Thoughts From a CFO: A Radical Approach to Business Finance

When Your Approach to Business Finance Is a Bit Radical

A conversation with a client the other day really made me realize that my approach to financial transparency is radical. And that some people, especially large organizations, think my approach would be considered impolite or a kick in the teeth. However, I have worked with small businesses and startups for much of my recent career. If you aren’t radical—and by radical I simply mean transparent and honest—companies go out of business and people lose their jobs.

In my worldview, small businesses and startups can’t afford the luxury of ignoring the facts. If your business model isn’t profitable I’m not going to present you with an alternate reality, you need to know the facts whether you want to hear them or not. My goal is to present you with a current status update and then we can build a plan for how to change that business model so it will work. If you don’t know the facts today, like that your business model isn’t profitable or essentially doesn’t work, then how can you change it so it can work?

Honest Financial Feedback for Startups and Small Businesses

This is where I am considered radical. I believe that honest reflection on how things are going and how we (your close advisors better view themselves as part of your team) are performing against the plan is the most important thing for startups and small businesses. But not because the plan is the only thing that anybody should ever follow and not because your budget is the end all be all of where your business should be. Spoiler alert: it isn’t. In fact in the startup and small business world it is always a “best guess” at best. In knowing that we aren’t hitting targets or doing what we said we were going to do, we know how to react and how to act.

This is how you know when it’s time to pivot.

Think it’s time to pivot your business model? Or don’t know? Talk to a CFO today and get some radical feedback.