Financial Information that Drives Good Decisions

In this episode of The Faces of Business, we welcome Dan Katibian, CPA, Owner and Founder, CFOFinancialSolutions to talk about the importance of generating the right financial information to facilitate the best decisions possible for your business.

In this episode of The Faces of Business, we welcome Dan Katibian, CPA, Owner and Founder, CFOFinancialSolutions to talk about the importance of generating the right financial information to facilitate the best decisions possible for your business.

With a mission to revolutionize business owners’ approach to financial management, Dan brings almost 15 years of finance and accounting leadership to his clients’ work. Dan’s expertise lies in empowering business owners to make informed decisions, fix business problems proactively, and stay accountable to their goals. His superpowers?–Translating complex financials into clear, actionable steps to guide your business forward.

At CFO Financial Solutions, Dan and his team provide crucial support for companies, ensuring that financial hurdles are not just overcome but become stepping stones for growth and success.

Download our free business valuation guide here to understand more about business valuations and view our business valuation FAQs to answer the most common valuation questions.

Dan delves into how the right financial information can be the driving force behind good decision-making. Whether you want to enhance your business performance or prepare for a big sale, understanding your financials is key to making the right decisions.

Damon welcomes Dan to his show. The host is excited about the guest’s rare passion for financial information. He asks Dan to talk about his professional background.

The guest begins by sharing his career trajectory, starting in public accounting as a CPA but realizing it wasn’t his cup of tea due to his preference for people and collaboration over number-crunching. Transitioning into private accounting and later discovering finance, he recounts a humorous experience working with a green energy company involved in waste management. This sparked his love for translating financial information into operational understanding.

Do you want to know if your business is ready for your exit or what you should do to prepare? Learn this and more with our business exit assessment here.

Dan noticed inefficiencies in decision-making processes and bureaucracy after working in a Fortune 100 company’s finance group. About eight years ago, motivated by a desire for more impactful work, he focused on supporting small businesses as a part-time CFO.

Similarly, Dan describes a significant “aha moment” in his career when he realized that business owners are motivated by diverse factors beyond financial gain. He shares a personal anecdote about working with the owner of the largest transmission shop in America, where the owner viewed employees as an extended family.

Dan further adds that the most rewarding “aha” moments often occur after he has worked with clients. He relates instances where clients, even years later, express gratitude for his guidance’s positive impact on their business trajectory. He recounts a specific case of a general contractor with a small line of credit, and through Dan’s advice, they increased it. The client later reported a business growth of $10 million. Dan advises having responsible debt management and how strategic use of credit can make a significant difference for businesses facing periodic dips in revenue.

Get the most value for your business by understanding the process and preparing for the sale with information here on our Selling a Business page.

Damon transitions to a question about Dan’s current role in helping companies, specifically those around the $5 million mark and beyond.

Dan responds by discussing using financials as a business tool rather than just a compliance measure to stay out of legal trouble. Dan’s approach involves making financials tell a meaningful story for business owners. Recognizing that not all owners are financially savvy, he tailors his explanations to suit their understanding, whether breaking down financial concepts for those familiar with accounting or identifying red flags and opportunities for those less versed in financial matters.

Damon adds that a line of credit, though often costly, offers its value, especially for cyclical businesses. He notes that such credit facilities allow businesses to operate with less cash, a crucial factor during business sales when buyers analyze working capital needs.

Agreeing with the host, Dan views obtaining a line of credit as a crucial best practice and a priority, even before delving deep into a business’s financial details.

Shifting the focus, Damon queries Dan about the frequency of financial checks.

While addressing Damon’s query, Dan acknowledges the challenge of balancing the extremes of business owners who either avoid looking at financials for months or obsessively check them daily. While recognizing the desire for more frequent financial check-ins, achieving a sustainable cadence for small businesses to produce real financials more frequently is a current challenge. He envisions that advancements in AI and technology may make this more practical. However, it is important to monitoring daily cash, particularly by someone in the trenches, like an office manager, to address immediate concerns such as covering payroll or managing vendor payments.

Dan shares a personal anecdote about a learning experience when he presented inaccurate financial information to a business owner due to missing details. Dan advocates for developing a sensitivity and understanding of the business to detect discrepancies or anomalies in financial data.

Damon then directs the conversation towards changes he observes in businesses’ operational perspectives as they gain a better understanding of financial information under Dan’s guidance.

Dan discloses his holistic approach when working with companies. He describes working backward from the owner’s financial goals, establishing profitability targets, and breaking them into operational metrics. Dan encourages business owners to share achievable numbers with their employees, focusing on transparency and motivating the team to work toward shared goals.

