Performance management dashboards have proven to be a valuable addition to financial management systems. When correctly implemented, dashboards can generate significant value by providing the metaphorical glue that connects management’s strategic intent to actual business performance. (Read more)
Recent improvements since the depths of the Great Recession are one factor accelerating sales.
Sale prices and volume have been recovering in recent years. Small-business transactions jumped 61.8 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, according to BizBuySell.com, an online business-for-sale marketplace.
But baby boomers nearing retirement is quoted as the most significant factor driving business owners to sell.
And retirement was cited as the No. 1 reason driving business sales in the first quarter for the second consecutive period, according to Market Pulse Survey Report. The study is conducted by the International Business Brokers Association, M&A Source and Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.
As Cho goes on to state, albeit in different slightly words, planning does drive value. Business owners that spend the time to prepare for either a sale, or employee stock ownership plan, or some other exit strategy, are the ones that will reap the greatest benefit.
“Everyone knows there was a recession, but the markets are pretty unforgiving,” said Joan Ridley, who sits on the board of governors of the Exit Planning Institute. “It’s a buyer’s market. It’ll be a real beauty contest. The boomers who are selling are getting gussied up.”
Though “getting gussied up” and planning are important, business owners need to explore all their available exit options, whether it be a sale, ESOP, or family transfer, in light of their personal needs. As a partner with B2B CFO®, I and my fellow partners specialize in helping business owners achieve just that result. If you are contemplating exiting your business and unsure of your next steps, please contact me today to learn more about B2B CFO®’s unique tools and processes focused on helping you achieve your goals.
In this month’s edition of the Southern California Regional B2B CFO Newsletter, we summarized the the latest economic data for Southern California as published by the LAEDC. The prospects for business are heating up with a forecast for higher regional growth than in most other parts of the country. Also, in this edition a helpful article on preventing fraud in your business along with some useful information regarding why a C-Corporation may be the right fit for your business.
But, I ran into a significant issue last week when my PC, even with my McAfee antivirus/firewall application running and updated, picked up a virus. I was under the impression that McAfee had blocked the virus, but when I restarted my computer I had a major mess on my hands. So started the long process of re imaging my drive back to factor specs, reloading software and recovering my files from Carbonite. I recovered all my Outlook .pst files and got all the email accounts going again, but ran into a problem with Business Contact Manager (BCM). Apparently, BCM uses Microsoft’s SQL database software and consequently has a separate file system.
I quickly learned how to use the BCM file management system that is part of Outlook, which supposedly allows you to create and/or reconnect to BCM files. I thought that all I had to do was restore the BCM files from my Carbonite backup and re attach them using the BCM file management system. But it was not that easy. In fact BCM has its own back up utility that creates different BCM back up files that you can restore, which I had not done under the assumption that Carbonite would handle it.
I spent hours running the various fixes I found on Microsoft’s website and others trying to reconnect my backed up BCM files. I won’t go through the alternatives, but I did try at least three or four different solutions to no avail. Each time, when I went into BCM File Manager to connect to my old file, it just wouldn’t register my old file on the list of available BCM files. I was getting a bit depressed because there was a significant amount of data in my BCM file, representing hours of work.
Then I found something called Business Contact Manager for Qutlook 2010 Database Tool and thought that was the answer to my problem because it had a file restore capability. So I download and installed the tool and then went to perform a restore and found that the restore tool referred to restoring a BCM back up, that BCM File Manager would have had to originally created, which I didn’t have.
After another day of looking with a blank stare at my empty BCM folder I came up with a new approach using the Database Tool that worked! Hopefully this works for you. Here are the steps I used to recover my BCM file:
1) Download and install the BCM Database Tool. The link for the 2010 tool is:
2) Your old BCM file will be comprised of two files (a .mdf file and a .idf file). From wherever you have those two files backed up, copy them to the directory where BCM stores your files. This was in a hidden directory at \%appdata%\Local\Microsoft\Business Contact Manager\ on my machine.
3) Next you have to create a new empty BCM file using the Outlook Business Contact Manager application. Briefly, the steps are, in Outlook:
a. Go to File
b. Select Business Contract Manager
c. Select Manage Databases
d. Select Create New Database
e. Select Create a New Local Database and give it a name.
4) Exit out of Outlook
5) Start up the BCM Database Tool
6) What we are going to do is create a back up from your old file. Select the Backup option in the BCM Database Tool and create a back file using whatever file name and password you like. Your old file will now show up in the list of available files to back up using the BCM Database Tool. This is the big key to this solution.
7) Once you’ve created the back up from your old file, now you can do a restore. Once again, using the BCM Database Tool, select restore. When you select Restore you have to first select the file that you are going to restore to, which is going to be the new file you created in step #3 above. Then the BCM Database Tool asks for the source file to be restored which is the file created at step #6.
That’s it. You can then exit from the BCM Database Tool and restart Outlook and should now be able to access your CRM data.
