You have Built a Successful Business.
But Where Will You Be 5 Years From Today?
If you hope to have your business sold or transitioned by
You need to get started right now!
of owners have regrets one year after they exit
of owners have no succession plan at all
of owners are happy with their net proceeds from selling
Kathi exceeded all expectations.
5 Years to GO is our proven, structured 6-month process for creating your custom transition plan
Process Review, Goals and Info Collection
Financial Model and Value Builder Assessment
Staffing, Roles and Team Development
Identifying Keys to Success and Top Priorities
Value Builder Drivers – Focus on Top 3 Areas
Creating the Framework for the Deal, Structure and Timelines
Take the Next Step
This 12-question assessment will evaluate your readiness to leave your business.
Sign up for a free session with one of our expert succession consultants.
Growth Team Strategies Founder & President Doug Howard
Growth Team Strategies is a small business consulting company that works with the owners of established businesses to help them navigate profitability, growth and succession. Our consultants combine years of business ownership experience with proven processes and one-on-one coaching to achieve measurable results.
Company founder, Doug Howard, has more than 25 years of business, leadership and consulting experience. Doug has purchased businesses, sold companies, and led organizations in both the public and private sector for his whole career. He is an energetic and ambitious coach, leader and speaker. Doug is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business.
Kathi Fleck is one of our biggest success stories. In 2017, her business was valued at just a third of what she needed. After 4 years working with GTS President Doug Howard, it sold for her goal price. Now, we’re welcoming her to the team.
Here’s the full story:
From Pastime to Profession
With a high-powered MBA, Kathi was a sales and management executive overseeing two profit centers. But she was starting to feel the pull toward a second career. She and her husband always enjoyed residential repair and remodeling. They’d bought a big, old house in Dallas-Fort Worth to fix up and make their own, and they had several rentals. In 2000, the couple started buying more houses for him to work on, and Kathi began exploring what their company might look like.
When referral partner Coldwell Banker started sending more and more clients asking for design services, Kathi found her passion. She hired a coach, got certified in both Universal Design and Kitchen & Bath Remodeling, and even wrote a book on home improvement.
Working Toward the Sale
Over the years, Kathi single-handedly grew her business, LoneStar Design Build. (Her husband was content to work exclusively in operations.) She loved her time as CEO and personally oversaw close to 400 remodeling projects. But when she started thinking toward her next phase of life, friends were dubious: LoneStar Design Build was a service, not a product. Kathi was the face of the business, integral to daily operations. “How are you going to sell? You are the business!”
The 2017 valuation was disappointing. She reached out to Doug Howard to help her build and implement a succession strategy. Kathi was ahead of most people in her situation. She knew how much she needed to get out of her business, and she’d had the valuation done.
Kathi and Doug worked to grow and standardize operations. They started by devising a 3-year plan. “We set revenue goals and planned a hiring strategy. The whole process forces you to think beyond where you are. Doug gives monthly assignments, and those deadlines push you along,” Kathi explains.
Doug came for a site visit in 2019 to meet/evaluate staff and give pointers. The LoneStar team embarked upon a series of small changes to make the company a stand-alone unit: org chart, employee manual, documented processes, and job descriptions. Online forms and change orders with auto-generated emails kept staff and clients on the same page. All these improvements enhanced operations and attracted buyers.
Completing the Sale
The process of selling a business can take 2 years even without a global pandemic, and LoneStar went on the market in April 2020. But as the world started to open back up, Kathi had multiple offers by spring of 2021. She and her broker chose the buyer with the strongest business background. Kathi stayed on for 6 months to ensure a smooth transition.
Lessons Learned & Ready to Share
After wrapping up her involvement with LoneStar, Kathi bought a new house in Bryan-College Station. She hired a young entrepreneur to help her remodel it and naturally fell into the business coach role, helping him standardize operations.
When Doug came calling with his 5 Years to GO branding concept, Kathi loved the idea of getting the band back together: “Doug’s sense of humor cracks me up. Of course, he’s very smart and has all the answers, but he’s also just fun to work with.”
Kathi now serves both on the GTS Board of Advisers and as a consultant. She has a lifetime of business acumen and firsthand succession experience. Kathi says, “Processes can be difficult to develop, but once you figure out how it should be done the same way every time, then anyone can work the business – Leaving you free to retire and live your best life!”
“Processes can be difficult to develop, but once you figure out how it should be done the same way every time, then anyone can work the business – Leaving you free to retire and live your best life!”