Damon shares a recent success story where they assisted a company in developing a bonus structure tied to profit goals. The structure allowed employees to share in the profits once the company met its targets, with a 100% bonus initially and later reduced to 50%. The owner intended to ensure everyone received a significant bonus when achieving goals.

Damon shows interest in talking about budgeting.

Dan responds with the power of setting and achieving goals, stating that a goal, especially a meaningful and not overly ambitious one, can motivate individuals and teams. He knew a wholesale baker who was initially hesitant about the profitability of his venture.

The guest refers to a Harvard study showing the impact of having written goals on success. He underscores the importance of individuals sharing their goals, making them more accountable and committed to achieving them. Dan also mentions his approach to letting clients articulate their goals, making them more personally invested.

At Damon’s request, Dan addresses potential risks and changes in business for 2024. He advises on financial awareness, citing cases where businesses burned through COVID relief funds to cater to employees and retain customers. Additionally, he discusses concerns about AI’s impact on jobs. Still, he believes in the irreplaceable human touch and connection that businesses provide to clients, suggesting that human interaction remains crucial despite technological advancements.

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ABOUT EXIT YOUR WAY®

Exit Your Way® provides a structured process and skilled resources to grow business value and allow business owners to leave with 2X+ more money when they are ready.

You can find more information about the Exit Your Way® process and our team on our website.

You can contact us by phone:  822-BIZ-EXIT (249-3948)   Or by Email:  info@exityourway.us

Find us on LinkedIn:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

Find our Companies on LinkedIn: Exit Your Way®,  Cross Northwest Mergers & Acquisitions, Bowman digital Media 

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Service Professionals Network:  Damon PistulkaAndrew Cross

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Other websites to check out:  Cross Northwest Mergers & AcquisitionsDamon PistulkaIra BowmanService Professionals Network (SPN)Fangled TechnologiesB2B TailDenver Consulting FirmWarren ResearchStellar Insight, Now CFO, Excel Management Systems  & Project Help You Grow

41:07
SUMMARY KEYWORDS
business, business owners, numbers, company, working, financial, goals, meaningful, month, talking, clients, people, damon, years, ai, knew, dan, cash, profitability, customer
SPEAKERS
Damon Pistulka, Dan Katibian

Damon Pistulka 00:03
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am so happy that we are here. Once again, I’m so excited for our guests today. We got Dan, cut TBN here talking today from the owner and founder of CFO, final financial solutions. We’re going to be talking about financial information that drives good decisions. Dan, thanks for being here today.

Dan Katibian 00:33
Yeah, David. Pleasure, pleasure. Appreciate the opportunity.

Damon Pistulka 00:36
Yeah, yeah. It’s awesome. Awesome having you on today. Because, you know, we talked before, it’s it’s rare finding someone like yourself that really enjoys financial information. But using that financial information to give those leaders good information to make decisions, and I I’m really excited to talk about it today. Yeah, man can’t wait. So, Dan, the first thing we always like to do is talk about how did you get here? I mean, you’ve done some things you’ve long career of doing thing. So let’s talk about that a little bit. And what really prompted you to start your company and do what you’re doing today?

Dan Katibian 01:18
Yeah, man, I love talking about this. So I may, I may get excited as I’m going, Oh,

Damon Pistulka 01:22
we’re good. We’re good. That’s awesome. Okay,

Dan Katibian 01:24
great, began my career in public accounting, CPA by trade. And I got there and I realized this was not the career for me, like numbers, but I enjoy people. I enjoy collaboration. I enjoyed helping people coaching. And auditing financial statements was not my thing. I did not love being super in the weeds. And I absolutely hated feeling like what I was doing was not adding value to the business in a meaningful way. I would walk into offices, and people would be quaking with fear. And about that time, I realized that this was probably not what I wanted to be long term transition into private accounting. Still wasn’t my thing, but a little better than audit. And then I was introduced to finance and finance was something that I really could talk to, you know, really funny story, Damon, so I was at PWC. And we have a company that I worked for afterwards was a client of ours, and they told me they did green energy, secrete energy. Sounds cool. Need a hybrid role of accounting and finance. Okay, I’m all in, got the paper and I was looking for, and I was excited first day, the job. And they kept on using the word sledge dam. And I didn’t know if you knew what Sledge is, but I definitely did not know it’s ledges. So this company would actually partner with municipalities, the various cities would bring their human waste to them, they would burn the human waste. And that was the green energy, which they were talking to. Now, as part of my role, I was the controller for a group of eight plants within the Rhode Island area, and I was the financial leader for eight managers of you know, dare I say it poop plants. Guys, they knew how to operate. And they did not know a number for him in the face. It was a corporate company, we had budgets, and I had to explain to them what corporate wanted, what the numbers meant, and how that translated in third day to day operations. And I loved it. I loved working with the guys on the ground, I loved explaining the numbers in a way that made sense to them. I love being that liaison between the numbers and you know, the people in the field. A mentor got me an interview with the one fortune 100 company in Maryland. I worked in the FPN a group over there for about four years, supported the quarterly earnings calls, really, really enjoyed my work was working with top MBAs from from throughout. And, you know, I just I looked around and we were a group of 700 people within this finance are really, really talented while and, you know, there was a couple of things that got me thinking. One of them was there was one slide in the quarterly earnings call, which the leaders within the finance group did not like. It took me six months to get a slide changed in the deck. One slide. I had to meet with the legal team. I had to meet with controllership, I had to either meet with investor relations. And at that point, I thought to myself, I think I could probably be doing something more impactful with my time. Small businesses, and what I realized was, I love the grit. I love the ability to take on risk at all. I love the ability to kind of climb in blind and do their best to figure it out. And what I what I saw from corporate America was that the CEOs of the companies would not make big financial decisions without that Jewish guy in glasses, crunching the numbers, and I looked myself in the mirror, and I said, I’ve got all the credentials, let’s go have some fun. And that was the niche, which I was trying to fit. I wanted to be part time CFO, for the small business owners. And that was the beginning of my journey about eight years ago. Awesome.

