No. 203

Don’t Always Listen to the Experts

Two or three years ago (I honestly can’t recall how long ago it was), I was working with a bookkeeper for my business who was great and seemed as dedicated to my business as I was. Most importantly, she knew how to sort through the mess of finances for a growing company. I trusted her, I leaned on her. When it came time to renew our contract together, the monthly fee she presented me with was particularly high for what I understood a bookkeeper did. Had I seen the value for my business, I would have invested.

At an earlier point in our working relationship, this bookkeeper had mentioned Profit First to me, and said she was excited to implement it with my business. I was curious and willing to learn more. But a year passed and when we found ourselves renegotiating her contract, I brought up Profit First and asked why she had never used it with my business.

Her response? Because my business didn’t need it.

I can’t tell you how much I regret listening to her in that moment.

At the time, business was on a high! It was healthy and I was doing just fine. Why would I ever need to worry?

As any entrepreneur or meteorologist can tell you, you cannot avoid rainy days — and sometimes those rainy days become rainy seasons.

I didn’t have the tools of Profit First to help me as my business grew. And so I found myself in a difficult financial situation, making more money than I ever had in the business but having so little profit that I couldn’t even give myself a raise (again). And yes, technically business has grown, but that growth may not be sustainable.

When I get the sense something isn’t quite right in my business, I look back to the foundations: what do we do, who is on this team, how we operate. And clearly, it’s time to re-establish the financial foundation for my company with Profit First. First step: open the bank accounts.

And a reminder: Don’t always trust the “experts”. Explore for yourself. Talk to multiple people. Find the people who truly have expertise to share with you. And make sure you have the right foundations in place.

Thank you to all my friends and connections who recommended I read Profit First, and for those fellow entrepreneurs who run service-based businesses who helped me truly see how this can work for me.

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.