download a mission, vision, + Values workbook and be on your way to clarity in your business

download now

Podcast Transcript

Shelly [00:00:03]:

Hey, Christie. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. I’m super excited to have you.

Christy [00:00:08]:

Thanks so much. I’m so happy to be here.

Shelly [00:00:10]:

Great. Can you just tell the audience a little bit about yourself and your business and how you got to where you are now?

Christy [00:00:16]:

Yeah. So my name is Christie. I am a CPA and financial consultant. I like the word financial consultant a little better because when I use the term CPA, people are like, Oh, you do taxes, which I do, but I also do so much more than them. So I own a firm. I tend to refer to it as CBFS. It’s Christy Bouie, Financial Solutions, but I like that acronym better. So if I say that, that’s what I’m talking about.

Christy [00:00:40]:

So we really work with clients, helping them not only understand and their tax situation, but also how that wraps up with their entire financial situation, whether it be business or personal. I work with clients to do things like understanding their pricing, their profit margins, how much they can take home. We do forecasting. We do budgeting. Really everything to make sure that you are truly using your business as a wealth building tool. So, you know, everybody will have a team backing them that really, really knows their finances. Like the client I just got off the phone with said, sometimes better than they do themselves.

Shelly [00:01:16]:

Yeah. I think there’s so many small business owners out there that, like, make money. And then at the end of the day, they don’t have any and they’re like, where did it go?

Christy [00:01:24]:

Yes. Exactly. And so many of my clients are so busy working in their business and serving their clients that Sometimes it’s hard to take a take a step back and say, okay, now I need to actually be looking at all of this information. So That’s kind of our goal here is to make sure somebody’s looking out for you, while you are so busy doing what you do best.

Shelly [00:01:45]:

Yeah. Yeah. So important what you do and I can’t wait to dive in. So I wanted to just ask you about Pricing strategies for

Christy [00:01:55]:

profit. Yeah. So interestingly enough, what I’ve seen is a big model As we are going into, you know, at the end of 2023 right now, middle to end, I see where was at the end. And something I’ve really, really noticed Being done lace lately is something with a subscription model. Businesses really like recurring revenue And clients really like predictable expenses. And so we’ve seen this trend of subscription based models with a flat fee. So I am the perfect example. Normally, accounts bill hourly.

Christy [00:02:29]:

They don’t really know what their income is going to be because they don’t know how long it’s gonna take them off the bat. We have an idea. But the client sometimes really has no idea what’s gonna cost them. And all of this really contributes to I think there’s enough financial anxiety in our world these days, but to talk about unpredictable finances. That just makes it worse and worse. So I have seen lately a big trend towards subscription models. I think they’re great. It’s what I do with my clients in my firm.

Christy [00:02:54]:

So that’s one thing that I I know not every business can do this, but I really, really encourage people to think about, Even if you are a business that more operates on the one time revenue scale, how can you turn that into some sort of subscription to your clients So that you have a predictable revenue and your client knows that if they’re in a situation where they need you, they’re not having to pay like an outrageous hourly rate or a one time fee. So that’s something I’ve seen recently a lot of, and I think if you do something like that, you’re going to be on the forefront of this movement. The second thing I would say about Making sure you’re pricing accurately and for profit is making sure you are tracking your expenses per if you offer different services or product lines, Understanding which expenses are associated with what service or product line, so that you can understand What is the most profitable offering for you and continually tracking? And guys, this means looking at your financial statements, which hopefully you have some version of monthly to see if those are rising. So again, I will use myself the perfect example. I have some clients I pay some level of subscription fees for and those have just gone through the roof lately. And so Making sure you are constantly staying up to date and reevaluating your billing rates. I also have a A reminder every 6 months in my CRM under each of my client that says review their billing rate. I do recurring prod recurring revenue, but this might for work for one time projects too.

Christy [00:04:27]:

So making sure you are constantly revisiting your pricing strategy, especially in this era of, you know, it’s inflation every month.

Shelly [00:04:35]:

That is so true. Yeah. And you coach your clients on how to raise their rates.

Christy [00:04:41]:

Yeah. So I would say, you know, It it depends on the client and it depends on your industry. I am actually about to go through and raise my rates and it’s a little anxiety inducing. But, you know, I would say that it’s just twofold. Number 1, you don’t have to justify yourself. You, you don’t owe anybody a response other than I own a business and it’s for profit. Sometimes you can say things like, Hey, you know, My subscription fees have gone up or this. But at the end of the day, you do not owe anybody an explanation.