Damon Pistulka 05:34
Awesome. I can’t even imagine how frustrating that had to be for you to change one slide and it took six months to get it done. It’s

Dan Katibian 05:44
even it’s hard to talk about.

Damon Pistulka 05:48
I bet. So you said you’re in the when you’re doing in the energy production facilities, you’re the liaison between the numbers in the field. And I think that to me, when I figured out that interaction and that relationship, it really opened your eyes to business, because you can see how the dollars are being generated. And you can feel how it’s coming through a business. Yep.

Dan Katibian 06:17
Yeah, it was a real aha moment for me. And it’s something which I really take in as I’m coaching my clients as well.

Damon Pistulka 06:23
Yeah. Yeah. Awesome stuff. Awesome stuff. So as you’re doing as you’re going, and CFO, financial solutions now, what are some of the things that you’ve had in your business that you got? I never thought I would have to do this, or at some challenge that you just didn’t realize? Yeah.

Dan Katibian 06:44
So David, I’ll tell you something that’s been really something I learned early on. I learned two things. Number one, that business owners are motivated by different things, not every business owner is there to pad his wallet as much as he can and bring as much home. That was a big eye opener to me, especially as a as a young entrepreneur who had a lot of mouths to feed at home, and was just, you know, out there hustling, and while they are hustling, different business owners have very different wants, needs, desires. You know, one, one of my first clients is actually the largest transmission shop in America. And him and his wife were never, they never were fortunate enough to have children. And they truly view the 28 men and women working for their shop as their extended family. Holidays and all. And they, you know, there were there were employees there who had been there for 30 years, there’s a specific tow truck driver, which I’m thinking about, who was making a good 20 to 30k more than market rate. And you know, me with my analytical glasses saw that and, you know, all the, all the alarm bells were going off. And I came in, I came into the office, and he said, he’s been here for 30 years. He’s a family member to me, he’s untouchable. And that was one of the first things I learned early on that I’m here to support the business owner, this is his or her vision, this is their ship. And I’m there to serve them. You know, so for that person, specifically, their stress was, since they did have a lot of extra overhead as a result of paying and viewing the members like family, his concern was just the ship was going to go under. So you know, he brought me in just to make sure that he can continue to live his values and not bring the business down. Because there were so many people who were dependent on on his business to feed their families and for the nonprofit sector companies that I serve, it was a really, really meaningful lesson to me, because with a lot of these religious institutions or other not for profits, they are living to fulfill a certain mission. And mom feel like I can play a critical role in that I always try to take a step back aligned to what their goals, what their ideals are, and make sure that I’m supporting them to get there. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 09:18
yeah, it’s a it’s a great point. And I tell you, my my, in my own experience, being president at a fairly large baseball club here in Seattle, that not for profit experience is really, really meaningful. And like you said, and if any more of a family style business like that is because you really understand it’s it’s not about making money all the time. Sometimes it’s about keeping that family together and building that community around that business is more important. Definitely. Yeah, good stuff. Good stuff. So when when you’re helping companies now you help companies they’re typically gonna be you know, bout 5 million and get like larger than that as you’re doing it. So you’re you’re coming into these companies? What are the first things that you usually notice? That’s a common theme that they’re missing? That really isn’t happening? Well, or, or a common problem that you see when you come in? Yeah,

