From Numbers-Driven CFO to People-Focused Business Owner, with Mike Derringer

How do you build a team-based approach when it comes to finances?

In this candid episode, Mike Derringer, Area President at Focus CFO, shares his journey from being an introverted, numbers-focused CFO to becoming an extroverted fractional business owner who loves business development.

After reaching a career crossroads at age 40, Mike took the entrepreneurial leap by joining Focus CFO, a pioneer in providing fractional CFO services to small and medium businesses. However, he had to radically shift his mindset and personality to thrive in this new role.

Mike discusses how he learned to embrace curiosity over arrogance by asking more questions to truly understand clients’ pain points before proposing solutions. The Sandler sales methodology became pivotal in training him to peel back layers through purposeful questioning.

He openly shares the challenges of mentally transitioning between diverse client settings each week as a fractional CFO. Practices like diligent note-taking, committing to being fully present, and tapping into a network of peers became essential.

Mike also talks about overcoming the discomfort of business development as an introvert. From dismissing networking as a corporate exec to becoming someone who genuinely connects to understand how he can provide value.

Mentors that Inspired Mike:

  • Dr. Benjamin Hardy (author) – His books on being your future self now sparked Mike’s growth mindset

  • Dan Sullivan (author) – His writings on mental focus benefited Mike’s sales approach




Welcome to another edition of inspired stories where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity, and explore current challenges they’re facing.

Anthony Codispoti (05:37.534)
Welcome to another edition of the Inspired Stories podcast, where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity and explore current challenges they’re facing. My name is Anthony Cotaspodi and today’s guest is Mike Derringer, area president of Focus CFO, the number one CFO services provider in the Midwest. Focus CFO provides world-class CFO support to over 500 businesses just in the state of Ohio.

They use sound financial management, forward thinking insights, tools, and proactive financial strategies so their clients can improve internal cash flow, reduce business risk, and increase the value of their business. We’re going to talk about how he made the challenging transition of flipping his personality from an introverted, numbers-focused, detail-driven CFO to an extroverted business owner who loves doing business development. And we’re going to learn about

what children’s character he keeps attached to his backpack at all times. Now before we get into the good stuff, today’s episode is brought to you by my company, Ad Back Benefits Agency, where we offer very specific and unique employee benefits that are both great for your team and fiscally optimized for your bottom line. One recent client was able to save over $900 per employee per year by implementing one of our proprietary programs.

Another client is going to save over $1,200 per employee per year by implementing a patented construct that we offer. Results vary for each company and some organizations may not be eligible. To find out if your company qualifies, contact us today at addb Now, back to our guest today, area president of Focus CFO, Mike. I appreciate you making the time to share your story today.

Mike Derringer (07:25.17)
Thanks for having me, Anthony. It’s great to be with you today.

Anthony Codispoti (07:28.462)
So Mike, tell us in your own words very simply, what does Focus CFO do?

Mike Derringer (07:36.054)
Yeah, thanks. So Focus CFO is a fractional CFO services firm. And what does that mean? Fractional means we’re not full time. So we’re usually with our clients a day a week is a typical arrangement. And we’re CFO services. So we are all chief financial officer. We do not do the bookkeeping, the accounting. Now, obviously that has to be correct for us to do, do what we do, but we maintain our focus on forward looking information, forecasting, budgeting, strategic planning.

direction the business is going and that sort of thing. Using the numbers and matching it to the strategy of the business or creating the strategy for the business to move forward.

Anthony Codispoti (08:14.766)
So you’re not the accountant or the bookkeeper for the company, but you’re working closely with those people to get the data that you need to help the business owner make decisions.

Mike Derringer (08:25.502)
Yeah, yeah, we definitely need good data. So we need good solid accounting information and we’ll help them get that information correct if there’s questions or things like that. But we don’t dig in and make the journal entries or anything like that. It’s interesting, the companies that we deal with, there’s a ton of data out there and you do any search on anything today. It’s data analysis, data analytics, artificial intelligence, all this kind of stuff.

They have a lot of data, what does it mean? We help them interpret it and really use it to their benefit to help drive their business forward.

Anthony Codispoti (09:02.87)
man, I could see that being really useful. I remember an e-commerce company that I had a few years back. It was doing really well. And we were interested in analyzing the data that we had. We were collecting it from all these different digital platforms and we created our own dashboard. But then we sat there and we would look at the data every day and we didn’t know how to make sense of it. We didn’t know what to do with it. And finally, we’re just like, it’s just noise for us.

Mike Derringer (09:27.814)
Yeah, we try to cut through that noise and that’s very typical. That’s common. And sometimes it’s noise for us too, when we’re looking at it, you know, but, but to, uh, you know, cut through that and really analyze it, understand it, look at the trends, look at what happened last year. What does it mean for this year? Taking, taking in all the other factors out there, you know, with the economy, with interest rates and the things that are moving in the world, what does our data, how does our data need to adapt? What do we need to do for the company to adapt to move forward?

Anthony Codispoti (09:58.006)
And so how would you describe your ideal client? Like who’s a good fit for your services?

Mike Derringer (10:03.486)
Yeah, that’s a great question. So our client is mostly small and medium sized businesses. So thinking that 2 million of revenue, five to 10 employee size to the 30, 40, $50 million company that has maybe a hundred employees, typically the non-complex, I’d say. So if they’re dealing in foreign currency translations and high level banking things and they’re a $45 million company, they probably need a higher level of expertise every day.

The companies we deal with have complex issues, no doubt about it, but they’re not something that comes up every day. So we can fill that role on a one day a week basis. And hey, if something comes up on a day we’re not there, they just call us, they email us, they text us. And we jump on a call, we jump on a conference call, whatever we need to do to help them through that.

Anthony Codispoti (10:56.246)
What do you feel separates you from others in your industry? There are other fractional CFO services. What do you guys do that’s different?

Mike Derringer (11:05.03)
Yeah, that’s another great question. So we have three uniques that we’ve identified through our process. We have embedded CFOs. We’re typically on site. Now that’s starting to change a little bit with more remote activity since over the last few years that has popped up, but still a good, probably 95% of our clients are, we’re on site. So we’re embedded with the company. We’re part of their leadership team and we’re there every week. Say the second thing.

is we have real CFOs. I like to tell people when I’m talking to them, when I’m talking to a prospect, hey, the reason we look old is because we are. And with that, we’re bringing a lot of experience. We’re bringing 25, 30, 35 years of experience to you. And that’s important. We’re gonna bring some of the experiences we’ve had, not just with our other clients, but from our past and things that have worked well. Hey, have we tried this? All that kind of stuff.

And then I’d say the third thing that really separates us is we approach things as a team. So we have, I stay involved as an area president, but I bring in a CFO. And it’s interesting, the CFOs I bring in, usually I’m bringing them in because I feel they’re more qualified for that client than I am, which is a hard thing to admit, but once I’ve admitted it and I’ve lived it because I started seeing what they were doing, which is so much more than I would do.

