3 Tips to Grow (and Keep Growing) Your Company

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While the goal of every business is to grow, it’s nearly impossible to know how fast it’ll come or how extensive. Unless your hidden talent is seeing the future, a good amount of decision-making will be based on calculated guesses. Your choices, though, should not only be based on what you need now, but also what you might potentially need down the road – without overshooting your target and spending too much.

There are a so many factors to consider when developing your business, from everyday decisions to long-term goals. But there are at least three long-term decisions that can help you advance throughout the years.

  1. Opt for expansive software and streamlined processes.

Finding a quick solution may solve an immediate technical problem, but can sometimes cause severe issues later on. While you won’t always know what the tech world will put out in even a year, try picking a platform and/or suite with more than what you need at the moment so that it can keep up with future growth. The consequences of not always looking ahead is that your entire company could build up too high on an unstable foundation, causing crashes, mishaps and unmanageable technical problems that affect your entire day-to-day work.

  1. Invest in acquiring good employees – and retaining them.

As you grow your business, it’s essential to have a team that can support the expansion. When you pursue candidates, take a close look at not just their experience and knowledge, but also how well they fit with the company culture. Otherwise, they may disengage and look for a better fit somewhere else. Once you’ve attained your dream team, take the extra steps to ensure your investment in time and training is not wasted by fostering a supportive environment. High turnover rates can cost you more in the long run, and the tribal knowledge and hands-on experience those employees take with them can never be bought back.

  1. Be objective in your leadership and decision making.

Trusting your gut is an essential skill to master when developing your company, but don’t mistake pride for intuition. Before making a big decision, listen to your middle management and their thoughts on how a change will affect their teams’ responsibilities. If you’ve hired someone for their knowledge in a specific field, then it’s in your best interest to trust their recommendations. Otherwise, what good is it to bring them in if you won’t listen to their advice? Change and the unknown can make anyone uncomfortable, so do exercise your instinct with confidence – but also look at your hunch from an outside perspective. Is it the right move, or simply the one you feel like making without any data support?

Of course, there are many other ways to prepare your company for growth. Remembering that growth is certain, regardless of size or speed, can help keep perspective on long term goals.

The post 3 Tips to Grow (and Keep Growing) Your Company appeared first on Advanced CFO.

from http://advancedcfo.com/3-tips-grow-keep-growing-company/

On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Prepared Is Your Business for Growth?

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When it comes to growing your business, knowing where to even start can sometimes be the hardest step. One easily identifiable step is having a plan. So on a scale of one to ten, how does your business rank for growth preparedness?

  1.  Executive decisions are made by the hour. It’s hard to know what will pop up by the end of the day.
  2.  There are a couple of goals for each day, but a lot still comes up unplanned.
  3.  Most of the day is scheduled with the rest open to changes.
  4.  Daily targets are met with time left to prepare the following day’s objectives.
  5.  Weekly tasks are outlined in successive order. Only a handful of occurrences are unaccounted for.
  6.  Monthly missions are met with random tasks only occurring on a small daily scale.
  7.  Quarterly objectives are planned months in advance with flexibility to account for unexpected snags.
  8.  Yearly objectives are planned months in advance, with regular checks to ensure targets are on track.
  9.  Yearly action-plans are made months in advance with variables identified and back up plans created.
  10.  Ten-year goals are made with little or no unintentional occurrences.

Clearly, you’re not at 10 – and if you think you are, then you might want to take a closer look at your assessment. No matter how strategic your planning may be, there will always be variables. To successfully scale your business, you need a certain level of flexibility to take the necessary steps and get back on track when things go awry.

Holding on to a plan while the course completely changes is like holding on to a cinder block while on a sinking ship. On the other hand, changing course to ride out every single wave and losing focus of your destination is like sailing without a compass or even identifying which is the North Star (hint: it’s that big bright one ahead).

No matter where you’re at in your planning stage, be sure to keep your long-term plans, with regular re-assessments and a healthy attitude toward change so you can survive the daily challenges of growing your company.

The post On a Scale of 1 to 10, How Prepared Is Your Business for Growth? appeared first on Advanced CFO.

from http://advancedcfo.com/scale-1-10-prepared-business-growth/

The Current State of Venture Capital in 24 Brilliant Charts

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Pitchbook’s periodic review of the state of Venture Capital is traditionally very insightful.  Their most current installment did not disappoint.

Why Should I Care?

You might wonder, ‘Why should I as a member of the C-Suite care about Venture Capitalists, how much money they have and where they’re spending it?’  Simply put, predicting where the VC markets are moving should be one part of when and how much capital you should consider raising.

Fund Raising up – Deal Count Down

VC capital raised continues to climb despite deal volume decreasing.  For the entrepreneur/CEO this is good news despite more ‘rational’ valuations.  What it means is that if you’ve got a good business, you’re likely to find and close on funding…AND…be better positioned for successful follow-on capital.