Dan Katibian 10:15
so Damon, great question. So I would say the starting point is using the financials as a tool to run your business, not as a compliance tool to stay out of trouble with the government. For me, because, you know, I saw the way numbers were analyzed inside and out, while in corporate America, I was expecting something similar in small business, and it’s just a tool, which is completely not tapped into. So one of the first things which I really look to do was to figure out, how can we make these financials tell the story that would be meaningful to the business owners? And how can I as a person, you know, certain business owners or savvy, certain business owners know what appeal MLM balance sheet is. So maybe they need it broken up by different revenue streams, maybe they need a little bit further analysis, but they understand the concepts. There are other business owners kind of dust of the earth folk, who, no matter how many times I tried to explain to them what a p&l and balance sheet is. They’re not going to get it. So. So for them. It’s me explaining any red flags, any real areas of opportunity, in a way which is meaningful to them.

Damon Pistulka 11:32
Yeah, and that’s, and that’s really important, because, like you said, if they’re not using their financial information to help make better business decisions, they’re really missing out on a lot.

Dan Katibian 11:41
Yeah. 100%. Yeah. So

Damon Pistulka 11:45
as as you’re moving along with these people, and you’re helping them what are some of the aha moments that you see them? talking with you about? As as you’re starting to really explain, and they’re starting to understand this financial information more? Yeah.

Dan Katibian 12:04
So I’ll tell you them. And it’s interesting, the aha moments sometimes come after we’ve stopped to work together. But one of my, one of the things which mean the most to me is, you know, and I get it, at the end of the day, as much as I care about them, as much as we’re friends. It’s a business relationship. I can’t tell you how much you know, within the last two months, I got calls from clients, from a couple years back saying damn, I didn’t realize that at the time. But the things which you set in place have absolutely changed my trajectory. Two examples. Number one, they came in, and it was a pretty successful general contractor, they were somewhere between four and 5 million at the time. And you know, the the first thing I tell business owners, even before I look at the books, how big of a line of credit Do you have? And why is it so small? Even before I even looked at the books, and I remember that conversation? And he was like, Well, I think we got a 50k 150k with one of the regional banks. And, you know, we’re not even tapped, like, we were not even using it. It’s just there. And I said, Who’s your banker? Get him on the phone. We’re sending them financials, I want a larger life. And he called me a month ago saying, you know, now they’re a $10 million business. So he said, first of all, thank you for helping me kind of chart out the goals and the financial path to get there. But more importantly, you know, especially within the businesses that are cyclical, or do have dips in between, when you’re at a larger clip, those couple months can be really, yes. Substantial. And listen, when I was managing 100 million 100 billion dollar budget for the fortune 100 company, there were two months a year where we were in the red, and that was part of the budget, not every, not even successful companies are not going to be generating cash and every single month, especially if they’re cyclical based, that it was that line of credit, which he had, which allowed him to sleep at night during the low in between. And again, I’m the last person who I want business owners to get into debt, which they can’t they dig themselves out of. But there’s a big difference between debt which, you know, the chips sinking, and there’s nothing to do rather than a lull in business, especially when they have contracts with our sign. It’s just going to be a couple of minutes a month before they hit, you know, hit start on those. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 14:31
yeah. And that’s good. You know, that that line of credit, even though the line of credits are a little bit more expensive, they still right now, because the interest went up a little bit, but they still are going to in those cyclical businesses, allow them to not have to have as much cash in the business to operate the business because one of the things we see when we’re helping business owners prepare for the sale of business is the buyers are always going to analyze the working capital needs of the business. And if I can have less cash in and tied up in the business at any given time, you know, receivables, lower payables, higher, all that good stuff to help that, that will help the pricing out a lot, because they like to adjust price based on the amount of working capital. And that’s, that’s figured into the overall so. And that line of credit, how you being smart about your business really makes a big difference in that, yeah, 100%

Dan Katibian 15:22
Amen. And let’s face it, banks getting no benefit from taking on risk, they’re getting the same interest, whether it’s a very risky business or an extremely safe business. So they’re obviously going to prefer those industries, which had been signed off on, you know, from their, their officers there. And also, it’s much harder to sell your case to get a line of credit when you’re cash strapped than when you’re sitting on a pile. So it’s it’s something which I view as a very big best practice. It’s one of the first things I tried to implement, even before I have really gotten too much under the hood.

