations to all interested parties. By diverting marketing/advertising dollars from traditional ‘image advertising’ to more direct-response approaches, the client was able to spend 50% less than industry averages and produce 3 times the results.

The first 24 months was time to develop systems and processes to maintain contact with prospective clients. Innovative marketing strategies and educational seminars were implemented to encourage regular contact between prospects and business owners. Strategic partner relationships were formed to find additional connections with their target market. After 5 years in business, market share is currently 18% and growing. What will happen in the future is still being determined, but growth rates continue and families happily call when the need arises

To take a Test Drive on our system visit

To your success,

Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.



Case Study: Family Trade Turns Into The Family Business


Residential Painters

Business To Consumer


Client Situation – AT A GLANCE


Just because he knows how to paint, doesn’t mean he knows how to run a painting business…


  • Finding the working capital to meet payroll and material expenses.
  • Finding qualified workers
  • Development of replicate-able systems to build a solid business.
  • Limited understanding of business financial reports and the value the information brings to the business.


  • Solid business plan for slow and steady growth of production and overhead costs.
  • Clear understanding of the 5 major areas of the Organizational Chart for High Performing Companies
  • Balanced efforts in all work-rooms of the business
  • Utilization of employee pre-hire assessment to determine learning traits and skill-sets.
  • Value-add relationship for all customers to ensure repeat business and active referrals.


  • Business growth is within 5% of plan numbers.
  • Employee retention is well above industry averages
  • Cash flow needs have been met and no additional financing has been needed since year 1


In the 19th and early 20th century, it used to be a tradition that sons were taught the trades of their fathers.  The sons would learn the skills of their father as they were growing up.   This is what led to this new business owner getting bit by the ‘entrepreneurial’ bug.

He is a 3rd generation painter, but rather than work for someone else, he decided he wanted to own his own business.  But, as most business owners know, there is more to owning a business than just delivering the quality product and service you sell to your customers.

An existing client referred this business owner to Advanced Business Coaching.  When we first met this owner, he was extremely frustrated with the Business Owner / Business Leader,  Marketing / Sales, Systems / Team and Customer Service/ Customer Care areas of his business.  Defining each area and separating the principles, practices, measures and metrics for each area, we were able to put together a plan for balanced growth and his frustration lessened.

As with most business owners, his talents were in the Product / Production area of his business.  Establishing the Vision and Culture of the business was the corner-stone of all future growth.  Once that was written and confirmed, we started the search for team members that would thrive and grow within that culture.  Utilizing group hiring processes and pre-hire employee assessments we were able to save time and find qualified employees that were comfortable delivering the quality work that was important to the owner—and his customers.

Creating a shared risk/reward compensation plan for all employees was an important part of the business model that contributed to the first years Family success.  Having all employees concentrating on cost containment, productivity and efficiency led to better than planned job profit analysis and high than expected income by the team.

For the small business owner, finding balance in their business is imperative to sustained growth and long-term success.  Working in all areas of the business to achieve the most important things that would contribute to strengthening the business.

Focus on delivering customer expectations was the biggest area of concentration over the first few years.  Happy customers provided quality referrals, held ‘open house’ parties to show neighbors and friends their newly painted home, and made took advantage of opportunities for the owner to do interior work that kept his team working year round.

To take a Test Drive on our system visit

To your success,

Michael Stelter

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our ABC E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the ABC E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.