Time to Watch Your Business Garden Grow

In Part 1, we shared a few ways to begin looking at your two-to-four-year growth plan. Here are more tips about how to use this exploratory time wisely so you can make the strategic decisions that will strengthen your pathway to profitability:

Stay current on industry/regional trends

If your business view is only inward, it can be easy to miss what’s happening around you. Earmark time, yours or one of your staff, to research your local area to see what companies are coming in or leaving. What other economic factors are impacting the town and county where you do business? Identify whether there is an opportunity to strengthen business connections or make new ones.

Industry conferences are a great way to educate yourself on up-and-coming trends or those that are phasing out. Networking with your peers provides insight into how comparable companies approach business opportunities and challenges. Vendor shows at conferences make it easy to see what new technology or services are available that could further your company’s growth.

Update your technology

Business technology is always changing; is there something to implement to enhance your new, improved operation? It might be a software upgrade, a file sharing solution, mobile app, or a new computing infrastructure and better managed services.

Reduce variable expenses

Use your operating budget and accurate income & expense reports wisely and compare your budget to actual financials. Always make sure you’re evaluating your stated KPIs to stay on track or chart a new course towards sustained profitability.

Look at variable expenses that can be tightened up to boost profitability further as your income increases. These include:

  • Business insurance – shop the market for lower premiums (for same or better coverage)
  • Payroll processing – a smaller, boutique provider may give you better service at a lower cost
  • Utilities – are you paying too much for office phones and your calling plan, internet connectivity, and gas/electric bills? If you have remote workers, are you proactively managing your wireless costs?
  • Shipping, trucking/delivery – new service providers may have entered the market, so be sure to assess new options
  • Volume discounts –find out how and when your growing company qualifies for bulk pricing to reduce your cost of goods

Now’s the time to watch your garden grow healthily! If you need some guidance along the path to profitability, CFO Your Way can help. Book a complimentary discovery call with Cheryl Mucha at www.ConsultWithCheryl.com to discuss your needs.

Time to Watch Your Business Garden Grow – Part 1

Congratulations! You’ve reached mid-year and things at your company are humming along. The planning is done, your financials are in order, and your processes are in place. humming along. The planning is done, your financials are in order, and your processes are in place. 


Now is the time to start planning further ahead and come up with your path to profitability over the next two to four years. Although that seems far off, you’ll be there sooner than you think. So how do you guide your business to the point you’d like to reach on the horizon? 

Create a projection

Start projecting where you want the business to be in two years—from the people and place to the profit margin. Creating an organization chart helps you plan for that flourishing future.

  • Visualize what your organization will look like and the roles you’ll need to add or fill: upper management, mid-level management, departmental employees, and support staff. 
    • At what revenue or customer level will you need to add employees?
  • Also plan for the space you’ll need to accommodate future growth, be it a larger office, a relocation, or new construction. 
  • Don’t forget business technology upgrades and expansions that you’ll need as your business and staff grow.

Evaluate your mix

Review your vendor and customer lists. A too-heavy concentration among a small number—or even one—will negatively affect your business if that vendor or customer leaves.

  • Customers: If one customer represents the majority of your income, imagine how catastrophic it will be to your business if that customer goes elsewhere. A broader customer mix safeguards your company’s long-term financial health. 
  • Vendors: If you buy raw materials or goods, what will happen if a key vendor goes out of business, moves to a different region, or can’t supply the products you need? Diversifying your vendor list reduces risk.

Check out the competition

”Keeping up with the Joneses” (your competition) is a good thing for business and eclipsing the Joneses is even better. Look at what your competitors are doing to keep up with industry or market trends. Are you in step with them? And, what can you do to stay a step or two ahead? 

Think about ways you could differentiate your business or add services that offer more to your customers—and draw in new ones. Today, many service providers are offering services beyond their core business; for example, payroll companies now offer workplace retirement plans and insurance policies. 