Damon Pistulka 15:57
Yeah, that’s, that’s a great point. The other thing that we’ve been able to do with some of our clients as well, and it’s often often very often overlooked, is to use line of credits to get purchase discounts. So pay in 15 days and get a point and a half discount. And when you figure the interest that it No, it’s a little bit less beneficial now, but when you figure the interest rate on your line of credit, you’re making money on your line of credit. Yeah, that’s

Dan Katibian 16:25
a great point. Let’s Yeah, yeah,

Damon Pistulka 16:28
we’ve been actually in one of our clients, it was it was pretty significant amount of money it added to the bottom line by doing that, and got it rolling line of credit. That’s really been nice for him. So

Dan Katibian 16:39
yeah, that’s really insightful. Yeah, yeah.

Damon Pistulka 16:41
It’s fun stuff. Because, you know, normally you don’t want to do that. But if it’s making you more money, it’s it’s, it’s it’s all good. So the other thing I was thinking about when when you’re working with people, do you try to help them do more frequent checks than monthly financial checks with their information? Because it’s, it seems like, you know, from month to month, that’s it, that’s a while to be waiting to understand what’s going on in the business, financial situation. And

Dan Katibian 17:14
when you know, you’re touching on a pain point? I think it’s, I have. So I see two extremes. I see business owners who are scared to look at the financials, and do for months on end. Yeah, business owners who want numbers every day all day, almost like an obsessive, yeah, anxiety. You know, I do think in ideal world, it would be great if you could have check ins earlier than a month, I just haven’t found it to be a sustainable cadence for small businesses to be able to produce real financials. More than that. I’ll be honest with you, a fortune 100 company dealing with billions of dollars in and out if anyone needs to know it sooner than a month stand. And they were also on a monthly cadence. So you know, with the advent of AI and more technology, it’ll become something which is more practical. But But I haven’t seen a way that’s sustainable for the business. But it’s definitely something I get asked about. Yeah, I think, where, where I do see a need for that is the day in day out cash flow. And I’m not even talking about like, I’m not even talking about a fancy forecast or anything. I’m saying, yeah, that office manager, who’s in the trenches, who’s looking at the bank account, and is wondering how are you going to cover this payroll? How we’re going to cover this big vendor? How or what is what is that big cash going to come in? That is something which I typically do not serve for a business because it takes a level of granularity and getting your hands really in the weeds that I found to be really along the lines of of the time, which I’m devoting to serving my clients, but I absolutely depend on typically an office manager or an accountant within the company to do that. So that’s where Damon, I would tell you that you you absolutely need someone smelling and sniffing the cash raising their hand. And that definitely cannot wake them up. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 19:26
yeah, that’s, that’s true. That’s, that’s one of the things that we really get people in the habit and we see it’s super beneficial. Even if you’ve got a lot of cash. Just knowing what your balance is doing over time, is really, really important. Because as you know, if you’re if you don’t know it gets low and you but if you start seeing it moving one way or the other, you can adjust your business and research and do those things accordingly.

Dan Katibian 19:51
Definitely. I also find that it’s helpful that you begin to pick up patterns within your business like you know that when you pay the big vendor, it’s going to be a hit between about 102 100 Or you know that when you’re going to collect receivables, you know, typically, let’s say 30 days after billing or whatever it is, it’s usually a bump in the bank. Within this spot, a lot of times I find both in reviewing financials, as well as when you’re reviewing cash, if you kind of have those back of the envelope benchmarks, which which kind of set expectations and they’re based on just knowing your business. It’s so important. And I’ll tell you a little bit of an embarrassing story. So when I, when I began working with this transmission company, you know, I was still getting the hang of it. And, you know, the accountant said, That book was the books were closed, I presented the numbers, and I said, Okay, business owner, you made 300k this month? And he said, No, I didn’t. And and I said, Well, what do you mean, the books of saying that you made 300k? He’s like, I’ve never made 300k In one month in my life from a bottle. Yeah, there’s something missing. And lo and behold, you know, took it on the chin went back, and there was a couple things missing. So it’s, it’s that type of understanding that you just get from, you know, that that kind of like, sixth sense you get from being around where you are now, trusting when I got those books, if they don’t smell right, I can, you know, you can smell a rat once you once you develop that, that level of sensitivity

Damon Pistulka 21:17
to it. Yeah. And you can go back and find it. Right. And that’s, that’s important. So as you’re, as you’re doing this, and helping them understand the financial information, they’re seeing it more, what are some of the other things that you see them doing? From a business? operational perspective? That’s different?

