At the end of each year, I like to reflect on the things I accomplished last year and those areas where I’ve fallen short. A common thread I’ve noticed this year is in the areas where I’ve fallen short has been the result of inaction, not lack of information. It’s so easy to try to research, refine strategies, get more knowledge, or learn more. But when I think of all the sage advice I’ve received over the years, I’ve come to realize the areas where I was unsuccessful were areas where I simply failed to act. It’s not enough to know what to do, you actually have to do it. So, my focus for 2024 will be on Execution. Getting things DONE.
But not everyone was stuck in analysis paralysis. According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, in 2023 there were more than 1.6 million new businesses formed, which represented a 38% increase from 2019 and the highest level since records began. Here in Georgia, the numbers increase 53.4%.
As we close out 2023 it’s useful to reflect on the things we got right and the things we got wrong. I was wrong about the US economy.
On July 5, 2022, the yield curve between the two-year and ten-year Treasury notes inverted and I was certain the US economy would slip into recession. Yield curves become inverted then the interest rate for short-term loans becomes higher than the interest rate for long-term loans. Typically, an inverted yield curve is followed by recession, but this time appears to be different.
There are no signs the economy is headed to recession, or even slowing down. In fact as recently pointed out in a WSJ Article, “A year ago, everyone from the strategists at Wall Street banks to rap artist Cardi B was calling for a recession. Instead, inflation continued falling, consumers kept spending and the unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, the lowest level since 1969.”
So, what should we expect for 2024? Clearly, I have no idea!
My best guess, inflation...
We may be getting close to “the end” of the Federal Reserve’s (“Fed”) interest rate hiking cycle. This week, the Fed increased the Funds Rate 75-basis points (a basis point equals 1/100th of 1%, or 0.01%). The Fed has increased rates 3.00% since March of this year from a range of 0.00% to 0.25% to 3.0% to 3.25%. But when will the Fed stop raising rates or reach the so called “Terminal Rate”. There’s been quite a bit of talk about the “Terminal Rate”, but what exactly is it and why should you care.
According to Market Watch, the Terminal Rate is “the peak spot where the benchmark interest rate — the federal funds rate — will come to rest before the central bank begins trimming it back.” The key questions going forward are 1) how quickly Fed will get to there, and 2) how long they will stay there.
Based on the Fed’s Summary of Economic Projections, the Fed “expects”...
It’s likely you started your small business because you saw a need, had a solution, and recognized the opportunity to provide your solution and earn income for your family. In time, you probably realized that your small business is more than just a tool to generate income for yourself, but that it can positively impact others and create a legacy for your family.
Part of pursuing that legacy and securing your own American Dream includes growing your small business. That growth often means hiring new employees.
But how do you know when your small business can or should start the hiring process? Should your new hire be an independent contractor or a full-time employee?
The mindset behind the hiring process is just as important as the hiring process itself in helping you get the right employee in the door and supporting your role in making good decisions for the company.
Here are seven clear indicators that you are ready to spend time hiring the right person for your...
You've had your small business for a few years, and even through the pandemic, you’ve managed to stay afloat. You have products (digital or physical) on shelves, customers making purchases, and your books show profits. Even if it appears that you have a profitable business from the outside, however, one of the most critical indicators of success for small businesses is that they maintain a healthy cash flow.
So, what does your monthly cash flow look like?
Most small business owners are heavily involved in their business finances- You probably spend a decent amount of your time tending to accounts payable statements, reviewing your accounts receivable reports, and monitoring how much cash is in your bank account. These financial tasks are essential to creating a positive net income, but checking your bank account balance doesn't give you the figures you need to manage cash flow properly.
Instead, you need to be monitoring the most crucial yet most widely...
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you know it costs money to make money. While business costs can vary wildly depending on your industry, expenses are necessary for any business.
While business expansion might be made possible through obtaining a small business loan, steep business costs can make your bank accounts appear thin and may signify cash flow problems. Therefore, it's always a great idea to keep production costs low, reduce business costs where possible, and maintain a comprehensive grasp on the overall costs required to run your business.
For small business owners considering selling their company, it’s essential to take a detailed look at your operating expenses. As you’re positioning yourself to sell, it’s crucial to eliminate any frivolous costs.
Keep reading to learn how small business owners can implement money-saving strategies to reduce business costs effectively. A little planning and preparation now will ensure...
As you start your own business, there are a lot of decisions you have to make. Although small business owners make many decisions every day, one of the most important decisions you can make at the beginning of your small business journey is whether to use your own money (bootstrap) or take out a small business loan to get things rolling.
There are pros and cons to each, and in this article, we will discuss what bootstrapping is, what it means to bootstrap a business, and whether bootstrapping or taking out a traditional bank loan is right for you.
In terms of small businesses, "bootstrapping" a company means you begin operations with minimal investment or financial help. As a small business owner, bootstrapping often requires using your own personal money as the source of venture capital.
There are many reasons business owners decide to bootstrap their small business instead of applying for a...
Learning about financial forecasting is an essential step in your journey toward growth as a small business owner. Being able to accurately project what your future revenues and future expenses will be is vital to helping your small business not only survive but thrive. For this reason, it's time to get comfortable creating and reviewing a financial forecast and cash flow projections.
If you're just starting out in business, then you're likely to be assembling your business plan and financial statements from the ground up. What I do is help business owners understand the need for creating financial projections, why financial planning is a key part of becoming a successful small business owner, and how you can leverage these numbers to make growing your business more predictable.
A financial forecast consists of a cash flow statement, financial statement, or pro forma statement. The cash flow statement details the company's cash management...
Recently, a prospective client came to me looking for help gaining some extra resources to grow their business. He wondered what would be required to get an SBA Loan. We walked through a list of qualifications together, and everything seemed to check out just fine until it became apparent to him that he'd have to draft a business plan.
He already had a well-functioning business with a great-looking cash flow statement, so why would he need a business plan? He assumed that business plans were typically drafted for startups or new companies just trying to get off the ground, but not for an existing business entity with a proven track record.
As we continued with the conversation, we discussed how much this prospective client was looking to borrow and why he wanted a loan from the Small Business Administration in the first place. He stated that he needed about a half-million dollars. Wow, this guy must have big plans, I thought to myself.
However, when I asked what his plans...
If you’re like many business owners, you've poured your heart and soul into turning your dream into a viable business. Making the decision to sell can be an emotional one. It’s important to take calculated steps that will ensure your selling experience is positive and that your business sale is successful.
Selling a business can be daunting and time-consuming for small business owners. Even with an advisory team on board, the selling process can be quite intimidating. To avoid the most common pitfalls, it’s important to start planning early and get all the moving parts in order.
It’s not uncommon for small business owners to make costly mistakes when selling their business and inadvertently lose thousands of dollars in the process. In this article, I'm breaking down the process of how to successfully sell your business. Keep reading for tips on how to ensure you get top dollar in exchange for all the time and money you've invested into your small...