Summary List PlacementTracy Britt Cool made a name for herself during the decade she spent working at Berkshire Hathaway, not only as Warren Buffett’s protege but as a specialist for struggling companies.
Now, in her current role as co-founder and CEO of the long-term investment firm Kanbrick, she’ll share her expertise with businesses battling the effects of the pandemic through a new initiative called Build with Kanbrick. The free, three-month program aims to help entrepreneurs achieve long-term growth at their companies.
“It’s such a tough time and we want to be a resource for the community and support them,” said Britt Cool, who launched Kanbrick in 2019 with Brian Humphrey, the former CFO of food company Pampered Chef. “We want to share our learnings and experiences with this group.”
Britt Cool was initially hired as Buffett’s financial assistant in 2009, rising through the ranks to eventually serve as chairman to several Berkshire subsidiaries, including paint company Benjamin Moore & Co., and CEO of Pampered Chef.
Britt Cool plans on using what she learned at Berkshire Hathaway to strengthen participating companies, she told Insider. While Kanbrick doesn’t plan to invest in selected businesses, it will offer them curated advice, resources, and expert guidance based on their needs.
Build with Kanbrick plans to select up to five business owners or CEOs and is closing applications on February 15.
Britt Cool told Insider about her ideal program candidates, what participating companies will get out of the program, and how she’s curating content based on founders’ needs.
Mid-sized, family- or founder-owned companies that are willing to transform their business
Ideal company candidates are family- or founder-owned, based in North America, and generate between $10 and $50 million of earnings before interest and taxes, Britt Cool said.
While the earnings range is wide, it reflects Britt Cool’s desire to work with companies that are large enough to scale but not so big that there’s fewer opportunities for her team to apply Kanbrick’s program in the three-month window, she said.
Beyond those three qualifications, eligibility is flexible so businesses of different sizes and industries can apply. However, founders or executives must show their willingness and desire to transform their companies, Britt Cool said.
“We’re seeking people who are thoughtful, reflective, and open to focusing on how they can increase their company,” said Britt Cool. “It’s a mindset of the owner or CEO applying to the program that will set them apart.”
A focus on the 4 obstacles that plague businesses
To help companies boost their long-term value, Kanbrick’s program begins with a diagnostic phase. Kanbrick’s team will meet one-on-one with participating founders to assess the startups’ greatest opportunities, strengths, and challenges.
Both Britt Cool and Humphrey have worked with dozens of companies throughout their careers and identified four standard obstacles that plague most businesses: People, operating systems, operational excellence, and growth.
“It starts with that business diagnostic to really understand where we’re starting from,” Britt Cool said. From there, Kanbrick will create a curated plan for each business, detailing which areas the founders need to focus on and how the team can assist.
Customized group and one-on-one mentorship
Following the diagnostics, there will be a combination of group and one-on-one sessions to address Kanbrick’s findings. Some companies may face similar hurdles and work on those issues together, while others may need individual attention, Britt Cool said.
During the sessions, Kanbrick expects to bring in guest speakers–such as founders who’ve faced similar challenges–to serve as examples for participants, Britt Cool said. Additionally, the team will provide their own thoughts and feedback so entrepreneurs hear from multiple sources.
Kanbrick also plans to invite experts from its community to guide business owners. Britt Cool couldn’t disclose the roster of guest speakers, as they’ll be chosen after the diagnostic phase is complete, but said they’ll come from the Kanbrick community and network.
For example, if a founder is struggling with pricing, Kanbrick will invite a speaker who can address those specific areas. “It’s highly customized based on the participants in the program and what they need,” Britt Cool said.
Britt Cool will also provide some of the tools and templates her Kanbrick team created, which builds upon collective expertise and experience. For example, resources could include competency models for hiring, how to develop a strategic planning process, and establishing bonus systems, Britt Cool said.
“Much of the program is tailored so it’s not one-size-fits-all,” Britt Cool said. “It’s customized to the participants in the cohort to ensure it meets their needs.”SEE ALSO: PPP is now open for all applicants, and experts say the guidance is clearer this time around
DON’T MISS: If you want your PPP loan forgiven, start the application process now. Here are 5 steps to get started.
Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why these Gucci clothes are racist