We can grow your business.
What We Do for You
In order to increase the value of their business, most business owners can benefit tremendously from a partnership for themselves and their team. That’s where we come in.
10,001 Hours helps business owners work ON their business. Having a plan, breaking down the important numbers, updating workflows and service lines—all of these will increase the value of your business. We work side-by-side with you and your team to create sustainability, effective action steps and accountability. Whether your plan is to grow, merge, sell, or exit, we help you build your greatest asset. And your future.
Years Of Experience
You’ve worked 10,000 plus hours on your craft, perfecting your work. The next step, that next hour, is working on your business, increasing its value. That’s where we come in.
Your business may have taken a huge hit during the pandemic. Or, just maybe, it has grown tremendously, and you don’t know how to manage the growth, much less how to innovate more growth. Either way, it’s our job to help you get to where you want to go, whether it’s an exit or an overhaul. You value hard work. So do we.
- Business Growth Advisor
Meet Allen Harris
Allen Harris is the Founder, Chief Investment Officer, and CEO of Berkshire Money Management.
Allen is a dedicated business owner and consultant to other business owners, proudly holding the designations of Certified Exit Planning Advisor, Certified Value Growth Advisor, Certified Value Builder, and Certified Business Valuation Specialist. He is also the author of Build It, Sell It, Profit – Taking Care of Business Today to Get Top Dollar When You Retire.
Allen knows that the best-run firms have the best teams. He is also known for his worn-thin joke, “I sure know how to hire.” He’s quick to point out that his employees are incredibly important to him, and to BMM’s clients, and just as ready to provide continuing and extended education, as well as to partner with each employee whenever needed. Allen does this to support his BMM team, his BMM family, but also because he is keenly aware that it’s an outdated view that the role of a financial advisor is only to pick investments, so Allen ensures that BMM remains on the cutting edge of providing service lines like 10,001 Hours to a changing world. Allen does this to serve current clients better and because, as a business consultant, he knows that the business owners who want the best possible outcome won’t work with an advisor due to proximity or cost, but because they are the best advisor to solve their unique problems.
Allen lives in Dalton, MA, with a combination of pets and foster pets. Allen enjoys exercising, dining out and traveling with friends, playing with his pets, and reading books about human behavior and decision making.
- Director of Transaction Advisory Services
Michael Vann has more than twenty years of strategic consulting and transactional advisory experience. Passionate about second-stage companies, Michael focuses his efforts on helping owners obtain their value objectives by creating the framework for continuity and scalability within their organizations. His areas of expertise include strategic facilitation, succession/transition planning and mergers and acquisitions. He serves as a trusted advisor to the owners of companies who value his practical and personable approach and his ability to simplify complex business issues into an actionable plan.
Michael is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and serves on the Elms College Board of Trustees. He lives in South Hadley with his wife and two daughters, and cultivates a love for California wines and Italian cooking. Ask for a Cab or Pinot rec — he’ll advise you on that, too.
- Senior Business Advisor
Commercial Consulting Services, LLC (“CCS”) helps closely held businesses and their principals to evaluate past performance and identify best ways to optimize their present and future organizational structure, asset efficiency and financial results. They provide modeling and measurement services to help management teams focus and execute on their plans for intermediate- and long-term success. CCS offers support on their clients’ ability to identify and implement sustainable, scalable results that maximize cash flow and increase a firm’s enterprise value.
Prior to founding CCS, Russ was a Director with Merrill Lynch’s High Yield Credit Research Team and a Senior Analyst and Vice President with Moody’s Investors Services’ Leveraged Finance Group covering Consumer Products and Retail Industry issuers. He served as an advisory board member for a VC firm and as CFO and COO for an electrical contracting company in California. Russ spent two years as the SVP and Business Manager of the Agribusiness and California Corporate Groups for City National Bank NA in Los Angeles, two years at The Bank of New York as a Senior Relationship Manager in its New York based Northeast Division, four years at Société Générale/SG Cowen in New York, and eight years at Barclays Capital in New York and Los Angeles. Russ worked in commercial banking and asset-based financing at Metrobank and Union Bank in Los Angeles.
Russ holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation from the CFA Institute and has received his FINRA Series 66 and 7 licenses and is a Certified M&A Advisor (CM&AA) and was a member of the Alliance of M&A Advisors through 2018. He also holds a Massachusetts life and health insurance producer’s license and is an Enrolled Agent, with IRS Circular 230 approval. He is a member of the New York Society of Securities Analysts.
