Michael Kaplan has been involved as a business owner for over 35 years. He learned how to run his own successful business and today has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs realize their dreams.
But, it wasn’t always this way. He earned a master’s degree in social work and counseling and moved to the east coast, forsaking his father’s furniture business located in Lafayette, Indiana. He enjoyed the counseling portion of his chosen career, but soon realized his income would not provide for his new wife and future family in the way that he desired.
When Michael contacted his father about the possibility of returning to the Midwest and joining his enterprise, Kaplan said,
“My father had to pick his jaw up off of the floor.”
Why? Because Michael had not shown any interest in the family business and his father never imagined that he would ever want to become involved. But in 1978, a plan was devised to transition the family business from father to son.
On the first day that he assumed the official leadership role his father handed over a set of keys and said,
“Here you go, kiddo. You’re going to make your own mistakes. I’m going to try to keep you from making any big ones, but you’re in charge.”
The thought occurred, “Now what do I do?”
His father did not completely retire and was involved through 1985, mentoring and guiding Michael through the rough waters of managing a business. When an opportunity to purchase a competitor arose, Michael saw it as the perfect solution to expand the business. His father did not want to assume more risk, so financing was arranged with a bank, which allowed all parties to receive the necessary funding. Michael was able to purchase the new store, close a run-down facility in a downtown location and his father was able to fund his retirement, allowing a move to Florida for the elder Kaplan’s.
In 2002, another opportunity presented itself when La-Z-Boy offered Michael the exclusive rights for a store. Upon deciding to pursue this, he built a new store on the busiest intersection in Lafayette, Indiana and it has worked out well for his company and employees.
Michael’s past education, plus his experience in operating and growing a successful business serves him well as a business coach today.
He feels it is much more difficult to start a business now than 30 years ago. Franchise businesses seem to litter the landscape, but Kaplan feels it is important that small independent businesses thrive too. He supplies the same type of information and guidance provided to large franchise owners that is rarely available to small independent owners.
With a passion to see small businesses survive and thrive, he really likes to help people overcome the things that get in their way, both the physical things and their thought patterns that hold them back from being successful.
His discovery of coaching began nine years ago when he happened to learn about a business program called SCORE. Score is comprised of retired executives that work with young startup business owners to develop business plans and systems to get their businesses off the ground.
Kaplan immediately knew this was for him as it was the perfect combination of his counseling skills and 30-plus years of experience. According to Michael “It’s my way of giving back to the business community and helping people.”
Right from the start after becoming involved with SCORE, he saw a renewed vigor and excitement in his life. In the evenings, when his wife would ask about the day, he would become animated and tell her how much fun he was having working with new entrepreneurs.
He said, “It really got my juices going again.”
Kaplan came to realize that a new career path had opened up to him. Business coaching was now a popular segment of the business world and with his experience and past training, becoming a full-time business coach seemed like a logical progression in his life.
After completing the Coaches Training Institute program and working with several clients, he realized he needed to change his methodology and that is when he found the EMyth program.
EMyth includes a comprehensive coaching program supported by a huge curriculum. Actual exercises and teaching systems provide the skills inexperienced business people need to operate their business more successfully. Kaplan became an EMyth certified coach and now works with owners to hone their skills so they progress more rapidly.
Michael told us, “I call myself a business life coach because I think your business and your life really are parts of the same thing. And so I want to help people build their businesses to support their lives, not consume their lives.” His philosophy is that your business should augment your life, be part of what you want to do, and give you great satisfaction.”
Michael’s vision for his own business as well as his life are closely intertwined. When he committed to be a full-time EMyth Coach, he knew he would not have sufficient time to continue with his existing business. He and two of his key employees developed a plan to easily transition more responsibility for the day-to-day operations to them, thus freeing up Michael to commit more time to his passion – coaching.
This was a perfect solution. He could touch more business owners to help them reach their goals, as well as, watch his own business continue to flourish under the new management. Michael and his wife now reside part-time in Indianapolis so Michael can be closer to his client base, although he easily works with clients remotely as well.
There aren’t too many business situations he has not experienced. Ever changing buying cycles, high interest rates, weak economy, or struggles to make payroll are all problems business owners face. They certainly benefit when someone with experience is available to help guide them. Michael also experienced first-hand that business owners need to develop staff to handle various duties inside the business and let go of every detail.
Michael Kaplan built a successful business and now has found a new passion helping other business owners realize their dreams. He has built a coaching practice that does just that.
To contact Michael for more information, visit his website at Strategic Solutions Coaching or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call: 765-714-1576. Be sure to listen to our complete interview with Michael.