Banking on Being a Boss
Trading a desk job for an owner's manual
Kirk Hoffman’s decision to quit a comfortable career and jump into an entirely different business was a nerve-wracking venture, but to hear him confidently speak about it is enough to calm any fears. After nearly three decades in accounting, and most recently as CFO for a small, family-owned business, he grew tired of the long hours and desk-bound work and started his search for an opportunity to be his own boss. Hoffman strayed outside his comfort zone when choosing to take over the franchised residential gutter shield company, Heartland MasterShield, but his confidence in his abilities and strong support from his wife “put everything at ease.”
One month at the reigns and Hoffman already has big plans for his recent purchase, a specialized company that provides micromesh filters that slip under shingles and over existing gutters so that everything but water slides over the top. With territory from Pella, Iowa to Grand Island, Nebraska, Hoffman is covering familiar ground and has a top-notch mentor in Heartland MasterShield’s pervious owner. The transition from accountant to full-time salesman won’t be as much of a stretch as one might think, as Hoffman has experience “in the back end” of a business and is “comfortable working and selling” out in the field. More importantly, his mentor has gifted him relationships with contractors and vendors, which Hoffman plans to use to stake claims in Kansas City and his home town of Sioux City.
"Hoffman strayed outside his comfort zone when choosing to take over Heartland MasterShield, but his confidence in his abilities and strong support from his wife put everything at ease."
Hoffman took his time in choosing Heartland MasterShield. A few years back he was looking at an engine repair shop, but ultimately decided that wasn’t the right time or the right move. Heartland MasterShield came along as an ideal investment when Hoffman had better personal financing, and as a company with “three times the sales [as the engine repair shop] and more opportunity for growth”. Using only outside contractors so that there are no employees to manage, Heartland MasterShield has 75% of its sales sustained in the Omaha and Lincoln areas. Hoffman travels to Des Moines up to twice a month to follow and land Iowa sales leads.
Understanding what makes a strong balance sheet is half the struggle, and Hoffman already has that in the bag. Pairing his own knowledge and techniques with those of his mentor is a successful strategy, and he hopes to expand the business in the next year or two through marketing and maintaining existing relationships while seeking out new one. Hoffman envisions a future sales team and a gutter machine, a nifty aluminum cutter that would allow for seamless gutters to be custom made. His enthusiasm for Heartland MasterShield’s product is palpable, and he’s excited for the direction in which he can take the company. But, in the end, it’d be really cool to get hold of that gutter machine.