Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Growing Your Company’s Value with Ryan Tansom

George Grombacher February 2, 2023

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Growing Your Company's Value with Ryan Tansom

LifeBlood: We talked about growing your company’s value, the challenges entrepreneurs face, how best to allocate resources, treating your business like an asset, and the best time to get started, with Ryan Tansom, CoFounder of Arkona, an org helping entrepreneurs get clarity and control on growing the value of their companies.

Listen to learn why you should as yourself, “Is it worth it?”

You can learn more about Ryan at Arkona.IO, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Ryan Tansom

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:00

Unknown Speaker 0:15
what’s up? This is George G and the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Ryan Tansen. Ryan, are you ready to do this? Yes, George. Good morning. How are you? I’m doing great man. Let’s go. Ryan is the co founder of our Kona. They are an organization helping entrepreneurs get clarity and control on how to grow the value of their companies with an end in mind. He’s a podcaster, speaker and educator. Ryan excited to have you on Tulsa, about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do. Well, let’s just start with the pitter patter I heard above me, which are my twin girls getting ready for school and my wife is helping out. So Father of twin girls that are six. And then the cove, we started our Kona in 2018 ish. And then we’ll probably get into some of the other personal background but love to work out meditate. I was looking at all the topics that you guys do. And I just like I could go a lot of different directions with this with this conversation. I love it. six year old twin girls, there’s a whole podcast on that as well. I’ve got a six year old boy and three year old boy but that’s a whole nother animal. So it legitimately probably just bad cars and and then compared to the crafts that I’ve got going on, I watch our kids compared to the friends that have boys in our family. And I’m just like, man, there’s temperament differences right off the bat. Yeah, there’s, there’s there’s no doubt about that. So five years coming up on five years with with our Kona, what was what was the problem that you saw that existed in the world that that motivated the formation of a company.

Unknown Speaker 1:52
It’s the try to boil this down into a cliff note version. You know, my dad had a family business that he started George started in the early 90s mortgage, our house bought a semi truck full of copiers. It’s kind of the original or the origin story of our family business. So he ended up scaling that business and I got to play by play at like nine o’clock every night growing up man, loved it business became my sport back when I was kind of in elementary, high school. And what happened was, I joined the family business didn’t really want to work in that in my whole life. But what happened was George, when I started in the business, I actually started full time in onine. And at that point, we’re doing 21 million in revenue, we had 115 employees. And we had a location in Duluth and I think my dad had a big picture of himself on a billboard right.

Unknown Speaker 2:40
And so where this is going with the family business, no man like my dad had gone through a bunch of personal stuff. And when I had started in oh nine, I like a blissful like five months of selling. We were doing copier sales. And then what happened was is I like onine hit us differently, just like everybody else had had their own unique situation. And we ended up losing like $950,000 that year, and oh nine and so that I mean, I essentially my dad got back in active and MIT, he and I and some other people in the team and turning the business around for the next five or six years George and here’s what we had learned as it was just out of pure grit, what we were doing so we like sold a couple branches for cash, we built out the new service offerings, like manage IT services and the software automation, and then replace like 60% of the employees rebranded just like stuff that we thought we just had to do and that was beneficial. But what happened was it was juggling cashflow for years like the payroll every two weeks like 240,000 hours the wire has to hit on Thursday night and then we got two weeks to keep keep the thing going that’s really where I like my the scarcity of capital George is something that I never want to deal with again, and you talk about money and personality and how it’s a reflection of a lot of our a lot of our pasts or or our perceptions of money and and we got to this point where the business was healthy we didn’t know how my dad never wanted to he never wanted to really come back in. So he wanted out and I’m just putting quotes in there and it’s just this feeling of traps back to your question of like what why do we Why did we create this is this the same conversation every week man selling nuts on selling nuts on how do I get out Ryan you’re running the business this is like you know I don’t want to have to like you know, essentially float you and you know have all my risk I want my chips off the table. couldn’t ever figure out how to get out of that situation marked with kind of the courts in there. sold the business in 2014 and the nature of the sale to maximize the purchase prices but we had to we ended up choosing a local competitor and they only took 33 or 34 Out of the 90 employees and very hard day man like we sold the business and technically we got a you know a eight figure sale wire but like a lot of taxes a lot of debt fire two thirds of the employees and I went What the hell was that? That was

