Gary Valkenburg, Founder and CEO of World Manager
G ary Valkenburg, the Founder and CEO of World Manager, was at a Tony Robbin’s event in Fiji in 2009 when someone pointed out international business expert Keith J. Cunningham. Decisively, Valkenburg said he walked right up to Keith and said, “I started a company in my bedroom five years ago, launched my online product into 11,000 businesses in the world, and I don't have a clue what I'm doing!" Keith laughed, introduced himself, and said “What’s your name son?” A business relationship was formed.
After seeing Gary at a few more events around the world, Cunningham invited Valkenburg to participate in his hand-selected Board of Directors group, which consists of only eight business executives or owners who meet several times a year to work together under his guidance. “It was the best thing that ever happened in my business career,” Valkenburg said. Offering suites of online training, communications, human resources, and operations management reporting capabilities, World Manager had already established itself as the fastest-growing communications highway in the world. With clients in more than 40 different countries, Valkenburg said his biggest challenge was not knowing what he didn’t know. “I was making a lot of rookie mistakes when I met Keith,” Valkenburg said..
Cunningham first had Valkenburg gather his financials to get a snapshot of where the business was at that point in time. “Being forced to collect accurate numbers was when I first saw that I was in financial trouble,” Valkenburg remarked. “Keith helped me see how to immediately turn the numbers around and get back into the game,” he said. Cunningham then introduced Valkenburg to his easy to use CFO Scoreboard software which is a state of the art method of tracking, measuring, analyzing, and correcting business financial performance. Valkenburg said that by entering his financial statements into the program, he was able to quickly analyze his business and improve his decision-making process based on the numbers and financial results.
“In my first three months of working with Keith, sales went up 450% over the same period as the prior year, and expenses went down 43%,” Valkenburg said. “The ship turned right side up! The changes were thankfully immediate,” he added.
A critical business skill that Valkenburg learned from Cunningham was to take his emotions out of the decision-making process. “I was always making emotional, ‘fly by the seat of my pants,’ cowboy decisions,” Valkenburg said. “Keith taught me that there is little space for emotions in the board room. Now, if I’m emotional, I won’t make a decision,” he said. One other valuable lesson he learned from Cunningham was how to call it tight with his team members. “If a team member is not doing a good job at work or making unnecessary mistakes, now I am not afraid to let them know,” he said. “ I say what I mean, whether it is good or bad. My team knows where they stand with me at all times.”
Cunningham said that Valkenburg has been a quick study, taken the advice and counsel he received, and radically changed the way he runs the business-end of his business. “Gary is one of those rare individuals who is extremely committed to his growth and excellence and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his success,” Cunningham said. “He has grown dramatically, but more importantly, Gary now understands the major tools and thinking strategies which will produce financial returns many years into the future,” he added.
Thrilled with the direction his company is headed, Valkenburg said World Manager is now a multi-award winning online platform and is being used by more than 20,000 businesses in more than 50 countries. “My chance encounter has led to a complete turn-around of my entire company in 2012,” Valkenburg said. “Keith’s wisdom has changed how I look at my business, the decisions I make on a daily basis, and my identity as a business owner.
Rob Flintom - CEO, PEG Group, Inc.
W hen Practice Enhancement Group, Inc. (PEG) CEO Rob Flintom and his wife first heard international business mastery expert Keith Cunningham speak at a Tony Robbins event, they knew Cunningham had a lot of experiential wisdom to share.
“Keith is a rarity in the educational and teaching world because of his more than 40 years of business and investing experience,” Rob said. “We were just amazed by the critical business tools and information he shared and he was so incredibly dynamic at the same time. After he came off stage, we were first in a long line to talk with him.”
With a 20-year track record of providing financial and business management services to primarily dental industry clients, Rob and his father had successfully established PEG as an industry leader long ago. Rob had even been working with a business mentor for more than two decades. “When I met Keith, I was searching for some new distinctions,” he said. “Like Confucius said and my wife seconded, ‘teacher appear when student ready.’”
As an entrepreneur, with a unique niche service business, Rob thought no one else would understand or relate to his particular challenges. “Keith quickly reoriented that story, as he knows more about my business and any other businesses than anyone I have ever met,” Flintom said.
