michael
THE 5 MINUTE FRACTIONAL CFO

054: 3 Big Fat Holes in my Firm

Jul 28, 2023

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054: 3 Big Fat Holes in my Firm

Jul 28, 2023

Read time: 3:52 minutes  

"If I don't figure this out soon, it's going to cost me clients."

Over the past 7 years of running a firm, my team and I have solved for a LOT of problems.

We've unlocked:
βœ… Product / market fit
βœ… How to charge a premium price
βœ… How to deliver tremendous value to our clients

But we haven't solved everything.
And we certainly haven't solved for everything necessary for us to get to $5MM.

Hell, I don't even know what all the problems are that we'll need to solve for yet! 

But 3 big problems did rear their ugly heads in the last couple of weeks
(and they're going to get costly, fast):

❌ We don't have sufficient processes to manage internal operations. βŒ

Quick backstory: 

We've spent a TON of time figuring out how to deliver a great CFO service to our clients. And that's super important. Arguably the most important priority for any firm.

That effort has served us and our clients tremendously well.

In December, we decided to aggressively scale the team and operations.

Our team grew from 2.5 to 6.5 in just a few months - with plans to hire 3 more in the next 90 days or so.

Buuuuuut some big operational cracks started to show up in the last 60 days.

The 3 Problems

1. Lack of Backup

People need to take time off work. More often than not, time off can be planned. But sometimes, emergencies happen and people need time off unexpectedly.

So how do we account for each of those in a way that results in a seamless experience for the client?

When it was just Carlos and me, it was super easy. We both knew everything about our entire client roster (because we talked on the regular) and our clients knew and trusted both of us. So I could step in for Carlos when needed, NBD.

But as we add more and more CFOs to the team and more and more clients to the roster, this virtual tag team approach has become impossible.

Our CFOs recognize it too. Last week, someone on the team mentioned they were worried about taking time off work. Why? They know they don't have a backup. 

Oof. He was right.

Either he doesn't take time off or the client suffers.

Neither is good.

2. No Dashboard & No (Meaningful) KPIs

What gets measured gets managed.

I have procrastinated for years on figuring out the proper leading and lagging KPIs to measure how well our CFO team is executing. 

Maybe I wasn't wrong for putting it off. I mean, when it was just me and Carlos I had a VERY good pulse on how things were going with our clients. It wasn't necessary.

But now we're at a point where it's impossible to have an accurate pulse on everything. 

Are deliverables going out on time? 
Is someone on the team overworked?
Is someone on the team underworked? 
Is it time to start looking to hire our next CFO?

These are all super important questions that a firm owner needs to know the answer to. 

I don't have the answer to any of these questions because we don't have proper KPIs in place nor a place to monitor them on a regular basis. 

3. A One Stop Shop

Related to the first problem (lack of backup) was the recent realization that all of the "stuff" for our clients is housed in too many different places.

• CFO call notes
• Sales call notes
• The CFO Report itself
• Financial analysis calcs
• Recordings of CFO calls
• Action items, next steps, and tasks

My 10 year old has Legos all over the house. If he asked me where the Star Wars R2-D2 Lego guy is, I'd have no idea which room it's even in.

We are not talking about that level of clutter in my firm.

But if a CFO had an emergency and someone needed to jump in quickly to back them up, it would take a while to find the necessary information to get them reasonably up to speed. Some of it's in Zoom, some is in our internal Google drive, and some is in the client-facing Google Drive. 

If I'm being totally honest, I bet some things probably live on the CFOs desktop.

We've got to button this up and make it repeatable for all.

This is ok. It's a sign of growth.

There's a close relationship that exists between the 3 main components of every business: Sales & Marketing, Operations, and Finance.

As you solve problems in one area, it creates subsequent problems in one or both of the other two areas. 

A lot of CEOs get discouraged when problems like these continue to pop up.

Don't be: this is healthy and a sign that you're growing.

Look, I don't know exactly how we're going to solve these 3 problems, but I do know this:

βœ… I have a team of smart people around me.
βœ… I have an amazing network to lean into.
βœ… I'm certain the answers aren't far.

I'll share what we learn along the way.

In the mean time, the best advice I can offer you is this πŸ‘‡

πŸ‘‰ Keep your eyes open.
πŸ‘‰ Listen to your people and your clients.
πŸ‘‰ Realize that what got you here isn't what's going to get you there.

Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Join us at The CFO Accelerator Live in Dallas, TX from May 15-17. 2024 andΒ learn how to get more clients, increase your pricing, and close more sales! Get your ticket here.
  2. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of overΒ 200 Fractional CFOs.
  3. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out The CFO Report.

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