An ActionCOACH Success Story: Business Coaching Can Be the Extra Push Your Company Needs

An ActionCOACH Success Story: Business Coaching Can Be the Extra Push Your Company Needs


The skills you need to be effective out in the field are oftentimes separate from what it takes to run a successful business. That's where a little outside coaching can help.

When Lucas Elsing formed Kegonsa Plumbing in 2018, he was certain he had the technical skills to succeed.

"I was pretty confident in my abilities," the 32-year-old entrepreneur says. "I always trusted that if you do quality work, you'll always have work."

But as for business moxie? Not so much.

"I have a plumbing background, but not a business background," he says. "I knew the industry and the trade, but I didn't know about the day-to-day inner workings of running a business."

But, like the old adage points out, recognizing there's a problem is the first step toward solving it. And for Elsing, the solution was hiring a business coach several months after he founded his company, based in Madison, Wisconsin.

"I didn't know what I didn't know, so I had to find out," he says, adding that it was difficult to admit he needed help. "You can't let pride stand in the way of success."

Elsing worked with ActionCOACH, a consulting firm in Madison. The cost was $800 a month.

"I was super nervous writing out that first check, wondering how I could afford to pay it every month," he says. "Now it's the easiest check I write."

One of the most important things Elsing learned, he says, was to work on the business, compared to constantly immersing himself in it. Essentially, he stopped behaving like an employee of the company and became a business owner, focused on bigger-picture items such as marketing, how to hire employees, setting goals, budgeting and strategically thinking about the company's direction.

"Some days I still miss working in the field," he says. "But I also understand I have different responsibilities. I now have employees with families that depend on the business succeeding."

Was investing in a business coach a good move? The numbers say yes. When he started out in March 2018, Elsing was working out of his garage as the company's sole employee. Today the company has seven employees, runs four service vehicles and operates out of a leased, roughly 6,000-square-foot shop in a downtown Madison garage.

Furthermore, revenue in 2020 increased roughly 77% compared to his first year in business.

"When I started out, I was thinking small and envisioning small," Elsing says. "The coaching helped me realize I was doing that out of fear. But when you run a business the right way, you can start to think bigger. And that's what I did."

Outside coaching also helped transform Treasure Valley Plumbing and Drain Service, based in Fruitland, Idaho.

Dave and Maurine Burt started the company in 1985, with Dave handling the service work, drawing upon his building contractor experience, while Maurine, who has an accounting degree from Boise State University, kept the books.

For the next two decades (and more), the family business kept busy and continued to grow, the most significant change coming in 2005 when the Burts' son-in-law Jerry Robinson joined after completing a four-year journeyman plumber course. But even after a couple decades of success, in 2011 business coaching was added to the mix to help get the company to even greater heights.

The Burts and Robinson were members of a local business networking group that met weekly. There they eventually became acquainted with Ed Renna, a business coach from Boise.

"In plumbing school, they don't teach you how to run a business," Robinson says. "That's a whole other education."

The three began to meet regularly with Renna, weekly at first and then twice a month. The focus of a meeting is whatever is on the owners' collective mind.

"It might be different business strategies we want to try or some problems we may be having," Robinson says. "He also helps us manage our team — how to teach them good customer service skills or speaking skills."

Renna talks regularly with other coaches about the plumbing and drain cleaning industries and shares what he learns with the Treasure Valley Plumbing and Drain Service team. The coaching has changed the way they do business.

"Some things we were doing right. Other things we weren't doing at all," Robinson says. "We learned about closely tracking our marketing dollars. We learned about what's good business and not good business. One thing that really stuck with us is goal setting. We began to set 90-day goals; annual goals; three-, five- and 10-year goals. The goals keep us on track."

"Without a doubt, taking up coaching was a pivotal point in our business. It already has taken us above and beyond where I ever thought we would be."

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Original article can be found here