Your business is growing, that’s great news! It also means it’s time to make sure you’re protecting your assets and managing your finances in a scalable way. Here’s how.
As a business grows, leaders need to ensure that they manage financial assets and that equity within the business is well managed and secure. No matter where your professional and personal funds are investedthere are several things you can do to ensure that your resources are protected as you scale.
5 Asset Management Best Practices
1. Use cap table management software.
The capitalization table, or capitalization table, is an essential document for tracking your company’s equity – a kind of dashboard.
Think of it as an organized spreadsheet that tracks the distribution of dividends among shareholders. Include the value of your business and financial projections for the future. Do this even if you don’t have public shareholders or if you are a sole proprietor LLC. To manage assets effectively, you need to track your property to keep investors up to date.
Your table of ceilings will display all of your company’s securities, shareholders and valuation details.
As an organizational resource, it should be sortable and easy to keep up to date as your business goes through funding cycles. As a financial document, it can be your best marketing tool for attracting new investors. This is the first document an investor will want to see before deciding to take a chance with your business.
You can create your first capitalization table using a spreadsheet when your business is small. However, it is both risky and tedious to manage this data manually as you grow.
As you move through funding cycles, your cap chart will become increasingly layered, with various events and provisions affecting data along the way. Ultimately, you’ll want to invest in cap table management software, just as you’ll want to invest in automating your growing business.
Dedicated software from a reputable company, such as Astrella by Equiniti, provides intuitive data management that incorporates decades of compliance and security expertise. Astrella notably uses blockchain technology—a growing trend in finance– so that no one can surreptitiously enter and modify a data entry.
This kind of protection against fraud and inaccuracies can help business owners sleep well at night.
2. Hire an accountant and an accountant.
Your accountant is essential to the day-to-day functions of your business. They will reconcile your bank statements, process payroll, maintain your general ledger, and prepare financial reports for your review.
You may have managed your own books when you started your business. But as you grow and evolve, you’ll need an expert who can take some of those tasks off your hands. They should be able to invest the time necessary to ensure that all of your accounts are in order and up to date.
An accountant can help you with tax planning and tax compliance (if this is within their scope of practice). They are also the person who can provide audits to creditors when looking for a loan.
They can also advise you on higher level financial decisions. They will help you avoid tax penalties and interest, get the most out of your refund, if any, and make informed decisions about how to structure your business finances and manage assets. This crucial role can affect the financial health of your business in the long term.
Be sure to check the people you choose to fill these roles. Word of mouth referrals are helpful, as is understanding exactly what you are looking for. If you work with an accounting firm, find out what services they offer to help you manage your assets. Sometimes they will also have accounting specialists on staff.
Look for a licensed CPA who practices GAAP compliance. Interview potential accountants or firms to ensure that their ethics, professional values and priorities match those of your company. Call their references. Whether you’re hiring a full-time employee or an external contractor, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right culture for your growing business.
3. Get credit insurance.
If the majority of your revenue comes from a relatively small group of clients or customers, consider investing in credit or debtor insurance.
It’s not a cheap option, but it does provide peace of mind. It does this by covering a certain percentage of the value of your receivables, if one of your customers goes bankrupt or goes out of business. It can also protect you if you rely on permits to import or export goods. If you transport goods as part of your business, you may also want transport insurance.
In order to decide how much insurance to buy, you will need to do some calculations. Decide how much size loss would seriously hurt your bottom line.
Keep in mind that having insurance on your accounts receivable can also improve your borrowing power, since your business poses less risk to the lender. Depending on your business plan and quarterly goals, this would factor into your cost-benefit analysis.
Do you have a subscription type good or service? If so, you can also hire a revenue recovery service to find failed recurring payments.
Your leadership role in your business can give you clout, but it also demands your strategic brain and best energy. Rather than spending your time connecting with customers who failed to make their payments, outsource this task and protect your projections.
It’s all part of the warranty your business is optimized saving money while making money.
4. Invest in your employees.
It’s harder than ever to attract and retain the kind of talent you need to grow your business.
Pew research shows that one in five employees are seriously considering looking for a new job in the next six months. But the quality of your talent impacts both the day-to-day operations of your business and the attractiveness of your business to investors.
With that in mind, there are several ways to attract great employees and keep them.
First, you can come up with a healthy equity compensation plan.
It could look like employee stock options, employee stock purchase plans, restricted stock awards and other options. However you structure your equity compensation plan, it motivates employees to work hard for the success of the company. By offering more than just a paycheck, it can attract entrepreneurial-minded employees who take ownership of their role and bring creativity and enthusiasm to the team.
Second, you can offer growth opportunities for your employees within the company.
If your employees feel a lack of job security, they are more likely to move on. People who change companies are also more likely to see their salary increase. (These two statistics are reflected in the Research bench.)
To combat this, consider providing professional development and opportunities for employees to move into new roles in your company. They can increase their own value while you win employee retention.
Invest in all employees, in person and remote.
Third, you can offer benefits such as remote work.
Whenever possible, working from home is a smart financial solution for employees. Other perks could include 401k matches, health club memberships, fully subsidized health care premiums, flexible leave policies, and even office lunches.
If you don’t have any benefits policies officially in place yet, start codifying. By doing so, you can standardize your onboarding process and ensure equal treatment of employees. (Note: This is also a good time to hire an external or internal HR professional, if you don’t already have one.)
Finally, you can invest in corporate recruiting to attract the best-suited talent to your team.
Don’t have time to find someone who believes in your company’s mission? In this case, hire a contractor to spend the necessary time. You want to hire people who match your company values, match your culture, and have the essential hard and soft skills to be an asset to your business.
It’s worth spending a little more up front to avoid a costly loss of training and an HR nightmare a few months from now.
5. Check the weather.
Finally, a quick check: is it really the good time to grow?
It may seem silly to stop and think when you see a clear opportunity for growth. But it’s still worth doing your due diligence.
Make sure scaling today is the best choice for your business longevity. If your industry is healthy, your customer base is growing, and your customers want more, then yes, it might be time.
A 2020 report from Gallup and TrueSpace, titled The evaluation of the five conditions, examines the conditions necessary for a company to take the next leap after the start-up phase. Study this report and the five conditions present in growing businesses. It can help you get through the awkward college years of your business.
The questions posed by the assessment of the five conditions are a good starting point for your own reflection.
Is your business capable of growing and evolving? Are you and your leadership team committed to continuous learning? Are your employees, your investors and your employees, okay with growth, knowing that it will come with pitfalls?
Be honest when answering these questions. Doing so will give you a clearer picture of what growing your business may look like to manage its assets in the months and years to come. Then you can continue to build a financially savvy foundation. Give yourself the best chance for years of financial success to come.
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