Unknown Speaker 5:00
like this my first reaction. So that’s where it really sparked my desire to just figure out what the heck man, you know, as an entrepreneur, you take all these risks and sacrifice personal things and who knows insanity and to then get to the Super Bowl of your career and not have control, because you don’t understand something and how that game is played. That’s really like, the fire inside of me it just wanting to help other people understand how the Super Bowl like Mooji is essentially just monetizing your asset is you got to figure it out, man, because no one no one’s gonna care as much as you it’s kind of like health. Like you got to be the your own advocate. So that’s kind of that’s a longer winded answer to your question. But then there’s a couple of steps between that and Arkona. But that’s really where you just realize that hey, man, like it got to the point where we were not managing the company like a financial asset. It was just mainly a big, huge lifestyle company with a lot of people and a lot of headaches.

Unknown Speaker 6:02
Yeah. Well,

Unknown Speaker 6:06
are you grateful to have had that experience? So looking back? 100% Thank you for asking it like that. Because so many people ask, What do you regret? Like, I love my life, so that I struggle with that question every day, man, because the struggle is the growth, right? I mean, it’s not fun when you’re in the middle of it. But it’s, it’s part of the process.

Unknown Speaker 6:28
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s interesting, and it is very impulsive to say, well, I bet you just bet that’s your full of regret, you know, like, Well, no, I now now I have this wonderful career where I can help other people to, to, to to be potentially proactively avoiding and not only just avoiding the heartache, but probably also really maximizing and, and amplifying the impact on next generations. And then many other things. 100% George, and like, you know, what it is recently, I don’t know if it’s just because of the end of the year, the state of the season that we’re in right now in a calendar year. But like, I’ve been doing all these presentations recently, and like, you know, trying to, like hone in on like our bar overall message. And like, honestly, I just boiled it down a couple of weeks ago on this presentation, like, do you know if it’s worth it? What you’re doing,

Unknown Speaker 7:17
I paid like 30 people on Zoom to stare at me. And it’s different for everybody. It could be your lifestyle could be the money, it could be the impact. It could be the enjoyment that you’re having. But like, that question is unique to everyone. Is it worth it? What you’re doing? And there’s going to be a combination of things that go into that cut into that recipe for you or for everybody listening in. But if you can answer that question, you got a lot of work to do. You don’t I mean, like figuring out what truly means didn’t have the all that worth it. And that’s really what I want to help people do because they don’t know how to answer that question, which is why they’re not making decisions on purpose. I mean, you’re just kind of making decisions on the fly, which

Unknown Speaker 8:00
then some point it comes back to bite. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 8:04
What a great question. I love questions. What would it take to to make this all worth it? You’ve got a matriarch or patriarch to ask that question and say, Oh, wow, you know, what? A really I’ve got passing thoughts, but I’ve never really sat down and thought that all the way through. Yeah, that’s crazy, man. I mean, in like, I think there’s probably even a step most people have to go through, which is what do I have to figure out in order to even answer the question? So there’s like a process B even before answering the question.

Unknown Speaker 8:38
Yeah. So it’s not that easy. But okay. So once that’s, is that a big part of your work? It’s, it’s helping people to clarify that and then it’s let’s figure out actually how to make that happen. So yeah, connecting some of the dots. So like, I think in this is, you know, a lot for entrepreneurs and founders and family business owners or partners, or whoever it is, like, there’s a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of things that we’re dealing with every single day and trying to organize all that information. That’s essentially one of my passions is taking complicated stuff and making it simple. So after we sold the business, I got into wealth management for hot second 2014. So I got into your kind of space, and I realized like, oh, compound interest like assets and growing wealth outside of just like running a business, Georgia was like this revenue, gross profit checking account, revenue, gross profit checking account, kinda like the whole, like, we weren’t even doing like the profit first. So when I got into like that space for a little bit, there was this intersection where business is an asset. And it’s not just the top one line revenue, or the gross profit of a of a business. It’s about the stream of cash flow and the risk of that cash flow and what that asset is worth. And I found that one of the common themes that I found is that most people don’t treat their company like an asset. So like the challenges with that door