Cunningham initially helped Rob assess his business and determine where it stood at that point in time. “He helped me get moving and remove my own limiting stories or black holes an owner can easily fall into when there is no guide,” Rob said. “Keith could see things in my business and in myself, that I couldn’t see or didn’t want to see.”
“Rob is a perfect example of the type of business owner I enjoy working with,” Cunningham remarked. “He was 100% committed to his growth and acquiring the critical business skills and tools required to create sustainable success.”
“During a time of business market fear and volatility, we have increased our profit by 110%, increased our revenue by 35%, reduced and eliminated business debt, and removed the stagnation and fear of not knowing what to do next.” Rob Flintom – CEO, PEG Group, Inc.
After assessing the company, Cunningham introduced Rob and his team to his CFO Scoreboard Software, which helped them spot fiscal weaknesses and swiftly correct them. Rob said CFO Scoreboard was very quick to learn to drive. “This amazingly useful and easy to navigate tool reduced our time and input to analyze information, and made an immediate difference with our business and those we serve, he said. “The ‘what if’ projection depth and simplicity, are the biggest time and energy saver we use, and it has become my single favorite game, turning thinking about what to change in my business, into fun,” he added.
By utilizing the software, Cunningham helped Rob’s team reduce previously unseen risks and increase stability, profitability, predictability, strength, and long-term value of the company. “It is the best aggregator of thousands of numbers, measurements, and metrics within our business and a simplifier of effort, energy,time, and money,” Rob said. “And, as an outsourced CFO for small service businesses, CFO Scoreboard quickly expanded our depth of service and width of those we can serve, without adding specialized employees for our organization.”
Today because of his company’s work with Cunningham, Rob said they have a sharpened and simplified business model, message, and delivery. “We no longer are using hope and gut feelings as our primary business strategy.”
“During a time of business market fear and volatility, we have increased our profit by 110%, increased our revenue by 35%, reduced and eliminated business debt, and removed the stagnation and fear of not knowing what to do next,” Rob stated. “Keith and his CFO Scoreboard Software have helped grow our top line revenue and our bottom-line profit exponentially and simultaneously!”
Rob said that after three years of mentoring with Keith, he is still amazed by Cunningham’s care, attention, and focus on him and his company. “His intuition, expertise, and knowledge are deeper and more broad than you could ever anticipate from a single source. I have directly increased my profit and quality of business life,” he said. “Keith gave us the keys to eliminate trial and error and streamline our business straight to success.”
Cunningham said he was incredibly proud of Rob and the results he has achieved in such a short period of time. “The reality is this: Rob did all the hard work and heavy lifting to get to where he is. My job was to shine the flashlight and point the way. Rob is an avid student and was not afraid to break a sweat and put in the hours necessary to produce superior results.”
The ultimate key to their success, Cunningham concluded is that “Rob is willing to invest in his education and the tools needed to avoid financial disasters and create and seize opportunities. His dedication to improvement has certainly made a difference.”
Darren Lisiten - Founder of K2 Krupp Kommunications
W hen Darren Lisiten crossed paths with international business expert Keith Cunningham several years ago at a business conference, Darren and his wife Heidi Krupp were busy building and growing an award-winning public relations firm in New York City.
K2 Krupp Kommunications, one of the world’s most progressive communications companies, has been collaborating with, assisting, and often launching some of the world’s top experts and brands for more than a decade and a half. The firm continues to handle public relations for national brands like Weight Watchers, Gaim, Reader’s Digest, The South Beach Diet, EverydayHealth.com and others. K2 also represents and works with an envious range of leading experts and entertainment talent such as Tony Robbins, David Bach, Donna Karan, Bret Michaels, The Jacksons, Mike Tyson, and many more.
Heidi Krupp, founder of K2, came from a background as a TV producer and specifically built the K2 team with husband Darren to include professionals who were producers, editors, and reporters within the national media. With such a highly experienced team, campaign efforts are driven by an effective understanding of the media, which they call “of the media mindset.” The K2 team has established relationships with top media in all realms, including print, TV, and online, such as Harpo, Today, Good Morning America, People, and New York Times, among others.
The team specializes in developing and cultivating alliances with behind the scenes movers and influencers. From igniting global brands to turning authors into personalities, and personalities into branded household names, K2 is at the global forefront of results-driven public relations and branding.
