Danny Creed is a coach, but the 27-year Ahwatukee resident and Kansas native doesn’t stand on the sidelines making Xs and 0s to guide a team to victory.
Instead, he chalks up his wins by the businesses he turns around, the people he trains to become top performers for their companies and the audiences he inspires to greatness.
The self-described “real-world business coach” runs his business, FocalPoint Business Coaching of Arizona, partly out of the same home he’s lived in since he moved from Kansas in 1991 and partly out of his office at 15815 S. 46th St., Ahwatukee.
He travels the globe as a motivational speaker and trainer, but at the very heart of his business, he’s a coach.
His wins are impressive. A 20-year-old construction firm that “lost track of business goals” went from generating $3.5 million in business to $42 million in less than five years; a commercial landscape startup with a “young inexperienced owner and young staff with high turnover” that he helped elevate his gross annual revenue from $1.5 million to $13 million in four years; with his help, a dentist spending $110,000 a year on marketing and not getting many patients spending by 90 percent while growing his patient base by 42 percent in a year.
Then there was the relatively successful manufacturer who hadn’t taken a vacation in seven years because “he believed that if he ever left for a few days, let alone for a vacation, that his business would fall into ruin.” Six moths after Creed led him through a program of leadership and communication training – among other practices – the client not only took a vacation but saw “his life, his family’s and all employee’ lives improve dramatically.”
In virtually all these instances and the other 400 business turnarounds he’s inspired and the 14 successful start-up businesses he’s been involved in, Creed focuses on the same basics of leadership training, sound communication, time management and task prioritization, planning and accountability.
Before he became a coach-speaker-trainer, Creed said, “I was a start-up junkie,” with new businesses in fields that ranged from IT to healthcare.
“It got to a point, though, where I was traveling too much – like 218 nights a year on average – and just got burnt out,” he said. “I was working at the Pentagon and the DOD, where an admiral that I worked with suggested that I check out the professional business-coaching industry.
“I did and loved the concept of being able to take all the things I had learned about boot-strapping a business and helping others thrive faster and not make mistakes that others have already made,” he added.
He still travels, though, and most recently delivered a keynote address at an international IT conference in Serbia.
He was honored to be addressing the conference, noting, “This region of the world has a rapidly emerging free-enterprise mentality, with a very strong interest in growing businesses through an entrepreneurial attitude.”
Though he doesn’t travel most of the year any more, his schedule fills up quickly, working in a month with about a dozen clients one on one, giving one or two keynote speeches and a variety of workshops and presentations.
Ask why he got into coaching and training and he gives you an answer that’s also a clear-eyed reality check:
“My driving force is this: Research estimates that 90 percent of all businesses started today will be broke in two years or less. The prime reason is that people who start a business always underestimate the time, money and effort required to successfully run a business. They simply are not prepared. They may be good technicians but are terrible at running a business.
“I was very successful with all the start-ups that I was a part of, mainly due to the fact that we always required the founders to be out in the field, experiencing firsthand what was happening in the market, to their prospects and customers. I acquired a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge from both my successes and my failures.”
Because “many new entrepreneurs and business owners are hanging out there on a limb with no experienced voice to support or help them,” Creed said, he decided to make it his mission in life “to help business owners be more successful and to show them how to get all they deserve out of business ownership.”
He stresses that his speeches, training and coaching offers “very limited theory.”
Instead, he fills all his interactions “with real-world strategies and tactics that are all immediately applicable, actionable items that can be implemented the next day.”
He prefers one-on-one coaching because “I can then deal with a client’s very specific issues and needs in a personal and confidential setting. I do this with clients all over the world.”
However, he added, “I also do large group workshops based on the topics and really enjoy these as well.”
He sees a difference in his different types of work in that “basically, training is telling, and coaching is asking.”
“However, a great business coach will be a coach, helping his client think things through and make better decisions, and he will be a trainer on certain subjects like priority management” and “will also be a motivator, an accountability partner, the first one to hug a client after a success and the first to kick and push a client when they need it.”
Though he’s in a highly competitive line of work, Creed is “constantly developing new presentations” to stay ahead of the game after spending years “building a positive reputation/qualification.”
“Purely motivational speakers have lots of motivation but are short on substance,” he noted. “The audience is all pumped up, yet it’s gone the next day. ... I try to be entertaining, but I want attendees to walk away, hopefully, with some motivation to act and achieve because I gave them some ideas and tools that were solid, proven, easily implemented and with an immediate impact on their lives and business.”
Asa for coaching, he said, “People will be putting the future of their business into the hands of a stranger, so a strong reputation can go a long way. I was lucky in that I have a strong work ethic and I worked very, very hard to establish a personal positioning of my experience and success to date and I developed a clientele very quickly.
“In the 11 years of doing this, I have been blessed in winning the Brian Tracy Award for Sales Excellence and the FocalPoint International Coach of the Year six times as well as International Practice of the Year. And, all awards were based on the confidential success of my clients. So, I’m very proud of that.”