Unknown Speaker 10:00
Are What do you spend your time, money and energy on then you can intentionally deploy your capital or your time and energy into strategies, unless you know what the result is supposed to be. So if you spent like I did, like $300,000 on a new accounting and ERP system, what’s the point? Technically, I have less cash that year, I have a lot of headaches, because a lot of pissed off employees are getting problems with customers because of the system. Why would you embark upon that unless you’re going to have a return on that. And the return is actually in the equity asset growth, not the scalability of the operations that particular year. I mean, they’re, they’re correlated. But my point is, there’s this like understanding of how to view and run your company as a financial asset. So we have a training program that’s based on five principles that help people think like that. And then what happened was over like, I think there’s like 450 people that have been through in the last three years, people then kept looking asking, like, can you help us with principle number four, which is grow value, and there was a module that we taught on company financials that people just kept gravitating towards. So there’s kind of this like, as you can see the story, this progression of wanting to teach people how to fish, then people are like, great, I learned how to fish, but like, I need to pull a need, I need to figure out where the lake is. And that’s really where it’s how we were teaching the financials, which led us to building up the fractional CFO service offering. And then we have, like a CFO services light, which is including a dashboard, but not to get into total commercial. The whole point was people realized, we were doing something unique with how we were communicating the financials. And then they wanted some help. And we’re trying to figure out how to get the product pricing fit away, we can help people in a way that made sense for both with both parties. Yeah, I’m really fond of saying that rather be useful and brilliant. And I think that I imagine, when you’re looking at a lot of things you’ve been talking about, it’s probably pretty easy to fall in the trap of being super smart. And being super academic or to textbook. It’s like, great, I just want to know how the thing works. And I want to actually be able to take it and apply it 100% Man, like, we can probably unpack a couple examples. But before I do like your to your point, George, I mean, I’ve been doing the podcast for almost seven years, too. So if that was my only job, and I didn’t have to apply any of this. I could just talk in theory land, right? Like, like traditional media, like like, oh, well, we’re just gonna say that this is how it should work. But when you have to go into a prospecting meeting, and you say something, and someone looks like it looks at you, like you’re an idiot, you’re like, Well, that didn’t work.

Unknown Speaker 12:34
So he like you need to, like take the feedback in. And then like, when we were building out our CFO services, at one point, we didn’t have a minimum, now we do because like, Well, shit, we’re losing money, like maybe we need to, you know, put some, you know, gaps or stop gaps on that. It’s like, you’re just learning on the fly. So yeah, I think the I think it’s important for people that are teachers to be practitioners at the same time. And I think you, you adhere to that as well. And then going back to your point of, like, just helping me get rid of the academic jargon buying it. Like realistically, George, we all as entrepreneurs, we want to sell something that provides value to the world. For some reason we chose whatever business and service product we’re doing at a profit,

Unknown Speaker 13:18
while then having some cash flow at the end of the day, that’s leftover, right? Because we want to be able to grow an asset, increase our distributions and our income along the way, while having fun working with people that we like on topics that we like and making an impact. And if we can’t find that intersection, then we’re just going to be feeling like that. That question is not answerable, is it worth it or not? So the vehicle of a business is one of the best platforms to get people there. And like you start getting into like quality of earnings, or the discounted cash flow or contribution margin or the cash flow. I mean, the you can you can get lost into the technical details that don’t freakin matter. If you don’t have your point be completely identified and clarified.

Unknown Speaker 14:01
It doesn’t matter until you figure that out. Yeah, I think that that’s really well said.

Unknown Speaker 14:08
So, you mentioned earlier, we have limited amounts of time, attention, energy, money, just our most valuable resources, essentially. And so many of the people I’m sure that you’re talking to are allocating majority of those to the important things, getting those getting their business into the hands, creating value, dealing with the employees. How do you talk to people about carving off some of that to be thinking long term? And should everybody be thinking about that? When should they be thinking about starting a process like this?

