Strategic Planning

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.

Strategic planning is simply the process of deciding how to allocate your existing resources in the most productive, profitable way. Many business owners don’t take the time to do strategic planning, nor do they have a sounding board to do it with. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. Just one hour a month with strategic planning will make a big difference in your business’s profitability and competitive edge. A good CFO with business ownership experience can be an excellent sounding board. And so remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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Strategic Partners

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.

One thing that a CFO does that is a great business strategy is helping clients find strategic partners so that they can share resources and generate more business. This is a powerful growth strategy. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. Strategic partnerships are when two or more companies share resources and collectively improve results. I’ve helped my clients with strategic partnerships to get access to equipment they would have never had access to otherwise, I also helped them to reduce expenses that they never would have been able to otherwise, and helped them increase sales in ways they would have never been able to do without their strategic partner. Click on the “learn more” link right inside this video for another video on strategic partners, and remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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Steps To Increase Value

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.

In addition to selling more goods and services and in addition to creating a bottom line, we business owners need to create more value in our businesses. We need to be able to increase the multiple of earnings that our businesses are worth. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. There is no question that value is created through more earnings, but in order to increase the number of times earnings that your business is worth, you need to focus on three things. Number one: create and document a uniqueness and protect it through trademark or patent. Number 2: build and document operational systems that are repeatable, and 3: make ourselves replaceable. And remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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My Brand Promise

When it comes right down to it, our main goal should be to become the high-trust person and a high trust brand in the marketplace. If we can establish trust over time everybody wins.

How can we establish trust over time so everybody wins?

By first creating a brand promise and then (here comes the tough part) honoring that brand promise

Why is honoring your brand promise so difficult?  Because when you honor your brand promise in that moment it will cost you money, in that moment it will cost you time and aggravation and there are tempting shortcuts to dishonor your promise everywhere.  

I would like to give you my brand promise for Next Step CFO where we provide CFO Services to small companies on an as needed basis. It has 5 promises

  1. I promise to empower small business owners with information and analysis that can lead to multiple 6 figures in profit and income 7 figures in business value.  I have accomplished this with 3 clients. That is nowhere near enough, but common denominator in all 3 cases.  Trust. The trust to collaborate, trusting the process and trusting the strategy to finally executing. It was trust.
  2. I promise to maintain strict confidentiality of client financial matters at all times.  Nothing much more has to be said about that because if I violate that promise I’m done for.
  3. I promise to be available at all times.  I’ve have answered telephone calls from clients at 2 am, at 3 am.  I have had meetings with clients at 5 am and 6 am.  Night and weekends.  In the rough and tumble world of commerce there are anxious moments.  They can happen any time and I have to be there for my clients.
  4. I promise to give everything I got for my client to be successful. I like to think of myself as a thoroughbred because a thoroughbred is a rare breed.  No matter how far out of the race they are they are always giving 100%.  Once again in the rough and tumble world of commerce there are ups and there are downs.  The ups are easy to deal with the downs are not. When my client is down I need to urge us both to keep on fighting because I have seen it time and time again that just a small breakthrough can turn the whole ship around.
  5. Finally, I promise to be fair.  Fair is an honored promise. I have written checks back to clients for mistakes I have made that have cost them money. The most recent example was in April.  I made a mistake on a payroll matter with a client that cost him $832. I wrote him a check for $832 The client didn’t know he lost $832. But I did.  This is what I mean when I say when you honor your brand promise in that moment will cost you money, in that moment it will cost you time and aggravation and there are tempting shortcuts to dishonor your promise everywhere.

That is my brand promise. With that promise I feel I stand for something. Not something here today and gone tomorrow. But Something enduring.  My Brand Promise is Conceived, inspired and Driven by Trust. Trust, the most valuable asset in the world.

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Special Offers

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.

When I was in the ski business, one of the marketing strategies that I used in 1988 was “buy any pair of skis, ski with them 3 times, and if you don’t like them for any reason, come back for a complete refund or get another model of equal value”. We sold 8,000 pairs of skis in 1988 and only four came back. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. Offering the customer an irresistible offer can really pay off, however most business owners won’t do it because they’re afraid the numbers will go against them. However, many times it can be tested with a small sample. I tested mine! And remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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Seasonal Businesses

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.

In the 80s I owned a chain of retail ski stores. You might have thought that the seasonality of the cashflow would be brutal, but I never needed to use one penny of my line of credit, nor did I have any term debt. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. Two reasons why I never needed my line of credit: first of all, I was shut in the off season, never tying up cash with unproductive, summer sporting goods inventory. And second I worked with suppliers so that the products I purchased and sold in January, February and March I didn’t have to pay for until October, helping me finance my summer. The moral of the story is do what you do best and negotiate with suppliers so you get what you need. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. And remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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Salary and Cashflow Problems

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.


Many companies develop cash flow problems one or two years after having a record breaking sales year. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. When the business owner has a record breaking year, they have a tendency to increase their salary permanently, thinking they will continue to increase sales records. This rarely happens. When the business comes off of those record breaking years, the business cannot afford the owners’ higher salary and cash flow problems ensue. The way to prevent this problem from happening is through the use of bonuses, and bonus yourself for a good year, but then, keep taking your normal salary the next year. And remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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Risk

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.

Do you really understand the risks of business ownership? Many times we business owners take on risks that we don’t even know about. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. One major example of risk is personal reliability. And then we all have corporations to protect us from personal liability, but if we sign personal guarantees, it doesn’t matter if you have a corporation or not, you are personally liable. Most of us realize we’re personally liable on bank loans and credit cards, but did you also know that you are personally liable for pay roll taxes, sales taxes, wages and other stalk holders? And if those personal liabilities are not risky enough, there are many business owners who are personally liable to their suppliers with a credit application that they filled out at the beginning of the relationship. If you have one of those and you have been paying the supplier on time, ask the supplier for a release immediately. In addition, any time you fill out a credit application, cross out the personal guarantee language before you sign the application. And remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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Relationships With Trade Suppliers

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.


What would happen if a major supplier of yours goes out of business? Or decides to change your credit terms unfavorably, or discontinues a product run that’s important to you? Or, worse yet, cuts you off, to protect a competitor in your market? I’ve seen all of these things happen and suppliers do these things. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. Always be on the look out for a back up supplier, when you go to trade shows, identify possible back up suppliers and start developing relationships with them. You just never know. And remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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Questions that Cash Flow Forecasts Can Answer

Over the next Several Weeks we will be posting a new and different one-minute video providing business tips and instructional commentary for small business owners.   These tips will range from key metrics to consider to the importance of Business and Cash Flow Forecasting.

One of the CFO services I perform is to project what cash is going to be at any point in the future based on a solid set of assumptions and “what if” scenarios. My name is Michael Barbarita from Next Step CFO providing outsourced CFO Services with your know your numbers minute. Here are some real life examples: I had a client who wanted to know when his cash reserves would be high enough for him to leave the business and still get a paycheck. I had a client who wanted to know if they added another product line, how would that impact their credit line? And I had a client who wanted to know what would happen to future cash flow if he closed a store. These are all questions a business and cash flow forecast can answer. And remember, the most successful business owners know their numbers!

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