In my newsletters, I typically write relevant stories of actual events that have happened to me. Stories that give lessons that my clients can use. Stories about what has happened on audits, and with working with my clients to solve their financial problems, dealings with banks, regulators, botched accounting systems...And I get positive feedback from scores of people. They love the stories.
This letter is a bit different but tells a story too. I think it very important to periodically explain and remind my contacts how I work with my clients. Below is just part of the story of:
In the beginning:
With the owner and relevant staff, I conduct a free, no obligation review of the company’s financial information and systems. I attempt to learn what are the problems and potential ways to solve them. I prepare benchmarks against industry relevant financial averages. And I create a confidential report of the findings. Then:
I meet with the owner to discuss the results of the “Discovery Analysis” TM. We review the key findings. Most of the time the owner is well aware of what I identify, sometimes not. We then discuss the areas in which I might be of assistance, the time line, and we agree on proposed costs. Often times, this report, the “Strategy Gameplan” TM, is all that the owner needs right then. Most of the time though, after we have agreed on the scope, timing and cost of the anticipated work for the near term, we shake hands (because there is no signed contract) and then comes:
The “Strategy Implementation” TM phase of the work. Here I work on the agreed tasks. I work with company staff (I have none of my own) in order to keep the costs down and get the work done as quickly and efficiently as possible. This ”Strategy Implementation” TM phase can last as little as a few weeks, to more typically a few months. As one of my clients said: “You clean things up”. There are generally tangible results: refinancing complete, cash flow improved, financial reporting sped up and more accurate, but most importantly there is relief to the owner. That is when:
I review the results with the owner. We discuss the financial impact of the work so far. But more important, we review the impact on the owner, the staff, and the company generally from the improved cash flow, financial position, better reporting. But, the results are not all tangible. Owners talk about “relief from the pressure”, more time to focus on growing the business, more time to strategize, better relaxed. All see different positives, but “relief” is the common theme.
Following these initial phases of work with the owners, we discuss my ongoing involvement. I tend to serve on a long term basis with my clients as their long-term trusted business advisor. As one of my clients said: “I want you involved. Now that it is fixed, we need to keep it that way.” And we move on together to grow the Company with financial and goal clarity and much relief.