3 Startup Lessons from Vineyard Vines

Businessmen with Golden Star on Suit

It’s a common daydream – leaving your job in the corporate world and striking out on your own. Maybe you want to pull the rip cord like Steven Slater did when he literally ditched his day job by sliding down the exit chute of an airplane — a beer in one hand and (I imagine) his middle finger waving on the other.

You could do that. You could quit, start your own company and be happy.

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How to hire a part-time CFO that fits your company culture: A tale of 3 radically different CFOs

Running a company without a CFO is tough – but hiring one can be even tougher. No other role will be so crucial to your success, so getting the right chemistry, skill set, experience and personality is vital. Its no wonder that more and more business owners are turning to outsourcing for the CFO role and even the entire finance department function.

But not all Outsourced CFO providers are the same.  Let’s take a look at the three most common CFOs and the ways they work with – and within – a business.

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Will Your Company face Bankruptcy this year?

You may not know Edward Altman, but he knows an awful lot about your business — like whether your company
will be bankrupt in the next two years.  Cool, right?

In the 1960’s Altman developed a corporate finance formula that will accurately predict business bankruptcy more than 90% of the time. The formula, called Altman’s Z Score, needs just 8 numbers — and all of them can be found on your income statement or balance sheet.

How healthy is your business?  Take the Z Score Test and find out for sure.

By the way, Edward Altman is a Professor of Finance at the Stern School of Business at New York University. He developed the Z Score formula in 1968, and it is still the best way to tell whether your company is on the brink of disaster. Though the formula was originally designed to predict business bankruptcy among public manufacturing companies, Altman has since designed variations that apply to privately held manufacturing companies (called the Z’ Score”) and non-manufacturing companies (the Z” Score).  We highlight both below.

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Crowdfunding Rules: Compare your Options for Equity and Fundraising

Think “Crowdfunding” and you might think of Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Both are good sites, but soon new crowdfunding rules will unlock powerful new options for fundraising online.

Yes, Kickstarter and other pre-sale sites have funneled over $1 billion to start-up projects since 2009, but serious angel investors and VC were not among those writing checks. Since investors can’t yet buy equity (ownership) in your company online, they are not typically interested in these kinds of crowdfunding sites.

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Ready for Apple Pay? Mobile Payments will Finally Reach Small Business

In the seemingly endless parade of new features announced by Apple yesterday was one that should make you sit up and take note.

Apple Pay — a new way for iPhone users to pay you for goods and services without a credit card.

Apple Pay will be part of the new iPhone 6, the new Apple Watch, and other devices too as Apple rolls out iOS 8 to its existing base of users.  The iPhone 5 family of devices will support Apple Pay for online and in-app transactions, but the physical retail use will only work if you also buy the new Apple Watch.

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Credit Card Processing Glossary: 10 Terms You Need to Know

If your company engages in credit card processing, then you’re likely well acquainted with the complexity of deciphering a monthly credit card processing statement.

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Hire an Accounting Wizard Without Trying (Part 2)

Last week when I finally decided to hire an accountant, I was up to my ankles in alligators.  The last thing I wanted was the administrative nightmare of responding to resumes, scheduling interviews and sorting skillful accountants from the merely competent.

If you read last week’s post, then you already know how to attract the best accountants to apply for a job at your company.  Now you need to pick the best one and hire them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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Part 3 – Financial Reporting: You Can’t Make Good Decisions with Bad Data

Last time we looked at nine warning signs that your business might need a transformation or major tune-up.  This time we’ll talk about how to get started, with four improvements in management information and financial reporting.  In short, to make better decisions with better data, you need to:

1. Correct errors in your financial data
2. Organize your chart of accounts to improve management understanding
3. Correct the data for product costing.  Determine a pricing strategy
4. Create and maintain an up-to-date plan for cash and funding

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3Rs: The Secret Sauce for Better Financial Reporting

I’m going to let you in on a secret: The best businesses—those that really boost the wealth and happiness of the business owner—are not built on intuition or luck.

As much as we would like to think that great entrepreneurs have some kind of special gift, the best among us simply know how to create and use meaningful financial reporting, and use it to make decisions that improve our businesses. With a good eye on the numbers and some careful analysis, any business owner can see what is going right and what is going wrong.

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7 Ways HR Software Will Change the Way You Work

We’ve written a lot about automating accounting and other core areas of business. That’s great for a financial analysis.  But the best way to understand and appreciate the operational side of your business is to manage staff with HR software too. Since HR influences every department and employee, the data it generates can be used to optimize every aspect of your operations.

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Q:  Sell Your Business … or Die at Your Desk?

“Eventually, every business owner will leave their business… either sitting down at the deal table, or feet first on a stretcher.”

That’s one of my favorite quotes, and comes from Ned Minor, a Denver lawyer and author of the book Deciding to Sell Your Business. 
Let’s face it — the idea of working until your last breath is not what gets most of us into business for ourselves. And yet, if you aren’t already planning a more graceful exit, you may end up with the one planned for you.  Here’s how to pass your business along before you pass on!
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