I started saying, hey, this is great. Now I can then partner with that person, with our CFO, and really drive some value for the client. So I’m having lunch today with a client. I’m not the CFO, but they wanna talk about business development and sales and that sort of thing. So I can bring a different layer, different level. So we approach it as a team that way on purpose. Now, something’s gonna pop up inevitably that the two of us don’t know, the CFO or I. And we have a…

pool of 150 right now and growing every week. CFOs and area presidents throughout our company, I can jump on teams, I can put an issue out there and just say, hey, anybody ever dealt with this before? And they do, I get on a call with them and I can get up to speed decently well, so.

Anthony Codispoti (13:18.498)
How many clients does a typical one of your CFOs service at any given time?

Mike Derringer (13:25.714)
Yeah, it varies by each CFO, but most want somewhere around three to five clients, I’d say, so they wanna work the active three, four days a week. Not everybody, some are two days a week, some are three, some are four, some are five. You got a couple that wanna work six, and that’s okay. I mean, we can, when they come on board, we ask them, what do you want? And they say, four, four days or something. And then we start to work to fill that. So there’s a little bit of a ramp up period as they’re…

coming in, because we don’t have clients, usually we don’t have clients sitting there waiting for us to come in. Usually it’s, the supply and the demand is really hard to balance in our industry. So we bring in the people ahead of the demand, and then we fill it. How long does it take to fill that? We don’t know. You know, it’s on average four to six months, sometimes it’s nine, sometimes it’s three. I mean, it just depends on the activity, what’s going on, and you know.

new client development and things like that. So CFOs get to where they wanna be, say three, four days a week, within say six, eight, nine months.

Anthony Codispoti (14:34.302)
Okay, and these CFOs who are joining you, these fractionals that are coming on board, where are they coming from? What is it that they’ve traditionally transitioned from?

Mike Derringer (14:44.314)
Yeah, so it’s interesting. A little bit of everything. I mean, we have some very, obviously, very experienced CFOs that have come through small companies. Maybe they owned a company and they were running the finance seat. Maybe they were with a bigger company and part of a large group. So it really varies. The commonality, I would say, is one, they want to remain active and they want to make a difference.

but they don’t wanna do it 80 hours a week anymore. They don’t wanna travel a lot anymore. Typically we’re not traveling a lot because our clients are usually in our market. Not always, but usually. So the benefits they get are they can be here, they can be home at six o’clock every night or whatever time the client lets out and work as much as they want. So the differentiator for them is, hey, I can make a difference, I’m doing really good work.

and I’m doing it three or four days a week and on a more balanced, it’s a lifestyle type balance for them. So they’re getting more out of their life than they were before.

Anthony Codispoti (15:53.07)
I’m curious if when you talk to your fractionals, and you’ve been in this role yourself too, so you can speak directly to it, do you find it difficult to mentally transition from one client to another? It’s one thing when you’re working for one company every day and your mind is just completely geared in on that client, that industry, that specific niche. But now you need to, from one day to the next, you gotta transition from, okay, today I was in a…

manufacturing business. Now I’m in a service business, like it’s a completely different business model, completely different set of problems. Is it hard to mentally shift gears like that?

Mike Derringer (16:32.702)
You know, Anthony, it’s like you were listening in on our training the other day. That’s a perfect, perfect question. Yeah, it’s really hard. And you know, I also, I’ll tell our CFOs, you know, everybody has a bad day, right? You know, you wake up, you’re just not feeling it that day for whatever reason. You gotta work a little grumpy. Well, you really can’t do that as a fractional CFO because that’s the only day they’re gonna see you that week. And if I get Mr. or Mrs. Grumps,

you know, maybe I’m not, maybe I’m wondering why I did this. You know, so you’ve got to be on your game every day and you’re going to a client tomorrow that is totally different from what you worked on today. So, so yeah, we have part of our training when we bring in CFOs is we’re not telling them how to be a CFO. They know how to do that for the most part. We’re training them on how to be a fractional CFO. What does that mean? That means you’ve got to switch gears quickly.

You’ve got to take really, really good notes and everybody’s got their own system. Heard a lot of one note usage. Some people have a yellow pad, you know, it’s whatever it is that can keep you organized so that, and so that you can walk in the door ready to go. Um, one of the, one of the CFOs was telling me the other day, they sit in their car for about 10, 15 minutes before they walk in reviewing their notes from last week, where’d I leave off? What do I need to do today?

Who was I talking to last week? Who do I need to meet with today? That’s sort of kind of getting their agenda squared away before they walk in the door. And that just helps us become really, really efficient. So we have to have our own system. We have to learn how to adapt that. And it is really, really difficult. You get clients confused once in a while.

Anthony Codispoti (18:17.462)
The clients are confused?

Mike Derringer (18:18.758)
Well, we get them confused, you know, like, Hey, weren’t we just, oh, no, that wasn’t you. I was talking to her, you know, see, yeah, exactly. Right. Yeah. Keep your notes clear there.

Anthony Codispoti (18:25.351)
That was my other girlfriend, right? Oops. Right. And I think you talked about this when explaining sort of the three uniques that one of the things that you guys do is for the most part, with some exceptions and it’s changing, but for the most part, you’re embedded there physically. And I have to think that delivers a better experience for the client, right? This is great technology that you and I can be in different parts of the country or world and

have conversations like this. But man, it’s not the same thing as being there and spending all day and having lunch and bumping into somebody else in the hallway that you don’t normally, oh, what do you do? Oh, tell me more, you know, those sort of random conversations that just don’t have the chance to happen like this.

Mike Derringer (19:13.49)
Yeah, that’s exactly right. I mean, being able to walk through a plant floor and just see what new products are being developed, what the issues are, what’s that new stack over there, where’d that inventory come from, all of those kinds of questions. You can grab the lead engineer or somebody and have them explain some of the stuff to you. And they wanna show it off. And when you’re taking an interest to it and you’re talking to them about it, well, what’s this cost? Well, you know what, I could use some help with that. I’m not real sure.

what my cost is on this. We want me to look at that for you. How could we best match what the company, what we’re doing from a numbers standpoint and from a strategy standpoint with what’s really going on the floor. So yeah, being there, walking the plan, being part of the leadership team meetings. A lot of good stuff goes on in the 10 minutes before and in the 10 minutes after those leadership team meetings. When the meeting starts, it gets kind of formal.

Anthony Codispoti (20:02.811)

Mike Derringer (20:07.762)
and you’re following a nice agenda, and that’s great, you have to. And we highly recommend it. But beforehand, hey, how was your weekend? And we lose track of that on Zoom a little bit. We can still do it, but it’s not as common. And when we can be there and see the expression on their face, something’s bothering you, what’s going on? And you just have that, now you’re, yeah, you’re business, but you’re human too. So you can kind of bring that element in there.

And we can take that role on and it’s interesting the, we have to build up trust and it takes some time. But once we do, the people that open up to us and just will just come in and shut the door and say, can I talk to you about something? You know, could be personal, could be business. It’s usually business, but you know, here’s what’s going on. How do I deal with this person who did this or whatever? And I’m not getting what I need out of my staff. You know, those sorts of issues are coming up when we’re in the building.

when we’re on site, when we go to the water cooler, fill up our water, get a cup of coffee, whatever. And we’re just having conversations with somebody. So a lot of good stuff comes out by being embedded and that’s why we really push that. Now, like I said, we’re starting to see that little trend towards remote. I think as we continue to expand our footprint at Focus, we’ll be able to fill it with people that are there.

