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Mark Miller on Using For-Profit Business Principles To Rapidly Grow His Nonprofit and Make a BIG Impact

Guest: Mark Miller, the CEO of Connective, a community-based social services nonprofit operating in British Columbia and the Yukon to create safe, healthy, and inclusive communities for all.

Overview: A nonprofit may not have the exact same goals as a for-profit business. But the principles of success are no different for a nonprofit CEO: have a vision that benefits all stakeholders, track, measure, and manage progress towards milestones every day, and assemble a team of people who care about your mission and will work hard to Make BIG Happen

On today’s show, Mark Miller explains how he professionalized his nonprofit and grew the organization by more than 700% in seven years.

Mark Miller on what “profit” means for a nonprofit:

“We set annual revenue targets. We review revenue quarterly. It gets into that ‘No margin, no mission’ concept where we need to continue to increase our revenue to deliver more services. We’re very aware of our overhead. We’re very aware, when we’re negotiating contracts with different funders, of the importance of maximizing that overhead in the contracts or administrative fees through those contracts. And then we’re also acutely aware of how important what we do with that margin is. At the end of he year, we’re not looking to maximize our profits. In fact, we’re looking to make sure we’ve invested those into the sustainability of the organization, into the people in the organization, and then ultimately into the people that we’re serving in the community. Revenue for us is a key indicator, but it’s also a bit of a byproduct of doing a lot of other things right.

Mark Miller on wanting his team members to continue to grow:

“Always a willingness to be innovative. Always a willingness to take on more. Always a willingness to do more for others. A willingness to learn about other places, other communities. People that want to have work-life balance, keep themselves healthy, be somewhere where they can grow as people and grow in their personal lives. The work our teams do is really challenging work. There is a really human element to what we do. And oftentimes the work we do is life and death. You’re meeting people where they are. And oftentimes that’s at their worst and you’re working with them to get to the best place they can get to, whether that’s in that moment or whether that’s over a long period of time. We want people who keep themselves healthy so they can help others. Continuing to learn about how to deliver better services and continuing to learn how to be a better corporate entity is important.”

Mark Miller on how CEO coaching has improved his strategic planning process:

“Our strategic plan is pretty simple: serve more people, engage, create partnerships, be innovative, and sustain that. Find ways to ensure that we’re sustainable and to ensure that we’re able to deliver those services for a long period of time. Making the decision to invest in coaching really ramped up our planning process. We always had, I think, a good plan. But the repetitive cycle and the repetitive planning process and the impact that our coach has had on that is huge for us. Regular planning and regular check-ins are just ingrained in our organization. It’s part of our meetings and we’re very aware at any given moment where we’re at. So I think that just enabled us to move forward.”

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About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 53.5% during their time as a client, more than three times the U.S. average, and a revenue CAGR of 26.2%, nearly twice the U.S. average.

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