Jeff Rutt on How and Why he gave away his company, Keystone Custom Homes

Business On Purpose Conversations
Business On Purpose Conversations
Jeff Rutt on How and Why he gave away his company, Keystone Custom Homes

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In 2019 Jeff Rutt took an unusual step for a successful business owner.  Twenty-seven years after starting Keystone Custom Homes, he gave away his growing and very successful (600 homes built in 2021) home building business to charity.

What does that even mean?  And why would he do such a thing?  In this conversation, Jeff and Aaron talk about what caused Jeff to make this decision and what impact this decision is having on his family, his company, his employees and their customers.

Jeff is the founder and CEO of Keystone Custom Homes, an award-winning homebuilder in the mid-Atlantic region that has built more than 8,000 homes since 1992.  Jeff is also the founder of HOPE International.  HOPE is a Christ-centered micro-finance organization that provides biblically based training, savings services, and loans that restore dignity and break the cycle of poverty to underserved communities around the world.

Conversation highlights:

-How milking cows at age 10 contributed to Jeff starting a home building company in 1992.

-Giving up ownership of the company in 2019 didn’t mean giving up management control.

-What are the many advantages of giving away ownership of a company?

-The downsides were very, very limited. “I wish I would have done it sooner.”

-Jeff shares how his decision to, in his words, “paper the truth” that God owned his company, was inspired by a fellow Christian business owner, Alan Barnhart, who had already given away his own successful business. (Check out Alan’s story.)

-“If you want to really see your company grow, try giving it away and see what happens.”

-Do you have a financial finish line?  Jeff talks about why understanding your “financial finish line” is a key to making this sort of strategy possible—and even easy!

-Learn how employees have found a greater sense of meaning and mission in their work as a result of Jeff’s decision to give Keystone to charity.

-Jeff weighs in on what sort of business owners should consider this kind of strategy.  His answer is simple and surprising.

The Top Three Reasons To Give Away Your Company, according to Jeff Rutt.

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Connect with Aaron: