Planning for Profitability in the New Year

As a business owner, sometimes it’s tough to know where to turn your attention. Many aspects of your business demand it – people, products, processes and profit. As we prepare to enter a new year, what should you focus on first? The element that keeps it all going – PROFIT!

Often, business owners don’t have a clear understanding of their financials, yet as the primary decision maker for the company, financial statements can help you understand how to become more profitable. Here are some top reasons to pay attention to your financial statements:

  • Your financial status affects every aspect of your business – avoid unwanted surprises!
  • You need to know whether you are on track for tax time and make adjustments along the way as needed.
  • Accurate cash flow forecasting and management is dependent on understanding your financials. 
  • Keen interpretation of your financials is the foundation for the creation of a profit plan.
  • Treasures may be hidden in those documents that would enable you to borrow less, invest in new equipment, or hire additional staff.

It should go without saying that accurate books are essential to giving you the data you need to keep tabs on the numbers.  The Minerva Group can help by cleaning up your books and showing you how to navigate your way through your financial documents.

We are experts at helping business owners get a handle on their financial statements so that they can build a profit plan that gets results. We do this by performing an in-depth financial assessment of the health of your company, using your past financials as our guide or creating financial statements based on your books.

We also help in a variety of roles – from keeping your books clean and up to date and preparing and filing your taxes, to developing and implementing a detailed, strategic blueprint for growth. We take it a step further by acting as your accountability partner, helping you achieve your profit plan for the company.   

We’d welcome the opportunity to connect with you and help you get a handle on your financials. Contact us today to learn more.

It’s Q4! Do You Know Your Way Around Your Financial Statements?

A new year is just around the corner. Be prepared by assessing your company’s financial health and readiness for 2020.

Your financial statements are the indicators of your business’ financial health and enable you to track your progress, identify deficiencies, and make adjustments if needed. But business owners often don’t know exactly what to look for, or where. Take time now to learn your way around the three primary financial reports that provide you with the information you need to stay on top of your company’s financial status. 

Balance sheet

The balance sheet gives you a snapshot of your financial position at a specific moment in time. Assets equal liabilities and equity, so the balance sheet is a good test of whether your numbers actually add up. The balance sheet is also a tool for calculating net worth – subtract total liabilities from total assets. And it allows you to assess two key performance indicators.

  • Debt – By dividing total debt by total assets, you’ll see what percentage of your assets is funded by debt. Then you can evaluate whether you need to make changes. How effective are you at managing your debt? Do you owe more than you can comfortably repay? Should you modify your spending practices, find ways to cut costs, or develop some debt reduction strategies?
  • Liquidity – Your assets may be in many forms – from cash on hand to real estate holdings. Review your assets – which should all be listed on your balance sheet – and determine how quickly those assets can be bought or sold. You may have plentiful assets but cash may be scarce. It may be necessary to consider a different mix of assets to ensure that you have sufficient liquid assets to cover your short-term cash requirements.

Income Statement

The income statement illustrates revenue versus expenses during a specified time period. With this information you can calculate critical numbers like gross profit, operating income, and net income. Net income is, of course, a major indicator of your business’s profitability and financial health. It is the amount your company is left with after paying off expenses.

The income statement can help you analyze your bottom line. Compare your earnings to sales forecasts and your expenditures to budget.   

Cash flow statement

The cash flow statement illustrates how your business moves money around – where cash is coming in and where it’s being spent. Tracking operating, financing, and investing activities, it’s a great tool to help you manage finances and make informed business decisions.

Positive cash flow equates to having funds to reinvest in your business and is an indicator of good financial health. If you have cash remaining after buying, maintaining, or improving fixed assets, you have what is referred to as “free cash flow” which signals that you’re positioned well for growth.  

What’s Next?

Once you’re able to navigate and interpret your primary financial statements, you’re equipped to assess where you stand this year compared to your projections from last year, and to prepare next year’s budget. If your numbers aren’t adding up as expected, determine whether you need to readjust your spending. If your financial status is positive, consider where and how you can best reinvest in your business.

If you’ve had difficulty assessing the numbers you need or your financial statements are not up to date, consider reorganizing your accounting processes, upgrading your financial software, and getting a professional assessment of your financial situation. Contact The Minerva Group for a review of your financial statements and procedures. We’re equipped to not only help you clean up your books and streamline your accounting methods, but to position your company for growth and drive your business forward in 2020.    

Meet Q4 Head-On With Clean Financials

We’re catapulting through 2019 and Q4 will be here in a flash! Maybe the time for spring cleaning your financials blew right by you. Don’t wait until the frantic pace of the holiday season is upon us to prepare your financials for 2020. Now is the time to be sure your books are clean and in order.

Start by identifying any issues that exist with your financial records, and more importantly, your strategies and practices. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Were your high-level financial documents accurate and in balance when you filed taxes for 2018? If not, are they now?
  • What is your current cash flow and do you have a cash-flow forecast?
  • Do you have both short and long-term financial goals and a strategy to reach them?
  • Are your financial goals aligned with your company’s vision and mission?
  • Do you have Key Performance Indicators in place? If so, are they being monitored regularly and acted upon?

If your financials are lacking in any respect, many areas of your business can be negatively impacted including profitability, growth and even how you are perceived by clients and prospects. Now is the time to invest in cleaning up those documents and revising any practices and processes that may have been preventing you from keeping them that way. After all, they provide not only history but direction for your company. They should always be up to date and accurate. Once your financials are in order, you’ll be able to pinpoint trends, resolve issues, and create new processes for success.

Greet 2020 with Clean Financials – Simple Steps You Can Take

  • Create a list of known issues with your financials.
  • Collect on outstanding accounts receivable and deliver on outstanding accounts payable.
  • Ensure that all bank and credit card statements are reconciled.
  • Close out old or inactive accounts for customers, vendors.
  • Double check that payroll records are up to date and ready for W-2s and 1099s.
  • Check whether you have documents on hand that you’ll need for filing taxes.  
  • Verify that stated inventory and fixed asset levels on the books reflect what you actually have.
  • Clean up your balance sheet. Inaccuracies there will throw off your other financial documents like your income statement and cash flow statement. 
  • Generate a profit-and-loss statement and review it (both month-by-month and individual transactions) for mis-categorizations, missing or duplicate entries, fluctuations that are not accounted for, and any other irregularities. Correct entries as needed.
  • Assess your accounting practices and processes. Do you need to change how things are done? Do you need an additional employee or help from a CPA or accounting firm?

If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t fret. You’re tackling this project at the right time, and you don’t have to do it alone! The Minerva group is a full-charge accounting firm that supports businesses on every level — from accounting services and tax preparation to CFO consulting and professional advisory services. Our approach is distinctive in that it partners with business owners to build their financial framework to support business growth.

In addition to bookkeeping and accounting services, we help businesses see their financials from a big-picture, growth-oriented view. This process begins with The Minerva 360 BlueprintTMquiz. Take it today at www.360blueprint.info and get your personalized assessment, recommendations, and the opportunity for a complimentary follow-up call to discuss your results in even greater detail.

To learn more about how we can help get your financials in order for 2019 and on track for a successful 2020, visit http://www.theminervagrp.com/ or contact us.

Taking an Altitudinal Approach to Growing Your Business

Like it or not, owning a business means being accountable for the overall performance of the company. Owners wear many hats, including that of strategist, financial manager, and leader, inspiring the unique culture that drives results. No pressure!

A successful business owner keeps him or herself “out of the weeds”, thinks more strategically, and takes specific steps to lead the company to the next level. While that may sound easier said than done, here are a few things successful leaders do regularly: 

  • They set aside strategic planning time.