Well, one thing we do a little bit differently, I think, too, when we do the remote is we’re going to highly recommend that we go in once a quarter, once a month, whatever the regularity is to be a part of their, part of their team for at least that day. We’ll usually start it off. I’m going to come on site for a couple of days and then I’m going to come back next month and come back next quarter, whatever it is so that we can interact and see the people and you can get so much more value out of that.

Anthony Codispoti (22:07.726)
You know, I want to go back to something you said a few minutes ago. It’s kind of been percolating for me. It’s interesting how you say a lot of your fractionals, you know, they’re coming to you from another work environment where it was, you know, 80 hours a week, just crazy intense. So this is a real like quality of life switch for them. And they can tell you, I want to work two, three, four, five days a week. And like that’s, you know, maybe they’re making the same money, maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit less, but just that quality of life difference has to be pretty substantial.

The flip side of that though that you touched on is, you know, this isn’t like, this isn’t the job that you go to every day. They only get to see you once a week and you’re, you know, an outside contractor and like you’ve gotta be on every day, right? Like you’ve gotta show your best version of yourself because you may not get a pass. Well, it’s like, oh, you know what? Mike’s normally a really good guy. I think he was just having an off day today, you know? Because I see him, the other, you know,

24 days of the month and he’s good. It’s like, no, this guy, he’s only been in here, you know, four times and two of them, he’s been kind of Mr. Grumpy Pants. So it’s like, there’s a quality of life switch, but there’s also like, hey, when you’re there, you’ve gotta be there, like fully present.

Mike Derringer (23:22.738)
Yeah, and fully present. And that’s also difficult, but you know, with the phones, and if they see you, they walk by your office three times and you’re on the phone three times, what are you doing? You know, I mean, you’ve gotta be focused on what it is they do, put your phones down, and leave some of the things for your, you know, when you do go to the water cooler or whatever, you know, pick up that coffee, you know, then you deal with those issues. So yeah, you have to be focused and you have to be…

You have to be there for them. I mean, they’re hiring us for that purpose, and that’s what it’s about. It’s about how can we help them, and if I’m in there to help them and I’m not focused on them, it’s gonna be really, really difficult.

Anthony Codispoti (24:05.09)
Mike, did you always want to be a business owner? Did you have some business owner role models growing up that sort of inspired you to want to do this?

Mike Derringer (24:14.534)
Yeah, that’s a great question. I did, my dad ran his own CPA firm for a number of years. And I don’t know that it really drove me to want to do that. I think what it convinced me as I started to get into accounting 35 years ago, 40 years ago, whatever it is now, was, boy, these people work an awful lot. And there’s a lot of numbers and, hmm, I wonder.

I wonder if maybe there’s something, you know, different element, you know, different avenue within the accounting finance world that I should experience, which kind of led me into finance and led me into more strategic thinking, which then started opening up the wheels to, maybe I had to do something on my own. And now when I was having those thoughts, and it was between a couple of corporate, well, it was after one of my corporate jobs where

the company sold and I’d been through this four or five times with different companies. And in this one, I didn’t want to make the move, did not want to make the move to a different city to continue on with them. So I chose to do something different. And so I had the opportunity, I was 40 years old to say, hey, what do I want to do? And I had this, this what I thought was a brilliant idea to work with small businesses because one thing I noticed was a lot of companies, the companies I worked for were all public

And they needed help. They needed something. They usually needed some better accounting. They needed some better forecasting, something. There was something that they needed that we’d fill, and that was our purpose. But when we got in there, there was a glaring hole. Well, I thought if big companies struggle with this, small companies have to just, what do they do? Because they can’t pay. We’d bring in a…

Consultant and pay him 250,000 to give us a nice little binder to tell us what we needed to do Smaller businesses really can’t do that so as I was thinking through that through networking which we’ll be talking about I know but Friend of mine said you need to meet Brad Martin the founder of focus CFO That’s what his company does and it I think there’s you know, you guys should you guys should at least meet and I met Brad

Mike Derringer (26:41.726)
He had developed a really solid model. Wasn’t exactly what I was thinking, but it was pretty darn close. And we tell everybody this, hey, you can join us and do what we do the way we do it. We have a process that we’ve developed over the years, or you can go do it on your own. I mean, there’s no stopping you from doing this on your own. And as I thought through that, I thought, how much more power is there in a group than me as an individual?

And so it became an easy choice to join Brad and start the company. I think at the time we had, well, he had the company started, but I mean, we had five people or so, and today we have 150. And we’ve really seen the growth over the last few years is as we’ve adopted EOS, the book Traction, to our company, staying very, very well focused and having people in different roles, developing processes, developing training.

and all that kind of stuff. So there’s a long answer to your question, but as things have evolved over the years, it’s kind of spun different wheels in my head saying, hmm, this would be interesting. This would be interesting. Did it start when I was younger? It probably did, but probably in more in the negative sense of, man, if I’m ever working on my own, I’m gonna work as much as my dad did, and I really don’t wanna do that. And now when I got to the…

point when I was 40 and I had that opportunity, I worked as much as my dad did. You know, so I went right back to where I wasn’t sure. But when you’re having fun and it’s what you want to do, you don’t think about the hours. So it really did kind of all come together.

Anthony Codispoti (28:24.906)
So let’s dive into this a little bit more because you’re 40 years old when you decide to make this transition from, I’m going to guess, you know, you’re making a decent living, comfortable living, steady job, you know, regular paycheck, there’s a lot of safety and security in that, probably decent benefits, and now you’re at this, you know, sort of fork in the road, like, okay, my company has, you know, gone through this transition and I’ve been through this process several times before.

I’m rooted down here. I want to stay in the city. I don’t want to move with the company. Was there any part of you that was like, I’m just going to go find another job that has that safe paycheck, that has those good benefits, that has that security, and keep sort of doing more of what I’ve been doing? I mean, it’s a big deal to make that leap, especially at that point in your life, to say, hey, I’m going to go out on my own.

Mike Derringer (29:21.618)
Yeah, yeah, no, it was. I try not to think back at it too much, but yeah, there was, and the advice I was getting, because the salaries were crazy, and this was 2005, you can flip back to then, you know, Sarbanes-Oxley was on the, was kicking in, so every company had to report and get audited and all their controls and all that. And then the CFO had to sign the financial report personally.

And as all that was coming together and people are telling me, hey, this is what you should do. You’re gonna make a ton of money over the next 10 years. Here’s how you should do it. I’m like, really? I’m gonna be traveling. I’m gonna be, you know, my daughter had gone off to college by this time. My son was younger, so he still had a few years left in the house. And I thought, kind of, you know, worked my tail off when my daughter was growing up. We were able to balance things, but still there was an element of, boy.