Dan Katibian 21:43
Yeah, so it’s a great question, I’ll tell you that what I like to do is, I really like to view the company as as a holistic idea. So when I come in, you know, a lot of people ask me, what should my net income be? What should my net income percentage be, etcetera. And, you know, it’s, it’s, there’s two ways to go about it. Number one, you got to know your industry, there are certain industries where, you know, you could be you could be God’s gift to mankind, and you’re not breaking over 10%. And there are certain service based industries where, you know, you couldn’t you could get between, you know, 30 to 40% profitability, that income. So I think one of the things to know is just what is best case scenario for your business from a dollars and cents perspective, I usually begin to the way I like to do that is begin by knowing what the business owner needs to take out of the business, because let’s face it, owning a business is a lot more risk than working a nine to five, and I want my clients to get compensated for it, it doesn’t mean that the business will necessarily be able to handle that on day one, but it’s definitely something which I’d like to work towards. Now, once that’s set, and we have our goal for profitability. I’d like to work backwards, you know, so for example, okay, you’ve got a set amount of overhead, call it 100k A month, and you want to pocket so and so a month, and your gross profit percentage is typically, you know, your your gross profit is typically 25% of sales. So for every dollar you’re selling, you’re pocketing 25 cents, which is there to cover overhead and everything else. Okay, fine. How many widgets? Do you need to sell? How many? How many therapy therapy visits need to happen? How many contracts? Do you need to, you know, from a general contract perspective you need to build to be hitting those numbers? And what do your percentages of profitability need to be for each one of those, all of a sudden, once you work backwards, from what your bottom line goal is, you have goals for the entire business? Yeah, I’ve heard. There’s very strong opinions both ways. If you want your employees to have transparency into your books to know how you’re doing, but one thing I think that you definitely can share with your employees are meaningful metrics that they’re responsible for. So if you’re trying to do a million dollars of sales a month, how many sales need to get through your door, who’s responsible for that? watchful for keeping your costs in check for that, you know, who are your foremen to make sure that that your laborers aren’t getting sloppy, you should be able to take goals from those numbers that trickle down to operational metrics, which can really be motivational for your entire team. The only the only thing I caution business owners are and you know, this is also something I learned from corporate America. You know, corporate America had $1 they wanted to make and come hell or how high water you had to commit to getting there if that’s where you have to commit to. And, you know, while in concept that’s great. It doesn’t sound overly realistic to me, it seems to me that it causes undue stress. On the other hand, people are motivated by goals. People want to feel challenged people feel like they’re working towards something. So if you could figure out what you want the business to do, and then have meaningful conversations with the ops managers within your company to say, hey, is this sustainable? Is this something that we can pull off? When you get their buy in, then all of a sudden, it’s a totally different experience, they’re gonna get motivated, and obviously, like, listen, they’re gonna have a different perspective than you, they’re not the business owner, them, they’re supporting their families, just like you are. So having meaningful incentives, tied to the operational metrics, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. But I’ve seen on a lot of different clients, if we hit a general sales goal of this, and we keep a profitability of this, then everyone in the company is gonna get, you know, between 150 and $200, spiffy, that could be meaningful to people. And obviously, you have to, you have to make numbers that are meaningful to your staff, but I found people get energized, I found people collect their around it and and ultimately feel happier in the position. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 26:01
yeah, you know, we, we recently were able to help someone develop the, their, their compensation or their their bonus structure. That was, it was really, it was really pretty nice, because once the company met the profit goals, then it began to share everything above it with the employees. And even to the point that the first there was a first pool that was 100%. Perfect. And then it goes to 50%. After that, and we share everything because they, the owner wanted to make sure that listen, I forget even what the dollar amount was, but it was it was a pretty good chunk of money. So everybody got a nice boat, and they could get a really nice bonus if they got to there. And if they keep going, they can even get more. But then the company started to take half and they got half. And I’ll tell you what that did for them. It really made it less difficult for them to meet their budget, profit goal every quarter, it really did. And and what you say is powerful, because when you share information that people can make meaningful decisions themselves, that will help to affect it in the right way, it really makes a huge difference in business day

Dan Katibian 27:12
when you have no idea one of my most meaningful conversations. You know, I have an analyst who’s working for me, it’s it’s a lady and she is just extremely talented. She built a model for me, where the on a customer by customer basis, she was able to see the profitability direct from a sales perspective than a direct cost. This was a card company. So you know, we have our hours, which they fill out the hours, which they’re paying their guards. And then based on those hours, we allocated overhead to the various customers. And you know, the business owner who’s not necessarily looking at his financials all of a sudden had a customer roster, where he was able to see and we’ve used, you know, the simple Conditional Formatting where if a customer was losing him money, he’d be in the red. He was so energized, he was renegotiating contracts, he was dropping the customers. And it was all because he had the data to have the confidence to make those moves. Mm hmm.