If product or service expansion isn’t possible, you can beat the competition with superlative service that adds value and generates strong customer loyalty—another way to remain highly competitive.  

>Bonus tip: check that your own service providers are keeping up with their industries and staying competitive in their fields: Not doing so could cost you money needlessly.

In Part 2, we’ll give you some tips on using this exploratory time wisely, both inside and outside of your company. Stay tuned!

Cheryl Mucha, CPA is Appointed Chairwoman of North Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Being strongly connected to my purpose to “Making the world a better place, one family-owned business at a time”, has brought in aligned opportunities… including my recent appointment as Chairwoman of the Board for The North Jersey Chamber of Commerce. I’m thrilled to be serving the local business community in this expanded way!  

NEWS RELEASE

Cheryl Mucha, CPA is Appointed Chairwoman of North Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Principal of CFO Your Way in Pompton Plains, a Long-time Chamber Member, Brings Business Expertise and Financial Savvy to Board Leadership

POMPTON PLAINS, NEW JERSEY, June 10, 2019 – Cheryl Mucha, CPA, president of CFO Your Way in Pompton Plains, has been appointed the chairwoman of the board of directors of the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce (NJCC). She served as vice chairman last year and stepped into the chairmanship this spring; she was also the ambassador director, heading up the team of ambassadors who welcome and acclimate new members. Mucha has been a member of the organization for 10 years. She will serve as the board chairwoman through June 2021, working with the executive board and directors-at-large.

“Cheryl brings such value to the chamber overall, not only as leader but as a business owner,” said Michelle Vernuccio, president of the North Jersey Chamber, based in Totowa. “Her longevity as a member has resulted in her building wonderful relationships with so many area business owners, which has not only brought her repeat business but has also helped us grow. Cheryl never hesitates to roll up her sleeves, step up to the plate and help in whatever aspect she sees necessary, and we all benefit.”

Mucha is no stranger to helping organizations grow. After 25 years in public and private accounting, including CFO positions in real estate investment firms, she founded CFO Your Way in 2012. The company offers outsourced CFO services to businesses who need expert bookkeeping and controller services, and she and her team guide clients toward sustainable growth and profitability. 

“As chairwoman of the board, I embrace the opportunity to bring the North Jersey Chamber to the next level, not only in the number of organizations on the member roster but in the offerings we bring to our members through events, sponsorships and other initiatives,” said Mucha. “I look forward to working with Michelle and our board of directors, who care about the community.”

Of the local businesses with whom she has forged relationships through her Chamber membership, Mucha added that, “I highly value these trustworthy partners whom I am confident will service my clients with the highest level of integrity.”

Vernuccio, who became president of the NJCC in August 2017, is charged with bringing new ideas, plans and strategies to the board, to be voted upon for implementation. She said the board has been very supportive of her ideas about how to restructure the networking and educational events, which have helped spur the organization’s rapid growth over the past two years. 

“It’s so great to have a leader like Cheryl on this team; she motivates me and all those around her, and our evolution and growth are evidence of that,” Vernuccio added. The North Jersey Chamber has grown from 490 members in August 2017 to over 700 today.

Mucha and Vernuccio have several agenda items they’ll be tackling in the near future. These include the creation of subgroups for members by industry, such as real estate, marketing and health care, which will enable more collaborative business opportunities between members; and helping local municipalities create their own chambers of commerce under the aegis of the NJCC. 

“Our vision is to help towns who don’t yet have a chamber of commerce to build a strong business organization under our established umbrella, provide more visibility for area businesses and offer more networking opportunities for our members,” explained Vernuccio, who added that the NJCC is on pace to reach its year-end goal of 800 members. “With Cheryl leading the NJCC board of directors, we are well-positioned to achieve our goals in the coming year.”