Enjoy the charts


Dave Chase is Managing Partner at Advanced CFO.  At Advanced CFO, we provide fractional accounting and financial services. We have served more than 800 clients. They see us as their strategic, outsourced CFO.  We provide CEOs with critical information so they can make key decisions with confidence.  We do this by leveraging our experience and technology to provide actionable information and results.  For more information, click here.

The post The Current State of Venture Capital in 24 Brilliant Charts appeared first on Advanced CFO.

from http://advancedcfo.com/vc-state-charts/

4 Balancing Acts That Can Help You Be a Better Leader

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Being a great leader is much easier said than done. What qualities one person or team admires in a manager, another detests. Behaviors that seem great in theory often crash and burn in practice. Striking that perfect balance is a delicate process that takes lots – and lots – of practice.

Along with the fundamentals like delegation and accountability, there are a vast amount of leadership skills that can make a big impact. We’ve recognized four balanced behaviors that go just beyond the basics:

  1. Don’t use negative language; stay positive.

While you should be genuine with your team, never talk negatively about a person, team or project, as this type of behavior can create a distrusting environment.

This use of language doesn’t do much to assure your team that you see yourself as a team player. And as an example and insight to the company, your negative attitude (even if just for a day) can shape their perception of a project, department or company member for the entirety of their career with your organization.

  1. Understand the difficulties your team faces.

Just like learning how to be an effective leader is easier said than done, so are the duties of your team members.

If you’re fortunate enough to be promoted from within the same team you’re now leading, then you have an in-depth understanding of how high-level decisions can affect the day-to-day responsibilities of your team. If you’re an external hire, then really try to comprehend the challenges your team faces. Even the simplest of tasks can have their challenges with redundancy or frustration.

Having this insight not only gives you a better idea of needed solutions, but your team will also trust that your decisions are made with their well-being in mind.

  1. Be honest about challenges.

While you may not be able to discuss every detail with your team, being honest and forthcoming about what to expect helps them feel as though they are part of the solution – because after all, they are. Feeling a sense of ownership of a process that will lead to positive outcomes is an inspiring motivation to work as a team.

  1. Practice team-building exercises – but not too many.

Depending on the nature of the job, it can be easy for each individual to stay in their own comfort bubble. But while the work at hand is still top priority, designating time to help your team get to know you and each other is a huge, underrated tactic that can really pay off in the end.

Schedule a lunch hour, plan a few games on a Friday afternoon or suggest going out after work. When your team is more comfortable talking to one another as well as you, then communication (and empathy) bolsters. Just don’t abuse this tactic as a way to avoid your own duties – no one wants to work with their own version of The Office’s Michael Scott.


Dave Chase is Managing Partner at Advanced CFO.  At Advanced CFO, we provide fractional accounting and financial services. We have served more than 800 clients. They see us as their strategic, outsourced CFO.  We provide CEOs with critical information so they can make key decisions with confidence.  We do this by leveraging our experience and technology to provide actionable information and results.  For more information, click here.

The post 4 Balancing Acts That Can Help You Be a Better Leader appeared first on Advanced CFO.

from http://advancedcfo.com/4-balancing-acts-can-help-better-leader/

Bill Belichick on Leadership

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On occasion we are blessed by witnessing truly amazing and rare leadership. That happened for me this past week when I stumbled upon an interview with Bill Belichick on CNBC about leadership. He is an unapologetic leader. One that despite his gruff appearance is empathetic, thoughtful and decisive. During the course of the two-hour interview (which is consolidated to 15 glorious minutes here) Bill, in his direct and non-flowery way, hits upon the issues of leadership crisply and clearly, and distills them into five basic principles.

  1. Leadership means building a team that’s exhaustively prepared but able to adjust in an instant.

In Bill’s view this means that he regularly engages his team in true team-building exercises. Not all organizations can have their teams train with Navy Seals as a team-building event, but we can creatively access the same principles of camaraderie that band your team together in times of trial or challenge.

  1. Leadership means having the discipline to deploy your “dependables.”

What many people enjoy about the New England Patriots is the same thing they enjoy with the San Antonio Spurs — a team that is focused on execution and not flash. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t employ a team of superstars, rather that solid and consistent performance always includes a team filled with dependables who we can truly count on at all times.

  1. Leadership means being the boss.

Leadership is lonely and tough. Far too many leaders try to be everyone’s friend and fail because they try to please everyone. Leadership is about sensing and articulating vision and direction despite how you feel others might view you. Sometimes leadership requires standing alone.

  1. Leadership means caring about everything going on in the lives of your people.

Empathy, or an understanding of another person, draws people closer and builds connection and relationships. We have all experienced being around people that make us feel like we’re the only ones in the room at that moment. Typically that’s because the other person is clearly focused on us and our experience with work as well as what’s happening outside of work.  They’re completely with us in the moment. That is real caring and real leadership.

