The Value of a Business Scorecard
Are your lenders and investors concerned about your business?
How can you help them understand your real strengths?
Recently I met with an entrepreneur who was bemoaning her bank’s impatience with her business. I asked why the bank seemed nervous. Her response was broad and vague: she defended her company as well-established with loyal customers and a good reputation. She mentioned a cash pinch, but was unable to see why this should be of concern, given her company’s strengths and track record. She didn’t understand that a cash issue like the one she was facing should prompt a bank or other funding source to want a closer look at the health of the business.
I see this often. Owners accustomed to the ebb and flow of business fail to see warning signs that are clear to a third party.
And, it can be a difficult issue. How can an owner, advisor or lender track a business' vitality responsibly without overreacting? How do you keep the confidence of interested parties or make a case for extended funding?
You need a scorecard.
Again and again, I have found that simply tracking key elements will pay big dividends. It is critical that you understand the flow of events, materials and cash and that you be able to correlate these with cash requirements. You'll truly understand your business, and you'll develop a powerful tool for planning or seeking new financing.
With the owner above I undertook a few simple steps that now show her the profitability of each customer and line of business. Her cash management is becoming clearer. She is becoming better informed and more effective.
If your business - or a client’s business - lacks a good set of metrics, I urge you to spend the time to devise a workable system. If you need help, I’d be glad to assist. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the business and you'll build stronger (and more patient) relationships with your financial partners.
Click here for more about Bise Business Advisory.
Accredited Valuation Analyst