It’s easy for business owners to feel like slaves to their own business.
Coach Kevin Kru helps coachable and ambitious leaders go from worker bee to CEO so they can achieve their dreams and enjoy the journey.
Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- R4 Planning System
- How business owners attract and keep talent in such a competitive market
- How business owners track the performance of their company without getting overwhelmed by KPIs, OKRs, and all the other acronyms out there
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:02] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Coach the Coach radio brought to you by the Business RadioX Ambassador Program, the no cost business development strategy for coaches who want to spend more time serving local business clients and less time selling them. Go to brxambassador.com To learn more. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:33] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Coach the Coach Radio, and this is going to be a fun one today on the show, we have Kevin Kru. Welcome, Kevin.
Kevin Kru: [00:00:41] Thanks, Lee. I appreciate the time.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:43] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about your practice. How are you serving, folks?
Kevin Kru: [00:00:49] Yeah. So I work with small business owners, entrepreneurs who, you know, kind of started out with gusto, excited about their vision, but maybe find themselves in a bit of a state where they’re feeling more like a slave to their business, which can happen. And there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of promise. But then now you get into the slog of it and you find yourself overwhelmed. And certainly in the last year or 18 months, we’re seeing some unprecedented challenges for the small business community. And so I have the privilege of working with these folks and helping them to feel less and less like the worker bee and the slave to their business and more like the CEO through helping them just install systems and frameworks in their personal life and in their business life, and then with their company so they can really achieve their dreams and enjoy the journey at the same time.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:44] So what’s your back story? How did you kind of have this heart for small business?
Kevin Kru: [00:01:49] You know, it’s a pretty varied back story actually started back in the day in a ministry context, in a church setting where I got a lot, a lot of opportunities to spend one on one and small group kind of coaching and mentoring students and young adults. And really, you know, kind of developed a heart for seeing people develop personally. And then when I went into the marketplace and found myself in technology and just kind of learning the ropes and growing myself, finding that some of the challenges associated with business are significant. And so over the last few years, I’ve really developed more of kind of a blending of those two worlds where I get to work with business owners and people on a very one on one personal level where they’re very close to their business. They have a lot of skin in the game. Whether it goes well or poorly, has a significant impact on their personal lives, their family lives, their personal net worth their own sense of well-being in the world. And so I get to really partner with them, walk alongside them through some of the ups and downs.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:06] So how did you kind of develop the methodology that you use to help, folks? Is this something that you’ve just kind of cobbled together over the years, or are you following someone else’s principles?
Kevin Kru: [00:03:18] Well, I’m not sure that I truly have anything, you know, starting purely from scratch. I think I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve used a lot of different frameworks and have learned a lot from people that have gone in the road before me. So I’m a big fan of Don Miller and story brand and business made simple. I’m a big fan of Whitman and the entrepreneurial operating system at us. I’m a big fan of Michael Hyatt and some of his personal productivity tools. And so when I’m face to face with my clients or shoulder to shoulder with my clients, what I bring to bear is a lot of the frameworks from some of those sources in a in a cabin crew kind of way, right? As we digest all this content and we learn to use it ourselves. It takes on our own sort of personality. So I bring the Kevin version of all of those things to bear to my clients.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:18] So is that where that are for planning system comes into play that you’re kind of that’s your gumbo that you created from a variety of ingredients?
Kevin Kru: [00:04:28] Yeah, that’s an interesting way to put it. Yeah. So the R for planning system is really about kind of this rhythm, rhythm of life, rhythm of business where we’re working in the business and we spend a lot of energy in the business and and we get tired. And so we need to step out and spend some time working on the business. And so the R for the four R’s that are a part of that are recharge, report, reflect and refocus. And so this is yeah, I would say it’s somewhat of an amalgam gumbo of what I’ve read and what I’ve been able to adopt elsewhere and made it in a way that works for me and for my clients. And so whether that’s on a daily rhythm, a weekly rhythm, a quarterly rhythm or even an annual rhythm, it looks a little bit different depending on what period of time we’re looking at. But it’s really important to just spend some time recharging, right? So we’ve got the weekend. We’ve got the weekend to recharge, spend some time unplugged from work, spend time with families, spend time like I was yesterday out of the Frisbee golf course, just getting some time away from the business and thinking too hard about it. But then Sunday evening, one of the things that I do every Sunday is I have my weekly planning ritual and I start by after recharging reporting.
