Mackey McNeill, Founder & CEO of MACKEY, The Prosperity People & Why Settle sits down with Kevin Edwards of the Real Leaders Podcast (https://real-leaders.com/podcast/#) to talk about impactful leadership, balancing profitability & purpose, arguing for your own limitations and more. Check it out.

A full transcript is provided below:

SPEAKERS:

Mackey McNeill, Kevin Edwards

 

Kevin Edwards 

All right, 3 2 1 and welcome everyone to this episode of the Real Leaders Podcast. I’m your host, Kevin Edwards. Joining us today folks is the founder of MACKEY, Prosperity People and Why Settle. Please welcome Miss Mackey McNeill. Mackey, thanks for being with us today.

Mackey McNeill 

It’s great to be here, Kevin, thanks for having me on.

Kevin Edwards 

Of course. So, at the most summit here talking a lot about generation and impact. What does being an impact leader mean to you?

Mackey McNeill 

For me, being an impact leader means that you’re making your purpose is making some major transformation in the world that you have a big idea of how to change kneel and some field. Of course, in our field, it’s about money in business. That’s what it means to me.

Kevin Edwards 

And you’ve dealt with a lot of entrepreneurs, helping them bounce their books, what have been some of the experiences and the lessons that you’ve learned along your way as it pertains to profitability, and purpose.

Mackey McNeill 

Well, you know, I think what’s most important to remember is that profitability and purpose really go hand in hand. I mean, I think the traditional thinking is that if you are a purpose, if you’re going to live your life on purpose, maybe you’re going to give up some money, you know, you’re, you’re going to sacrifice in some way you’re going to be a teacher or a minister. But I believe in today’s environment, that’s a totally wrong thinking that we can actually drive purpose in a business. And it’s even more effective, because we can really control that business and manage very quickly to make change, and like you can in other environments. So I think we have an opportunity to really use purpose to attract team to build our business model round the purpose, and to make a transformational difference for our customers or clients.

Kevin Edwards 

And from your experience, where have you seen profitability get in the way of fulfilling one’s purpose?

Mackey McNeill 

Well, you know, how I say I for business, I’ve worked with small business owners, and rarely have I seen profitability get in the way. Most of the time, I would say they struggle with profitability. I don’t, I think because they primarily don’t understand the nuts and bolts. So really this misunderstanding about what does it really take to drive my business? You know, the traditional playbook that small business owners adopt is often grow sales, you know, sell more customers sell more clients, and the bottom line will follow. And most of the time, that doesn’t work, because there’s a lot between the top and the bottom that has to be managed to. So they don’t have the right indicators. They don’t have the right data, they don’t have the right decision-making methodology to really drive results. And so they get to the end of the year, and I have worked hard or made, you know, my top line was up 20%. But my bottom line is kind of flat. That’s more traditionally what I see. But it’s an opportunity, every what we talked about today is every obstacle is an opportunity. So if you’ve got some momentum there, it’s really about managing what’s happening in your business. So it was a putting together a financial, robust financial operating system. It’s what we do in our business, and driving it with five different types of data so people can begin to see what are the consequences of their choices. So they’re making very good choices, and they’re making the kind of choices that really do drive that bottom line, then they can have a nice problem with profit.

Kevin Edwards 

Let’s talk a little bit about this methodology. You’ve got the three freedoms of prosperity. Tell our audience a little bit about your work.

Mackey McNeill 

Okay. Well, great. Thanks for asking. Well, our purpose, our goal is to help business owners achieve the three freedoms of prosperity. Because I’ve seen business owners fail, and I’ve seen business owners succeed, and I’d much rather see him succeed. I’m fascinated by business and why it is. And when I was young, I thought, why is it that some people do so well, and some people do so bad? So I’ve spent my life trying to figure out what the differences are. So I developed the three freedoms of prosperity is thinking about what is it that really makes a person feel good about where they are, it’s not just about making money, but that’s one of them. Certainly, the money, right, we have to have money freedom than we have. But we also have to have time freedom. And so often, business owners forfeit time, as they’re growing their business, they work insane hours, they give up time with their family and their friends and put them for themselves. And then lastly, freedom from worry, you know, without the good without good data without knowing really how to make decisions with their data systems. They often shoot in the dark, you know, make a gut decision, which is really not the best way to go about it. And in other words, not if you want to make more money.