Hopefully that works for you, it did for me just it took a couple of hours to tumble to this solution.
The Southern California Regional B2B CFO partners issue a monthly newsletter for our clients and prospects. The March edition summarized the recently enacted sequester, totaling $85B in budget cuts. Take a look at the article for information regarding next steps. Additionally, there were articles pertaining to the importance of a disciplined accounting close as well as some advice to business owners considering a business exit. A link to the newsletter follows. Join our distribution list to continue receiving the latest updates to our newsletter.
Please give me a call if you would like additional information regarding any articles in the enclosed.
Mid market company have much to learn regarding the value planning and forecasting can bring to organization. From identifying and monitoring key performance indicators to utilizing sophisticated techniques such as price, volume, cost and mix analysis, mid market companies frequently ignore many of these basic techniques used by their larger more successful cohort to generate the insight needed to make better decisions. Mid market companies that ignore financial analysis do so at their peril.
In the CFO Magazine article, Kathleen Hoffelder goes on to describe the ways that finance departs have come to very successfully utilize forecasting, in some previously unimagined ways. Ms. Hoffelder uses an example from Arby’s Restaurant Group, quoting Arby’s CFO–David Pipes:
In the case of Arby’s Pipes says the company’s forecast considers future events like a change in the marketing calendar or in the timing of expenditures that will affect its financial results. How does this process begin. The finance chief starts with a detailed annual plan that has been built up restaurant by restaurant after he has received input from the company’s operations, marketing, tax, employee benefits and other units. The plan is then adjusted each period, based on current expectations.
Plans and forecasts provide the basis to manage the future. Managing the future is not about maximizing the amount of planning data, but in leveraging the available data to make better decisions. In the article, a take away from Ms. Hoffelder, quoting Eileen Kamerick (CFO of Press Ganey) as stating
Some corporations, she says, can spend too much time looking backward at their data for answers about their future growth. In contact, good forecasting process helps CFOs and other senior managers to think about offsetting any negatives a company may encounter and how to “further exploit the positives.”
Ms. Hoffelder goes on to make many excellent points about the value of forecasting, but does a great job in summarizing 10 excellent questions CFO’s and senior financial planning and analysis leaders should be asking. Those five of the ten questions are:
What drives your profits?
What factors influence your business and which one are out of your control?
What influences your sales?
How is your distribution network set up? In which states? For what products?
What types of customers do you have?
Please see the CFO Magazine article for the rest of Ms. Hoffelder’s article, which is well worth the read.
As I explained in part one of this two-part post, I am always seeking ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the limited resources at my clients’ disposal. An area that frequently is in need of focus is the operational efficiency of sales teams. This two-part post illustrates how business intelligence can be used to improve sales force efficiency by as much as 10%. (read more)
Well we ended February with the stalemate between Congress and the Whitehouse intact, and the President signing the order initiating $85B in budget cuts on March 1st. The cuts, which are to affect spending through the end of the current fiscal year—September 30th—are part of a bigger $1.2 trillion decade long budget reduction plan affecting nearly every government program, except military personnel and entitlement programs. With the debt ceiling temporarily suspended in January, and anticipated to be revisited later this month when the government’s spending authority over discretionary items expires, means there is more excitement to come in March.
Given that the sequester would seem to represent the ideal negotiation result, with both parties feeling equally satisfied and dissatisfied (as in Democrats having to live with social program cuts and the Republicans with defense cuts) why are we not feeling better about the result? After all, the sequester has been in place since August 2011. There have been a number of attempts to resolve it. Does anyone remember the “supercommittee” that was tasked to come up with a bipartisan plan to resolve the budget mess. Well it turned out the supercommittee was not so super when they could not agree on a plan.
There have been a number of other attempts to resolve the impasse, which all failed. So now the government is faced with implementing a budget cutting plan that was never really intended to be implemented. Since it was not intended to be implemented, there were no details plans generated when the sequester was created, which is a big part of the uncertainty you hear in the press.
We know that both business and individuals will be negatively impacted, from second and third-tier defense subcontracting firms to individuals on federal unemployment, which is regrettable. But from a macroeconomic perspective (not that the author is an economist), the $85B represents about 0.5% of GDP this year. Though it is a small percentage of total GDP, this is not going to benefit the continued anemic recovery we are experiencing in California. Just the same, there is an accelerating recovery in the real estate market, improving the outlook for many of the hardest hit markets, especially California, Nevada and Arizona. A school of thought holds that a recovering real estate market could offset most of the sequester impact.
We will keep our fingers crossed that the impact will be moderated by the improving real estate market in California and elsewhere in the Southwest. Our recommendation is to keep a close watch over your leading indicators and prepare to react quickly as conditions change. At times like these, businesses can benefit from having robust planning and reporting systems and tools in place. If you do not have robust systems in place, give one of us a call, because that is one of the things we help businesses produce.