That went fast. That I didn’t want to miss with my son. And I also knew there’s more to life than working like crazy and making a ton of money. There’s nothing wrong with that. But how can you balance that with something that’s rewarding and still provides a really good living? I mean, that’s not a.

We’re not sacrificing that by any stretch, but there’s more to life than just work and killing it. And that’s really the mindset I was in. It was hard to get into it. And then once you’re into it, when everything becomes dependent on yourself, and we had an eat what you kill model back then, we don’t have that today, so it was like go find three, four, five clients or whatever and here’s a couple of books on sales, go at it.

Like, okay, you know, and I had some good role models to work with me. Um, but I also had no idea what I was doing. So, um, we’ve developed a process, uh, since then to kind of help, help new people kind of get through that. Uh, we use the Sandler sales training methodology, which is all about finding pain and, you know, it’s consistent prospecting, uh, asking really good questions, things like that. Um, but, um,

Mike Derringer (31:47.89)
But yeah, so when I’m 40 and I’ve got a son about to go through college, how am I gonna cover this? So yeah, a lot of planning starts coming in and the other side of your head kicks in because you lose that security. Now, the interesting thing that I found about myself then was, oh, which holidays do we get paid for this year? There’s 10 or whatever, there are eight, six, whatever different companies have. Well, now we’re at the point of

hey, if I’m a work, I don’t get paid. That’s interesting. Isn’t that the way it probably should be? Like, hmm, it’s nice benefits, great to have, but what if I was in charge and I have to find my own benefits? Have to go to an open market or now, and find those or spouse’s benefits, whatever it is that you now have to do, you’re controlling it all. You don’t have these people telling you, here’s your package type of thing.

Anthony Codispoti (32:45.926)
You’ve got to set the rules. Yep.

Mike Derringer (32:47.314)
You got it. Yeah. So figure it out kid, you know. But now there was a little bit of that. And once you get into it and, you know, you can just, if I want to take off whatever Monday afternoon, because my son had something at school. Okay. There I am. Can you pick them up this day? Sure. You know, I just block it out on my calendar. Then respecting your own calendar becomes a different challenge, but.

But yeah, having that balance between work and life is huge. And we provide a lot more on the life side.

Anthony Codispoti (33:24.214)
So I want to dig into that sort of that initial transition from I’ve been employed, I’ve been a CFO, I’ve been this hard driving, numbers focused guy for so long. Now I’m transitioning into business owner and I’ve got to go find my own clients for the first time in my life. I, you know, somebody threw a sales book at you and like, hey, good luck, like go get after it. Those are two very different types of skill sets.

And if you haven’t had experience with the sales and business development side of things, that can be jarring. It can be confusing. It can be, I don’t know. I mean, like you said, you didn’t know what you do. You’re just sort of thrown in the deep end of the pool. Like talk to me about those early days and weeks, like some of those initial steps that you took to help yourself in that new path.

Mike Derringer (34:21.414)
Yeah, this is gonna be painful. But you know, there was, when I came on board to focus, everybody takes the disc personality assessment. And I was a very high D, which means you’re demanding, you’re direct, you’re quick and decisive, and you just go. You’re making the decisions and you’re go, go. Put it in perspective, I think, I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I had somewhere around 35 people reporting to me when I started.

the last position I had when I left, I had 17. I mean, we eliminated a lot of inefficiencies. We got things right-sized. Most of those people were redirected to other places within the company. But it was all about efficiency, overhead containment while the company was growing. So there was a lot of quick decisions and very, there’s a lot of activity. I was probably working 60, 80 hours a week, traveling a little bit.

doing a lot of SEC filings, that sort of stuff that’s very, very demanding. So when people would call me and say, Hey, let’s grab coffee. You know, I’d get a recruiter or somebody, you know, let’s, let’s go to lunch. I’d be going, I don’t have time for this. You know, I was the person on the other end of the phone going, maybe later, you know. And when I.

When that job ended, I started really reflecting saying, but that was not very nice, Mike. You need to apologize to a few people first. But the second thing is, you know, as I’m looking at or whatever it was at the time, thinking about what I might want to do, I thought, I’m not, I’m not going to, nobody’s going to hire me based on me filling out this form on Monster or whatever. You need to start networking. No.

I didn’t even really know how to spell networking at that time, but I figured out, okay, well, who do you know? Start talking to them. What can you do? And it started resulting in a few little consulting opportunities. And then eventually it led to meeting Brad. So that was the awakening I think I had that said, okay, quit being the way you’ve been, be a little bit more personable, and actually talk to people.

Mike Derringer (36:39.954)
I’ve always tested high on the introvert scale until the last three or four years. And now by the way, as I retake the disc and everything, my D is gone. I mean, I don’t, it barely registers. I still have a higher element of C, which is the compliance, the accuracy, the analytical type, and that’s from my numbers and CFO days. But the thing that keeps rising up is the, the I, which is the, the

person that wants to be liked and wants to meet people and very social and that kind of, that one just keeps rising and rising to the point that the last time I took a different one for another, I’ve taken a bunch of these things and kind of a guinea pig for them and I actually believe in them. So, but it called me an extrovert and I just started laughing and I said, okay, come on. But then as you think about it, I’m like, okay, that’s transition has kind of happened because

Anthony Codispoti (37:12.613)

Mike Derringer (37:37.382)
You walk into a networking event and you see a couple different things going on. You see a group of two or three people, and this is always great at some of these things where they’ll invite some big company to host an event and they want all their staff to be there. Maybe they’re giving a tour of their building or something. And you walk in and there’s a group of three or four of them clustered together, closed circle. They might be talking, but they’re not talking much.

And so if you walk up to him and start talking to him, they don’t really wanna talk to you. That’s not their personality and that’s okay. But when you’re networking to get business, business development people that we are as area presidents, well, there’s two things to that. I shouldn’t say just to get business, but also just to who can I help? Who can I help you? Is there someone?

something that I do that maybe somebody I know that I could introduce you to, people have helped me so much over the years, how can I help you? When you walk in with that sort of attitude and really wanna know about them and learn about them, and again, how can I help? We operate a lot on a give-get. I mean, we wanna give as many referrals as we get and I track them over the years and it’s pretty much one-to-one. So that’s important to us that, you know.

And it’s intentional. It has to be intentional to the point of, how can I help you? As I’m meeting with this client today about sales, it’s not going to be me that’s helping him. Who’s the best resource for you? Who should I introduce you to take this conversation to the next level? That’s really what I’m listening for. So anyway, making that transition, you kind of have to step out of your shell a little bit and just be.

go knock on a few doors and go ahead.

