Linda Ruffenach is the founder and chief strategist for Execuity, a consulting firm serving business owners. She spent 19 years leading a start-up in various roles, including CFO and CEO, helping to grow the company to $100M in revenue. Ruffenach worked with multiple advisors, who first introduced her to the consulting world and inspired her to start her practice. With Execuity, Ruffenach has made it her mission to “pay it forward” to other business owners and use her experience to help others.
In the first few years of running Execuity, Ruffenach focused on helping business owners in three areas: marketing, sales, and operations. Without realizing it, most of her work with business owners was completely aligned with exit planning.
This led Ruffenach to get her CEPA (Certified Exit Planning Advisor) designation. To be successful, Ruffenach needed software to effectively attract business owners, increase her client roster, and grow her practice.
There were a few must-haves on her list. First, she needed marketing material to generate more business owner leads. Second, she required an effective and reliable way to benchmark business owners and identify where they were in their exit journeys. Lastly, Ruffenach needed a structured and repeatable process to follow to help owners maximize their business value and exit happily.
After evaluating several software providers, Ruffenach decided to partner with The Value Builder System™ to solve her three critical challenges. She quickly became an advocate for the platform and has seen tremendous results, tripling revenue by implementing value-building services in the first year. Here’s how she did it:
The first step in becoming a Certified Value Builder™ is to complete SmartStart, a fully online training program that teaches you how to integrate the system into your practice. With a thorough understanding of The Value Builder System™ and its various tools, Ruffenach turned her focus to fully utilizing the platform to power her practice.
Ruffenach first leveraged out-of-the-box marketing materials, like expertly researched eBooks and presentation templates that have proven to gain the attention of business owners. Now, with an influx of prospects interested in her services, Ruffenach uses diagnostic questionnaires to identify where business owners currently stand.
Ruffenach has business owners complete the Value Builder questionnaire, a survey that determines the current business value based on eight metrics important to acquirers. Once completed, both Ruffenach and her clients receive an auto-generated report on where the business currently stands that pinpoints areas of improvement. By providing the Value Builder Score, Ruffenach says, “I can give business owners a baseline value of their business and future and the roadmap for success.”
In addition, Ruffenach leverages the Freedom Score, another diagnostic questionnaire that assesses a business owner’s financial readiness to exit. With this intuitive and straightforward tool, she can help her clients pinpoint precisely when their business value will yield enough money to fund the rest of their lives. Explaining how impactful this can be, Ruffenach said, “It is a wake-up call for business owners on how much they need to sell their business for.” She uses the Freedom Score to help shape the action plan for business owners to ensure they build enough value within the business to sell.
Lastly, Ruffenach uses the Value Builder Engagement and its 12 value-building modules to prepare the business for a sale. The engagement addresses each of the 8 Key Drivers of Company Value systematically and practically, enabling her to solve her third challenge. She now has a repeatable and structured process to follow for each client as they work through the steps of building a valuable company.
After seven years of operating her firm, implementing The Value Builder System™ gave Ruffenach the jolt she needed to accelerate her practice. In addition to increasing revenue, Ruffenach has expanded her advisor network and is seeing more referrals from accountants, brokers, and others dedicated to helping the business owner community.
Most importantly, Ruffenach has solved three critical issues: Robust and effective marketing content helps her to attract more business owners, she can easily benchmark prospects and clients with simple diagnostic tools, and lastly, she has developed a structured process that perfectly complements her consulting skills and style. Having figured out the perfect balance, Ruffenach looks to expand Execuity, add more advisors, and continue building on her success.
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