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Love Your Business, but Stumped by Financials? You’re Not Alone

October 18, 2019 | Entrepreneurship
Love Your Business, but Stumped by Financials? You’re Not Alone
Karina Sanchez and Zach Weisman, owners of Waterhorse Charters, greatly benefitted from CDC's Business Advising Services (BAS) headed up by Chuck Sinks

When married entrepreneurs Karina Sanchez and Zachary Weisman received a loan to take over Waterhorse Charters, it pleased them to see they would gain access to business and financial coaching.

Little did they know, Chuck Sinks of CDC Small Business Finance would become an ardent supporter of their diving company. Not only did he attend Waterhorse’s grand opening, he happily sports the business’ promotional shirt and cap.

“Chuck has been a cheerleader (for) our business,” Karina said.

The couple shares a passion for going out on the water with a boatful of eager scuba divers. They soon realized though, that they must be able to balance the books and track assets, revenues and expenses too. Learning this best practice will allow them to keep their dream afloat for the long term.

That’s where Chuck and his Business Advising Services team come in, so they can guide CDC Small Business Finance’s clients.

Many of those clients have a strong background in their chosen field, but find themselves less schooled in the finer points of running a business. Chuck has seen the power that acquiring financial skills offers entrepreneurs and how that knowledge transforms the chances of turning a business into a success.

DOING FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS?

Yet the first steps aren’t easy. It may take time to build financial muscles – and use them to understand what the numbers are telling you.

For instance, Chuck recommends that prospective business owners commit to producing a “24-month forward-looking cash flow projection.” 

Love Your Business, but Stumped by Financials? You’re Not Alone

Karina Sanchez of Waterhorse Charters.

Whatever your dream, you probably haven’t expressed it in quite those terms.

That knowledge is a must, however, if as a business owner you are to have an accurate picture of your finances. The picture informs every decision, from purchasing additional inventory and hiring employees to expanding services and purchasing property rather than leasing it.

Related: Your financial projection: a roadmap to success 

Yet many owners start their businesses lacking that critical knowledge. Intuit surveyed small business owners about their financial literacy and discovered that a large slice – 40% – describe themselves as financially illiterate. Despite that, more than 80% of those surveyed handle their books themselves. 

Chuck says the number of small business owners he sees who don’t have a grasp on the basic metrics to gauge their success is “frightening to me.” 

Did you start your business without a foundation of financial knowledge? You are not alone. Fortunately, though, there are many paths to take to get help, learn the basics and be a stronger entrepreneur. 

Want to get started? There are a number of local centers and online sources that explain financial terms, from a handful to dozens of them. Whatever you’re up for – whether it’s learning just a few new words, or a deluge – these sources can help owners better understand their small business. 

Intuit, for instance, suggests that business owners be familiar with: assets, liabilities, expenses, accounts receivable, cash flow, profit, loss, net profit and income statements.

FILLING THE FINANCIAL GAP

But for anyone who is overwhelmed, whether they’re thinking of opening a business or already have one, Chuck suggests starting by boiling it all down to gross margins, cash flow and profit and loss.

When Chuck counsels clients who initially find themselves stumped, he suggests a temporary way to simplify things even more. “Just watch the cash,” he said.

Related: What small business advising services are available 

For her part, Karina laughs at how Chuck’s advice made her head spin at first. Soon, though, he became a trusted resource based on his previous experience as a business owner.

“It’s almost like having a dad on your side, telling you what to do when you’re getting freaked out about something or you just don’t know what to do,” Karina said.

Love Your Business, but Stumped by Financials? You’re Not Alone

Zachary Weisman steers his dive boat. Because he and his wife Karina learned how to steer the charter business’ financial ship, their prospects look bright.

Chuck liked her willingness to learn – it’s something he likes to see in all his clients. He credits Karina with taking the time to study accounting to bolster her understanding even more.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Coaching isn’t the only option. There are many opportunities for small business owners like Karina and Zach who need support to learn the financial ropes:

Chuck likes to cite two “four-letter words” – work and risk. And putting in the work to understand financial terms will ease the risk for small business owners. 


Do you need help launching or growing your business? The experienced loan experts at CDC Small Business Finance are here to help you reach your goals. And for qualified borrowers who need some financial guidance, we can connect you to our Business Advising Services Team to help you get loan-ready – for free.

Tell our experts about your business, and they’ll match you with the financing or assistance that best suits you. Let’s talk! Reach us at loaninfo@cdcloans.com or (619) 243-8667.


In case you missed it:

How to be prepared when applying for a small business loan 

Business owners: Ask yourself these 5 essential financial planning questions

Free business coaching paved the way for pizza maker’s continued growth

Top tips on having a mentor for your small business

Be careful of fast-money loan options

 


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