Christy [00:05:16]:

So I would say, you know, that Is number 1. If you’d like to give people an explanation, if you wanna tell them this, that, totally can. But at the end of the day, the cool thing about being a business owner is like, that’s your decision to make. I would also say the way in which, against the timing in which you raise your prices Should be so that you can afford to take a hit if clients do not decide to continue with you. So, You know, I recently got to a point where I said, hey, if I lose 2 clients when I do this price increase, Fine. Maybe I’m not making as much as I want to or could be, but if I know that the level of Clients I have can sustain the base amount of money I need to take home and run my business. You are so much more comfortable going into that conversation because it’s okay if

Shelly [00:06:11]:

Yeah. That’s really powerful. I feel like sometimes I feel apologetic, you know, like, I’m so sorry. You come to really like your Clients, you don’t wanna cross the rates, but you’re right. You have to to maintain a profitable business for sure.

Christy [00:06:24]:

And it’s so interesting because especially people who might be, like, In some sort of consulting or coaching field, I tell my clients to raise their wreath, and then I’m sitting here like, oh my gosh, I have to do my own. So Everyone feels it, but also everyone knows it’s part of business. Like I just got my new electricity rate the other day and my response was like, well, this sucks, Part of life, like it, it’s really just how it goes. And, you know, I would, I would also say if you’ve Truly been a value add for your client. They they’re kind of accepting of

Shelly [00:06:58]:

it. Yeah. Yeah. That’s so true. I also saw on your website that you have I think it’s a master class. Can you afford this master class? And I love that because I’m one of those people that, like, if I see something that I I need to, you know, learn from my business or whatever, I just buy it and then deal with the consequences later. So I need your masterclass, but can you talk about that a little bit?

Christy [00:07:20]:

Yeah. So one of the beliefs that I have in business is that there should be no surprises in the future. You should be able to predict, prepare, and see 6 to 12 months out in your business. Now, obviously, we know we aren’t going to, You know, hit the nail on the head with revenue. Right? Sometimes that’s a little hard to predict, but we can probably predict our expenses at least relative to revenue. I know that, You know, this tends to cost me 30% of my income to pay my employees. It tends to cost me $200 a month on software, whenever. I can look at that.

Christy [00:07:53]:

And so what I do and actually kind of what the masterclass goes over is how much cash do I have on hand for you? How much do I need to be pulling out in the future? Whether it be to pay myself, to pay taxes, because that’s something we dig into that people forget about to pay all of my expenses. And what is the dis what is the implication of this decision I make today on 6 months from now? Because I think that’s the disconnect for a lot of business owners. You may be having a month that is extremely profitable and low on the expense side right now, which is great right now. But what if 6 months from now, you are in a low season because I’ve collimated to very seasonal businesses. You are in a low season and in a high expense month, maybe all of your subscriptions Are hitting out one time. Do you have the cash barrier to sustain maybe a month’s down In still being able to pay yourself. So that is really kind of what I believe and what I look at in that masterclass is saying the things that Our bank account quote unquote said we can afford now. How is that going to impact our business in the next 6 months?

Shelly [00:09:01]:

I need to take that master

Christy [00:09:04]:

class. There’s a worksheet and everything. So you literally just plug and play.

Shelly [00:09:11]:

I I need that. And when you talk about, like, recurring revenue for I know there are, you know, some people out there that sell Memberships or, you know, things like that. But service providers, would it be more like a a retainer type service that they offer?

Christy [00:09:28]:

Yeah. So I’m the perfect example. I MyPlates actually pay me monthly, a flat monthly rate, and that monthly rate encompasses Their tax return, which I do once a year, but I take that fee kind of divided over the 12 months As well as, you know, different clients that you do different things for, throughout the year as well. But yeah. Look at how you can make Something that may appear to be a once a year type of thing and make it kind of a subscription model or make it something for you. One of the phrases I use a lot in my business because I really believe this is what we need right now is disruptor or disrupting the industry. Right? Why don’t we just have to accept the way it’s always been? We need to be creative and innovative about ways that will work for on us to bring in money and in our clients to pay money. So that’s why I said, I do not want to make all of my money one time a year in April.

Christy [00:10:26]:

I’m not interested in I I don’t want to die in April with the volume of work I have to do to sustain myself for the rest of the year. How can I make this work? And it has been so well received. It has gone great for me and my clients. But If we just go about the way that like the world always tells us we should do things. We’re not going to discover these new ways of operating. And right now is such a time in the industry where people are open to change, and I think you need to be taking advantage of that.