This time is critical for leaders as it gives you space to look at your business from an altitudinal perspective. This is where you can begin to align strategic and tactical plans for growth.

  • They pinpoint and address core financial issues and opportunities.

How long has it been since you’ve been able to dive into your financials and really understand the numbers and what they mean? For many business owners, not having clean, up-to-date books or financial data they can rely on is the primary reason for not diving into this aspect of their business. Once your financials are in order, you’ll be able to pinpoint trends, solve issues, and create new processes for success.

  • They create and maintain a growth plan their team can rally around.

By creating and communicating the ways you envision growth for your company, you can get your team on board so everyone is working towards the same goals by contributing in their own unique way.

As a full-charge accounting firm, we understand when your books aren’t in order, your taxes haven’t been filed, or you can’t meet payroll, there is little time to think about anything else, including strategy. The key is to find a way to get “out of the weeds” and create some space for yourself not just to maintain – but to thrive in your business.   

Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. While we can help you with the accounting details, we take it a step further. Developed to support a growing company’s growth efforts, The Minerva 360 Blueprint™ provides business owners with the specific tools needed to improve profitability. It’s designed for companies with revenues of $500K to $10M, and starts with the Minerva 360 Blueprint Quiz. From there, we help business owners develop a clear vision for where and how the company can grow, and identify areas that may need attention. Our 360-degree approach includes providing you with:

  • Comprehensive financial statements
  • A written analysis of gaps and opportunities in financials
  • A written summary of key items to be addressed
  • Initial tools enabling the owner to take immediate action  
  • Assessments to help the owner become a more effective leader

Start today by taking the Minerva 360 Blueprint Quiz and begin uncovering factors that are at the heart of your business success and potential for growth. To learn more about us, visit http://www.theminervagrp.com/.

The Minerva group is a full-charge accounting firm that supports businesses on every level — from accounting services and tax preparation to CFO consulting and professional advisory services. Our approach is distinctive in that it partners with business owners to build their financial framework to support business growth. Their 360-degree approach is a unique, holistic formula for success, incorporating both the financial and human aspects of the business.

Leadership Tips for Today’s Small Business Owners

There is no shortage of advice on leadership. But the perception of an effective leader has evolved substantially in recent years, as has the advice. No longer is a great leader portrayed as the detached, authoritarian, ruler at the helm. As we’ve realized that business really is about relationships – both inside and outside our businesses – characteristics now ascribed to great leaders include empathy, transparency, emotionally intelligent, visionary, inspirational, mindful, humble, even compassionate.  

Simon Sinek’s TED talk, Start With Why, addressed this kinder, gentler – yet somehow stronger – leader. He’d examined the practices of leaders who’d achieved legendary success and concluded that, driven by values and convictions, these leaders each knew clearly WHY they were doing the work they did and were able to inspire others to understand and embrace that “why.”

This enlightened perception of engaged (and engaging) leaders is widely embraced. It flows from the top down and has a direct impact on a company’s financials. We’ve seen it time and again when working with business owners, and have compiled some of the best tips for being an effective leader in today’s business world.

Lay the Foundation

  • Know your “Why!” – Be clear on what your business is going to do and how.
  • Have a vision – it provides direction for your business and inspires both employees and customers; people buy into your inspirational vision and your values as much or more than your product. 
  • Cultivate a company culture based on your vision and core values.

Build a Great Team

  • Hire people who are a fit for the job, the team and your company culture.
  • Communicate proactively and effectively, which includes listening to your people. Be clear about your expectations and give honest, productive feedback.
  • Lead by example. Inspire your team by modeling the behavior you wish to see in them. 
  • Delegate! Leaders don’t limit themselves by hanging onto the wrong tasks.  
  • Be transparent. When mistakes are made, use them as a learning experience, which will encourage employees to acknowledge them but also removes the fear of failure.