Unknown Speaker 14:43
I totally understand the question. The reason I’m hesitating is because I think I’m a little bit freakish. We’re like dude in school. I was the terrible kid like why? Why? Why remember this? Look at us read this book with all these, you know, dudes that are black and white and we have wigs on

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Why? Because why? Because then so I was just that jerk.

Unknown Speaker 15:06
Not the jerk. But the the, the annoying kid that would always ask why. So like, I I’m giving you some context, because I can’t do anything in my life unless I know why the hell it matters. So like, it’s a, I think it’s a little bit of my own quirk where like, I’m not capable of doing anything without the why. So, to your point to your question is immediately I won’t, I can’t do anything, especially twice unless I know why isn’t how it ties to some long term goal. So I think that’s kind of innate in me. So I think you know, again, is it worth it? How to answer that question, like, waking up and wait, Like, legitimately having 24 hours go by, and not knowing why you’re doing things?

Unknown Speaker 15:49
That to me just like, blows my head up? So I want to figure out, Where am I going? How does all the world work? And how do I fit into it? So then, for me, that reduces my anxiety quite a bit. So I would say like trying to figure out like, what’s important to you is, is crucial off the bat and ever heard that? What’s the story about like, you get six hours to chop down a tree and you get handed a sledge hammer, turn it into an accessory sharpen the axe for the first four hours, instead of just beating the sledgehammer against the tree for six hours and hoping for different results.

Unknown Speaker 16:22
Yeah, I think that that’s well said again. And yeah. So immediately, as soon as possible, ask your question, what would it take to have all this be worth it? To get closer to that kind of clarity? And then to be how much? How much time does it really take to be doing? And I guess that that’s really a That depends? Because at each stage, there’s probably going to be different things you’re going to need to be doing. Yeah, I think it will, let’s put like a love like frameworks to think by George and like. So I think I’m like thinking about the long term is like,

Unknown Speaker 16:58
their life is a journey, right? It’s all about relativity. Like I mean, there’s love and fear. And then everything’s a derivative of that. And we’re all here to experience life. Like that’s the whole point is the journey that isn’t there is no shiny, perfect thing at what point in time. So the process of life is about like, what do you want to be? And you know, every every bit of information that you’re getting every day, and this is my belief anyways, that every bit of information that you’re getting is like, I liked that experience, or I liked how I reacted, or I did not. So every day is a process of learning and refinement. And so like when I think about like my wife is she’s been trying to find her calling in life. And I don’t, I said that a little sarcastically. Because no one’s sitting on the pillow with us every night. But like, I mean, there’s a little bit of where she thinks someone’s going to come out of the heavens and just hand her an envelope and be like, if you just did this, everything in your life would be enjoyable. And I’m like, Megan, remember the last 10 years of should I did that I didn’t like, and that’s why I don’t do that stuff anymore. And this is why I’m doing what I like now. Because I know that I didn’t like that. And I like this. So.

Unknown Speaker 18:04
So to your point is like what it’s the process of reflection, maybe is a better way to answer that. So there’s like the, hey, here’s a hazy idea of what I think I want. I’m going to start organizing my life and my resources and everything towards that. And then adjusting along the way, but not being so critical of myself, that I didn’t like accomplish it in this specific timeline. It’s more of just like the processes that the journey is the process. And that’s kind of the point. Yeah, I love it. I’m giving ourselves grace to recognize that I am being intentional. That doesn’t mean that it’s all going to happen right now. And perfect. Right? Yeah. Also not a game of perfect, I love it.

Unknown Speaker 18:44
Well, Ryan, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with our Kona, how does it all work?

Unknown Speaker 18:51
The websites, ie the easiest place. It’s arkona.io AR K O N a.io. We’ve got 330 podcasts out there on intentional growth, which is the podcast name. It’s based on five principles, which is also the training and I’m on LinkedIn. So I’m out there if you want to find me and hopefully there’s enough content out there for people to get a good flavor of what we are and what we stand for. I love it. If you enjoyed it as much as I did show, run your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Certainly friends that are business owners, go to arkona.io It’s a RK o n a.io. Check out the intentional growth podcast and figure out if your philosophies are aligned and then get in touch. Thanks so much. Yeah, appreciate man. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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