LIFT Speaks Episode 16 with Micah Buehler. The Secret to Taking Your Startup to Profitability with Micah Buehler

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Welcome to the LIFT Office and our sixteenth episode of LIFT Speaks, stories of what people do and their impact on the world. This week we are visiting with Micah Buehler, who is an independent Fractional CFO.  Micah has worked in the corporate world and has spent the last several years finding joy in helping his clients succeed in business. His guiding principles in business and life are honesty and integrity.

A Few Questions with Micah

I started my business because . . . I was tired of the Corporate World and all of the related politics and bureaucracy.

The thing I enjoy most about my business is . . . helping my clients.

The biggest surprise for me as a business person is . . .How hard it is to find good employees.

One question people should ask me is . . . “Have you climbed any mountains lately?”

My older self would coach my younger self to . . . only stress about what you can control.

One thing I wish I knew when I was younger is . . . how important it is to enjoy what you do.


Catherine: Welcome to LIFT. Stories and what people do and their impact on the world. Today, I am chatting with Micah Buehler, CPA. Micah, could take just a few minutes and tell everybody what you do.

Micah: Well. I help clients with their numbers and their finances. I primarily work as a fractional CFO. Which is basically a company that needs high-level financial assistance, but doesn’t need to have a full-time CFO, will hire me to help them out on a part-time basis with their taxes and financial planning and other issues.

Catherine: So you love numbers?

Micah: I do.

Catherine: And speaking of numbers, I think one of the numbers that you are trying to hit personally is climbing 14,000 footer peaks in Colorado. Is that right?

Micah: Absolutely. About two years ago, my wife and I decided to embark on a plan of eventually climbing all 52 peaks in Colorado. So we’re five into it so far.

Catherine: Which I just want to say that’s a big deal. I have never climbed a 14,000 footer. In 12,000, I can barely breathe. So that’s big stuff. I hope to follow in your footsteps. We’ll see. Give me a little bit of time.

Micah: Well, the air is really thin up there, so don’t feel bad about that. Being out of breath. We’re the same way when we climb.

Catherine: Kinda the same way when I climb here up the stairs. So I’m not sure if it’s a sign of the altitude or not. Hey, I do have one question for you specifically since you’re the numbers guy. We have a lot of people in our office who are run startup companies or they are young entrepreneurs. What advice would you- if one of them hopped on the elevator with you and they thought, ‘Oh, I got my Micah Buehler for 30 seconds and they said, “hey, what advice would you give to me as a young entrepreneur?” What would you tell them from your standpoint?

Micah: Well, this is more of an experience answer as opposed to a real numbers answer. Any startup person, I would advise them it’s going to cost you twice as much than you think it is to get started, and it’s going to take you twice as long and it’s going to take you three times as long to get to the revenue level that you think you’re going to get. So make sure that you have plenty of cash or that you’re planning has a lot of cushion in it. Because the number one reason that startups fail is they run out of money too soon.

Catherine:  Yeah, I would agree with that. We’ve seen some startups come through here in blossom and we’ve seen some push for that financing and not get it. And ultimately if they don’t have those deep pockets, either themselves or the financing backing behind them, it fails. Well I would say that’s advice coming from the numbers guy. What we’re going to do now is I have rapid fire questions for you. You just get to have a quick answer off the top of your head. You Ready? First question. Describe your best day.

Micah: Oh, my best day would not involve work. It would probably be a beautiful fall day in Colorado where we successfully climb a fourteener and when we get to the top and it’s just an absolutely picture perfect view where you can see for 100 miles and every direction. Followed by dinner of pizza and a cold beer at the end of the day. That’s a perfect day.

Catherine: That doesn’t sound too bad. I think I’ll join you in that one. Okay. What is your key to productivity?

Micah: My key to productivity is to get organized and get into an environment where I can focus and don’t have a lot of things distractions.

Catherine: I would think that would be key. What is one foundational business principle that you are committed to executing?

Micah: Honesty and integrity in all my dealings.

Catherine: That’s good. Okay. Do you have a personal or a business mission statement that you follow in life?

Micah: Actually, I don’t know. It’s something I use a business coach for helping me in my in my business dealings and operations, and that is something I’ve got on my agenda to develop. Kind of got some ideas but stay tuned. I should have one in a month or two.

Catherine: It’s kind of a work in process. Like what you might have had 10 years ago could be different today. Where do you find the greatest joy in your work?

Micah: When I succeed for one of my clients. When I help them with a problem when I take a take a big load of stress off of them, like a big IRS problem or trying to get a bank loan in place. When I accomplished the goal for them, that’s where I get the greatest satisfaction.

Catherine: Bet that does feel good. What impact do you hope your work has beyond making money?

Micah: Well, I hope I’m able to set a good example for my kids in particular. I have a 19-year-old twins that are currently in college and I like to set a good example for them. Then just to maintain and project an image of integrity and honesty in the CPA profession. Which in past times with Enron scandals and things like that could get a little bit tarnished. Definitely, want to restore that reputation that CPA have.

Catherine: I think you’re going to have lots of people knocking at your door now. They want to hire you. Last question. You Ready? Favorite thing about working at the LIFT Office and how has working here benefited you either at your work on a personal level?

Micah: Well my favorite thing about the LIFT Office are the other people that are around. You’ve got a wealth of entrepreneurs and other smart, motivated people that if you ever have an issue, you can go bounce an idea off of them. Chances are some of them have had the same problem. Plus they’re just a lot of fun to do things with. And the LIFT environment–I spend time between my home office, the LIFT Office and my client’s offices and the LIFT Office really gives me a nice opportunity to be in a professional environment with other people and to really focus. Especially when I’m in a time when I’m working a lot in the home office, it’s nice to get away and not have to deal with the cats and the laundry and the dishes while I’m trying to work.

Catherine: I like to leave the laundry and the dishes behind too. In fact, its sitting there waiting for me today. Micah, I’m so glad you’re a part of LIFT. And I agree with you. I think our members are the best. The best part of here. I appreciate you being a part of our interview today and thank you for joining us at LIFT.

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