We Help Nonprofits to be Sustainable




    As nonprofit consultants, our mission is to help community organizations achieve greatest effect most efficiently


    Our Unique Approach


    Whether yours is a not-for-profit, a business, or both, tomorrow takes careful planning. It's all about making sure tomorrow is sustainable. Perhaps our unique approach can help you.


    • We work intently to see the world from your vantage and we listen carefully to learn -- before working toward solutions.  From that perspective, we can help you solve problems you didn't know you had.


    • We search for uncommon causes to persistent problems and help you move thinking "5 degrees off center" in seeking best solutions.


    • We share our expertise and discovery at all phases of the relationship. Each moment is a teaching opportunity. Sharing what we know (with you) is a joy and a passion.


    • We're serious about the numbers. We will help you identify the key indicators of what is happening in your business or nonprofit; understand their importance to your operation; set-up measurement on a regular basis; and make decisions based on what the numbers tell you.


    Moving someone from shopper to customer takes purposeful action.

    It is not a guessing game!




    Dear Algebra, Please stop asking us to find your x. 

    She's never coming back, and don't ask y.

    Why It Matters


    How an organization responds to economic uncertainty can define the difference between thriving, and closing the doors.

    Fortunately, the right response is not that difficult.




    If a not-for-profit is to thrive in the years ahead, it must no longer assume business as usual. Everything about everything it does must be with "purposeful intentionality."

    Winners will not be winners by chance.



    Understanding a business is more than knowing its revenue trend. Until you know the numbers, decision making will always be a guess.

    When the numbers say "Loss!" no amount of denial will ever extrude a profit.


    Mission demands Margin!


    Retail indicators have a personality. They LOVE to answer questions.


    Every square foot of retail space represents a cost of one sort or another. The goal is to understand cost specifics, then, to generate a greater revenue.


    Your business will be operated as either a business, or a mission. And it demands that you choose. Great results presume 'business' best practices.


    Business growth is not simply the product of a well built business plan; rather, it is the purposed result of feedback adaption and a slavish customer-centric focus.


    Continuous learning is the byproduct of enthused management. Therein lies both cause and remedy to many issues facing nonprofits today.

    The competition is purposefully getting smarter every day. Are you?


    Return on Investment


    "Talon Company brought incredible value for what we paid them — far, far beyond what we expected!"


    "I asked Talon Company for recommendations we could implement immediately and some we could put in place over time. Rus delivered many creative ideas on both counts. My staff enthusiastically jumped right in on the short-term recommendations — which bore fruit nearly overnight. This is so important, because the great results they achieved made them want to implement the other ideas too. I realize it is rare for a consultant to have such a dramatic impact right away, but Rus and his team are clearly uncommon in this regard."



    "When I look at what we paid Talon Company and what we have already reaped, it is evident that Talon delivered a staggering amount of value!" (Phil Newton, Executive Director, South Side Mission, Peoria Illinois)



    Although Talon Company is qualified to provide a deep-range of organizational services (and will speak with you about your specific needs, if requested), we have begun recently to focus more exclusively on the needs of small to medium businesses. These include:


    • Business Rescue
    • Business Analysis
    • Resale                            
    • Strategic Planning
    • Board Development Seminars/Training (one-half day or full day)
    • Interim CEO Assignments (for varying lengths of time, e.g., 3 mos, 6 mos, 9 mos)
    • Sustainability Audits
    • Sales / Management Evaluation
    • Performance Assessment
    • Store Management Development                                     
    • Incentives Planning
    • Key Retail Indicator (KRI) Reporting                   





    "I needed this."

    "Did not realize the power and vision a board needs and should have!"


    (And a few from the veterans)


    "It was an excellent review and I learned some new things as well!"

    "We will be tweaking some of our bylaws to strengthen some things."

    "Rus has a real gifted way of explaining things."


    Established in 2007, Talon Company's goal is to help nonprofit organizations and small-to-medium businesses become more effective in their mission and more profitable in their businesses. It was founded on the core conviction that organizational sustainability will increasingly require accountability for meaningful service outcomes, and more direct responsibility for income generation.


    Talon's consulting services help clients develop a systematic approach to business growth and profit-taking. Each offering is uniquely designed to help organizations and businesses develop the skills, tools, and business strategies needed for ongoing self maintenance. Its probative approach helps leaders quickly unpack issues relevant to problem resolution.


    "Best-fitting" client? Businesses and organizations that are dissatisfied with the status quo and are seeking results-oriented consulting. Success is measured by client results.



    "Rus' breadth of knowledge in retail thrift was truly exceptional.

    Bringing Talon Company services to our store was a great decision that justified

    the cost many times over." (JB -- CA nonprofit board member)




    Serving the nonprofit and small business community is a rich tradition with Talon Company. We are aware, however, that not every organization or business can afford to retain a consultant's services despite perhaps a compelling need to do so. This is often the case with organizational or business start-ups, financial distress, business reversals, loss of funding, or other. For that reason, we are committed to providing consulting services free of charge to as many organizations and small businesses as is feasible to our schedule.


