Back in the mid-90s, we started what is now Kahuna Business Group.
One day I was kidding with our lawyer. I said, “you know, if this opportunity works out, it could be the Big Kahuna!” As a joke, we crossed off “Newco” on the paperwork and wrote “Kahuna.”
We are located in Bloomington, Illinois, not anywhere near blue waters and surf. We are in the middle of cornfields. People would ask us if we were the “Big Kahuna”?
Our response was, our clients are the Big Kahuna.
Fast forward about 15 years. Our revenue at the time was in the mid $20 millions, but it was a low-profit and low-margin situation. Since there was high cash flow, we weren’t thinking about things like building value and equity value. We weren’t letting the accounting guide us to the goals and objectives we had or wanted to achieve.
We ended up learning all of those things the hard way once we sold the original business. While it was a double comma exit, we realized too late that millions had been left on the table.
After the sale, we realized there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there that are in the same place. They don’t know what they don’t know. Most entrepreneurs were like me, ignorant in regards to their accounting.
Through our own journey, we realized that true success as an entrepreneur and on the entrepreneurial journey is the combination of opportunity plus personal responsibility. You can’t have success without both of those. Realizing too that when people are looking for success through other people – to either validate them, guide them or be their guru — it doesn’t work. Our philosophy is much more about how to Be Your Own Big Kahuna.
For Kahuna, I let things drift. Even though we were experiencing success, because I was not an accounting person, I didn’t pay close attention to the financials. I didn’t need to know any of that stuff, I had someone doing it for me.
This turned out to be a very flawed philosophy and over my entrepreneurial journey, it has cost me millions.
This is the heart of Be Your Own Big Kahuna. I am compelled to provide an alternate path for entrepreneurs born out of my own real-life experience.
Under the BYOBK mindset, my thought pattern should have been — I have a CFO, and he is going to give me guidance. I need to ask good questions; I need to be a part of the process. Not that I needed to own every detail but, ultimately as the CEO, I am accountable to everything within the organization, including the financials.
The concept of BYOBK is steeped in opportunity awareness, owning your journey and taking personal responsibility. Life is never going to go the way we think it’s going to go. Sometimes the outcome is much better than we anticipated, and many times we are thrown off course. That is really an opportunity where we have to hone our BYOBK skills. To take ownership of the outcome and not become a victim of circumstances or abdicate responsibility to another.
To Be Your Own Big Kahuna is about personal responsibility. Born from my journey and imparted to the select few that this will really resonate with. It won’t be for everyone, and that’s okay. You will be successful regardless. I was even with the battle scars and millions lost.
My goal and that of Kahuna is to provide that alternative path that still involves work but is a path that is more direct, more intentional, more focused, and better calibrated toward the entrepreneur goals.
Learn more about our services and how your accounting can be used as a driver in your business.
-Frank F Lunn
CEO & Founder of Kahuna Business Group