More information about the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce events, membership and sponsorship opportunities is at www.northjerseychamber.org

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About the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce

The North Jersey Chamber of Commerce (NJCC) is a community-minded, member-focused, non-profit business organization. Its mission is to foster the growth and profitability of its members through dynamic networking events, educational seminars, cost-saving programs, legislative advocacy and member-to-member collaborative opportunities. It represents area businesses from over 165 towns in 13 counties throughout northern New Jersey. The organization offers over 75 networking and marketing opportunities a year, from morning mixers to networking lunches and after-work events; business development workshops, grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremonies and networking to showcase new members, fundraising events that support local charities and governmental affairs breakfasts. Visit www.northjerseychamber.org for more information.

About Cheryl Mucha/CFO Your Way, Inc.

Cheryl Mucha, CPA, founder of CFO Your Way, Inc., is committed to “Creating Pathways to Profitability for Growing Local Businesses.” Founded in 2012, the firm provides outsourced, customized professional accounting, training, and CFO consultancy services to local and family-owned businesses. Services include bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, positioning a company for more favorable credit terms with lenders, and long-term financial planning with an eye toward sustainable profitability. Mucha is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the New Jersey Society of CPAs. More information is at www.cfoyourway.com

Your Pathways to Profitability Team Leader,

Cheryl Mucha

Meet the Team at CFO Your Way

You know the old saying, “Behind every business owner is a great team?” If you haven’t heard that one, know that at CFO Your Way, this holds true every day, for me as the business owner and for our clients, who rely on my team’s expertise and care to put their finances in order and their companies on the profitability track.

Of course, I recognize these professionals’ contributions to the work we do in our outsourced CFO practice, but I thought it was time I introduced them to my clients and colleagues. Without these folks, CFO Your Way would not have grown as we have over the past few years, and the businesses we serve would not be seeing the many positive effects on their financials and operations that are helping them thrive.

Steven Blankrot, CPA – Manager

Steve ensures that his clients’ accounting work is performed on a timely basis, and. He is the point of contact for clients when they have questions about their financial reports or need guidance about their finances to help make their businesses successful. Steve also assists Cheryl with special projects.  

“It is a pleasure to come to work every day because of the terrific people at CFO Your Way.  Cheryl has done a great job assembling a team that work hard and are fun to work with. That attitude starts at the top with Cheryl, who cares a lot about her staff. It also shows in the clients we have; they have all been very welcoming to me and are serious about their business.”  

Judi Tackett – Accounting specialist

 Judi has yet to meet a financial reporting system she doesn’t like. Her analytical expertise is put to use daily as she extracts meaningful, accurate financial data that guides clients in a range  of industries. 

 “I help them to manage their finance departments and develop processes and controls so they function at the most efficient and profitable level.  What I love about working on the CFO Your Way team is that every day is different and I get to customize what I do for each client’s best interest.”   

 

Cassandra Whetzel – Bookkeeper 

Cassandra does more than keep clients’ books, ; she is also a virtual  assistant par excellence and understands how good customer service affects every aspect of a business. Of working at CFO Your Way, she says that, “I enjoy helping small businesses take control of their finances.” Indeed she does—and she does it well! 



Vicki Avila – Bookkeeper 

Providing support is in Vicki’s DNA, given her background as a social worker. She also holds a BS in economics and is a financial analyst for a school district. Vicki assists the team remotely, handling basic bookkeeping for various clients so others can focus on direct client service.  

“My favorite things about working with CFO Your Way are how much our clients genuinely matter to all of us, and how supportive our team is of one another.”



Lucille Gabel – Bookkeeper 

Lucille has owned and managed a family-run business, so she has firsthand  understanding of the importance of maintaining accurate financial records. 

“My role as a bookkeeper at CFO Your Way is rewarding in several ways, from being on site and working with the people there, to being part of the team that supports Cheryl.”

Align and Implement Your New Processes (Part 1)

There is an old saying that states, “You can’t get there if you don’t know where you’re going.” Whether that’s on a road trip or in your business, it’s very true! So, where are you heading with your business?

With a full quarter of business and financials behind you, it’s time to look at those results to make sure your company’s bottom line is continually improving and that your business is headed in the right direction.

