What a Bunch of Kids Taught Me About Business Value

Just returned from vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Grateful for the time to be with family and think about my next steps in business and life. One of our annual stops is LuLu’s. While it might be considered a “tourist trap” by some (including myself depending on the day), I want to focus on what they do right. And they do a lot right, starting with the attraction The Mountain of Youth (pictured above). Here’s a closeup of my daughter here…

It’s composed of multiple obstacles for kids to climb and balance while being protected by a harness affixed to a sliding ball bearing above your head. It’s three-stories tall and run entirely by college kids. Why does this matter to you? Because it’s a great example of what drives and sustains business value, starting with…

Great Value Proposition = Long Line of Customers
The Mountain of Youth makes a strong statement to everyone who sees it, so kids sit in line for hours. It’s fun, challenging, and unique. How strong is your value proposition? Do you have as many customers as you want, or could your proposition use some work? Even a great value proposition won’t drive value unless you…

Eliminate Friction
Kids don’t drive cars and even the biggest pushover parents have their limits on waiting. How do they fix this? By allowing kids to step out of line to eat dinner with their family and return to The Mountain. Win-win. Are you eliminating friction for your customers at every step? Or, have you bogged your process down with procedures that drive customers away? That said, you still need boundaries so don’t forget to…

Tell Your Customer the Rules
Every few minutes, the manager of The Mountain was getting the kids’ attention and announcing the rules with a strong voice. The themes are safety and time. “Don’t do anything to hurt yourself and don’t come down until you’re done.” Do you set the rules or do your customers? It hurts your customers when you let them decide what business you’re in. By stepping outside your sweet spot, you don’t give them your best, waste time and money, and disappoint them.

While everything above is important, there’s one factor that’s more important than anything else…

Most of The Mountain’s employees were having a lot of fun. Smiling, laughing, and still doing their jobs right. When your team is having fun, you’re much more likely to be profitable too. If your culture is poor, no amount of tactical quick fixes will help long term.

What About Attitude?
It occurred to me that many private businesses aren’t as risky as The Mountain. When was the last time you had to worry about dropping a customer three stories to the ground? And yet, we often run around and project panic while The Mountain employees keep it loose and professional at the same time. Take time to step back and think about what attitude you’re projecting in your business.

The Bottom Line
If your business isn’t everything you want right now, take a hard look at your culture, attitude, value proposition, friction, and rules you’re playing under. There’s a good chance one or more of these could use more work. These kids can teach us a lot about business value. 


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Can I Help You?
Hi, I’m Josh Horn, CPA/ABV, CVA of Horn Valuation. I help with business valuations in friendly or unfriendly situations. I also help owners build valuable companies. My clients are business owners and attorneys. If you’d like more information, check out my website hornvaluation.com, email me at josh@horncpa.com, or call me at 217-649-8794.

Josh Horn CPA

I’m a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and double-credentialed in business valuation (CVA & ABV). I’ve been a tax and business consultant in a top 100 CPA firm and a controller in a large international company. I’ve also valued and been the primary adviser to multi-million dollar and small companies in various industries.

“If you’re not working on business value, who is?” Josh Horn, CPA, Certified Valuation Analyst and Accredited in Business Valuation

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