CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Barry Gleeson, managing partner of The Kelsey Group spoke to Chicago Business Columnist Mark Imperial to discuss the solution for business owners who feel stuck or owned by their business; trapped in isolation; or struggle to feel confident they are making good decisions for long-term growth. In a tough economy for business, Gleeson brings thousands of hours of experience coaching business owners and leaders, and facilitating advisory boards. Gleeson shared insights from working monthly with dozens of businesses representing a broad spectrum of industries, mostly in the B2B space.
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family gave Gleeson the passion for business at an early age. While pursuing his formal education, Gleeson ran one of two locations of the family’s small electronic retail store. Gleeson then took a position at a Fortune 100 company that rounded out his exposure and experience in all aspects of business, which benefit his clients today.
“I saw a problem that I felt impacted over 90% of all small businesses and, with that, I started my own consulting practice advising business owners on how to get better results from their sales and marketing spend.” said Gleeson. “Today, our company offers a suite of services that are designed specifically to free the business owner from day-to-day distractions so they can focus more long term on building a more valuable business for some inevitable exit point. To be able to help our clients achieve these results is significant to them.”
In the interview, Gleeson described how owners of privately held businesses feel. “I have found that owners of most small companies have an ‘I can do it’ attitude. Starting out, they are passionate about their product or service and want to make a mark on the world. However, soon their passion is overcome by the pressure of running the business. They ultimately begin to spend a majority of their time working in the business rather than on the business and are forced to do things they don’t want to do and/or don’t like to do. Few escape from this reality”
Gleeson continued with their solution, “Our focus is to help owners build a business that is not highly dependent on them. We do this through services that include advisory boards (comprised of business owners from non-competing industries); executive coaching; training programs for key managers designed to help them take on more of the load proactively; assessment tools that accurately define the behaviors; motivators and competencies of the owner and employees to get the right people doing the right things; and we help sharpen their focus to improve the results they get from business development efforts.”
As part of their programs, The Kelsey Group brings a high level of monthly accountability to ensure progress is made toward their clients’ stated goals.
At the conclusion of the interview, Gleeson offered these final words, “Time is the biggest obstacle. We hear all too often the owner, and their managers, are too busy to work on the business. They are putting out fires and have a very difficult time being proactive. Many of our clients are not even able to take needed time off to re-charge or spend time with family. Further, if a business is highly dependent on the owner and the management team is under-developed, the business value will be greatly restricted. In many cases, potential buyers will not have interest in a company that depends on the owner, has weak management and/or inadequate systems or procedures. This is compounded by the reality of the number of businesses run by aging baby boomers and the lack of potential buyers from the X and Y generations. It’s a supply-demand issue. This is a real and growing problem when it comes to maximizing the value or price that current owners can expect to achieve in the future. A challenge we can help them solve.”
The Kelsey Group offers services to businesses in the St. Louis area, and their clients are thrilled with the results.
“It has been a tremendous benefit for me to work with Barry Gleeson as my business coach for the past four years. As president and managing partner in a logistics enterprise, Barry’s insightful coaching brought me needed objectivity. He stretched my thinking and held me accountable to deliver on strategy and execution. He has a broad skill-set and diverse product offering. Using his training and professional methodology, we collaborated to hire a Director of Operations, my second in command, who turned out to be a perfect fit for the job technically and culturally. Barry’s contribution to my business is so significant, I have continued the relationship after leaving the partnership and starting a new company, Pure Logistics. Even though revenue and income in the new company is limited, the investment in continuing our collaboration will provide a significant return over time. I’m a strong believer in the value that comes from peer Groups and a competent business coach, Barry Gleeson.”
-Frank Fischer, President, Pure Logistics
“I have had the pleasure of working with Barry for several years now. As a consultant, he has always provided the right mix of tenacity and patience. I don’t envy Barry’s job. He works with business owners, who for the most part think they know best when it comes to their own businesses. Yet, we hire Barry to help us do better. He has always been up to the challenge of providing accountability, knowledge, and friendship that allows me to HEAR him; to open my mind and implement the things he suggests. His marketing knowledge is vast, but his knowledge about growing your business in general is also vast. He has been at the root of several pivotal changes at Rainmaker that have been instrumental in my growth. If you seek to run your business better, smarter, or more profitably, I highly recommend reaching out to Barry. Feel free to contact me if you’d like a personal recommendation. 314.433.4661”.
-Patricia Cowen, President, Rainmaker Sales & Support
“Barry has been my executive coach for several years and the value provided has been outstanding. I really like that he has quality professional experience along with a commitment to do his part in developing his clients. He has a great knack for probing, challenging the status-quo, and providing meaningful insights… which are all the elements of an excellent executive coach. I believe that working with Barry has helped me become a better person and business leader. The ultimate benefit is to my customers, employees and future business prospects.”
-Chris Deck, CEO, Deck Commerce