Kansas City’s Top Companies: Kauffman Fasttrac Inc

How a revenue-negative business managed to reinvent itself into a worldwide phenomenon.

Just three years ago, Kauffman FastTrac was a nearly 100 percent grant-funded organization operating on a money-losing, unviable and net revenue-negative business model. Clearly something needed to change, and quick. To get the ball rolling, FastTrac hired Alana Muller as a contractor, tasking her with advancing the company from a domestic-only grant recipient to a self-sustaining business.

The outward makeover of FastTrac concluded within a few months when the company officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization. However, it took three years of work to make the business model inwardly reflect this new classification.

L to R: Vice President of Business Development Scott Carson, President Alana Muller, Vice President Michele Markey, and Business Manager Kim McGrew of Kauffman FastTrac Inc.

Today, Muller is president of FastTrac, an organization now net revenue-positive for the first time in its almost 20-year history. FastTrac has quadrupled revenue in three years to become a $2 million business, holding partnerships around the world with more than 200 organizations like Accenture and AARP. All of these changes were completed, thanks to the four-person team at FastTrac, which Muller describes as “high performing, committed and dedicated.”

Becoming self-sustaining required a few major adjustments to the FastTrac business model. Using its own entrepreneurial philosophy, the company moved from a simple domestic distributor of textbooks to a business able to license intellectual property all across the globe.

“One of the things that was important was to show that not only could we help others to be successful in starting and growing their company, but that we could also do that for ourselves,” says Muller. “By utilizing our own approach for our own business, we were able to show that our methodology works.”

The company also streamlined its product portfolio to maintain relevance and applicability to the specific needs of today’s entrepreneur, with information tailored to profiles such as U.S. military veterans, women and baby boomer entrepreneurs.

Major roadblocks included dealing with a pricing increase, which provided a challenge in sustaining the current customer base. To do so, the FastTrac team increased communication with current customers to justify pricing changes and expanded their sights to a wider pool of customers. As a result, FastTrac now boasts corporations, business incubators and accelerators among its client list in addition to the typical nonprofits or academic institutions it used to exclusively serve.

Muller is more than satisfied with FastTrac’s transformation. “Maybe the thing I’m the proudest of is, though our business model has changed, though times and trends have changed, our mission remains the same,” she shares, “which is ‘to train aspiring and established entrepreneurs to start and grow a successful company.’”