You have already started your company now how do you grow it?

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You have already started your company now how do you grow it?

– Because at the heart most companies that are really successful have to have that core element that has some level of innovation or difference or connectedness or opens up a market that’s new and in order to do that you’re going to have to kind of stay focused and bench press a lot of weight. And the only way that most people can do that is to have the heart in it. – So John, Emmett, I am so excited to have you guys on the show. Today we’re gonna be talking about one of the things that a lot of CEOs and visionaries don’t think about but it’s really important is finance. Both of you guys have big finance backgrounds. So I want to start off, let me get some background on you guys, like how’d you get into all this? Where’d you get started? How’d you meet? – Emmett and I actually met the first day of college up at Dartmouth and we’ve known each other for longer than we’ve known our wives. – Long time friends. – Long time. But I got out of school and went into a banking career first in New York, then here in Atlanta. The large banks and then started a bank called Atlantic Capital with a couple of other guys and then Emmett spent his 30-plus year career as a CPA and a CFO, and so together when we formed Practical Growth Advisors, focused on serving and working with privately held companies, we find that we bring kind of complementary strengths to the table in serving the companies that we work with and the business owners. – Yeah, it’s great ’cause you’re getting from both sides. So let’s talk about when people are starting their companies and stuff like that, everybody talks about being set up for success financially, so what are some of the things that you would advise somebody that is looking to start their company, and then also they’re trying, they’re like at that million-dollar mark and they wanna hit that edge, what are some of the key tips, the advice that you would give somebody? – Well, Emmett started up, in addition to being on the finance team in public companies and private equity-owned companies he also started three companies. So I’ll kick that one to you. – I think the biggest mistake people make is they wait too late to take accounting seriously. And you find that if you haven’t done a good job of keeping score you can’t prove to people how great your company is. And so you do have to have a decent set of books, and as you’re passing that million, two million mark you’ve gotta kinda have some internal resources. You can outsource for a while, but ultimately getting a good set of books is critical for the scorekeeping. Second, as you start passing the 10 million-plus mark, you really have to begin looking much further ahead. You can’t be looking back at August when it’s September. You really need to be looking forward to February, March, April, May. So beginning to develop some forecasting tools, even if they’re just rough in a spreadsheet, you’ve gotta start doing that as a management team to start avoiding surprises. – Right, so would you say that what’s the most important, to bring somebody like you guys on, where, is it like right in the beginning, startup phase to bring ’em on to get all their finances in order before they start going, or kinda working through that themselves? I know a lot of entrepreneurs are like I’m just gonna jump in and do it. What would you recommend? – You can’t start a company by thinking about it. You gotta get out there and do it and sell something, and so once you started generating revenue and figuring out who a good customer is and who a bad customer is and who a mediocre, that’s when you need to start, say, I’m gonna focus on this type of customer. Once that starts to grow you need to keep score. Once you can see how you could double, triple, quintuple your business, that’s when you need to start forecasting. We just find that most of our companies are kinda in that 10 million to 250 million revenue range. They don’t need a CFO. They don’t need a CFO but maybe 10 to 20 days a year. And so you just gotta focus on that nuts and bolts, blocking and tackling, put ’em on a troller or a bookkeeper. And then lean on outside resources like us or some of the interim CFO groups to help you begin to develop the more forward-looking financial pieces.

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