Critical Numbers™: Profit Before Taxes (PBT)
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Critical Numbers™: Profit Before Taxes (PBT)
SummitCove is a property management company that manages several hundred vacation properties in the Keystone Ski Resort, Keystone, Colorado. The company offers a full array of vacation property management services such as marketing and renting individually owned vacation homes, and housekeeping and maintenance services that include carpet cleaning and painting.
Back in 2015, the company was forced to lay off 30 employees because it had absorbed too much overhead relative to the work at hand. Owner Peter Reeburgh and his leadership team vowed to never let that happen again. But to do that, they needed a way to better forecast their financials and workload needs into the future.
After hearing about The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) on a podcast interview with another vacation property management company, Reeburgh and his team thought they had found the answer. After the leadership team read Jack Stack’s book and attended the GGOB annual conference, he made the decision to implement The Game with the help of their coach, Kevin Walter. One of their first moves was to redesign their entire accounting system so that it was geared more toward forecasting the future than simply recasting past results.
Since the implementation of GGOB, Reeburgh says that he’s seen much stronger engagement from all team members and departments—even as the pandemic hit at the tail-end of their peak ski season in 2020. “If the current pandemic had happened to us two years ago, we would have been in big trouble,” he says, predicting they would have been borrowing from advance reservations because they would have lacked the cash to cover payroll. That would have inevitably led to furloughs and layoffs. Thanks to playing GGOB, Reeburgh is proud that they not only avoided any layoffs—they’ve been actively hiring in 2021. “GGOB has brought our teams and employees closer together during the pandemic,” says Reeburgh. “I see more people taking charge and ownership than ever before.”
“Everyone has a better understanding of how the business makes money and we can have real conversations about why we're spending or not spending on certain things. We work better together as a team because we have a shared goal.”
~ Chelsea Coye, Service Excellence Manager
The news report in March 2020—during the last weeks of the peak ski season—was ominous, someone in the Keystone area tested positive for the coronavirus. Then the news got worse, a lot worse; the person had stayed in one of SummitCove’s properties. While the team scrambled to clean and disinfect the property, and put new procedures into place, the state issued an order shutting down the ski season for good. As refund requests poured in, SummitCove faced a potentially devastating scenario. But, thanks to the improvements the company had made playing GGOB, the company’s cash forecasts looked solid in the short-term—which meant nobody’s job was at stake. In fact, the team banded together to find new business, generating new ideas every week—like landing painting and carpet cleaning jobs—to cover their shortfalls. “Covid kicked our butts and we rallied together to find ways to earn a steady paycheck,” says Reeburgh. Those moves have propelled them into 2021 where demand is surging. More recently, the business has purchased their own laundromat as a way to save costs and offer new amenities to their customers (like robes). What Reeburgh might be most proud of is how the business was able to generate enough money to make a generous contribution to their local food bank right in the thick of the crisis.
Reeburgh admits that COVID threw a wrench into the team’s focus on MiniGames—though they were able to celebrate small wins to ensure employees remained engaged and excited. The first companywide MiniGame the SummitCove team tackled was aimed at driving up the number of rental properties they collectively managed from 290 to 305 over three months. Each department came up with ways they could impact the number either by ensuring current property owners were given great customer service or by asking them for referrals. When the game closed, the team had met their goal—earning everyone a free professional chair massage at work.
“This year I was very grateful we were playing The Game. When our business was shut down in the middle of spring break and we had to ask over $1 million worth of reservations to leave and cancel their stays, the only reason I was not a total emotional disaster was that my team all saw what happened, we all came together and came up with our strategy for keeping everyone employed. We never cut hours, we never laid anyone off, we worked our way out of the hole and our team stepped up to help out, we also stepped up to help out our community members with donations and that let me sleep at night. I am very grateful for The Great Game of Business.”
~ Tyson Horner, General Manager
Reeburgh remains committed to leveling up their game in the next year—starting with asking different team members to step up and own line numbers on the P&L and getting in deeper with developing their culture of leadership in the company this year. “In the coming year we want more MiniGames, more celebrations, more employee involvement, more education, MORE GGOB!” he says.
“I think that by working for a transparent company, I feel that I am not just a number, but an important factor to the success of the company. This in turn makes me want to work harder toward the success of the company.”
~ Will Finneyfrock, Service Excellence Specialist
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