The CFO'S Perspective

How to Close a Business Successfully

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.
- Thomas A. Edison

For whatever reason, you've determined that it's time to close the doors and walk away from your business. Shutting down your business may be the hardest thing you'll ever do, but it's not uncommon. In fact, 90 percent of start-ups and early-stage companies close each year in the U.S.

If it's any consolation, most successful entrepreneurs have failed previously at some venture - or several. Walt Disney was reportedly fired by a newspaper editor for having no imagination and lacking good ideas.

Currently the world's richest businessman, Jeff Bezos had several failed ideas before Amazon took off. Most notably, his auction business called zShops never gained any traction. It's important to realize that it's okay to stop pursuing an enterprise that isn't working and start doing something else.

Closing a business, however, involves more than just shutting the doors and walking away. If you do this, you could open yourself up to unnecessary fees, loss of personal and business reputation, and even lawsuits. When making decisions about closing a business,  visibility to see issues coming is vital. Good financial advice is a great place to start.

Topics: Planning Budgeting Forecasting

Planning for Next Year's Raises in Today's Competitive Business Environment

With full nationwide employment, pricing pressure on materials, and generally modest revenue growth, how do you plan or budget raises for your employees? As you create next year's budgets and update your strategic plans, you also need to take several vital steps.

These include looking at the big picture, understanding and limiting your risk, getting help if you need it, and utilizing a financial planning tool to provide the right raises to retain and attract talent.  This may seem like a tall order, but a systematic approach will help your organization achieve its staffing and budget goals.

Topics: Planning HR Budgeting Salaries

Low Profit Margins – The Perils and Potential in Manufacturing

As a CFO, one of the common reasons I am brought into a manufacturing organization is to solve the mystery of “Why our sales are growing, but profits low?”  Most of the companies I work with have rigorous quoting processes that they assume will protect them financially, but in the end their actual monthly profit margins often fall short of quoted (and anticipated) profit margins.

Before diving into an examination why profit margins lag behind sales growth projections it is important to take a look at accompanying financial reports. These are categories from a simplified manufacturing income statement:

In this article we will discuss materials, direct labor and manufacturing overhead as they relate to gross profit.

Topics: Analysis Budgeting Manufacturing Profit Margin

Developing Appropriate Salary Raise Levels for Your Business

A CFO is responsible for budgeting and accurate cash flow projections. While not necessarily an HR expert, the matter of salaries and raises is an area that a CFO must navigate in collaboration with the company’s HR team. We are sharing our thoughts on this area from a CFO’s perspective.

Topics: Economic Trends HR Budgeting