Review and assess financials

When reviewing your first quarter financials, first review last year’s figures to see how your business finished; this will provide a comparison base going forward. As you look these over, identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) that are basic to your business, and measure and review these month to month. Examples of common KPIs include profitability growth, sales increases, and expense reduction.

Compare year-to-date budget vs. actual and last year/this year, pull monthly and quarterly reports and assess, assess, assess! Look for trends that you can act on, especially if you are seeing certain expenses increasing.

  • Are cost of goods rising? You might consider buying in bulk, switching vendors or spreading out vendor concentration.
  • Review all your insurance policies and consider putting your account out to bid with another broker.
  • Has there been a change in energy costs? Find out if employees are turning lights off in unused rooms or during off hours, check for open windows, or call in your HVAC contractor.
  • Are overtime costs going up?  Employees may be taking advantage of your OT policy or are being paid for unauthorized overtime. It might be time to give out raises or hire additional staff to cut down on OT.

Implement the new SOP

A key part of this evaluation is to implement the new processes you’ve worked on with your team. Let your employees know about the business’s direction and goals, and how you plan to reach those goals. Make sure everyone is aware of the changes you’ve made in recent months (and why) so they can be a vital part of implementing those changes correctly in order to build your business.

As the business owner, you and your management team must hold employees to the new standard operating procedures and, if something is not working as planned, make minor changes as needed.

Our next newsletter will give you some specific points to assist you in monitoring things… and one, possibly surprising, suggestion as well. Stay tuned!

Organize Your Company’s HR and Financial Assets for Greater Profitability

Hacking the overgrowth and pruning back to just what you need (or what generates the most revenue) are the first two steps in putting your business on the path to profitability. Now that you’ve gotten a handle on your human resources and financial resources (and pruned away the liabilities), it’s time to organize those assets.

In Part 1, we discussed updating your human resource materials, click here to read it if you missed it. In Part 2 today, we’re discussing updating your financials.

Step 2: Update your financials

By now you will have evaluated your financials going into 2019, and taken steps to trim expenses and collect accounts receivable (as advised in prior posts). It’s time to organize your financial picture and plan out the rest of the year.

This process starts with creating an annual operating budget of income and expenses. This valuable road map details the business’s expenses against the revenue it generates. Armed with the information garnered from your look-back on the prior year and with desired ratios in mind, write out a realistic, achievable budget. Include everything as a line item based on what you learned about your business over the last two months—in other words, a data-based budget based on prior sales and expense areas.

Depending on the type of business, there will be certain controllable or fixed costs and variable expenses. You may also require a production budget if you make products and carry inventory. Make sure to factor in one-time expenditures you are planning in the year (new computers, furnishings, equipment).

Your budget is not one and done; update your financials on a regular basis (weekly, monthly and quarterly) to assess where you need to make adjustments in expenses if you’re not meeting revenue goals. On the flip side, if cash has started flowing into the business and the bank account is growing healthier, make sure to hold some cash in reserve for unanticipated expenses or seasonal fluctuations.

A CFO can help you get the necessary bird’s eye view of the entire business as you develop a budget that will provide an important guide each month and each quarter. As you pull your monthly financial statements, the budget also serves as adjustable road map if your goals are not being met. By working the budget throughout each facet of your business, you’re working towards generating more profits.

Step 3: Celebrate!

You are taking all the steps, methodically, to reveal your business’s potential for sustainability and for growth. Celebrate what you’re doing today and where you’re taking your business tomorrow.

Step 4: Engage an outsourced CFO to help you assess and organize your company’s financial resources, provide business guidance, and spotlight areas of your operation that will generate profits. Contact CFO Your Way at (973) 897-0650 or cheryl@cfoyourway.com to find out more.

Organize Your Company’s HR and Financial Assets for Greater Profitability

Hacking the overgrowth and pruning back to just what you need (or what generates the most revenue) are the first two steps in putting your business on the path to profitability. Now that you’ve gotten a handle on your human resources and financial resources (and pruned away the liabilities), it’s time to organize those assets.

