When you’ve been supporting businesses in a community for as long as we have, you get pretty good at noticing the characteristics of businesses that will succeed and those that are headed down a rocky road. Everything in your business could be perfect, but if you don’t manage your finances correctly, you’re going to struggle. Even a small “leak” in your profitability can cause damage over time. This is exactly why we started our Callaway Business Coaching program.
We, at the Bank, felt strongly that business finance training was so critical to business owners that we began offering a program two years ago aimed at improving the financial knowledge of our business clients. Our goal was to give clients the opportunity to learn the core concepts of business finance without having to go back to school or spend hours taking an online course. Because honestly, both of those things have their downfalls – expense, not being able to ask questions or get feedback, and the time it takes to complete.
We knew we needed to create a program that was extensive enough to provide good information, without being too time consuming or cost prohibitive. We also knew that we needed an instructor who was really good at making financial concepts easy to understand, and frankly, not put the course attendees to sleep! I know, you’re probably thinking, “That’s impossible. Finance is so boring.” We searched the ends of the earth and found a finance guru who actually has a sense of humor and makes the class entertaining.
Let’s introduce our business guru.
Steve LeFever has been teaching business finance for over 30 years. He teaches companies of all sizes and in countries all around the world, to people who have finance degrees, and to people who have never had a business class before in their life.
He has an incredible talent for making complex financial theories easy to digest. Plus, he puts everything into practical, everyday (non-banker) terms that are easy to apply to your specific situation. He sounds too good to be true, doesn’t he?
So, where did we find this finance wizard? We discovered him teaching at the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, Wisconsin.
When I attended the Graduate School of Banking in 2011, Steve’s class was the most popular, and had been for years. He wasn’t teaching banking per se, but teaching bankers how to be better at advising their business clients. He taught how to translate banker finance language into what non-bankers could understand. The course I attended was only a piece of his full Profit Mastery program for businesses, but it was eye opening. It was incredible, like being given the Enigma machine for finance. Instead of deciphering Nazi code, business finance was translated into basic every day English. In all of my years in banking, I had never heard these secrets revealed in such simple terms. He was illustrating things like how an owner could make a small adjustment here and there, which should translate to an additional 7% increase in profit here and a 3% increase in profit there*. I remember thinking if our business clients had this information at hand, they could take on the world!
A few years later, when we were discussing the need to find an instructor for our own financial skills training program, Steve’s name came up. We reached out to him, only to discover that he teaches a two-day business finance program all over the world, nearly every week, called Profit Mastery.
We practice what we preach.
Before we offered his course to our clients though, we put our entire business banking team through the workshop. Our CEO, market presidents, commercial lenders, and other key members of our team all sat through the Profit Mastery course. We wanted to ensure that everyone at the Bank not only understood the concepts, but that they had experienced the program and knew fully what we were recommending to our clients. It also made us better bankers, because we realized that we had always been speaking “banker” to people who did not speak our language. We learned how to relate better to our business owners and were then able to provide better guidance to our clients.
So, what’s in it for us?
This program has never been about making money for the bank. Its purpose has, and always will be, to help businesses in our communities become stronger, more stable companies. Even companies that are not our customers are invited, because when they succeed, our communities succeed. Selfishly, we want our communities to succeed because this is where we live and work, too.
We also wanted this course to be accessible and affordable, so we cover half of the total cost of the course resulting in a reduced cost for our attendees.
Over 60 people have attended the program since we started in 2015, and they all found it extremely helpful. We heard one person after another talk about how it was well worth their time and investment. That’s when we knew we had found something that was really helping these business owners.
Below are just two comments we received:
“Thank you! This was a great program. I now feel better prepared to know, organize, and manage my financials. I recommend this program.” Dr. Brittany Overman, Owner, Columbia Chiropractic Group
“The seminar was great today. Thanks again for encouraging us to participate. Definitely beneficial!”
Nathan Real, Co-Owner Truescape Landscaping, Fulton.
Our program, Callaway Business Coaching, is built around Steve’s Profit Mastery workshop, but with an added benefit. We provide additional support throughout the year to help owners apply the tools and increase their profitability. We want to make sure the attendees are using the skills they’ve learned and will serve as a resource for participants who would like additional coaching.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Callaway Business Coaching program, visit our website callawaybank.com/businesscoaching. The next program beings October 25, 2017. Hope to see you there.
Jeff Jones is a Sr. Vice President and the Chief Communications Officer for The Callaway Bank. He’s been at Callaway for more than 12 years. *The increase in profitability numbers he used above were merely for illustrative purposes and are not intended to convey a guaranteed return of that amount.