Due to the nature of their work, Lisiten said he and his wife are provided great access to highly successful experts and the top thought leaders. Meeting Keith Cunningham was one of those special opportunities. “Until we met Keith, we had not found anyone else really offering the kind of skills, hands-on actionable tools, and solutions that give business owners like us the support and strength needed to take on the challenge of building a great company, over and above just building a great service,” he said.
Cunningham remembered first meeting Darren and Heidi, and said the couple were already running a well-established, world class agency. “Their reputation and credentials were super impressive,” he said. “Darren started working with me in several of our courses, including the 4-Day MBA and it was like a light switch went on in his head and he wanted more.”
Although Krupp and Lisiten have an array of clients ranging from some of the world’s leading celebrities and national brands, the power couple were seeking to go to the next level with their firm. “While our business was profitable, we found it was essentially running us,” Lisiten said. Both time and people intensive, Lisiten said their service industry company had become so successful and in demand, it was increasingly challenging to serve a rapidly growing number of high profile clients and maintain the cash flow and focus required to keep up with their agency’s growing demands.
With Lisiten’s background in running a factory and accessories business in China and wife Heidi’s extensive expertise in public relations, Darren said the couple were put into a position to create something meaningful. However, he admitted, neither of the duo had a business degree, nor were they experienced in the process of running a business or focusing on the business side of the company. “We set out to do it ourselves, never totally knowing what the exact skills and tools would be needed in running the business part of the business,” he said.
Having found his way to Keith, Lisiten said he was instantly intrigued by Cunningham’s command over the skills and tools needed to enable them to transition their focus from operating the business to running it from an owners’ mindset. “I had attended several of Keith’s programs and began broaching a point where we’d really benefit from having more clarity and support as well as insight into building a more profitable business,” he said.
Noticing how focused and ambitious Lisiten was at improving his business, Cunningham personally invited Darren to participate in his hand-selected Board of Directors group, which consists of only eight high level business executives or owners who meet several times a year to work together under Keith’s guidance. “The members of this exclusive board group have the background, experience, and level of business success to not only benefit from the meetings, but also to contribute to the overall success of other Board Members,” Cunningham emphasized.
Lisiten seized the opportunity and joined the Board of Directors program a couple years ago with the goal of increasing the size and profitability of his business sustainably. “It was only after joining the board that really big challenges to our business culture occurred. I shifted from thinking that I was just going to focus on growth to utilize my involvement to solve bigger challenges,” Lisiten said.
“Darren’s Board challenged him and his assumptions, provided him exceptional guidance, and held him accountable for his plans,” Cunningham said. And on the flip side, he added that “Darren’s wisdom, insights, and expertise were always sought after by fellow board members.
Cunningham added that Darren is a world class leader and executive and he and his wife Heidi are truly committed to their business and their clients’ success. “They have had to navigate the extreme pressures of the economy, changing their business culture, and parenthood at the same time… And they have pulled it off admirably. I could not be prouder than I am of their commitment to growth and mastery.”
Lisiten said the entire process has given him a peer group and support system to analyze and overcome on-going business challenges as well as an opportunity to develop a better set of tools and strategies for building plans, measuring efficacy, and driving results.
Reflecting on the experience, Lisiten said “Keith has a wealth of knowledge and beyond that he's truly sincere and committed to our board. He was always on call if we needed him. It's just much easier to solve problems when you have council and other eyeballs on your challenges to provide clarity and accountability.”
Improvements that Lisiten and Krupp have been able to implement at K2 as a result of work with Cunningham include defining outcomes in terms of measurable goals and utilizing critical tools to better run the business part of the business. “We’ve also gotten a handle on what is needed to create and define a company culture. Keith’s model for goal achievement is not just a good idea, but it is a real strategic mindset and model for creating results and maintaining them.” Most importantly, Lisiten shared, “I’ve garnered the optics from Keith to really solve business problems and in general make good decisions.”
Lisiten said K2 Krupp Kommunications now sits at a crossroads to significant success. “We have a profitable, though still small PR firm, and business is very promising,” he said. “We’re winning new clients, have greatly improved overall operations, have deveoped a new system to measure and manage agency activities, and are building an ideal team to double the business over the next few years. Our firm has reinvented itself.”