Kevin Edwards 

And how does one this may seem like a trick question, but how does one make more money and maximize profitability? You talk a lot about margins in this playbook. How does, how have you worked with other business owners to make sure that they can increase their margins in a purposeful way?

Mackey McNeill 

Yeah. Well, when we have a new client, the very first thing we do is we go through a process called the four ways to grow your business. And we do focus on margin, we focus on sales, but we focus on margin. And so I’ll talk about the four ways. The first way is the way we think we grow more customers, right? So that’s the first way we can grow our business. But it’s also the most expensive way. So when we grow more customers, we have to spend more money to get those customers and that’s an expensive way to grow our business. The second way is to sell more frequently to the customers we have. So if you’re selling to him three times a year, can you sell to him four times a year? And the third way is to sell more each time you do sell. So how do you increase the average sales for average sale is $5,000? How do you turn it to $5,500? So the fourth way is magic way to improve the efficiency and every process of your business. So how do you get more out of the investments that you’re making, and people and technology and space, by really honing in on efficiency, it’s not a sexy way. So it’s not something that naturally comes to mind. But it’s very effective. And we do all those what happens mathematically, it’s we’ll prove our margin. So sales minus cost of goods sold will improve our gross margin. And if we then manage our overhead, which is our more fixed cost, will increase our bottom line. And I’ve seen clients go through this process and within, you know, a few hours, we’ll take the management team through it, within a few hours, we’ll have it you know, 40, 50, 60 ideas, we’ll sort and filter them. And often we come up with ideas that are immediately actionable, that immediately impact the bottom line. And I’ve seen people walk away with, okay, these two ideas are going to put $200,000 more on our bottom line, these two ideas are going to put half a million dollars on our bottom line, it’s pretty phenomenal. think often people have the ideas, but they don’t have the time or the really the sorting and filtering tool to figure out what should they do next. It is about prioritizing and focusing

Kevin Edwards 

And for the business owners that you’re working with doing these four different strategies. What’s the biggest resistance that you face after they’ve gone to the workshop, they had their ideas, it could work, what’s the resistance that you face from these business owners?

Mackey McNeill 

I say the resistance usually comes before that. Once they go through the four ways or workshop, it’s a very simple, these are very simple ideas but supply deals can be very powerful. And but the resistance comes from, you know, you just start talking to about we can make a difference in your business where you can really make more money, transition work less time, or one is they’ll say I’m too busy for them. That’s one resistance. They’ll say, You don’t understand my business, or I really am aren’t working as hard as I can. There’ll be a lot of excuses. And I would say that’s I call it arguing for my limitations. You know, if you always do what you always have done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. And I know that’s probably not good English, but it’s the very big truth, right? So if we’re not getting the results, we want our business, we have to think differently. And sometimes that requires somebody from the outside. Because if you’re stuck, and you’ve got your blinders on and you’re focused right here, the problem might not be right in front of you, you might need to step back and get a bigger vision. And that’s what the Grow4Ways process does. It says, let’s step back from here and see, is our problem really marketing? Or is it more about our messaging? Is it more about really the pricing that we put in place? Is that about the margin that we’re creating? Do we need to improve our efficiency? What really is holding us back?

Kevin Edwards 

From the accountants perspective, when you kind of itemize where we’re failing? Where we’re hurting? Where we’re doing really good? To you, do you have a favourite or an important line item that you make sure you emphasise each time to the business owner?

