Summer’s Hidden Opportunity: Strengthening Your Business’s Financial Health

Written by Liz Feller    |    Published: June 27, 2024

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The Seasonal Shift

For many, Summer is seen as a time to unwind, and unplug from the usual routine. For early stage founders, the summer slow down presents a unique opportunity to strengthen your financial health. Amid the quieter business months, focusing on incremental internal improvements, particularly around your finances, can set the stage for long-term success.

Matt Gardner’s Journey from Accidental Accountant to Business Owner

Matt Gardner, CEO & Co-Founder of Hiline, has firsthand experience with the financial challenges of running a business. His journey is a testament to the unseen burdens many founders carry and how overcoming these can lead to growth and peace of mind.

 

Matt’s background is in accounting, he calls himself an “accidental accountant,” because like many founders his drive called him to explore various ventures, not in the accounting space, everything from food trucks to real estate. These hands-on experiences taught him the critical importance of having a handle on your finances and the stress that comes when you don’t have finance operations in place. 

Growth at the speed of pain, others may call it “learning on the job.”

Take Advantage of the Summer

Many non-founders can disconnect from their professions to spend their summer lounging on a beach towel somewhere. Most early stage founders never truly take a day off. 

And while there is always a deal to sell, an unhappy customer to talk to, or a rogue bill to pay, the summer slowdown is the perfect time to focus on buttoning up your company’s financial operations. With fewer business distractions, you can take a beat to step back and evaluate your financial health. Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Build a Financial Plan – Failing to plan is planning to fail as the old chestnut goes. You’d be surprised how many early stage businesses are flying around by the seat of their pants without a true finance plan. And as fun as this sounds, when things go amiss, as they’re prone to, having a real financial operating plan will pay dividends over and over.  
  2. Do a Thorough Financial Review – Analyze your financial statements to understand your business’s current financial health. Look at income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Identifying trends in revenue and expenses will give you a clear picture of your financial situation, enabling you to make informed decisions.
  3. Audit Your Obligations – Review your business’s compliance obligations and create efficient systems to meet them. This includes keeping up with any changes in regulatory requirements (HR regulation, Payroll regulation, Tax regulation—it’s a long list!) to understand what and when your business needs to file and pay throughout the year. This will help you avoid penalties and ensure your business operates smoothly.
  4. Create an Efficient Recordkeeping System – Recordkeeping can be a huge drain on your (and your team’s) time. See if you can automate the task or take a more efficient approach. Growing businesses often streamline recordkeeping with tools like Dropbox for document storage and Expensify for expense tracking.
  5. Improve Operational Efficiency with Technology – While they are important, other financial tasks may also be stealing you away from other important parts of your business. Use automation and software to streamline your FinOps workload. Automating routine tasks will increase productivity, but it can also reduce the risk of manual errors and save your company hours of time each month. Check out QuickBooks Online for bookkeeping, Bill.com for accounts payable, Ramp for expense management, and Zapier to automate workflows between different apps.
  6. Create a Budget – Set realistic financial goals and create a detailed budget that aligns with your business objectives. Regularly review and adjust this budget to reflect any changes in business conditions and financial performance. QuickBooks or Xero can be helpful here.
  7. Calculate Your Runway – Calculate your cash runway by assessing how long your business can operate before needing additional funds. Regularly check in on this metric to ensure you have enough liquidity to sustain operations and plan for future funding needs. Having clear insight into your runway can go a long way to reducing your stress levels as a founder.

Embrace the Summer to Reduce Stress

Stress is often inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By taking on your financial management proactively, you can transform it from a source of stress into a strategic advantage. Use the summer to strengthen your financial operations, reduce stress, and set your business up for long-term success. Need some help? Let’s talk.

If you’re ready to take control of your finances, download our ebook, A Founder’s Guide to Stress-Free Finances.

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