Keep Growing

  • Take time for reflection and introspection. Being self-aware enables learning more about you and your motivation, and improves business and personal relationships.
  • Avoid the temptation to build silos as your company grows – it may cause your people to lose connection with the big picture and their colleagues.
  • Learn to be a better leader through reading, leadership forums, networking with and being challenged by other CEOs, or hiring a business coach.

Even with the evolution of its definition, the nuts and bolts of successful leadership are no less critical. You still need an astute business strategy, a plan for growth, and solid financials. That’s where The Minerva Group comes in.

We start by ensuring that you have clean, current financials, work with you to align your financial goals and business strategy, help you develop an achievable plan for growth, and even offer coaching services to help you stay on track. Start by taking our complimentary 360 Blueprint Quiz to get clear about where you are today. Then we partner with you to help you plan action steps to get to where you want to be, building a solid financial framework for success so you can do what you do best – lead and grow your company.  Take the 360 Blueprint Quiz today or contact us to get the conversation started.    

Great leadership has been summed up by Zig Ziglar – “You’ll get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Tap Into Your Leadership Energy to Supercharge Your Business Growth

Is it me?

This is the last question we want to ask ourselves when our business growth is stagnating. After all, you started your company with your vision and your dream. You nurtured it and brought it into existence against all odds, so why isn’t it growing like you know it has the potential to? 

Groundbreaking research into an individual’s core energy may help uncover a key to your business’ financial success as well as powerful instruction to determine your life potential. 

If your business isn’t growing the way you imagined or you can’t pinpoint why operations aren’t running smoothly, the answer may lie in your leadership energy. This is the energy you bring to your personal interactions and decision making. When a leader is able to harness and optimize their leadership energy they can motivate investors and inspire peak performance from their people.

The Energy Leadership IndexTM (ELI) assessment measures a person’s core energy makeup under both ideal and stressful circumstances.  Individuals rate themselves on beliefs, self-perceptions, emotional reaction tendencies, and behavior patterns to determine the “E-Factor” of a person’s energetic profile. By understanding your individual “energy/action” composition, you can purposefully shift your perspective to a more optimistic stance and also navigate yourself and your company to higher performance. 

Certified ELI facilitator, Lisa Isom of The Minerva Group, uses this tool in combination with their own Minerva 360 Blueprint™ to guide business leaders towards understanding and using their energy productively to accelerate growth. Lisa is also hoping to bring this topic to Denver business leaders at Denver Startup Week, September 16-20. Vote for her Founder Track program at https://www.denverstartupweek.org/panel-picker/5477-is-it-me-is-your-leadership-energy-plaguing-business-growth.

How to Use the Results from Your ELI

Armed with your own “energy/action” composition, leaders can understand how their own energy integrates into their experiences in seven aspects of consciousness:

  1. Apathy
  2. Anger
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Compassion
  5. Peace
  6. Joy
  7. Absolute Passion

Throughout the day, as you experience and respond to circumstances and events that transpire, your core energy shifts among these seven levels.  Becoming more aware of the energetic consequences of your thoughts, emotions, and actions, you learn to control your expression of energy in response to stressors.  This allows you to wield more influence over the course of your business and positively affect your ability to achieve your goals.

Leaders can utilize their unique energy/action makeup and harness this core energy to:

  • Improve workplace relationships
  • Increase and improve communication
  • Intensify teamwork
  • Raise productivity rises, and
  • Grow profits!

What Leaders Do Next

If you’re interested in taking your leadership skills to the next level and accelerate the growth of your company, it’s easy to get started. Take the Minerva 360 Blueprint Quiz at 360blueprint.info.

You’ll receive a personalized assessment, recommendations, and the opportunity for a complimentary follow-up phone call to dive into your results in even greater detail. To learn more visit The Minerva 360 Blueprint page or contact us.

Includes excerpts from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching paper by Lynn Waldorf, PhD, CPC

A 360-Degree Approach to Financial Spring Cleaning

Tax season is behind us! What was your experience? Did you have everything you needed at your fingertips or were you scrambling to pull documents and records together?