Anthony Codispoti (39:36.51)
Yeah, I love this part of your story because I think so many of us, and I’ve been guilty of this myself many times in my life, you know, we get stuck in sort of this fixed mindset. It’s like, well, I’m not good at that. Like I can’t do that. That’s not my personality type. And the story that you’re sharing is like you’re fully embracing the growth mindset that we can evolve. You know, we can work hard to.

change things about ourselves that we want to improve upon. And you went from on these personality tests and by your own admission you’re an introvert and you’re demanding. And then you’re like, well, I’m in a new stage of my life now and those parts of my personality are not serving me as well anymore. I need to be open to change. I need to embrace new challenges. And so I’m gonna do things that I haven’t

done before. And not only am I going to accept somebody’s offer for, hey, let’s get coffee. Now I’m going to be the one that reaches out to people. I’m going to initiate those conversations. And I want to give a little bit of extra focus here because I think it’s important to highlight how challenging that can be for somebody who, at the age of 40, you’ve been pretty stuck in your ways.

Anthony Codispoti (41:04.202)
This is who I am. This is the way I’ve always done things. This is the way I will just continue to do things. But you stepped into what had to have been a very uncomfortable place to say, I don’t know what I’m doing in this new area, but I am just, I’m gonna throw caution to the wind and I’m gonna give it a shot.

Mike Derringer (41:23.706)
Yeah, there’s a big factor that kicks in when you, when you start new at something and you don’t know anything about it, you start asking questions and you figure things out. When you’re been in it a while and you think you got it down, maybe you stop asking those questions because you think you got it. Oh, I got the answer for you right here. Well, maybe I don’t, maybe I just haven’t asked the right questions here. So…

Yeah, you have to kind of approach it differently and get into that area of, I just want to learn. And I think that, I don’t know, there was, as I get older, I think that’s part of it. And I tell my dad this a lot, my mom, mommy and dad both, I’ll say, you know, it’s amazing to me, the smarter you’ve become, the older I get. Yeah, they’re saying the same things they told me since I was a kid.

Now maybe I’m listening and yeah, I hear it differently. I’m like, gosh, you know, I know you’ve told me this probably 25 times, but I get it now. And why didn’t I get it before? I don’t know. And I think that’s one thing if I had a chance to, you know, go back a few years, I do things a lot differently and actually stop, listen, maybe ask a few questions instead of, oh, I got that figured out. No, you don’t.

Anthony Codispoti (42:22.25)
You can hear it differently.

Mike Derringer (42:47.866)
So there’s an element that has to kick in at some point where your humility kicks in and says, hey, I don’t know what this is. I need some help here. What is this? We’ve got so many resources today. Google, chat GPT. I don’t know how to do some of this stuff. I’ll just go out there and see if somebody, you know, if one of these things gives me some advice and maybe I do exactly what they say. Maybe I do something different, but it’s a way to learn and just, hey.

I’ve never seen this before. What do I do? You know, use the resource.

Anthony Codispoti (43:19.554)
And what I’m hearing you say is you’re really embracing curiosity. You’re being, you’re being humble enough to admit that you don’t have all the answers and rather than get sort of stressed up and tight and tense about that, like, Oh, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know. I don’t know where to go here. Kind of like, well, let me just be curious. Let me, yeah, let me do a Google search. Let me ask a friend for help and let’s see what happens. Let’s see what I can learn.

Mike Derringer (43:23.624)

Mike Derringer (43:48.53)
Yeah, and you mentioned this in the intro. I got it right here. So here he is, Curious George.

Anthony Codispoti (43:54.742)
So this is the children’s book character that you keep attached to your backpack at all times. Why, curious George, how did this come about?

Mike Derringer (44:02.484)
And it gets a lot of questions, you know, as you’re, why do you have a monkey on your backpack? So our company gave those out, oh boy, I don’t know, 10, 15 years ago, when we get together every year, there’s usually some sort of, I wouldn’t say necessarily theme, but a nice little takeaway of some sort. And then for a number of years, it was curious, George, and it was for us to remind us,

Anthony Codispoti (44:07.289)

Mike Derringer (44:29.426)
To be curious, to ask questions, to don’t think you know what it is, you know, to don’t think I have the answer, ask more questions, be curious, you know, talk to people about, learn what they do, you know, before they started asking me what I do, I want to know about you. I want to know, you know, to grow up around here, to, you know, high state fan. I mean, you know, there’s so many different things we can just talk about being in

Let’s just find out about people. And you get some interesting responses and some people that don’t really want to talk. Me, 20 years ago, I ran into myself 20 years ago once in a while, and I get it. You respect it and you move on. They’re not all going to go great. But when you can have that connection and you have a like type group of people that really want to help, they want to help their clients. I mean, that’s really what we’re doing.

And like I said, I don’t know the answers, but if I’ve got five people that all are interested in that client and helping them succeed and I can bounce issues off of them. So then it comes back to me on, am I asking them the right questions? Do I understand what they do enough? And I’m sure I don’t, to just say, hey, so I just call them. Is this something you guys deal with? Well, not really, and here’s a better source. Okay, great. Being able to say that is huge.

Anthony Codispoti (45:41.389)

Mike Derringer (45:55.538)
But then also when they say, you know, this is something that we tackle. Um, what’s our next step? Well, let’s, let’s talk, let’s figure out where we go. You know, how can we help? How can we drive? Where I’m not, I don’t get there unless I intentionally, and it is an intentionality thing, I think I’m asking the right questions to everybody. I’m eat.

Anthony Codispoti (46:16.862)
You hinted at something, not hinted, you talked directly about this that I think is interesting to explore a little bit because I talked to a lot of people in sales, a lot of business owners that they want to grow their business and they feel uncomfortable reaching out to their personal network and asking, hey, do you have anybody who might benefit from what I have to offer here? And I think, I’d be curious to hear your perspective on this.

it may help them get over that uncomfortable feeling by approaching it a little bit differently and going into the conversation with, hey, what are your challenges? Like, what’s going on with you and your business right now? I’ve got some experience. Let me see if I know somebody that might be able to help you. And through that conversation, it may be that what I’m offering specifically can help you. And maybe it turns out that I know somebody else that I’m not gonna get any financial benefit for, but…

I can make that introduction and it just helps to cement that relationship a little bit more. Is that kind of how you think about it?

Mike Derringer (47:20.446)
Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah, and I was thinking about the numbers. I’ve probably worked with, I don’t know, 50 to 75 different companies over the years. Talked to a lot more, but we’ve actually engaged with probably more than that over the years. And I don’t know that any two of them were the same. Definitely not from, maybe the same industry or something, but different issues. So I can’t approach any one new company that I’m talking to.

as if I know what their problems are, I don’t. And their problems may be totally different from their problems for whatever reason, staffing, industry, who they serve, product, whatever it is, it’s gonna be different. So yeah, I have to approach it from a standpoint of I know nothing. I try to do some research. I’ll get all the information I can, who do they know? Maybe I can break the ice with things like that.

But I just got to start asking a ton of questions. And that’s where Sandler sales fits us really well because they really train you on just ask, ask. Keep asking questions. They have what’s called the pain funnel. And if you can go down the pain funnel and ask six questions related to one issue, you might get an answer. And all you’re trying to get to, and they talk about this a lot, all we want to drip out of that funnel is the truth. You know, that’s what we’re after.