  1. Leadership means never resting on your laurels.

‘Leaders’ who lead for the status or power that comes from leadership don’t really feel like real leaders, do they? We sense and feel false leadership. Sometimes this can be described as positional leadership instead of natural leadership — people who are considered leaders because of their title rather than their leadership qualities. These types of leaders frequently talk about their achievements and see that as qualifications for leadership. Natural leaders don’t seek out praise, it just follows them.


Dave Chase is Managing Partner at Advanced CFO.  At Advanced CFO, we provide fractional accounting and financial services. We have served more than 800 clients. They see us as their strategic, outsourced CFO.  We provide CEOs with critical information so they can make key decisions with confidence.  We do this by leveraging our experience and technology to provide actionable information and results.  For more information, click here.

The post Bill Belichick on Leadership appeared first on Advanced CFO.

from http://advancedcfo.com/bill-belichick-leadership/

Employee Burnout is a Problem with the Company, Not the Person

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In the opening lines of the Harvard Business Review article with this same title, I read the following eye-opening remark which really rang true for my work experience across dozens of organizations both small and large.

When we looked inside companies with high burnout rates, we saw three common culprits: excessive collaboration, weak time management disciplines and a tendency to overload the most capable with too much work.

With a little focus, every organization or leader can move a step closer to reducing the hard-to-measure but ridiculously high cost of employee dissatisfaction and churn.

The pains of excessive collaboration frequently manifest as distractions, lack of focus and an inability to make quick decisions. One solution is to hire people you can trust and support them without slowing them down. Yes, collaboration is needed, but we generally rely on it too much in the interest of ‘making sure’ we make the right decision.

Tackle basic time management principles with employees. Assuming we’ve hired well, we could also assume that employees will learn to effectively manage their own time, but we can make it easier for them and have the organization work together to support each other based on collective principles.
Too frequently we find an employee we like and we just pile work on them until performance suffers and then we wonder what happened.

Real leadership is a balance between trusting employees to do their job, but also staying engaged, discovering roadblocks to success and giving them the tools to be effective. We can then confidently continue to add responsibilities to their plates and have confidence they’ll succeed.


Dave Chase is Managing Partner at Advanced CFO.  At Advanced CFO, we provide fractional accounting and financial services. We have served more than 800 clients. They see us as their strategic, outsourced CFO.  We provide CEOs with critical information so they can make key decisions with confidence.  We do this by leveraging our experience and technology to provide actionable information and results.  For more information, click here.

The post Employee Burnout is a Problem with the Company, Not the Person appeared first on Advanced CFO.

from http://advancedcfo.com/employee-burnout-problem-company-not-person/

Painting with Numbers

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Or, “Data Visualization” as us business professionals call it.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousands words.” Well, that’s what data visualization is for your business. It takes the vast ocean of raw numbers regarding your company’s performance, pulls them out of those confusing spreadsheets that are impossible to interpret, and translates them into easy-to-read, visually digestible charts and graphs. It makes tracking the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of your business infinitely less complicated and when done right, can give you powerful insights for improving everything you do.

Now, that’s great and all, but what executive has the time and resources to commit to it? What we’re talking about isn’t something you can do in-between meetings or on your lunch break (if you even get one of those). It’s the culmination of a near unhealthy amount of hours spent obsessively digging through data, analyzing it, organizing it and figuring out how to present it in an appealing way — not exactly conducive to your attempts at work-life balance.

Good news is: you don’t actually have to do any of it yourself these days. Because thanks to the ever-advancing digital world we live in, there’s this thing called an Executive Dashboard that will do all the legwork for you and spit out some amazing data visualization and performance insights with just the push of a button. Phew, problem solved, right?

Not quite. There’s still a critical piece of the data visualization puzzle that needs to be solved. What kind of data should you be seeing? What are the most important metrics to manage and track? What are the things that will make or break your company’s success? These are what’s called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They’re unique to your business and signal how well you’re doing, or not doing, in important areas.

There are hundreds of KPIs that businesses can use to measure themselves, including:

  • Revenue and sales
  • New customers
  • Billings v. bookings
  • Received leads
  • Site traffic
  • Click-thru and conversion rates

… and a whole lot more.

When it comes to identifying the right KPIs for your business, having the help of a financial expert comes in handy. They’ll work with you to figure out what KPIs will have the biggest impact on your business, set target ranges for success in each and then create strategies that will enable you to hit them. Having that combination of technology that can break down and simplify your data for you, plus humans who can help you actually do something about it is a must — and it’s what makes data visualization work.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to this: What you can’t see can and will hurt your business. Executive dashboards and data visualization make sure you see the right data at the right time in the right format — so you can make smarter, quicker decisions with it.


Dave Chase is Managing Partner at Advanced CFO.  At Advanced CFO, we provide fractional accounting and financial services. We have served more than 800 clients. They see us as their strategic, outsourced CFO.  We provide CEOs with critical information so they can make key decisions with confidence.  We do this by leveraging our experience and technology to provide actionable information and results.  For more information, click here.

The post Painting with Numbers appeared first on Advanced CFO.

from http://advancedcfo.com/painting-with-numbers/