Cash Flow Savvy
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business and ours is no different. Luckily being CFOs, we’ve understood this from day one. We could perhaps be accused of not being bold enough in our growth trajectory… However slow and careful with cash has seen us ride out some of the last 3 decades of booms and busts. When times have been good we haven’t loaded ourselves up with ‘over the top’ expenses. When times haven’t been so good, we’ve been able to manage with ‘slim income’ coming in. Obviously this has meant management had to forego payment at times, as well as having to inject our own funds. A little worrying at times, but if you believe in what you’re doing it pays dividends to ‘put your money where your mouth is’.
It’s been the best and worst of times in our 3 decade long journey. We’ve ridden the rollercoaster of ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ of staff, partners, business landscape, suppliers, customers etc. Through it all we never lost sight of the ‘end game’ which, put simply, is to connect business owners with savvy Virtual CFOs to help them manage their financial challenges and be able to grow their business sustainably. We never tire of seeing business owners freed from financial burden and being able to confidently grow their business to its full potential.
Embraced technology and systems
I remember way back in the 90s when computerised systems really began to take off. We installed a CRM system that came on a ‘floppy disk’. It cost us about $50! This was probably one of the best things we ever did in business. The amount of time this small piece of software saved us and how it enabled us to build a database, that is now around 13,000 contacts, is phenomenal. Obviously we now pay a monthly fee for our CRM system that far exceeds $50, but that database is now a fabulous asset to the business and regularly delivers new leads and clients.
We’ve operated as a ‘work from home’ business for the past 6 years, so when Covid hit, it was ‘business as usual’ for us. We’re used to collaborating via Zoom, cloud based project management, accounts etc.
Recruited ‘only the best’ team
We took on our first employee about a year after start-up and this was a massive decision and commitment. Suddenly we were responsible for the pay and well being of another human being. It was quite scary at the time, however absolutely necessary if we were to grow the business. I can’t tell you we were the best employers at that time… but we sure learnt a lot about how to work with staff. They aren’t just there to make your life easier! They come with their own motivations, beliefs and experience. If you appreciate this and work together to arrive at solutions, it works great. If you think you know best and don’t listen to your team you’re ‘cruising for a bruising’. If you recruit ‘only the best’ and work together, your business will run smoothly and you will have a happy and productive team. You will also spend a lot less time putting out fires.
Learned to say ‘No thanks’
It sometimes seems like everyone sees us as an easy route to clients. We are constantly being approached by those with the latest software, gizmo or something that’s going to make our clients’ lives easier and us rich in the process! Like every novice in business we had our heads turned by some of these types and wasted too much time in the process. When we analysed the ROI of some of these relationships, we realised they just weren’t worth it. Some relationships have worked out great for us, but we’re very careful now about what we get involved with and quickly figure out what to say ‘No thanks’. Sometimes the best word is a polite ‘No’. It really pays to think objectively about what you’re getting involved with and do a dispassionate ‘Pros and Cons’ assessment.
Being in business has been one of the most frustrating and rewarding experiences.
Would we do it again?