Stephen King: Thinking He Could Sell His Way to Profitability

Stephen King: Thinking He Could Sell His Way to Profitability

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My guest for Episode #36 of “My Favorite Mistake” is Stephen King… no, not that Stephen King… but the Stephen King who is founder, President, CEO of GrowthForce, one of the nation’s largest outsourced bookkeeping, accounting and controller service for companies and non profits that use QuickBooks. He is also the host of the “Path to Profits” podcast.

Today, Stephen talks about his favorite mistake of not billing what he was worth and thinking he could “sell your way to profitability.” What good is more volume if the margin isn't good? He talks about the valuable lessons he has learned — how a small pricing change can lead to a huge profitability boost, while still making the customer feel good about it.

Stephen also shares how the “most important part of the culture” at GrowthWorks is “learning from mistakes” and being a “learning organization” as a core value. You'll hear how Stephen once had a “best mistake of the month” award and how they now use a Slack channel to share mistakes, even if there's no longer a prize.

You can listen to or watch the episode below. A transcript also follows lower on this page.

Podcast Audio:

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Video Podcast:


"...that's the biggest mistake that I see that business owners make. They think they can sell their way to profitability."

"I've been doing this for 40 years and it wasn't until the last decade or so that I really started to understand how to bill what I'm worth and how to get the client to feel good about that."

"I created an award for the best mistake of the month. And what is the best mistake of the month mean? It's the one that we can fix and have the biggest impact on the business."

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Automated Transcript (May Contain Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.