For Kayla Shurson, a career turning point for her came when she hired a business coach.
Just carving out an hour a week, every week, to meet with her coach was daunting, Shurson said. But she’s so glad she did, as working in tandem with her coach helped her delegate tasks.
She’d started at the Shurson Group when it was Lund Tax & Accounting, under then owner Diane Lund. And way back then, Shurson greeted every customer as they walked in the door.
Years later, having bought the business, Shurson needed to figure out how to parcel out the work load so everything could get done in a timely manner.
“I started with Diane in 2014, 2020 is when I bought the business, 2021 is when we moved, 2022 is when we did a business rebrand,” she said. “We’ve never plateaued. We’re always growing.”
Her rebranding is when she renamed the business Shurson Group, and it gave her pause to put her name on the business. Over time, she became more comfortable with the concept.
In fact, when she first told family and friends that she was buying Lund Accounting, they didn’t quite understand that she’d take over as sole proprietor. Once they understood, they were in awe.
“You’re so young,” is what Shurson said she heard from folks about her becoming a business owner. But Lund promised to be a phone call away, and Shurson decided she felt ready.
“I’ll figure it out,” she said she thought at the time. “It’s not a problem.”
Shurson was Lund’s first full-time hire and the firm has now grown to 14 employees.
“Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust the work will come in,” she said of Shurson Group’s expansion to more than a dozen staffers. She took that leap of faith both when it was time to move to a bigger – and more expensive – office space, and in adding employees.
It’s all a far cry from where Shurson began as a student at Winona State University. She majored in accounting, and her first job out of college was at a bank. Her next job was for Lund.
Shurson said “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” as she had insiders for both jobs. She knew someone who worked at the bank, and her dad had worked with Lund’s husband at IBM.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life,” she recalls of her college days. “I knew I liked business and I knew I liked numbers. From there, that led me to accounting.”
She calls her job with Lund her “first real accounting job,” and said it was a good fit from the start. “The opportunity arose, and it seemed like a good fit,” she said.
The business has grown through referrals and word of mouth.
“I never pictured myself as a business owner,” Shurson said. “Diane just planted the seed.”
She recalls talking to an attorney, financial advisor and bankers all in preparation for taking over Lund Accounting. She saw this feedback as “super validating,” she said. “They said ‘We definitely think this is a good opportunity for you. There are no red flags. Everything is good.’”
“I was like, OK, let’s do it,” Shurson said. “I think some people didn’t understand at first. They thought I was going to be a partner with Diane, or that I was going to manage it. No, I said, I’m buying the business. People were awe struck, to be honest. They were like, good for you.”
She had no idea how time consuming running a business and managing a team would be, she said, but with the help of her business coach, she has gradually been able to delegate tasks to her employees and settle more comfortably into the role of business owner.
“You just keep pressing forward,” Shurson said. “Then in June 2020 I got a business coach. I was just like, I need help. And fortunately I knew someone who was going into it.”
She literally had piles of work on her office floor and gradually, bit by bit, she and her coach worked through each pile and delegated what tasks they could to her Shurson Group staff.
“It helped me prioritize and time manage and delegate,” she said. “My thought was I need to work, work, work and get all of these things done. And I was so tied to the business owners. No one could do as good of a job as me, I thought at the time. But we broke it down, piece by piece, and finally got to the point where I had time for other things. It was so much better.”
“By no means is it ever figured out,” Shurson said. “It’s a work in progress. I’m in a group of female business owners I look up to, and they have the same sorts of issues. It’s a relief that I’m not the only one. It’s just life. It’s how it’s going to roll.”
“Give me a problem, and I will come up with a solution,” she said. “You just do it.”