Shelly [00:11:00]:

Yeah. Yeah. I love that point of view. It’s like what Hermozy just did recently, and I saw the word disruptor all over your website and I’m like, yes.

Christy [00:11:11]:

Yeah. And that’s exactly, you know, I’ve even had a client say something to me like, I really wanted to do this, But my mentor said I couldn’t. And my response is, why not? Like, let’s put a pen to paper and look at the numbers. Maybe, maybe you’re right. Maybe we can’t. But maybe we can. And a lot of people are stuck in this mindset, especially, you know, I work with some people in professional fields, you know, Private practice owners in healthcare. And I feel like in these industries that have such a, I don’t wanna say like stringent education, but there’s a long history in how you operate and You do things that is just passed down.

Christy [00:11:47]:

And it’s one of those where we start doing things not because it’s the best way to do it, but it’s because we’ve always done it that way. Right? And so why? Right? I am always gonna look at my clients and say, why are you doing it that way? And if we put a pen to paper and, like, that’s the actual best way, Awesome. Great. But maybe you tell me, like I said, I don’t wanna work really hard in April and make all my money then. Cool. What else can we do?

Shelly [00:12:15]:

Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Just be curious all the time and don’t just do things because that’s the way You’ve always done

Christy [00:12:21]:

it. Exactly.

Shelly [00:12:23]:

And so as a business owner, what is the most important financial data we should be tracking?

Christy [00:12:30]:

Yeah. So I actually have a 4 column, I guess, sign in the right word, 4 graph model that I like to look at with my clients. So What we’re tracking, and I like to look at this in a trailing 13 months, format because we wanna catch the seasonality. So I always look at revenue. I look at cash on hand. I look at, gross profit and net profit as percentages of your revenue. So I would say those are the big things that we want to be tracking. Just to make sure, you know, you’re always in a good place, both Profitability wise, but also cash wise because I think, you know, those operate sometimes not on the same page.

Christy [00:13:11]:

You may be super, super profitable, but your cash is really low for, you know, maybe you had to pay a loan or whatever. And so I’m tracking, you know, All 4 of those, and I really think every business owner should have some idea of where they are in each of those columns every single

Shelly [00:13:26]:

month. Yeah. Cash is queen. Right?

Christy [00:13:28]:

Yes. That’s awesome.

Shelly [00:13:31]:

And then do you also do, like, sales forecasting for clients?

Christy [00:13:36]:

So it could depend. I am mostly work with service based business owners who will have contracts. So, yes, we can predict what Revenue is for clients, you know, when we have contracts in place, but, you know, I like to say the purpose of the forecast is to know what we need and know how to adapt. It’s not to be a perfect forecast. You know, I I don’t tend to work a ton in, like, the ecommerce space because I know there’s a lot more that Goes into sales projections for that. We’re mostly looking at the Yeah. The opposite side once we bring the money in. I had a mentor tell me this and it stuck with me.

Christy [00:14:11]:

We’re working on what happens with the money when it comes in. Right? Yeah. Right. So, you know, we’ll talk to you about, you know, spending money on marketing and all that. But Really, what we optimize is what it comes in, what we do with it. And more importantly, if we do have these forecasts that we’ve kind of tentatively put together for sales, What happens if we don’t meet them? Like, that is my perspective is the purpose of the forecast is to know where you need to be and know how to adapt If you are or are not meeting it, it’s not to be what’s gonna happen. We all know it’s not exactly what’s gonna

Shelly [00:14:45]:

happen. Yeah. That’s so true. And do you have a team of people that help

Christy [00:14:50]:

you? Yeah. So I my perspective, and this is kind of the way I view business as well, is I have outsourced anything and everything that is not like within my client service. So I have a social media manager. I have, you know, assistant. I I did all of that first so I could be so dedicated on my business and serving my clients. And I think that’s very important when you are, like, Specifically a, like the talent of your business. Right? You’re doing something that you are known for. Maybe you’re educated to do it.

Christy [00:15:20]:

Maybe you just happen to be really good at it. So I did all that and I just couple months ago, brought on my 1st team member and I’m in the process of kind of outsourcing all of that and I’m already mapping out the 2nd 3rd. So, yeah, we’re we’re definitely getting

Shelly [00:15:35]:

there. Awesome. And then you are the only one that does like the financial, your specialty.

