Our Small Business Symposium Series kicks off with “How Outside Parties View Your Financials” on March 15th, from 8:00am to 10:00am. We have interviewed our guest speaker Robert Shoffner to give you a taste of the upcoming event!
Robert Shoffner is the Director of the San Mateo County Small Business Development Center and an Adjunct Professor of Business at the College of San Mateo. He provides instruction to students ranging from recent high school graduates to mature adults in the subjects of Business, Management and marketing. Prior to his present roles Robert had a long career in financial services that included being President of Citibank for it’s West Coast operations.
1. Can you tell us more about what you do as Director of the San Mateo County Small Business Development?
The San Mateo Small Business Development Center is a federal program stemming from the Small Business Administration. Our role is to advise small businesses that can demonstrate economic impact in their communities in any of the following four areas: increase in sales, increase in staff, retention of staff and increase in capital. We assist small business directly in two ways. First is through one-on-one counseling: Our counselors are business owners just like you and not federal employees. The cost of our counseling services on a private basis would be approximately $300 an hour, but as an SBDC client you pay nothing, as long as you continue to demonstrate economic impact. Second is through offering workshops and seminars to assist business owners/entrepreneurs run their businesses more efficiently and effectively.
2. If a small business is looking to start organizing their financials, where should they start?
To get a handle on their financials, a small business should start by hiring a CPA. The advice and counsel will be invaluable. Second, they should also invest in a bookkeeper for the business to keep track of everyday expenses and revenues. Third, make sure you have a good payroll system in place for the business. Last, ensure you really understand how much it costs to make or deliver your product or service. Don’t forget to keep your business and personal expenses separate.
3. Can you give an example of a time when ‘the numbers’ made or broke a deal between a small business and an investor/bank/suppliers, etc?
Many times a business has failed to invest adequately in preparing their financial statements for review by a bank or potential investor. Often the numbers don’t tell a complete enough story and potential financing is declined. Although it is an initial upfront expense, it may enable you get a substantial return on your investment down the road.
4. Where in their finances can small business look to save money?
The primary place I would advise a business to save money is in the timely collection of accounts receivables. Often perceived cash flow problems are really uncollected receivables. Also take advantage of trade discounts whenever possible on your accounts payable. Don’t forget to be relentless in reviewing your expenses for potential savings.
5. Can you give us a summary of what you will be talking about in your March 15th seminar on “How Outside Parties View Your Financials”?
I will be discussing how your financial statements tell a story to investors, bankers, suppliers and other interested parties about the health of your business. Simple tools to identify extra cash in your business that will enable you to borrow less, and perhaps invest in new equipment or employees, as well as financial questions you should always be able to answer about your business.
We hope you will join us to hear Robert Shoffner speak further on the topic of “How Outside Parties View Your Financials.” Register for the event now.