The process of filing your taxes likely brought to light issues that exist with your financial records, and more importantly, your strategies and practices. Now is a great time to invest in some financial spring cleaning. Start by asking yourself the following:

  • Were your high-level financial documents accurate and in balance for 2018?
  • What is your current state of cash flow and do you have a cash-flow forecast?
  • Do you have both short and long-term financial goals and a strategy to reach them?
  • Are your financial goals aligned with your company’s vision and mission?
  • Do you have Key Performance Indicators in place? If so, are they being monitored regularly and acted upon?

If your financials are lacking in any respect, many areas of your business can be negatively impacted including profitability and growth. Perhaps you need to do a 180 where your financials are concerned. If so, look at it from a 360-degree perspective.  

The Minerva 360 BlueprintTMwas created with the business owner’s comprehensive success as its objective. It’s all about keeping your business momentum going…and growing! It begins with a “discovery process” during which your company’s most urgent needs, as they relate to your overall financial picture, are identified. We help the owner gain a comprehensive understanding of their financial position, develop a clear vision for where and how the company can grow, and provide specific tools for addressing various financial elements.

We can take it a step farther by helping business owners understand how their leadership style affects what is working and not working in the business. We do this through Minerva’s Energy Leadership Index (ELI) which helps you tap into your goals and motivations, and then provides you with customized tools to guide you in your unique decision-making processes. We then deliver customized financial and leadership strategies and methods that are essential for taking your company to the next level. Our support continues in a variety of roles – from keeping your books clean and up to date, to developing and implementing a detailed “blueprint” for growth and acting as an accountability partner to help you achieve your vision.   

It’s easy to get started. Take the Minerva 360 BlueprintTM Quiz at www.360blueprint.info. You’ll receive a personalized assessment, recommendations, and the opportunity for a complimentary follow-up phone call to dive into your results in even greater detail. To learn more, visit http://www.theminervagrp.com/ or contact us.

Clean up Your Financials and Your Image

You likely started your business based on something you’re passionate about, something at which you excel, or both. But as all business owners know, there’s much more to a successful business than passion and talent. Financials are, of course, a major component. Another is how you and your business are perceived by clients and prospects.

Have you ever thought about how your financial practices may affect your credibility?

Owners of small businesses are often guilty of trying to do too much on their own. This may be an effort to keep costs down, or perhaps unrealistic expectations of being able to keep all the balls in the air with not enough arms to juggle them.

That was the situation when a small business owner hired The Minerva Group to handle his company’s accounting and help with management aspects of the business. The owner had developed a successful business that required significant travel. Clients typically reimbursed some of his travel expenses but he’d been unable to keep up with billing them for those expenses and was not even paying himself. It’s understandable – he didn’t start the business so that he could do the accounting. But with each passing month, his credibility suffered as disorder within the business became apparent to clients – some of whom began to lose confidence in the company.

This business owner knew the situation had to change and The Minerva Group helped him turn things around.

Financials were brought up to date and cash flow issues were addressed. Appropriate insurance was obtained for the business. Employee records were standardized. And the hefty sum of two years’ worth of reimbursable expenses was recovered entirely! Invoicing for these expenses is now done on a regular basis.

With this financial turn-around, the business took on a new image. Timely invoicing created not only better business practices but also the perception of greater professionalism. Our position as an objective buffer between the client and business owner served to turn the focus to the unique services he offers and portray him as the expert he is, rather than a jack-of-all-trades.

The bolstered image of professionalism not only increased the credibility of this business in the eyes of his multi-million dollar clients but created the impression of a larger company. And the changes in his business have freed up this savvy entrepreneur to invest his time and energy where it belongs – in pursuing his passions and talents and running his company.

If your financial records are deteriorating, your credibility may be suffering, too. Contact us to discuss cleaning up your financials, and perhaps your image as well!