Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jeff Rasmussen, Founder of Fairway Business Advisors, located in Cameron, WI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Fairway Business Advisors provides Fractional CFO services to SME owners and executives. It's well-documented science that people tend to be either right-brained or left-brained. Some are creative, entrepreneurial, or perhaps great with their hands. But let's face it, people with those mental traits are frequently NOT always able to be good with the FINANCIAL side of the business. Even if one is "Good with Numbers," it's not always clear to them how their BUSINESS DECISIONS impact their numbers. This is where having an experienced Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on board can provide great value.
However, hiring a good CFO will cost you well over $100,000 per year! That's a tough pill to swallow for most businesses with under 100 employees. The solution? Hire a part-time or FRACTIONAL CFO. We are professionally trained CPAs and have been business owners, COO's and heads of nearly every other business discipline. We have felt your pain and come out on the other side of it.
Tell us about yourself
I have been in the business world for nearly 40 years. While coming up through my career path, I was fortunate to have had excellent mentors. With my extensive background, I want to be that mentor to the small/medium business community. This business size provides 65% of all new jobs in the U.S. I want to support and teach them so they can be successful.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I bought my first business in 2010. Since buying it, we have grown it at a compound annual growth rate of 17%. During that time, we have won many awards for excellence in our community. Hearing that our community loves what we do for them is the most rewarding.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Early on, I fell into the trap that many business owners fall into
I spent most of my time working IN the business. It didn't take long before I started being over-stressed and facing burnout. Luckily, one of my mentors called me on that, and I knew that a transition to working ON my business would be necessary for the business to thrive. I find that transition to be one of the biggest challenges that my clients face. Understanding the financials is the first step in making that transition.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
We discuss this in the co-authored book: "Start It, Grow It, Sell It: The Journey of Business."
My 3 top tips are:
- Have a plan when you start and make it a living, breathing document. Don't just create the plan and shove it in a drawer. Let the plan be your North Star.
- Know your numbers. If this isn't a natural thing for you, hire a mentor to walk alongside you with that particular expertise (Ok, that was two tips).
- Have plenty of capital on hand. Nearly every business burns more money at the outset than the owners planned. Don't run out of cash that is the #1 reason why small businesses fail.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Dovetailing the tips above, I'll give one more -start with the end in mind. Many people start a business to create a paycheck for themselves and do not have a boss. While nothing is inherently wrong with that, I suggest they grow the business to make a sellable asset that will contribute to the owner's eventual retirement. Either way, now your end-game, create the appropriate plan, and then work that plan.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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