    If you would like your organization or business to be considered for this service, please send us a brief email with the following information.


    • Name of the agency/business and its director/owner
    • Type of nonprofit/business along with number of years in operation
    • Net revenue over last two years (Please distinguish unearned nonprofit net revenue from any earned income revenue.)
    • Brief, but complete, statement of specific need


    Following receipt of a request, we will schedule a telephone call to discuss more fully. All requests will receive a response.


    (NOTE: Direct expenses necessary and agreed upon for fulfillment of the contract will be billed to the selected entity. Every effort will be made to avoid, or minimize, direct costs.)







    "If the only good I got from the two-day on-site audit was the consultant's immediate comments, I would have more than justified the cost of services. But I got more. Rus's formal presentation of findings and recommendations helped us begin making serious dollars." (LT - Retail thrift store manager)



    "Rus's counsel has been invaluable to the success of our ministry. His revealing insights come from obvious academic preparation and years of executive experience." (JM — nonprofit executive director)



    "Talon Company is big into common sense strategies and solutions. I would recommend this company to anyone!" (BT — nonprofit executive director)




    Here's what makes us tick.


    • Continuous Learning. Only as we demand of ourselves a higher level of up-to-datedness at all points of engagement can we provide our clients with the tools and resources needed to lead healthy, prosperous, dynamic organizations and businesses.
    • Integrity. Our word is our bond and we will make no claims of likely effect if we do not believe truly that we can deliver.


    • Opposing Opinions. Multiple thought streams purge the shortsightedness of a single perspective. Differing opinions multiply alternatives in pursuit of a best course.


    • Consulting As a Teaching Opportunity. Highest use our expertise is when it is shared in a practical application. We do not consider our knowledge as proprietary and will share it as often as possible.


    • Time As a Stewardship Obligation. We try never to take our clients' time lightly. Moments wasted are opportunities lost.


    • Work As "Fun." We are thrilled with every chance to be of service to our clients and take real delight in what we do. If our business ever becomes an obligation, we pledge to close shop. Life is too short to be wasted in non-fulfilling pursuits!



    CALL US AT (815) 230-1881




    Research suggests that customers prefer service that improves as the shopping experience unfolds. This says that checkout should be a highly choreographed process designed to impress the customer. It is the punctuation point on the entire shopping experience. Always be sure that you end it with an exclamation point . . . not a question mark!






    The Container Store culture operates by an equation that goes something like this: One average employee equals three lousy employees. One good employee equals three average employees, and one great employee equals three good employees. If you extend this logic, it says that if you hire great people who are three times as productive, you can pay them twice as much and still come out ahead. Think maybe that’s what we need to consider in our retail thrift culture?






    In their excellent book, “When Customers Talk,” T. Scott Gross and BIGresearch says that a small gesture that surprises has the incredible power to do three things:

    1. Create a halo effect that wraps around the business in such a way that on the next visit, service may seem better than it really is—an afterglow effect as it were
    2. Create a tendency to reciprocity. An unexpected, albeit small gesture tends psychologically to pull a larger response in return.
    3. Generate positive, compelling word of mouth 

    Shoppers can be drawn to our stores by advertising. Customers, on the other hand, must be earned. Unfortunately, many shoppers have low service expectations when they shop resale thrift. Fortunately, surprising them with the exceptional can create life-long customers. Resolve to stand out in the market place! You will have customers who can’t stop telling others about your store. Really!





    (Check back frequently for more Quick Tips.)




    Principal & Consultant


    Rus brings more than 30 years as chief executive of various public and nonprofit organizations to his work as principal and consultant for Talon Company. During the latter years he started several retail thrifts and consulted with multiple executives on issues ranging from startup to complex growth strategies.


    Rus’ substantial creativity and relentless pursuit of the exceptional helped him develop a unique expertise in the fledgling field of nonprofit business. He has guest lectured at several colleges and universities as well as served as an adjunct professor of management, sales, advertising, and personnel. In 2002, he was a candidate for the Illinois State Senate, has an MPA from Northern Illinois University (NIU), and did Ph.D studies at both NIU and University of Florida.


    As Talon Company's leader, Rus challenges clients to keep aggressively abreast of the changing dynamic of nonprofit funding. "Extraordinary times require leaders of nonprofits to probe proactively for non-traditional funding streams. Aggressive leaders will add business opportunities as a distinct category of their daily environmental scan. "Success is rarely accidental: it must be aggressively pursued with knowledge."


    Rus can be contacted at RKinzinger@TalonCompany.com.

    14 Graystone Ct.

    Bloomington, IL 61704

    (Toll Free) 815-230-1881








  • Something to Think About

    -- Just for Stopping By --

  • Always SEE the Faces

    Never Look Away When It Is In You to Respond!











    Rus K



    Please let us know if you have any suggestions or questions.  We would love to hear from you.

    14 Graystone Ct. Bloomington, IL 61704