And it’s so easy when you get that surface level pain, oh, I know exactly what you should do. Well, really, cause you, and maybe you do, but probably not because you really haven’t gotten there yet. So what if, well, we tried that last year and it didn’t work. Well, maybe I should have asked, what have you tried? Things like that where you’re just, again, being curious and taking an interest in them, and you may get to the end of it and say, and had this happen many times.

You guys are in pretty good shape. What can I help with? I don’t see a reason for you to bring in a CFO. You’ve got this covered, whatever it is. Love to be a resource for you, but how can I help? And that’s an honest thing. I mean, not every company we talk to is a good fit for us. Some are in really, really good shape. That’s fantastic. How did you do it? Tell me how you did this. Because I wanna learn from you because you’ve got things really running well.

Anthony Codispoti (49:48.686)
So I think that says a lot about your character as well as sort of the personality of Focus CFO. If you’re willing to go into a conversation and admit that, hey, I could try to sell you on what we do, I could try to make some money by signing you up as a client, but honestly, I don’t think we’re a good fit. I think you’re in a good place. I don’t think you would benefit from us, but.

let me just open the floor. Like what are you guys needing help with? And that probably opens the door to, at best, you introducing them to somebody else that may be able to help with a completely separate problem that they’re having.

Mike Derringer (50:30.278)
Yeah, somebody, if I’m not a good fit, but they do have an issue, who’s a better fit? And that’s what I’m trying to get to when I’m talking to them. It’s not always going to be me or us. You know, the best example I can think of is I was talking to a company, they’ve got a client now for about a year and a half, and he said, I don’t know what a CFO is. I don’t know if I need one, but let me tell you the things that I’m struggling with. I said, yeah, give them to me.

And he gave me a list of seven items that, you know, were high on his list of things I want to change. Six of which we handle as being the CFO. The seventh, we’re going to need, it was a structuring issue within how to form his corporation or his LLCs. We’re going to need some help with this. We’re going to need to get an attorney involved, make sure your tax person’s on board, you know, and they’re probably going to drive it, but we’ll be there beside you to help.

help kind of quarterback it, but we’re not the experts in that. We’re gonna bring people in that are. And so we just talked through, and at the end of it, he said, can you help? Is this what you do? Yeah, let me tell you a couple stories about how we did this with another company. Does that make sense? Is that kind of what you’re thinking? Yeah, that would be great. That’s what I need. Now we have a match and we can interact and move forward. But without that, if they’re…

If their issues are, hey, my books are a disaster and I need a new chart of accounts, I can help you get somebody to set it up and maybe, you know, if you don’t have that element within your company, but that’s, you’re gonna way overpay us and that’s not what, I did that 40 years ago and I’m terrible at it today. I forgot how to do that. So let me direct you somewhere where they can do it a whole lot better and a whole lot more economical.

Anthony Codispoti (52:25.942)
So you said a couple of things that were interesting. I love how in the one example that you gave, you were using anecdotes to help explain to this one customer. Like, you know, he says, hey, here’s six things or nine things I’m having trouble with. Like, you know, can you do those? And you’re like, we can do six of those. And here’s a couple of clients that we did something similar for because it’s one thing to talk about something in the abstract, right? But when you can be like, here was a real world scenario, company was…

You know, they were making this widget, you know, and they can kind of visualize in their head like, okay, well, we make a different widget, but yeah, we’re having the same problem with manufacturing and job costing and whatnot. And like, it just, it helps cement it more in their minds. Like, oh, he’s been through this before. This is like, he can guide us through this.

Mike Derringer (53:15.442)
Right, yeah, it’s hard to, and I can imagine being on the other side, there’s a huge element of faith that comes into play and saying, I trust that they’re gonna help solve this issue for me. I mean, you have to kind of see it and you have to visualize it a little bit and say, I want it to be different. I don’t know how to do it myself. Can you do it? Well, here’s what we’ve done before.

Would that approach work? Maybe not. And let’s, so let’s tweak it. You know, let’s start talking through it and come up with a way that, that is a solution. It’s come up with a solution that might work for them. But yeah, you’ve, you’ve got to kind of approach it from, you know, if they don’t get it, and I get that a lot, well, I still don’t understand what a CFO does. I understand that. It’s very difficult. If you’ve never worked with one, it would be very, cause and, and the industry doesn’t help us a whole lot there because

Anthony Codispoti (54:05.198)

Mike Derringer (54:15.31)
You have groups that are CFO services companies that are doing bookkeeping, accounting, they might be doing tax work, consulting, things like that. We’re, that’s not where, where we come in. So we’re kind of educating the market a little bit on what, Hey, when we say CFO, here’s what we mean, you know, chief financial officer, let’s talk strategy. Let’s talk forward looking, growing the business.

Secession planning that sort of thing of really keeping our eye on the ball moving forward and not so much on the backwards thing So that’s part of it and then and you get people that just I still don’t get it Well, that’s where a story might come in Things like that, you know you get hey do you have a reference? So do you want the good references or the other ones? Which one would you know? Who am I gonna give you as a reference, but I’ve got

I’ve got case studies, I’ve got testimonials, you know, that kind of stuff, but I can also just tell you from some of the things that we’ve done.

Anthony Codispoti (55:15.462)
It kind of reminds me of my very first company. I started right out of college. We were in the internet space back in 97 when we started the company. Now in 97, a lot of people still didn’t know what the internet was. You know, I tried explaining to some of my family members, you know, what I was doing. They didn’t even know the words that were coming out of my mouth. And so I would try to use stories and explain to them. And it was hard then to visualize. You know, it was a little bit easier if I could sit them down at a computer.

you know, with a head dial up, and I could show them, you can go to a webpage and, you know, you can look for things and, you know, you can find information. And it’s a little bit similar to what you’re talking about, you know, trying to explain what a CFO is to somebody. They’ve never come across this before. They’ve never experienced this in their personal life. Most people wouldn’t in their personal lives, but they’ve never even experienced it in their business. And so, yeah, I think those stories, like the case studies, like, okay, you don’t necessarily need to

understand exactly what this CFO thing is, but look at what we’ve been able to do for people, right? Here’s the results, right? If you can sell the results that somebody, you know, is likely to see on the other side, I would think that that’s sort of a powerful bridge for people who don’t have that familiarity.

Mike Derringer (56:32.922)
Yeah. And wasn’t that super cool when you’d hit your dial up thing and you’d hear your phone actually dialing and then it would connect you. You know, all that noise would start going off.

Anthony Codispoti (56:42.425)

The good old days. You know, something I wanna learn a little bit more about, because you’ve mentioned this a couple of times, was how helpful the Sandler sales method was. And the philosophy is really all around finding a pain point and digging deeper. So is there sort of like a prescribed list of questions that you’re always going through, or is it just like, you start with one question, like, you know, what’s the…

Mike Derringer (56:46.207)

Anthony Codispoti (57:14.134)
biggest problem that you’re dealing with right now. And then you’re just sort of thinking on your feet, trying to pull at the threads and get to the story underneath. Kind of curious to learn more about that.

Mike Derringer (57:24.018)
Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question. I think it’s what you talked about there where, okay, what is the issue? Tell me about it. Explain it to me. You know, give me some details behind that. Well, how long has this been going on? Well, I’ve had the company for five years and it’s been a problem ever since I had the company. It’s interesting, what have you tried? And what have you tried to do to fix this?