- Business Growth Advisor
LAUREN RUSSO, CVB, CEPA
Lauren is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Economics, concentrating in Managerial Economics, as well as a Psychology minor.
Lauren has always had a passion for business and a knack for numbers, so a career in finance is a perfect fit. She wanted a fulfilling career where she can directly work with, and help, people and families.
She has observed that very few advisors identify as female, and that the industry itself lacks a large share of the populations’ perspective. This may account for female investors and business owners feeling neglected or not heard. Having this unique role as a female advisor and business consultant has inspired Lauren to connect with other young women considering a career in finance.
Lauren is working on accumulating the education and experience required to sit for the CFP exam in the coming years. She lives in Lee, MA with her fiancé and their pup Penny.
- Marketing Specialist
Nichole arrived at 10,001 Hours with more than a decade as a freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant whose work has appeared in multiple regional and national publications including Berkshire Magazine, The Take, Rural Intelligence, the Berkshire Eagle, Newsday, and the Huffington Post. She has also helped businesses and non-profits—Simon’s Rock college, Emma Willard School, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, and many others—‘find’ their stories and bring this unique content to their branding vision, as well as websites, local and national media, and other public platforms.
Nichole earned her Bachelor’s in History from Clark University, and has done extensive post-graduate work at Yale University and Middlebury College. She is a native of the Berkshires, and returned to the area to raise her children, Anna and Lucian. In addition to writing, Nichole is a competitive boxer—alongside her daughter—and boxing coach. She has also trained Brazilian jiu jitsu with her son. Nichole travels quite a bit, and her most recent adventures have brought her to Italy with her children and Central Africa to visit extended family. In a former life, she was an English (and film studies and Spanish and history) teacher. She lives in Sheffield with her son, now a high school junior, and her daughter, who is in her second year at Clark University.
Strategic planning is all about optimizing your business and ensuring that every decision is made with genuine intent. We typically begin by defining your vision and purpose for the current and future state of your organization and continue through exit planning – making sure your business can run without you.
Establishing a strategic plan (as well as reviewing and updating it!) empowers you to make decisions on your terms and allows for flexibility, less stress, and most importantly the comfort of knowing your team’s decisions align with what’s in your heart.
Your exit plan allows your business to run smoothly even when you’re not there. Exit planning is a common practice but can cause some confusion as many business owners aren’t planning to “exit” anytime soon. Instead, ask yourself what would happen if you took a month-long vacation – would your team struggle or excel?
You’ll want to involve all key decision-makers in the business in the strategic planning process – this is often your executives, management team, any key personnel, and don’t forget your spouse! You should also include any next-level/future management – a child or younger employee with leadership potential. It is also helpful to include your financial advisor, accountant, and sometimes attorney.
If you’re unsure who to include, ask yourself, “If I were to make a major change to the business tomorrow, who would I want input from?” Invite those people. But be cautious of including too many voices as it can become complicated to coordinate schedules and ideas.
The process of developing your strategic plan, assuming you have your team’s buy-in, will take 1 to 3 months. Implementing the plan, which involves defining the specific tasks and actions that need to occur to reach your goals, will take around 6 months. At that point, regular monitoring and check-ins will become regular practice.
A business sale typically takes around six months to one year to complete, but timing can vary.
Unless you have experience, it’s advisable to use a business broker for the transaction – ideally one with experience in your industry.
Professional business brokers typically charge a percentage of the sale price on a graduated scale (often called a “success fee”) which could range anywhere from 5 to 10%.
There are varying ways to convert your business cash flow to an income stream, depending on your goals. Is your goal to stay in an active role and draw income from your business? Do you intend to transition ownership and exit completely? Once you get clear on your strategic plan, you can begin to break down the specific steps needed to accomplish this. Your financial advisor and accountant should both be involved in this planning process to ensure any tax liability is minimized and your dollars are optimized. They can work with you to develop an investment strategy to fund your lifestyle.
There are multiple ways to offer your employees equity in your business, including a partial buyout where your management team purchases ownership in the company or an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) where you give shares to selected employees as an employee benefit. If you intend to sell shares to your employees, keep in mind that this strategy often involves some degree of financing.
The good thing with running your own business is that you have a great deal of flexibility. This is why planning is so vital – it allows you to roll with the punches.