Kevin Kru: [00:05:56] I want to look at the reporting data from last week, and there’s certain key performance indicators and metrics that I look at to give me an objective sense of how that week performed against my goals. And then I’m reflecting on those things. I have some journaling exercises that I like to go through to ask myself important questions like what’s working, what’s not working? What do I need to do better? So we’re stepping out of the system to kind of evaluate the performance of the system and work on the system itself. And then the fourth component, after recharging reporting reflecting is the refocus. And the refocus is, of course, kind of future focus. It’s I’ve got this week ahead of me or if I’m doing it, this on a daily basis or a quarterly basis or an annual basis, whatever that period ahead is, what is the vision? What are the goals? What are the tactics? What are the most important priorities that I need to find time on my schedule and I find that. Of course, why I’m doing these things is important, and you have to be clear on that. And that’s really important for long term vision. You know where they happen, your environment and things like that.
Kevin Kru: [00:07:05] I’m really focused with my clients a lot on when these things are going to happen. And so this kind of gets into time management where, you know, if you haven’t scheduled a time block for these things that we’ve said are the most important priorities in our business or in our life to happen the when just sort of escapes us. Got one hundred and sixty eight hours per week. Hopefully we’re sleeping roughly a third of those. And so that doesn’t leave as much time as we would want. Everything’s pulling at us for time, for attention. And so if we’re going to get serious about achieving what we say is important and ending up with a life that is meaningful, we’re going to need to schedule these things in. Otherwise, if we don’t say no to a bunch of other things, those things are going to come at us. And one of my favorite quotes is every yes needs to be defended by a thousand knows. Every yes needs to be defended by a thousand no’s. So that end of that planning ritual for me on a Sunday night is just telling my hours where to go, telling them what to do for me versus having having somebody else prioritize my life.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:20] So now is this structure, it sounds like it’s almost a I don’t want to say virtual coaching system, but it’s definitely an accountability partner because if you follow this system, you’re kind of holding yourself accountable to maybe some objectives and some priorities that you either asked your your help for or came upon this system and then figure it out themselves. But the prioritization, the making non-negotiable, you know, appointments with yourself that you’re putting in a calendar and blocking them and then helping people make sure everything’s aligned with the true north or wherever there they want this journey to go. Are you helping people kind of formulate that in a macro way and then giving them the system and then they just go off and implement it themselves? Or you there also as their, you know, human accountability partner and human kind of support system to help them make sure that they execute on what they promise themselves that they wanted to do.
Kevin Kru: [00:09:23] Yeah. So I think what you’re asking, is there a DIY DIY version of this? Yes, there is. And is there a version of this that has a human level of accountability? And the answer is yes and yes, you know, there there’s lots of people out there who can take a system like this, any system and run with it and have a lot of success, and they themselves have a high degree of personal accountability. Although I think it’s more fun when you do it with people, right? Or at some, some loose level, even if it’s not professionally to have people in your court to have people rooting for you, to have people asking you about, Hey, you said this was important for this quarter or this is the priority this year. How’s that going? And you know, loosely, that’s that’s great. Some people, especially if there’s an important initiative or, you know, there’s pressure on them or they just really have a high level of ambition, understand that just like having a personal trainer, you know, yell at you sometimes or challenge you or encourage you or explain the process of you want to pick this weight up and not that one at this point. And unpack that for you. Just like having that personal trainer is helpful and oftentimes just results. Practically speaking in more exertion, having a business coach is the same type of thing where we can get stuck in our own heads. We can, and I’m the same way I have coaches in my life as well.
Kevin Kru: [00:10:53] So this is this is not just for some of us. I think all of us can benefit from this where we’re walking in community with people and and they’re holding us accountable. And so, yeah, we can install and we should install accountability systems that we ourselves are beholden to and even people that that report to me, for instance, I have a meeting later today with somebody that works for me, and I’m approaching last night’s reporting session knowing that that meeting is holding me accountable to getting my metrics in the scorecard. And I want to set a good example for the people that work for me. So I’m not going to ask them to fill out their scorecard ahead of our meeting if I’m unwilling to do the same. So I want to be able to walk the talk. So there’s there’s accountability with being a leader. I think of just walking the talk, but also I need people that have a level of objectivity that can see from a perspective that I can’t see because I’m in my own head, I’m in my own business. I lose objectivity and and having a regular cadence of somebody in your life to be as committed to your goals and to your success and to your flourishing as you are, is a really affirming thing that results in measurable results above and beyond what you might be able to accomplish on your own.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:16] How does a person come to you? Like what is the pain that they’re having? Where Kevin is the solution? Are they do they have to have evolved to a point of this kind of self-awareness and personal accountability to say, Hey, I need some help? Let me call Kevin. Or am I struggling with something tactically that Kevin is giving me a solution, knowing in the back of my head? Sometimes I need help, and sometimes I need a helper, and then that turns into maybe a different type of relationship with Kevin down the road.