Step 1: Update your human resource materials: With your operational procedures and corporate policies reviewed and assessed, you now know what is in line with your current business model. We recommend you document all your company’s procedures for every department or job role, in a standard operating procedures (SOP) manual. 

The SOP should be clearly written with step-by-step instructions about how to perform the routine activities that run your business. Having this on hand for your employees not only helps with training new employees but also helps maintain efficiency (no guessing about what to do or how to do it). Safety concerns for certain job functions should also be included. Once you have a new SOP manual done, it will be easy to make revisions as job functions change or your company’s needs change.

The SOP defines each particular job activity but it’s distinct from the employee handbook, which outlines employee roles, job descriptions and responsibilities. Just as you’ve done with your SOP, this is a great opportunity to revamp your employee handbook along job-specific areas. If you’ve made some staffing cuts, you’ll be thinking about which roles need to be filled now and in the foreseeable future—and exactly what those jobs will entail. The employee handbook should include:

  • The roles your company needs to operate effectively, from management to the mail room
  • The ideal job qualifications for those roles
  • Each job’s description of what is expected from them as a term of employment
  • How that employee fits into your company’s overall structure
  • The responsibilities or key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be measured for performance on a job review
  • Guidelines about compensation and benefits (such as insurance, vacation, comp time)
  • Human resource policies that protect your company as well as your employees. These include grounds for termination, workplace behavior and diversity issues, dress code, personal or medical leave, use of company products, and social media use.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll discuss updating your financials.

The Path to Profitability: Cut What Your Business Doesn’t Need to Help it Grow

Last month we looked at the steps business owners should take to start positioning their business for profitability in 2019: evaluating financials, policies and procedures, and employees against your long-term and short-term objectives. Now that you’ve completed that analysis, it’s time to prune what you don’t need to bring in more of what will generate growth (and profits).

Streamline company procedures. Are inefficiencies in your operation hurting your bottom line? In the end, efficiency leads to greater profitability, so look for excess steps in your procedures that you can cut. Keep in mind what your employees reported to you when you checked in with them about their responsibilities and their views of the business. Assess and rework your processes to improve workflow, create a more productive environment, and reduce employee frustration (and improve their job satisfaction). You may want to keep a record of the changes you’re making and revisit them quarterly to analyze results and adjust as needed.

Align those misaligned financial areas. Based on your ratio analysis and assessment of your company budget vs. actual figures, now is the time to act if you are not reaching your revenue goals. Cut back on excess spending (anything that’s not truly necessary or that is not serving the business in a positive way). It’s also time to determine why your revenue goals are not being met and consider allocating some resources to business-building endeavors such as marketing at a trade show, advertising campaigns, or hiring a strong sales person.

Get the cash flowing. If cash flow is not where it needs to be, acton the outstanding accounts receivable right away and see what you can collect. Additionally, talk with your customers and vendors regarding payment terms to create a better cash flow balance; and, consider going for a business line of credit at your bank to help with seasonal fluctuations. If the cash is there, make sure it is a sustainable cycle, especially if you are ready to expand your operation. Being in a strong cash position will also help you get favorable terms if you do decide to go to a lender for any reason.

Write new policies and procedures. Remember those conversations you had with your employees? They probably had some great feedback as the people who deal with daily operations. Cutaway any outdated policies and update procedures that are relevant to the company you have today and the company that will be in the future.Just as the marketplace changes (and your company direction with it), remember that your employee handbook is not immutable and needs to change with the times as well.

Now is the time to build on the foundation you have today, for the company you want in the future (and the successful business owner you want to be). Working with an outsourced CFO can help get your financials in order, cut away what isn’t needed to improve your operation,and get your business on the path to profitability. Contact CFO Your Way at (973) 897-0650 or cheryl@cfoyourway.comto get started.

