MICHAEL BRAUN, FOUNDER OF UPFRONT CONSULTING ON TAKING HIS BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Upfront Consulting is a Calgary-based bookkeeping and consulting company that specializes in creating processes to simplify your financial management systems. Michael Braun founded the firm three years ago and although he’s always been an A+ student when it comes to numbers, bookkeeping wasn’t exactly his first career choice.
“A series of events led to me going back to school to expand my skillset. I took an accounting course and realized I had found my calling. After completing the course, I was offered the job of being an independent bookkeeper and I saw an opportunity to provide value to local businesses and have fun while doing it.
Prior to going back to school, Michael worked at WestJet airlines for fifteen years in a number of different roles, from flight attendant to performance management.
"Developing efficient processes and providing great customer service is interwoven into my career DNA. I took my skillset and all of the experience I gained while working at WestJet and used that knowledge to grow my own business.”
Michael credits Gary Vaynerchuk, chairman of VaynerX and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, for inspiring him to follow his dreams and to make money while doing it. While Upfront Consulting has been steadily growing since 2016, Michael decided it was time to take things to the next level.
“After attending the first PARK Mastermind workshop in early February, I realized I wanted to work with a strategist to ensure I was providing my clients with a comprehensive service.”
Upfront Consulting currently offers services for Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, and Payroll processing. They help prepare government remittances like GST, payroll source deductions, and WCB, and reconcile bank statements and credit cards. But Michael is focused on expanding that list of services. He is currently working on launching a receipt tracking course, which is one of the reasons he enrolled in PARK Mastermind.
“During my time at PARK Mastermind, I really wanted to focus on identifying my target audience and making sure that my messaging and branding spoke directly to them. I have also been planning to launch an online course, so this was a great time to develop a strategy for it. The surprise treat of it all was a solo two-hour strategy session with Alison. She created an instruction manual that was specifically tailored to my needs. For me, that one-on-one time was definitely the most important part of the whole course.”
In addition to private mentoring from Alison, Michael also enjoyed the community aspect of PARK Mastermind.
“My biggest expectation going into PARK Mastermind was being able to connect with fellow business owners in a collaborative environment. I wanted to hear about the problems they faced and the solutions they found. I also wanted to become part of the amazing community, or should I say the PARK ecosystem, that Jessie and Kara have built. I’m happy to say that Alison definitely delivered on that expectation.”
Aside from leaning on community for inspiration and support, Michael’s top four recommendations for staying motivated are:
Be patient, it will take longer and cost more than you think and that is very normal
Learn everything you can about running a business. There are certain legal and tax realities that every business owner needs to be aware of
Track your receipts, every little bit counts. Be on the looking out for Upfront Consulting’s online receipt tracking course coming this fall!
Develop a process. It is crucial to your success. Track your work time with Harvest, keep notes using google docs to see what is working and what isn’t. Embrace technology, and really listen to other business owners.
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