Guident Newsletter – October 2018 – Issue 30

Step #1 – You are a business first! When I first begin working with a new business, I often hear business owners say they are printers, landscapers, mechanics, etc.  The first step in changing a culture and growing a business is to change the way the business owner sees their company. You are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to do printing, you are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to do landscaping, and you are a business owner who is first running a business that happens to repair automobiles.  It’s a new discipline for most small to midsize business owners who relate the business to their personal talents. One of the businesses I was a partner in was a sign company.  We built the types of signs you see on the street corners and on the fronts of buildings.  We had a talented workforce, but the business was stagnant. In order for us to grow the business, we had to change the way we thought of ourselves.  Most all of our employees see our business as a sign company building signs. The business had the ability to be much […]

Guident Newsletter – September 2018 – Issue 29

Ten Good Old Rules! In my office, I have a small piece of paper with “Ten Good Old Rules” on it.  Back in 2001, I found these ten rules in the fall issue of a business magazine named, Business Edge.  I have been carrying these rules around for going on sixteen years so I thought it would be a good topic for this newsletter.  Here they are in the order they appeared in the 2001 issue; Control expenses Emphasize cash flow over growth Conserve cash reserves Eliminate or reduce unprofitable product or service lines Maximize efficiencies in the usage of energy, materials, and labor Reduce inventories Reduce or eliminate the number of free services Take advantage of lower prices for essential goods and services Watch for opportunities to acquire a competitors’ business if offered at a bargain rate Don’t get emotional; it’s just business Let’s break them down by the numbers.  #1 Control expenses by creating an annual operating budget and analyzing each month using the actual versus budget function from your accounting software you will be able to see what expenses are on target and which ones need attention.  #2 Emphasize cash flow overgrowth; often I see businesses with […]

Guident Newsletter – January 2018 – Issue 21

Understanding financials, as easy as riding a bicycle? Imagine being introduced to a bicycle for the first time as an adult. You are told all you have to do is hop on and start peddling, it’s easy! You think about it and you have your doubts. After all, you have had classes on Newton’s Law of Gravity and you understand that the force which caused the apple’s acceleration (gravity) must be dependent upon the mass of the apple. Common sense tells you that with your mass, you will hit the ground hard when you tip either to the left or the right. Yet, you see small children enjoying riding their bicycles without falling. How does this work, the rider should tip and fall, this riding a bicycle just doesn’t make sense. It won’t make sense until you are taught how to ride the bicycle and more importantly until you believe you can balance the bicycle and NOT fall to either side. I am suggesting you think of financials like riding a bicycle, they will not make sense until you are taught how they work and more importantly until you believe you can understand them. I have worked with several artists […]

Guident Newsletter – September 2017 – Issue 17

By the numbers; “Where do Discounts come from, revenues or profit?” Many of my clients have sales staff and pay sales commission on “top line” revenues. I often get the question regarding my opinion on offering a “discount” to close the deal. I usually give The Boss a typical consultant’s answer like, “It depends.” I begin the discussion by asking The Boss where the discount is coming from. They look at me with a somewhat puzzled look and ask, “What are you talking about?” Most of the business owners I work with see discounts coming solely off of “top line” revenues. For example, they may have a $10,000 proposal that is in a competitive situation and their sales person believes they need to discount the job in order to get the work. Together they may believe a $1,000 discount is necessary to “close the deal”. A 10% reduction in price to get the job and reach their revenue goals, keep their people working, and possibly steal a competitor’s customer is acceptable in their minds. It very well may be but we need to understand the full impact of the discount as it pertains to net profit not just “top line” […]

Guident Newsletter – January 2017 – Issue 9

Does your Company have a GPS and if so, do you use it? A few years ago I bought a GPS for my car and I liked it so much I bought one for my wife’s car also.  Eventually we got GPS service on our smartphones and we tend to us that GPS more often.  I recently bought a car that has a GPS as standard options and I like it even more.   It works best when there is a detour or when I am going to a new client’s office and I don’t want to waste time guessing what route to take.   In Q4 or early in Q1 I work with my clients to create an annual operating budget.  We look at past performance, we look at all costs (valid numbers will work the best but don’t let iffy numbers stop you), we look at revenues because most business owners will track revenue fairly accurately but may fall short on tracking operating costs.   We identify profit centers for the business and determine the gross profit per profit center best we can with the data we have.  The more valid the past data the more accurate the pro-forma annual […]