A Let­ter From Our Founder, Mack­ey McNeill, CPA, PFS, IAR

I am sit­ting at a small con­fer­ence room table with a long-term client, Sam Smith, CEO of Smith Man­u­fac­tur­ing. We’re dis­cussing his recent busi­ness val­u­a­tion, suc­ces­sion, and prospec­tive buy­ers. He is the largest play­er in his niche mar­ket. His cur­rent prof­its exceed sev­en fig­ures. His busi­ness val­u­a­tion, three times his prof­it. Com­par­ing today’s con­ver­sa­tion to our first meet­ing, my heart smiles.

I met Sam 10 years after he became the CEO. He was in his twen­ties when his Dad turned the keys to the busi­ness over to him. In the first few years, things were steady. The tail­spin began slow­ly at first, then accel­er­at­ing as sales steadi­ly declined month by month. In response, Sam cut costs, but he could not cut fast enough to keep his head above water.

When we met, he was deeply under­wa­ter. The feel­ings of defeat were writ­ten across his face and his slumped shoulders.

Sam was caught in a macro­eco­nom­ic shift caus­ing his bread and but­ter cus­tomers to close their doors on a reg­u­lar basis. As we talked, Sam came to see that for his com­pa­ny to sur­vive and thrive, he would have to sum­mon his courage, change his mind­set and cre­ate a new busi­ness model.

Some years ear­li­er, I had faced my own cri­sis. Not as dire as the one Sam was in when we met, but one big enough to ignite the courage to change. Like Sam, I was in my twen­ties when I stepped into the world as an entre­pre­neur. I was broke, so I boot­strapped my start-up with sweat equity.

On the sur­face, every­thing was rosy. But I had a secret. One I want­ed no one to know. At year-end, when I looked at my finan­cials, I felt an intense feel­ing of defeat, not unlike Sam. Not only was my bot­tom-line ane­mic, it in no way reflect­ed the sac­ri­fices I made each day to build and grow the business.

My play­book then was: Work hard, grow sales, and the bot­tom line will fol­low. But it wasn’t work­ing. Over the next sev­er­al years, piece by piece, I cre­at­ed a new play­book. A play­book with one over­ar­ch­ing idea:

Every day is a day to feel and be prosperous.

I used this play­book first on my own busi­ness, Mack­ey Advi­sors. In the new play­book, each year I began by reaf­firm­ing my inten­tion and set­ting a net income tar­get. The remain­ing goals were then built to achieve the intend­ed results. I ran the com­pa­ny with a set of key met­rics, rel­e­vant his­tor­i­cal report­ing, and sim­ple meth­ods to fore­cast the next three to six months.

Along the way, I gen­er­ous­ly fund­ed my retire­ment, bought and remod­eled my own build­ing, low­ered my work hours by 25–50 per­cent and increased the val­ue of the busi­ness three-fold. I was thrilled, excit­ed, and at peace with myself like I had nev­er been with my old playbook.

It was this same new play­book that helped Sam and Smith Man­u­fac­tur­ing move from the edge of bank­rupt­cy to the sev­en-fig­ure bot­tom line. To a com­pa­ny that would end at gen­er­a­tion two, to a fam­i­ly busi­ness plan­ning a strate­gic and prof­itable succession.

From its hum­ble begin­nings, the play­book is now called Pros­per, a Finan­cial Oper­at­ing Sys­tem™. Today, suc­cess­ful busi­ness own­ers use Pros­per to plan and exceed their goals. And, we’re so con­fi­dent in it, that we offer a guarantee.

If you’re strug­gling to take your busi­ness to the next lev­el or are fac­ing the kind of chal­lenge that Sam Smith faced so many years ago, my finan­cial play­book may be per­fect for you.