Growing up on a farm in Georgia, David Kauffman, Author, Keynote Speaker, Coach and Serial Entrepreneur, learned at an early age the importance of hard work and discipline. He also discovered his entrepreneurial leanings at a young age. Kauffman shared the story behind his journey, starting with how he first discovered Zig Ziglar, along with the eventual impact that would have on his life, and continuing on with his cleaning service and eventually, the launch of his coaching and training company, Empowering Small Business, LLC.
"When I was about 21, my brother started a gazebo and storage shed manufacturing company," Kauffman said. "I became one of their sales reps and discovered that I really loved sales. I was also introduced to Zig Ziglar's processes and methodologies. I went to various events and learned what it truly means to become a sales professional. What I found is that it's all about helping other people. That's been my philosophy ever since."
In August 2007, Kauffman combined the knowledge he gained from working with his brother with his entrepreneurial spirit and launched a high-end residential maid service in Sarasota called Got a Maid? Inc. Over time, he grew a "monster". He had more business than his infrastructure could handle. The growth of the company was suffering, so Kauffman took matters into his own hands.
"I hired a coach," he said. "He taught me so much about systems to allow the business to run without me. That allowed me to work on the business instead of in it. Eventually we started wining awards and, out of 300 registered cleaning companies in the Sarasota area, we held the title of 'Best Cleaning Service' for six years. We maintained that distinction by serving our people. It's a very customer and employee-centered business. We also put in place programs to drastically reduce turnover. Zig Ziglar once said, 'You don't build your business, you build your people and your people will build your business.' That's exactly what we did. Over time, people in Sarasota starting coming to me for advice. They wanted me to do what I did for my business to theirs. I initially turned down five different opportunities to coach before I decided to launch Empowering Small Business LLC.”
As the coaching business took off, one thing led to another and Kauffman started to book speaking engagements. His business coach, who was friends with Zig Ziglar, introduced Kauffman to Ziglar's son, Tom. Tom was impressed with Kauffman and asked him to be part of a small group of hand-picked professionals to help carry on the legacy of Zig Ziglar. According to Kauffman, this opportunity really launched his career. For the past six years, he's developed an incredible relationship with the Ziglar family. From this opportunity, Kauffman has made other beneficial connections.
"I met one of Ziglar's closest friends, Dr Rohm, who lives in Atlanta," he said. "Dr. Rohm is the world's leading authority on DISC personality assessments. I learned all about DISC and how to use it with employees. The more I studied and learned about it, it became a passion of mine. I eventually became a certified Level 1 Trainer and started doing seminars around the country. I then went on to become one of only 10 certified DISC Master Trainers in the entire world. This allowed me to certify my own coaches in DISC assessment."
Kauffman's target audience is primarily business owners who want to learn how to grow their people. Following the model of Ziglar, Kauffman helps owners recognized the importance of growing their people, getting them engaged and treating them like kings and queens of the company. His speaking engagements serve as a natural referral source for his coaching and consulting business.
Everything Kauffman does is guided by his Mission, Vision and Purpose (MVP). His Mission is to “Provide freedom to business owners so they can spend more time with family and friends”. His Vision is “To be a household name globally in the small business world”. His Purpose is “To coach, train and motivate business owners to their level of significance”. Kauffman shared what he enjoys most about what he does and gave a great example of just how powerful and impactful his coaching can be.
"I love the fact that I can help people find freedom in their business and life," he said. "Believe it or not, I often struggled with purpose until a client called me and shared something special. In the past, my client struggled financially and couldn't get his business going. I worked with him for a year and he finally broke through the million dollar mark. About two years after that, he called to tell me he was in Colorado for the first time with his family. He was so thankful that I helped him find freedom in his business, which allowed him to spend more time with his kids. That's where my mission statement came from. That's exactly what gets my juices going. When a family has a better mom or dad because they have a better business or when a marriage is restored because the business has been revived, that gives my work purpose."
Looking ahead, Kauffman, who didn't hesitate to list his biggest accomplishment to date as being married for 11 years to his wonderful wife Toni, wants to reach and have an impact on even more people. For various reasons, including a surge in entrepreneurship, he has his sights set on China and certifying coaches to work in that country. On a personal note, Kauffman, who's been flying planes since he was 21, would like to buy an airplane.
As you might expect, Kauffman shared some excellent advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "Figure out what you want your business to provide for you personally," he said. "There's only one reason that an individual would start a business and that's to let the business be a vehicle to take them to where they want to go. Take the time to really think about where you want the business to take you. What do you want it to provide you with? Most business owners don't have a clear picture of what they want their business to do for them. Figure that out as soon as possible. The second most important thing to do is hire a coach. According to Proverbs 15:22, 'One mans plans will fail but in the multiple of counsel, there is safety and success.' You need someone who's not scared to say, 'Don't do that'. Also, make sure you have your own Mission, Vision and Purpose statement. Lastly, think big and tell people what you want to accomplish and where you want to go. If you do that, they'll be more likely to join you. Martin Luther King Jr. was vocal about wanting to end racism throughout the world. He knew that as long as people exist, there will always be racism, but that goal got him up in the morning. Henry Ford wanted a car in every garage. You have to tell people where you're going to get them behind you."