I chatted this morning with Calgary based consultant and CA, Brad Celmainis about small business finance. Brad is an accountant with a great personality who thrives on helping small businesses. In addition to being somewhat of an Instagram celebrity (click here for his account) Brad specializes as a contract CFO and/or controller. We chatted about some basic finance topics that every small business owner should consider including why a balance sheet is so important to review on a regular basis and clean-up as necessary. Brad drew a comparison based on his experience that many business owners treat a balance sheet like a junk drawer or a garage – lots of items in there but no one really knows what they are.
I talk about this often but it’s always good to repeat valuable pieces of information – especially if it saves someone from wasting their time. One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that their bank has their interests in mind. I am not saying that banks do not care about their clients but I do think it is important for people to know that banks are businesses not charities. As such they have a business plan, target customer types, sales goals, profit margins, etc. which all attribute to their ability to help someone looking to borrow money. Many people think that just because they know their banker they can ask for whatever they want and if the bank says no that they have no other options. Here is how it really works.
I had a great meeting with a new contact yesterday who was seeking some financing for her business. When asked what the funds were for she advised that the money would be used for marketing. Her business has already had a small measure of success and has accumulated a few hundred interested prospects and a handful of customers. Her reason for wanting to spend money on marketing the business was to try and drive more people to the front door of her business. I have heard different versions of this story from many entrepreneurs and businesses including Bridge Capital who has had outside investors.