Mackey McNeill 

Well, you know, one of them, of course, this margin if I had to emphasize one thing, I guess my favorite thing places to look, where are the places to look that profitability is eking. The first place to look is pricing on the top line, maybe selling more, but often, people haven’t really taken a good look at what’s their pricing, say about their product? Is it in line? If they’re selling a product that’s, you know, better than average in the marketplace? Are they selling it at average? Are they selling it below, they may not even have their pricing aligned with the value of that product in the marketplace, or they’ll have that price based on cost and like pricing costs don’t go together. You have to sell it above costs, for sure. But you should be selling based on value. And that’s value in the eyes of your customer, not you. So you might not even really know what that is. If you’re not getting any knows from your customer, then you know you’re selling low margin, you’re selling below price that you should be anyway. So that’s the first stage, what are we taking advantage of price? It may be that we have ancillary products that are underpriced it may be their main products under price. So we look at a variety of ways. So how are we thinking about pricing? Then how are we thinking about margin? Are we what are we doing in terms of our cost? Can we eke out if you can, you have a $5 million company and eking out a couple of million, couple of points of margin, you can make some dramatic difference on your bottom line just by tweaking a little bit of maybe your labour costs, your subcontractor costs, your material costs, whatever, you know, business your business you’re in. And just making those small changes can make big changes on your bottom line, I have a case study that I put together for our learning model that shows that, if we just tweak here and there, we can double our bottom line, you know, it’s really just math, but it’s not math that people sit down and actually think about, and then the last place is overhead. That’s where people go first. But it’s usually not the place that there’s much opportunity. I mean, overhead is overhead, you’ve got to have, you may or may not have to have space, let’s face it, COVID has changed that. But you have to have liability insurance, you have to have licences and fees, you have to have some attorney fees, you’re gonna pay your accountant, you’re gonna have some overhead. So you can work on overhead, and you can certainly manage overhead. And so I advocate is, you know, control your overhead, plan your overhead, but then stay within your plan, and focus on growing your margin.

Kevin Edwards 

You know, you’re one of the only accountants that smile when you’re talking about a business going on there. And I just love that for you personally. Like why do you continue to the saint the things that you do, the educational route, the courses? How is this wrapped around your purpose? And why do you like doing it so much?

Mackey McNeill 

Well, you know, as I said, I really worked with small business owners when I was young. So I saw them fail and succeed. And I just was deeply curious about what this different was and what was the superpower. So then I was blessed to have businesses, let me practice and iterate with them. And I found things that worked. And I found things that didn’t. And as I began to put that entire financial operating system together, and it really proved that this, these systems will work. And we and we iterated on that our business to a whole another turn. And it came just, it was my dream come true. I guess what I would say it’s like this was the best I could imagine is that allowing people to achieve different lives. Because when a business owner, you know, if you’re if you’re a business owner, you’re impacting all your communities, and what are your communities where you’re impacting yourself, you’re impacting your family, you’re impacting your team, and you’re impacting your community. So the way I look at it is if we make a small difference, or a bigger difference for a business leader, we make a big difference in many other areas. It’s ancillary, but their difference alone is dramatically magnified.

Kevin Edwards 

And for the people watching this across the country that you’ll never see the rest of your life. What’s the message that you have for them today?

Mackey McNeill 

What them? That’s a really good question. I think what the message I would have, for them that the most important message that they may or may not have thought about is that financial, good financials and good data can be the difference between having an average company and a stellar company. And often, you talked about resistance, I think there is some resistance in many, many business owners to investing in having good data, they think and they don’t sometimes know what is good data, they think they have someone who’s taking care of it. But they don’t, you know, usually the internal bookkeeper does the best that they can, but they may not have the kind of expertise that’s really needed to drive good data, and then building out a robust financial operating system. So you have both your historical data, your your big, big idea, your healthcare data, your plan data, what are you going to plan to do? How are you going to be going to forecast that you’re sharing that data with your team on a regular basis. So everybody in your office is involved with making those numbers. If you do those checks, build that dataset, and begin to share it with your team. And you know, it creates magic for sure in the business because everybody wants to help your, your team wants to help you succeed. They just don’t know what they don’t know what the numbers are, because you haven’t shared them. And sometimes the business owner really doesn’t know it, but the numbers are so I said that investing in your data investing in creating good data systems is magic.

Kevin Edwards 

It’s great message sure a lot of the leaders listening to this out there. Miraculous bring this home. What is your definition of a real leader?

Mackey McNeill 

I think a real leader is a purpose-driven leader, a leader who has a purpose and focuses their service or product offerings in sight of that. So in my own example is, again my purpose is to deliver the three freedoms of prosperity. So I have three companies, and they were, to some extent serve different marketplaces. But they all help business owners achieve the three freedoms of prosperity. If I was getting involved in something that did it, I wouldn’t get involved. So that’s kind of my, my definition if you have a purpose and that’s what you lead with. That’s what you build for this what you build your product and service around.

Kevin Edwards 

Love it. Well, Mackey, thank you so much for coming back on the show today from Mackey McNeill. I’m Kevin Edwards asking you to go out there. Find your purpose and always keep it real. Nice Mackey.

Mackey McNeill 

Thank you, Kevin.