Christy [00:15:41]:

So my my team member who I recently brought in, she’s also doing that now. Correct. We kind of got to a point where I was like, well, I’m pretty maxed out on things I can outsource. And, you know, you got to a point where you think about If you are so maxed out, how then are you generating new sales? And how then are you continuing to grow the business? I have since Given myself a dedicated day where I am working on the business and not in the business, and bringing on team members has really allowed me to do that. So, Yeah. We are starting to have to, give client service to my team members, which is, you know, sometimes that’s really, really scary. But, yeah, growing that fast. We had to do it.

Shelly [00:16:25]:

That is really, really exciting when you get to that point. And like you said, scary as well. But, Yeah. You can’t continue to grow and scale and and it just be you. You definitely have to outsource. So congratulations. Yeah. And let’s talk about financial statements.

Shelly [00:16:40]:

I know for a lot of people, we look at them and we get really scared. Are there certain financial statements that we should look at and how we can interpret them?

Christy [00:16:50]:

So the first thing I’m gonna say to your first comment about being people being cared about this stuff. Sit down and take yourself on a money date. Get a nice little cup of coffee, have a cocktail if you partake, you know, whatever. Like, make this fun. Make this a, like an event for you because if you view this negatively, you are going to develop a negative feeling about money. And quite frankly, you’re doing it to yourself by putting these thoughts in your head, by reinforcing that thought in your head. So that’s the first thing I’m gonna say. When you approach finances, it’s it’s a fun little event.

Christy [00:17:27]:

I have a little date with myself and I go to the coffee shop and I look at it. So that’s the first thing I would say. In terms of the financial statements. So there are kind of the main 3 financial statements that we tend to look at. And I also do have a master class on my site that goes through all of this, and I can give you guys code to access it because I think it’s just so important. But I don’t wanna, like, go into 40 minutes of it here. So we have the profit and loss statement, which is kind of the one that I think The quote unquote online business world pushes a lot and says, how much are we making? How much, you know, is coming in, coming out? Great. Love that statement.

Christy [00:18:04]:

The second1 is the statement of cash flow. So basically, your profit and loss, how much you made may not exactly mirror How much cash is on hand? For various instances, maybe you paid yourself and you had to take a distribution. Maybe you had income from a loan. Maybe you paid off a credit card. So you may be super profitable, but super low on cash. And then the third one is the balance sheet. And this is really The one that’s not talked about a ton. But I think it’s really important because this is where accountants say, this is where the secrets are buried.

Christy [00:18:36]:

Right. So we can tell if, if I’m looking at this and I’m saying you have the massive loan, but not a lot of cash. My, my wheels are turning. Right? How are we gonna pay this off? How is you know, we see things that are coming in the future on the balance sheet. So high level overview of those, and I would make sure you kind of briefly high level understand what’s on each

Shelly [00:18:57]:

sheet. And how often should we look at those monthly?

Christy [00:19:01]:

I would say a minimum quarterly, depending on the volume in your business. You know, we have some clients that are more on the side of They don’t control the expenses in their businesses as much. So for example, I work with some real estate agents who it’s kind of like, What comes in what is what comes in, and we don’t look at the expenses much. But if you are someone who maybe has team members, you have inventory, Stuff like that. I would say a minimum of

Shelly [00:19:27]:

monthly. Gotcha. And let’s talk about your podcast, The CEO Wingnut. What sorts of things do you cover on

Christy [00:19:36]:

there? Yeah. So my concept about business ownership, you know, I’ve shared a little bit of my values about it Before, you know, you should have no surprises. But I also really believe that we need to build our business around a lifestyle that we Love and can sustain. So, you know, we talk about all things from finances, legal, like the more, you know, concrete things of it Two things that you have to think about as a business owner that nobody’s gonna tell you. So I recently had a guest who talked about nutrition. I had a guest who talked about how How the stress of owning a business could impact your fertility. Right? Like just such crazy things that you’re like, I I didn’t realize I had to think about these things as a business owner. So, yeah, really digging into concepts that are part of owning a business that might not be like the stuff you Google.

Shelly [00:20:25]:

Yeah. Yeah. I have found that too having all the different podcast guests on my podcast. I’m like, oh, wow. I didn’t think about that or just con connecting with all the different types of people. It’s been amazing.

Christy [00:20:37]:

Yeah. And I really faith that there’s so much in the business that is not the, Don’t get me wrong. The financial is great. I will talk the world about it. But there’s so much with this is that the mindset, the, you know, the health, the nutrition, taking care of yourself first. And nobody really gives you a manual for that. Like, I, you know, I could give people a list all day of the finances, but Nobody ever sat me down in school when I had learned all of this and said, well, you also have to take care of your nutrition or you will be too tired to serve your clients. Right? All those things.