Damon Pistulka 28:12
Yeah, I tell you that that data is so critical, you know, and like you said in a company like that, and then when I used to work in the investor on companies, not public companies, but investor like private equity, or just plain investor owned companies. I found that that data, understanding where you’re at, before you get to the financial situation was so critical that we would spend a lot of time making sure that, like you said, we knew the sales were this, we knew the gross margin was this, we were hitting to make sure we had a pretty good chance of hitting where we said we were going to be at every month. And that literally will save, save your business and save your job in some of those cases when you’re doing it. So yeah, definitely. Good stuff. So a couple things that when you start to teach people about budgeting, everybody hates budgeting. But what are some of the things that you do to help people at least see the the relevance of it and make it easier?

Dan Katibian 29:21
Damon, it’s a powerful question. And I’ll tell you what, I believe it comes down to it’s hard to fail. Nobody likes failing. Yeah. Oh, excuse me. And when you put out a number that you have to hit, all of a sudden you made yourself vulnerable. There was a wholesale Baker that I used to work with and they began actually producing within Costco. They had, you know, a couple of brick and mortar locations as well. And it was a family owned business father and a couple sons and a daughter. And the father was petrified of putting a sales goal And he asked me, which in all honesty is a very valid question, how am I going to know what’s going to happen? I don’t even know if I’m going to be alive tomorrow. And how can I say that I’m going to hit a certain sales goal. And listen, let’s face it, no one knows what’s going to tomorrow is going to bring that meeting goals, especially if they’re meaningful, and they’re not completely outlandish, can help you get out of bed on the cafe’s can help you push your team can help bring the best out of people. You know, one of the things I always like to cite is the Harvard study in the 70s. And there was an MBA class that they tracked the earnings of that MBA class over a 10 year period. And what they found was that the people, the graduates from the MBA class who did not have a goal, versus those who had a goal, which they did not write down, the people who had a goal that they did not write down me two times, what the people without any role did. And you had a written goal made 10 times those who do not have any. So teknicks, you know, those are the multiples we want to see. And I feel that it’s a, it’s such an opportunity to get people to buy into a goal. And here’s the other thing, which I find even one of my first meetings with the client, I tried to do very little talking, and I asked him what his goals are, what the financial financial goals, his personal goals, his goals for the company. Because I’ll tell you something, once a person tells me what their goals are, when I’m going to be a jerk and hold them accountable to it, and it’s going to be painful for him to keep. Because sticking to goals is painful. And I’m going to tell them listen, man, this came out of your mouth, not mine. This is what you will achieve. You want to get there. I’m here to help if you don’t, that’s on you. Yeah. And it’s it’s a meaningful exercise. And again, that’s why from a team perspective, if you get buy in from the operational staff, you can basically have a conversation and you can say, Listen ops manager, I asked you, I asked you for your input, and you said this was possible. Let’s get there.

Damon Pistulka 32:13
Yeah, that is a great point. Because as much as much as people may not enjoy the budgeting process, and like you said, great point, it does make you vulnerable, because you said I’m going to do 10. And if you don’t do 10, and all that good stuff. But the The interesting part about it, or the beneficial part about it, I think is it stops you from saying, oh, yeah, we can do that without some pause and real reflection and understanding of well, how are we going to do that? Because if you say you’re going to increase your sales by 40%, and you’re looking at that, and you’re going okay, now we we were doing 200,000 a month, and now we have to do $240,000 A month or whatever the numbers are, you know, how are you going to do that extra 40? What’s that mean? For? How are we going to sell that extra 40? How are we going to produce? Or, you know, do our do our promise to our customers and fulfill our promises to our customers there? And and how are we going to then collect on that promise and make sure that we we collect the money? I mean, it really creates that pause that you go? Well, now that I think about it, we really could be 50? Or it’s no we probably are could be stretching out too much. And I think that helps us, like you said, first of all with the buy in because you have your ops people you have your finance people, we have everyone talking about this, and you get more realistic numbers that you actually can attain.

Dan Katibian 33:41
Yeah, it’s a really good point. Yeah, it’s

Damon Pistulka 33:45
I don’t like the budgeting process. Because I know it’s not it’s not the funnest part of the year, obviously. But it’s it’s one of the most important because you really don’t know where you’re trying to go if you don’t have that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I’ve had some people recently, and this is kind of an off question, but that that have decided to use 13 periods instead of 12 months, because we run it on a weekly schedule. Wow. What do you think about that? Do you have clients that are doing that? Or is that?

Dan Katibian 34:22
How do they deal with the tax piece,

Damon Pistulka 34:25
they still fill it out on a monthly, you know, at the end of the year or monthly basis, they still reconciled but for operational purposes, they want to be able to use their financials differently. And I thought that was an interesting thing. And it was a pretty big company that was doing it. It was part of a public company that was doing it which was which even more surprising. And I thought I just thought it was interesting that everything was ran on a weekly, weekly process. So a four week period.

