Fort Worth has become nationally known as an incubator for entrepreneurs. We nurture those visionaries who want to think outside the box and blaze a new trail for themselves. Similarly, the Fort Worth chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a nonprofit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs by offering the support of local and global experts. EO member Hana Laurenzo, owner of Teneo Linguistics Company, tells her story as a member of the EO club.
Honestly, I did not know much about the financial side of my business for the first few years. What’s worse is that I didn’t have much interest in learning more.
I was so uncomfortable with financials and financial planning that I plain avoided them. Beyond figuring out revenue and gross margins, I could not be bothered with learning more. I’m a translator by background, and like others who easily engage the right side of their brains, I have skillfully worked in abstract matters like language, creativity, and intuition throughout my career. As a business owner, however, I was not comfortable engaging the analytical, organizational, and systematic left side of my brain.
I handed over most of my books to an accountant and CPA and focused on those aspects of the business I knew best and felt most comfortable with. But if you don’t have a financial plan, your business can’t thrive.
Then I learned about EO’s Accelerator program for business owners.
I joined the Accelerator program in 2016, and what I learned about cash was life altering for me and “business altering” for my company, Teneo Lingustics Company, an international translation and linguistics company. The program, from which I graduated in about a year and a half, is designed to help entrepreneurs get to the $1 million revenue mark and keep growing.
Here are some of the things I learned in EO’s Accelerator program:
- The sheer volume of information one learns about their business from just watching numbers is mind-boggling. And extremely useful.
- When it comes to money, ignorance is NOT bliss.
- Revenue in and of itself does not mean much if profit margins are slim.
- My 12-month rolling indicators spreadsheet makes me feel good. I can clearly see we are trending up, even if we have just had a bad month.
- The Labor Efficiency Ratio [the measurement of direct productivity of employees within a business] is now one of my most important numbers to watch.
- Creating my own customized financial reports beats anything that’s in QuickBooks any day of the week.
- I thought my customers would never go for a shorter payment cycle – turns out, all I had to do was ask.
- The decision to practice open book management has revolutionized my business. Everyone in the company knows our numbers and how they contribute to meeting our goals. And they love it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Accelerator learning process. I still use the principles I learned. However, what made the biggest difference for me and for my business was not just the information taught in the program. For me, the EO spirit of sharing has and continues to play a pivotal role in my personal and business growth and motivation.
Throughout my participation in the Accelerator program, I met EO members who are willing to share their experiences, successes, and failures without reservation. They trusted us enough to share the results of months or perhaps years of their own efforts – their business plans, financial reports, and data.
Does your business needs a template for a good KPI dashboard? Here it is.
Do you want a rolling indicators Excel spreadsheet, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel? Use mine.
Do you want to know exactly how I did it? No problem, I’ll show you.
This is what EO is all about. The altruism, the extended helping hands, the ears that listen, and the generous, selfless hearts of my fellow members are the wind in my sails every day. When I graduated from the Accelerator program and someone asked me how I did it, I told them it had taken a village. The EO village.