Put Your Business on the Path to Profitability in 2019 – Start by Hacking the Overgrowth

 

With the start of the new year, it’s the perfect time for business owners to take steps towards profitability. Is your company on the right path to profits?

The first step is to consider your business objectives for the near term and long term. Maybe you want to add staff, lease more space, purchase equipment, or give yourself a raise. Is your current operation aligned with those objectives? What isn’t working anymore and what can you trim away to improve profitability?

 

Here are some additional steps to take to gain actionable insights into your business:

  • Evaluate your financials – As you review your financial statements, assess your ratios. Determine whether you are spending more than you’re making, and therefore, curtailing potential net profit.
    • Budget vs. actual income/expense – Budgets are excellent road maps for financial planning. Are you hitting your budgeted income? Are you spending more than anticipated? Take this time to assess if your income and expenses match up with your annual budget, and determine the steps you can take now to address any issues.
    • Cash flow – Is your business operating with sustainable cash flow to take you through seasonal fluctuations? Do you have the cash you need to add employees, expand your space, or other activities that support growth?
    • Revenue centers vs. cost centers – Which part of your operation is really making the money and what’s costing you too much? What should you cut away to streamline and boost profitability?
  • Review your policies & procedures – Are your current policies and procedures in line with the direction your business has taken or in tune with plans for growth? What you implemented during your startup phase might not be aligned with your organization’s new path. Cut out what no longer serves your company and update as needed.
  • Interview your employees – Chances are, as your business has evolved, so have your staffing needs and the roles your employees are filling. Talk to them to see how they feel about their roles and responsibilities, and make sure their own professional goals are aligned with your objectives as the business owner. Is everyone engaged with your company and customers? Are they all on board with where you want to take the business? If not, it’s time to make some cuts.

Working with an outsourced CFO like CFO Your Way can help you gain clarity around your financials, set smart business goals, identify where to trim the fat in your company and put your business on the path to profitability in 2019. If you’re ready to get those first steps—or need guidance if you’re further down the path—contact Cheryl Mucha, CPA, at cheryl@cfoyourway.com.

 

 

Tis the Season-Twelve things that should be on your business list

During World War II, pilots coined the phrase “flying blind” when they couldn’t see the horizon and needed to rely on the plane’s flying instruments. Pilots must be able to confidently rely on these devices to guide them.

What tools are you relying on to guide you through your business decisions? Are you flying blind, or do you have the right instruments in place to show you the way?

We are already half way through December and the winter holiday season is here. The list you should be “checking twice” right now should include the following:

  • Year-to-date cash receipts and disbursements summarized into accounting software
  • Bank and credit card accounts reconciled to date
  • Profit & Loss statement and Balance Sheet account activity properly classified
  • Retained Earnings matched to prior year ending balance
  • YTD payroll reconciled to payroll reporting
  • Budget vs. Actual report printed and analyzed
  • Profit & Loss statement and Balance Sheet printed and analyzed year over year
  • Budget and Cash Flow projection prepared
  • Estimated taxes paid
  • Tax accountant called regarding year-end tax preparation
  • Gather information to complete 1099’s
  • Contact CFO Your Way to get you through this list

If these items are not on your business “To Do” list, you should ask yourself “Why not?”. Keeping your accounting records up to date and in good shape is equivalent to a pilot keeping his/her plane in top condition. When the very instruments we rely on are unreliable, we are “flying blind”.

Don’t let running your business stress you out and take away from being thankful this season.

At CFO Your Way, we not only want you to have the time to be grateful for your business and your family, but also be financially prepared to give thanks and provide your loved ones with the gifts of love and gratitude you desire. We offer bookkeeping, financial reporting, and financial management services customized to meet your needs. So, contact us. We will help and guide you thru the list.

Assistance is just a phone call away. Schedule a Complimentary Consultation to discuss your needs. 

Tis the season…not to stress, not to procrastinate, but to be grateful and enjoy our loved ones.