Kevin Kru: [00:12:49] Yeah, that’s a great distinction. So the second part of what you’re describing is that I’ll call that more of a consultant, somebody that has a particular skill and I don’t have that skill. So I need to outsource that skill to somebody else. Sometimes specifically, especially related to marketing type of skills, that is an area that I go down with my clients. I mentioned story brand and story brand as a framework for messaging and for marketing, and that’s a background that I have. And so sometimes when that surface is in a coaching relationship, we can go there and Kevin can play more of the role of the expert in that sense. But as a coach, my role is not so much to, you know, for you to outsource the doing of work. To me as a coach, my role as a coach is to help you get clear on what you want sometimes, or if you’ve already gotten clear on what you want, what’s an execution system to pull it off? Sometimes people will just come to me with with a symptom or a pain of like, I’m feeling overwhelmed. My my schedule is is controlling me and my business is running me. My people are not engaged. We don’t have a way of tracking what success metrics look like. Or maybe they don’t even know to ask that question about tracking KPIs or tracking scorecard. They just know that they’re not living the life that they want, or they’re not getting the level of success or follow through. That they envisioned everybody can start January one with. Cool ideas about what they want their future to be, if that future is going to come to pass, we have to engineer and then execute on that.
Kevin Kru: [00:14:37] Those things generally don’t fall into our laps. So that means we’ve got to translate big picture vision into yearly, quarterly, weekly and then daily getting stuff done, execution, identifying where my best and highest use is as an entrepreneur, building a team to to help fill in the gaps or to help extend our capabilities and having a management system that would allow us to know are we on track with our goals? Is the structure that we put in place successful or not? Do we have visibility into the things that signal for us that we’re succeeding? So people come to me with a variety of symptomatic signals. Some are able to articulate those in a more sophisticated way. Some not where people would say, You know, I have a very specific thing in mind, can you please install this on my business? Those people tend to be a little bit more of the DIY crowd, right? They’re going to read the business book. They have the wherewithal to then implement that in their business. I tend to work with folks who are just feeling overwhelmed. Maybe they don’t even have the time to read that business book, or they’re just they’re overwhelmed by the options, and they have a hard time sort of picking a track to run on. So I have a track to run on and we do a diagnostic to find out where kind of the gaps are. And then we dove in kind of 90 days at a time and we measure the results over 90 days. If you take an assessment day one, you take an assessment day 90 and we want to see that transformation in key areas over that time.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:21] Now you’ve mentioned KPIs. Is there some universal KPIs that we should all be monitoring or this? Is this something that you have to really dig deep into each person’s situation and understand what they’re trying to do to figure out the appropriate metrics to measure?
Kevin Kru: [00:16:40] Yeah, that’s also a really good question. So universally, I mean, obviously, we want to know about things like profit. We want to know about things like overhead, like revenue. But and those are more kind of outcome or what what I’ll call lag measure based. However, there are LEED measures, things that we can do, behaviors that are going to lead to those LAG measures or those outcomes that we want. So on your P&L, your balance sheet. These are more results of things that we’ve been doing all quarter. But what are the activities and behaviors that lead to revenue or lower overhead or something like that? And that’s going to vary depending on the organization. And so and that’s also going to vary based on what symptoms people present when they first come to me. And so one of the KPIs I will track with people who are really having a hard time with time management is how many am rituals did you get in this week or how many weekly rituals did you get your weekly ritual in this week? And when I say am ritual, our weekly ritual, I’m just referring to that time that you’ve carved out. You’ve protected where you are going through this process. Essentially, you’re recharging, your reporting, you’re reflecting and you’re refocusing and you’re telling your hours what they’re going to do for you. You’re reprograming every hour of every day for the following week, and that might sound a little neurotic pre programing every hour of every day, but I will tell you that if you don’t defend that time, somebody will take it.
