Plan for your dreams.


Plan for your dreams.

October 2011 Newsletter
by Dave Saunders,CPA, CMA
Partner, B2B CFO®


You have developed a compelling product or service and have experienced growth beyond your expectations. You consistently delight your customers who have become your biggest advocates, adorning your website with testimonials and stories of your success and value. You started your company pursuing a passion and are excited and even surprised to see it become a real business, fueled by your commitment to your customers, your energy and hard work. You have completed an incredibly complex rite of passage akin to parenthood as you transitioned your business from dream and concept to reality and it now has a proud identity of its own. Things are going so well that you begin to wonder what else is possible and you start thinking about the best ways to expand your business.

Are you ready for the growth, expansion and further success that lies ahead for your company? Here are a few ideas you should consider as you take the leap.

  • Develop a roadmap for investment, growth and cash flow. Document the steps that you will take in growing your business and the timing of key investments. Expanding your business may require investments in sales, marketing and operations resources and infrastructure investments in facilities, systems and support staff. Create a visual timeline and map of these investments with the end in mind, backing up from the date that you want to be active in the market and working through all of the resources and processes you need to have in place to be successful. This roadmap can serve as an excellent tool when updating your business plan.
  • Exercise your business model and develop your financial plan. Analyze your current financial statements to refresh your understanding of your business model. Understand the nature and cost of activities that drive customer demand, along with the cost of activities associated with meeting this demand and supporting your customers. Build a 36-month financial plan based on your current business model and activity levels. Develop a separate financial plan that solely reflects the cost and anticipated growth, return and cash flow from investments and other changes you are going to make. The combined product of these two plans will give you insight into the future performance of your business and provide a critical element of your business plan.
  • Understand your cash needs and identify ways to fund your vision.  The faster your business is growing, the more cash it is likely to need. Build relationships with banks and other potential funding sources before you need capital. Share and discuss your business plan with your banker and solicit input on ways to finance your growth.  Develop solid plans and cash flow forecasts that are achievable and also demonstrate your commitment to growth.  There is no better way to gain the confidence of your team and your funding sources than to consistently achieve your forecasts and demonstrate your ability to manage a growing business.
  • Understand your current constraints and break your limits. Assess the constraints of your current operations and processes and find smart ways to overcome them. Understand the impact of growth on facilities, operations and support resources. Will your business processes and systems support growth, or will inefficiencies create additional cost and lost time and opportunity? Are your accounting and reporting systems sufficient to provide timely and accurate information to manage a growing business with multiple locations, new products and new employees performing functions that you did only months before?
  • Think big, but keep your spending in line with business growth and performance. As you expand your business, find ways to reduce risk by making expenses variable with activity rather than fixed. Outsourcing functions such as bookkeeping, payroll and information technology and engaging other resources on an as-needed basis can often provide you with the capacity, skills and processes you need to grow while minimizing risk.
  • Find ways to leverage your most knowledgeable, dedicated and committed resource – YOU! The most important part of your journey is understanding how your role in the business will change. You are accustomed to knowing everything about every aspect of your business because you have personally sold to, serviced and supported your customers and managed financial, personnel and IT matters. Your role must evolve from operating the business to building and leading a team that will manage and grow the business. One of the most important metrics to track is the percentage of your time spent on new customers, market expansion, new products and leading your team (finding activities). Don’t let yourself get caught up in spending excessive time on accounting, administrative, IT and personnel matters (minding activities).
  • Build capability within your team. Assess the abilities of your team and ensure that you have the appropriate skills and resources in place to support your growth. Always hire employees based on the needs of the size of the company you will become rather than where you are currently. High performance employees will challenge and stretch the company to achieve greater heights. Avoid the risk of hiring employees who need to develop into their roles over time.
  • Extend your team and listen to the experts. Growing your business will stretch you and require skills that are likely not currently in your toolkit. Fortunately, there

    are experts available that can help you build your plan, secure cash and other resources for your expansion and reduce your learning curve. Identify the experts you need to keep your business on a

    solid growth path, meet your financial objectives and build value in your business.

Are you thinking about the best way to expand your business?  Do you need help in developing your plan to grow and increase the value of your business or finding cash for expansion?  I would be happy to be your partner in helping you achieve your growth objectives.  If you would like to learn more, please send me an e-mail or call me at 480-433-1310.

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