And you’ll get different answers in there. And then one of the other, so to your point, you’re just continuing to ask yourself, is there something more I can learn about this that I don’t know? What is this costing you? How do you feel about it? Is it frustrating you or are you content with it? Do you wanna fix it? Where do you wanna take this? Well, hey, pain gets to a point where I’m just living with it.

You know, my knee’s been hurting for years. I gotta live with it, you know? But boy, if I could do something about that, have you tried this? Have you tried that? My wife’s got a friend that is, you’ll love this, gin raisins, you take white or gold raisins, soak them in gin, and take a spoonful of that every night. And it relieves inflammation within your body. So, hey.

I’m gullible, I’ll try anything, you know? Yeah, it’s just things like, you know, so just continuing to ask, and, you know, again, I’m like, okay, what, what is this bowl on your, on your, um, on your counter here? Oh, they’re gin raisins. What? Okay. Explain this to me. And I didn’t, I didn’t know what, what are the gold raisins? I think they’re called or something. They’re not the, you know, the brown ones or blue or black, whatever color they’re. But, um,

Anthony Codispoti (58:52.318)
There’s that curiosity piece kicking in. I’ll give it a shot, right?

Anthony Codispoti (59:17.73)
So it needs to be the white raisin? Like those are the only ones that’ll reduce the inflammation or they’re the only ones that absorb the gin or what’s the deal? Don’t know? Okay. All right.

Mike Derringer (59:19.282)
Yeah. It was a th-

Mike Derringer (59:26.034)
Yeah, you know, that’s a great question. I don’t know. Yeah, I didn’t get to that point, but just asking those questions like, huh, what’s this for? Well, I was having issues with, I forget where her issue was, or if or something, you know. And when I started this, it went away. Just something I should try. So you just continue to ask questions and try to get to, now in that case, we’re really dealing with a solution, a wacky solution, but you know.

trying to get to the point of is this something we can help with or not? And do they wanna solve it? And if they wanna solve it and it’s something we can help with, let’s talk. You know, it’d be wrong to not try to help them at that point. But again, if it’s not something that, this isn’t really something that we deal with, having trouble hiring people, a lot of people, a lot of companies having trouble hiring people. We’re not recruiters.

we can brainstorm some things with you. And I’ll do that right on the spot with them, things they could try. But I need to get you in touch with a recruiting firm, somebody that does that really well. Who have you talked to? Who might you wanna talk to? Would you like to meet a person from this company? That sort of thing. And just making that connection for them can really, it’s how can I help? How can we best help? And if it’s us, great, let’s see what we can do. And if it’s not, then how best can we help?

Anthony Codispoti (01:00:51.49)
So it’s really starting from this place of ultimate curiosity, right? You’re asking the question, what are you guys dealing with? What are the challenges here? Before I go into pitch mode, before I go into selling mode, it’s like, okay, I just wanna understand the landscape. Tell me about the problems, tell me about what you’ve tried. Let me ask some qualifying questions so I better understand this. And then you go from that into, okay, how can I help? There are two out of these nine things that we’re experts in that we can help with.

Mike Derringer (01:00:54.282)

Anthony Codispoti (01:01:21.782)
remaining things, I think I could make some introductions for you and I’d be happy to do that.

Mike Derringer (01:01:28.582)
There’s a lot of power in the question, what else? What else? What else are you thinking about? What other issues do you have? Just about every time I ask it, I get an answer, which tells me maybe I should ask it again. What else? What else is there? Okay, and just continuing that. And this is where my, I don’t know, 10 years ago, when they would tell me what the issue was, oh, I got your solution.

Oh, here’s what you need to do. Well, you know, once you come across a little bit arrogant, because you really don’t know their solution. And two, you know, like I said before, what if it’s something they’ve tried before and it didn’t work? Let’s find out why it didn’t work. You know, I don’t know their solution when I just have only asked a couple of questions. I need to ask more questions. So continuing to tell myself, what more can I learn? What else could I?

What else could I learn about this that I don’t know? I’m just taking a couple seconds, pausing, okay. Tell me something else, what else would you try? And just wherever that goes, just to kind of get more deeper into that element of it. Because they’re opening up to you, they want help with this issue. If I can’t ask them a few questions about it, what am I doing? Just trying to sell them something? I don’t want to just sell them something, I want to help them.

Anthony Codispoti (01:02:50.728)
Mm. Mm-hmm.

Anthony Codispoti (01:02:54.966)
Mike, any particular books or mentors that have been helpful for you along the way?

Mike Derringer (01:03:04.226)
Yeah, that’s a great question. I’ve been blessed to have quite a few mentors over the years and influenced by a lot of books. I think the, I don’t know, shoot, Dan Sullivan, books on, oh, and I heard a speaker about a year ago at a conference, Dr. Benjamin Hardy, on, he’s a clinical psychologist.

who wrote a book called 10X is Easier Than 2X and Be Your Future Self Now, which is all really a mental site. And you think about what we do in business development, it is so mental. You gotta stay focused and positive even when you’re being told no more often than you’re being told yes. So, you know, some of those books have really been good on just getting your mindset. And you know, one of the…

the be your future self is visualize yourself a few years from now five, 10 years from now. Who are you? What are you doing? And now, you know, and when you start doing this, these kind of kind of things, you start asking yourself, huh, if I want to do that in five years, why aren’t I doing it now? And so that sort of thing. And then, you know, it’s interesting, as you as you say this, as I saw it on the list of your

questions earlier and I thought, you know, probably the one book that has been the most influential that I don’t refer to enough is the Bible. Just reading it and understanding it and really getting into it and praying about it. And there’s answers to life’s problems right there if we just take the time to, what is it that’s bothering you? Let’s go find out what.

Because we’re not inventing new problems here for the most part. A lot of these things have happened before. How did others deal with it? So, so it’s been, you know, that’s a journey to kind of go through, go through all that. But I think what I, I set a goal every year to read 18 books. And that’s just a random number. I said last year when my goal was 12, I think I hit 14 or 15. So I thought let’s make it higher this year.

Mike Derringer (01:05:28.25)
So what are those books that are good? I mean, I’ll throw the question back. Any books that you’d recommend that I should… That’s a problem, Lewis. Yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (01:05:37.266)
Oh, you’ve turned the tables. You’re asking me the questions now and I wasn’t mentally prepared to answer that. I haven’t been doing a great job of consuming books lately. Podcasts have been a much better source of information and inspiration for me. And so I’ll give a shout out to a few that I really enjoy, Freakonomics.

Mike Derringer (01:06:03.338)

Anthony Codispoti (01:06:04.15)
puts out some really good content. They have another related one called People I Mostly Admire. My friends, Jordan Harbinger, the Jordan Harbinger podcast is really good. Also, a good friend of mine, Jeremy Weiss, has one called Inspired Insiders. And then Guy Raz has a number of good podcasts that I really enjoy, including How I Built This, where he interviews founders and, you know, and they’re…

notable companies that everybody’s heard of, it’s sort of the arc that they went on to establish their business and take it to success. So, yeah.

Mike Derringer (01:06:40.17)
Yeah, that’s a great point. Podcasts, I do find myself listening to quite a few in the car. Mostly, I tend to, during those times, go to sports stuff, so get some, hey, it is. Yeah, that’s right.

Anthony Codispoti (01:06:52.266)
It’s nice to just check out sometimes and just, yeah, just focus on something fun. Yeah, it doesn’t always have to be educational and learning. And actually, that’s a good follow-up question. Like, what are some passions and some interests or hobbies that you have outside of work? I mean, it sounds like faith. I mean, you mentioned you love reading the Bible. You know, you mentioned sports. You know, talk a little bit more about those.

Mike Derringer (01:07:13.294)
Yeah. Well, I’m a diehard Cincinnati Reds fan here. I’ve got my little coffee mug here. Uh, how you get swept in Seattle. I don’t know, but we’ll deal with that later. Um, but, um, and baseball in general, um, something about it. And I, and I use it as a disconnect way of watching a game. Like if, especially if I’m at in Cincinnati watching it, but to just leave the phone away and just get lost in, you know, what’s going on, what are the, you know,

the third baseman as he’s running by like what’s going on there? You know what, what was that all about? You know, you can just pick things up. There’s something going on there. You know, why is the manager popping out of the dugout? What’s going on here? Is his arm hurt? You know, so you can really, you know, you just get lost in the game and the strategy of it too of well, if he brings in a left-handed pitcher, who’s on the bench that’s going to pinch hit here and which matchup would you rather have? And if you’re.

Anthony Codispoti (01:07:51.382)
They have some history, yeah.

Mike Derringer (01:08:10.79)
My son and I would go to a lot of games together. We’ll just sit there and banner back and forth about this. Well, would you rather see this or that or, you know, um, that sort of thing. And, and it’s a great way to disconnect and also just keep your mind rolling on strategy a little bit too. So it’s a lot of fun, um, to game, you know, we can’t get, take it too serious, even though my wife would probably tell you I do. Um, but, um, it’s a good release too.

Anthony Codispoti (01:08:37.386)
Yeah, a friend of mine, Ryan Moran, he loves to talk about how baseball is a game for the smart guys. There’s a chess match that’s going on sort of under the surface that maybe a more casual fan like myself isn’t really paying attention to or noticing. You touch it on that.

Mike Derringer (01:08:59.446)
And so this quest started, I don’t know, 20 years ago or so, I had this wild bucket list thing. I should go to every ballpark and every major league stadium in the United States. I completed it about four years ago in Seattle. My wife actually paid to get my name up on the board. You know, congratulations. July 4th, I forget what year, 18 or something like that.

So that was kind of fun. And now what I’m doing is going back through a couple of them that maybe I wasn’t paying as much attention to as I would have liked to at the time. And that, you know, in Boston for a business meeting, so you just go to the game and you’re not really, you know, taking in the power. Yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (01:09:45.41)
You’re not studying the details of what’s happening. You’re just sort of taking in the grand experience. Yeah.

Mike Derringer (01:09:51.758)
Yeah. So my son and wife and I went back a couple of years ago to revisit it. And, oh my gosh, what a great ballpark. You know, just, you know, you can really just kind of walk around and talk to the fans and just see things and do that. So my son has two left to go. Well, three. We’re heading to Dallas next weekend to watch the Reds and the Rangers. So that’ll knock him down to two and then, um, and he’s 28. So he’s, he’s way ahead of me. So.

Anthony Codispoti (01:10:17.175)
And what are the two left after that then?

Mike Derringer (01:10:19.002)
He’s got Seattle and Denver left. My last one was Seattle. It’s just not somewhere where you go over, you know, I mean, I don’t know.

Anthony Codispoti (01:10:21.586)
Okay, well those would be fun cities to visit.

Anthony Codispoti (01:10:28.103)
It’s out of the way. I mean, from where we are here in Ohio, that’s probably the farthest distance to travel to get to a game.

Mike Derringer (01:10:35.146)
Yeah, my wife and I made a trip out of it to go to Vancouver and the, um, was it Banff or whatever the mountain is up there and do a little hiking while we were there. So.

Anthony Codispoti (01:10:45.726)
Mike, I just have one more question for you, but before I ask it, what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?

Mike Derringer (01:10:52.594)
Thanks for asking. Best way is probably email, m.derringer, D-E-R-R-I-N-G-E-R at is our website. And there’s a meet the team thing in there. If you forget what my name was, you can just go look me up that way. That’s probably the easiest. I’d say, you know, I’d…

do tend to answer calls that, random calls, so they can always call me too or text me or something like that. But probably the easiest to get a hold of me is just an email.

Anthony Codispoti (01:11:32.814)
That’s great. And we’ll have all that information in the show notes. So last question, Mike. I’m curious, how do you see your industry evolving in the next five years?

Mike Derringer (01:11:44.338)
That’ll be interesting.

I think we’re starting to see a little bit more remote work. And it’s interesting, because we talked about this a little earlier, I think it’ll evolve to be a little bit more remote, but I also think that we’ll be able to, as a company, fill those remote opportunities with people that are local. As we continue to expand, I think we’ll be in.

a good chunk of the markets. Now there’s always gonna be one or two that you’re not in or something, but demand comes ahead of supply. But I think that’s part of it. I think the other thing that we’ll start seeing is more of it. We’re starting to read over the last two or three years, a lot more fractional. You’re seeing the phrase fractional pop up a lot more in the last, say, three, four, five years, where before

before it really didn’t come up that much. So we’re seeing fractional HR, we’re seeing fractional marketing, fractional COOs, fractional integrators with EOS. We’re seeing a few more fractional CFOs pop up, things like that. So I think that the industry will continue to grow. I think there’s a ton of opportunity there. There’s room for every player. There’s…

Competition is fine and it helps the industry. And so I think it’ll continue to grow. And I also think it’ll be a better solution for more companies because we’re gonna start seeing a, well, we’re already seeing it in accounting and finance, harder to find people, especially experienced people. So I think some of the companies will start turning where they can to fractional.

Mike Derringer (01:13:43.482)
as an alternative and say, hey, maybe I can do this two days a week. And we work with a lot of large companies that were there a couple of days a week. And if it’s properly staffed, you got a good controller, good accounting person, all that, um, you can run this for a while. So I think we’ll start seeing some of that evolve to, uh, fill, you know, based on just the supply. I mean, it’s going to be hard finding people. So I think the industry will continue to really, really do well.

Anthony Codispoti (01:14:09.038)
That’s great. Hey Mike, thanks so much for sharing your story with us today. I appreciate it.

Mike Derringer (01:14:14.118)
Well, I appreciate the time. This has been fun. It’s been a little challenging, trying to remember some of this stuff and the things that I try to forget, but it’s been fun.

Anthony Codispoti (01:14:23.198)
All right. Well, that’s a wrap on another episode of the Inspired Stories podcast. Thanks for learning with us today.


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