Kevin Kru: [00:18:10] So if you want that power to work for you, you have to be the decider of where that hour goes. And that doesn’t mean that every hour of every day is work. I’m talking about scheduling time with your family, scheduling time with your musical instrument or out playing frisbee golf or whatever it is. What I’m talking about are the things that are important to you. Is planning for self-care important? Yes. Dreams don’t work unless you do another one of my favorite quotes. So it’s not all work all the time, but how about sleep? Is sleep important to your body? How about working out? Is it? How is health important? All of these things have to take place. In a when there has to be a win for these things and we only we have a finite amount of time. So part of this process is just embracing our own finitude. I can’t make a twenty fifth hour today. All I can do is just do the best I can with the twenty four hours that I have and I have to. I have to come to terms with the fact that if I redline myself for too long, something’s going to break. So I have to come to terms with that. I have to face that.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:18] Now, if I looked at your calendar, would every kind of hour be have a different color? So like I would see sleep, I would see dinner, I’d see family, I’d see go to the movies, I’d see, you know, do my sales calls like whatever your your day is, you fill every slot. There’s not, you know, empty spaces. You’re you’re you’re kind of allocating every hour to something meaningful to you.
Kevin Kru: [00:19:45] Everything that’s important to me, and so usually that means that about 50 to 60 hours a week is filled with something even after hours. So there’s key things that I have to get done before I leave on a trip this Thursday with my family. One of them has to do with a scorecard for my son, actually. And many of your listeners are thinking, Oh my gosh, I wouldn’t want to be his son. But we’re working through some stuff with my son and we’re looking for a transformation, and a scorecard is simply incremental way of measuring that transformation. So I got to do a scorecard for my son. I think it’s six p.m. tonight after I come back from a rock climbing gym, which is also scheduled. So from a color coordination standpoint, it’s not. It’s basically work is one color of families, another color. My wife’s calendar is another color and so forth. So it’s more it’s more domains, I guess. But yeah, I just in a similar way to budgeting, budgeting money, you know, entrepreneurship and kind of that whole crew is really fond of of giving every dollar a job and. And so in the same way, we we have a finite amount of money in our disposal. We have a finite amount of time at our disposal and we need to plan accordingly.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:02] Now, one of the reasons we do this show is to help coaches learn from each other. Do you mind sharing with our listeners how you got your last client? How did your last client come to you?
Kevin Kru: [00:21:16] Uh, through a referral. So I’ll give you the last two, because they were slightly different, last one was more of a consulting engagement website, consulting engagement, where I’m not building their website, but I’m helping them define their criteria for shopping for web designer so that they go in with their very clear understanding of what they want to accomplish. Because there’s nothing worse than hiring somebody professionally and not being able to articulate what you want the outcome to be or what success looks like. And sometimes people don’t even have if it’s not their domain, expertize have the language to articulate that to, let’s say, a marketing person. So we’re helping with that. And she came to me through a referral and through a coaching client. The one prior to that was, you know, honestly, just I believe it was social media content that I had been putting out related to faith driven entrepreneurs and faith driven investors and even the R for system. And this gentleman came to me and we just started coaching together. So we are second week this week really with a need to hey, I’ve got to up my game. I’m getting pressure from my sales. It’s actually not a business owner. This is a sales leader within an organization that has sales reps reporting to him, and he’s he just needs to improve with time management. And he saw some of the stuff I was putting out with respect to time management and performance, and I think you responded to that.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:51] Well, good stuff. Congratulations on all the success, Kevin. The amazing story. Well, it’s an amazing story in the self-discipline that you have and your personal accountability and the way they are able to transfer that knowledge to others, it’s very impressive.
Kevin Kru: [00:23:09] It’s a blessing. I mean, I I would do it for free if I could afford it, because it’s it’s it’s a calling. And it’s not. It’s not just a product that I buy. It’s something that people buy. It’s a heart. I’ve a very close relationship with my clients and their success is deeply meaningful to me. It’s about the relationship and I appreciate your sentiment.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:34] Now, if somebody wants to learn more, have a more substantive conversation with you or somebody on your team, what’s the website?
Kevin Kru: [00:23:40] Yeah, you know, I have a resources page. If you go to Kevin Cru spelled Crew Kevin Crew Resources, you can find my R for planning worksheets there and download them. I think it’s like the second section on that resources page. So Kevin Kruger Resources. And you can download and DIY that are for planning system. And then if there’s if you want help with that system or any other system or framework to install on your business or your life, all my contact information is there. The two assessments are also there. So there’s an entrepreneur for health assessment and there’s a small business revenue assessment that are also on that resources page. And if you’re curious kind of where you stack up and where your gaps might be and opportunities to improve those two assessments are great places to start.
Lee Kantor: [00:24:28] Well, thank you again for sharing your story. Kevin, you’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Kevin Kru: [00:24:33] Thank you, we appreciate your time.
Lee Kantor: [00:24:34] All right, this is Lee Kantor, we’ll see you next time on Coach the Coach radio.