Dan Katibian 34:51
And I love that you know, I mean, listen for the not for profits I’m supporting they have a different fiscal year end. And you know, the reason being is because Is that better aligns to their their operations. So, you know, the concept exists. And, frankly, I like the fact that they care enough to take control of it and to be motivated enough to want it to fit their needs. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 35:13
yeah, that’s true. I just think it’s different, but it works. You know, it works fine for them. And it works and works really well. For him. I just thought it there’s a little bit like you said, if you’re going to give quarterly or monthly taxes, there’s those kinds of things and you know, and how do you do it in the air, but for, for how they like to use their financials and use it to run their business. It works really well. So I’ve never heard Yeah, yeah. So I just want to say Selma just dropped a comment a few minutes ago. Thanks for Thanks for stopping by today. Someone if you’re listening, and you’ve got questions for for Dan, today, drop them in there drop in the comments. And we’ll we’ll get those answered. So as you’re looking forward with clients, what in you’re really helping them with finance? And what’s happening? What are some of the biggest risks or things that you’re seeing that people should really be preparing for, or you think, could be changing in business in 2024?

Dan Katibian 36:07
Yeah, so there’s a few points, I think some of this has already washed out with, you know, Damon, the government poured some heavy money into the businesses during COVID. You didn’t have to be that big of a business to get a $2 million loan. And I found that for unfortunately, I have three calls like this, for business owners who are not on top of their finance, finances. Believe it or not, you can burn through money fast. And once once that money is spent, you’ve got a 10k repayment each month, and also the band aids off the you know, what was holding you over until then is no longer there. I just I really find that being in tune with the finances, just knowing how you’re doing. Again, not in real time, but at least with enough time to be able to pivot is super important. And a lot of questions about AI? What is he going to do to my business? You know, am I even going to be relevant? And Damon, you know, I don’t know any more than the next guy. But one thing I can tell you is that humans need humans. You need that human touch, you need that personal feel. So what I would say is that, although it’s very possible that the robotics can be a game changer, and can possibly even replace some people’s jobs, I think if you’re really in touch with your client base, you know who you’re serving, and you know, what the, yeah, as of yet, I haven’t seen a robot be able to fill that. So to me, that’s, you know, maybe the silver lining of everything. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 37:51
yeah. Yeah, I think that, you know, AI, while there’s a lot of hype in it, the there’s, there’s a long ways to go. I mean, when we look at it really, that the AI has been around for a lot of years, that things like robotics, and automation in manufacturing and other places that’s been around for a lot of years. And we still have an unemployment situation in the US, where I know, at least in manufacturing, you can hire enough people and the retiring age is, is crazy, the amount of people going out of some of these industries is super high. And we need the kind of automation and robotics that AI may allow us to do just to maintain the current levels of producing and transporting and everything else we need to do with the goods around the United States. Yeah, yeah. And you know, when you look at it, I’m simply amazed anymore, when you look at the the robotics applications, and you talk about like building cars or something like that, it’s you know, you’re spending 10s And hundreds of millions and billions of dollars in these factories to to automate it. And yet, they still can’t find enough people to do what they need to do to, to put them together. And, and it’s I think it’s really interesting because what it’s done is a lot a lot of people to now work in these industries, wherever they are. It doesn’t matter if we’re automating the driving of trucks or or, you know, making of food or whatever it is. They now have more technical jobs. And the thing that I love seeing too is that we’re taking jobs that were very dangerous or repetitive injuries and those are going down so much from that in in the different workplaces. So there’s so much stuff that the robotics and aI think is very exciting, and so much just fun to play with. So So Daniel, it Dan, it’s it’s been awesome talking to you, man, because you’re so good at this stuff and and if people want to talk to you, what’s the best way to get a hold of you? Yeah,

Dan Katibian 40:09
definitely. So, you know, my LinkedIn, Dan to tvm, LinkedIn along they’re pretty avidly. There’s a way to set up grab me on a Calendly through my LinkedIn. I’m pretty accessible. Would love to chat. Awesome.

Damon Pistulka 40:23
Awesome. Well, thanks. Thanks for being here today. Dan. We had Dan TBN. here today talking about financial information that drives good decisions in business. Thank you for being here today.

Dan Katibian 40:35
Appreciate the opportunity. Thanks, Dan.

Damon Pistulka 40:37
Yeah, yeah, well just hang out for a moment. Dan, I want to say thank you to everyone that was listening, Selma dropping a comment in there and everyone else that was listening and not dropping the comments. But if you got into this thing late, go back to the beginning and listen to Dan, he’s talking about a lot of good things that if you have a business, you may want to understand a little bit better and then you may want to reach out to him and see just to talk to learn a little bit more. We’ll be back again next week, everyone

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