Shelly [00:21:10]:

Yeah. Yeah. Like, I really appreciate you saying you have to have a positive mindset when you sit down to look at those statements.

Christy [00:21:16]:

I will also tell you, cause I think this is one of the most important things I say to my clients that anybody who’s experiencing Any level of financial anxiety you need to hear. Everything is fixable. But only if you approach it. Right? Like we can fix Anything and everything. I don’t care if you haven’t filed your tax returns in 5 years. Great. Let’s fix it. But you have to know what you’re working with.

Christy [00:21:41]:

Right. So to even be on that journey to fixing it, you just gotta know where you start. So go into the mindset of, you know, whether it’s You’re scared that your finances don’t look good. Whatever it is, I find that a lot of people just have like a, a nagging feeling. They’re like, something is wrong. I’m scared. If something is maybe nothing is wrong. Maybe you’re just stressing because we stress as business auditors.

Christy [00:22:06]:

But if something is wrong, Cool. Let’s fix it. Like, great. Let’s learn and move on.

Shelly [00:22:13]:

Yeah. I I feel like some people, me included, might be Feeling nervous too, you know, just like embarrassed, like, you you know, you see my reports in shambles or something and Yeah. Yeah. And you seem like you have Just a really cool vibe and would make people feel so comfortable. So

Christy [00:22:31]:

but that’s kind of the goal. You know, I’ve worked at The big firms with the massive companies where what I say didn’t matter or, you know, couldn’t really make a difference. And one of the things I wanted to do was To make this level of knowledge that I got to see with these massive companies and how they’ve scaled to, you know, multimillion dollars, like, Make that accessible to everybody, but in a way that doesn’t feel like unapproachable, doesn’t feel like you’re working with a massive firm who doesn’t care about you. You know, the cool thing is when my clients work with me, I have also been through all of the business issues They are going through whether it’s I had a call the other day that turned into talking about operations because I am a business owner as well. On a smaller scale and go through it. And so, you know, my goal was really to to make all of this information accessible. And I did find that one of the benefits of my subscription model was that clients have to talk to me. Like, we have meetings quarterly at a minimum or I guess biannually.

Christy [00:23:35]:

And, like, I wanna know what’s going on in your life. One of my rules for myself is If I cannot say 3 things about my client that are not on their tax return, I’m not doing their job. I wanna know their dog’s name, their favorite do what their coffee order is. Right? Like, I wanna know them on a personal level so that they feel comfortable Opening themselves up and get getting vulnerable with me. So that’s kind of the way that, you know, we we approach It’s not just from a financial standpoint. It’s from you are a human being who has some financial statements, but you’re a human being and what they say impacts your life.

Shelly [00:24:14]:

I love that. Yeah. Because it is a very vulnerable place to put yourself to open up your financial statements and books to someone. So Yeah.

Christy [00:24:21]:

Yeah. And people don’t realize it. And, like, not that I don’t want this to come off the wrong way. So it’s not that I don’t care, but, like, they’re numbers. Right? Like, to me, they’re numbers. And I I look at numbers for a little bit. And so that’s another key that, you know, if I have clients who are just way too stressed or emotional about it. Okay.

Christy [00:24:39]:

Call it doughnuts. I had bought 50 doughnuts this month, and I lost 10. Cool. Like, do you feel stressed about that? No. So for some reason, society has allowed the the dollar sign or the word money to create Some form of emotion, but the end of the day, like, it is a number that and and that’s really all it is. And so it doesn’t define you. It doesn’t identify you. And, You know, that that’s that’s another thing that I say to a lot of

Shelly [00:25:08]:

clients. Yeah. I love that. It’s like judgment free zone.

Christy [00:25:11]:

Oh my gosh. Totally.

Shelly [00:25:14]:

Well, do you have anything you would like to share with the audience?

Christy [00:25:17]:

Yes. So I do have my Can Your Business Afford This class, And then I can also get you guys a promo code on the know your numbers. That is also the one that goes into the financial statements. So, definitely would recommend checking those out. It, you know, just gives you a little bit about, how you need to be looking at your business in order to really foresee your financials going forward and, you know, just just a different approach, I think, on

Shelly [00:25:42]:

finances. Yeah. I love that. I’ll be sure to link to it in the show notes. Well, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure having you on the podcast.

Podcast Transcript

For tips and updates follow me on Insta @shelly__criswell

the Gram

find me on

Β© 2023 CRISWELL SOLUTIONS. all rights reserved. privacy policy