I recently read an article in Inc, “Just Starting Out? Avoid These 5 Startup Mistakes. You’re Welcome,” that made me say “YES!”

The author writes, “Whatever you do, do it with a professional” as his fourth piece of advice for small businesses and start-ups.

His point?

“A penny saved on professional advice today is $100,000 lost in cleanup expenses down the road….every single serial entrepreneur with whom I have spoken has told me, ‘If only I hadn’t tried to do it myself, I would’ve saved $100,000!’ There’s a reason lawyers and accountants go to school for this stuff. While starting a company might not be quite as difficult as brain surgery, I guarantee if you try to do it all on your own, you will screw it up–and then pay 10 times as much to get a professional in to clean it up.”

Have you ever been in this situation?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been called in to clean up another well-meaning DIY mess.

If you feel like you’re too small for a CFO, or like you can’t afford to have that kind of help and you don’t really need it anyway because you can do it yourself, read on. You can try it yourself, but screwing it up is going to be much more expensive for you than if you just hired a professional in the first place. Not to mention the frustration and sleepless nights you’ll have in the process.

Why do you need a CFO? I’ll break it down into 4 key reasons:

1. A CFO will enable you to grow profitably and confidently.

2. A CFO will help you plan your business.

3. A CFO will enable you to think strategically and really see the strategic side of your decision making.

4. A CFO will help you make data-driven decisions and know the potential outcomes before you pull the trigger on making a decision.

All of these things aren’t just lofty, nice-to-haves. These are critical factors in growing your top and bottom lines. With this type of firepower, you will see an increase in your profits and you will be able to take your business to the next level.

I see so many small business owners making poor decisions that hurt their businesses — along with eroding the value they’ve worked so hard to build — and it’s simply because they don’t have the support, confidence and data they need to make the right decisions.

A CFO equips you with the tools you need to make confident decisions based on solid data and fact, so you aren’t squandering resources (including both money and time) ineffectively and inefficiently. When you make decisions like this, your decisions will generate positive returns for your bottom line and give you peace of mind.

But it’s not just this benefit they bring. A CFO brings big picture thinking and high-level strategy to your business. They have the ability to zoom out and take that 50,000 foot view to look at the business from an outside perspective, instead of being stuck in the day-to-day operations where you don’t have the time or energy to pull back and see the big picture.

When you’re stuck in the day-to-day muck, you’re not seeing your competition or the marketplace and all the changing factors you need to be aware of to make better decisions.

The other piece to big picture thinking? Succession planning and exit strategy. You want to retire in 3-5 years but you don’t have a plan? A CFO can help you look at what you want and where your business is to create a timeline and action plan that puts you in a position to unlock the value you’ve worked so hard to build.

Another big reason I hear business owners say they won’t hire a CFO is that they rely on a bookkeeper or CPA.

(If you know me at all, you know I’m about to get on my soapbox right now!)

If you’re relying on your bookkeeper or CPA, you’re looking at the past. A bookkeeper or CPA does not focus on the future, creating projections, and putting together a plan to move your business forward.

A CFO’s focus is on where you are going and where you want to go, and building the right path to get you there with sustainable and profitable growth. If you want a GPS to get you where you want to go, a bookkeeper isn’t going to get you there. The path is ahead — not in the rear-view mirror.

A CFO is also an accountability partner for your business. Small business owners often find the top to be a very lonely place, and they really don’t have a sounding board to get feedback from other than other business owners (which will usually be on the sales and marketing side, not the financial management side). A CPA isn’t going to be able to be this accountability partner for you because they don’t have the right background, experience, and expertise to be able to give you guidance in operations and financial management.

The accountability a CFO brings is absolutely priceless.

Your business needs the big-picture thinking, accountability, and path forward that a CFO can bring. I won’t lie to you, it’s not cheap…but it’s an investment in your company’s future. And there’s no need to hire a full-time CFO. It’s not an all or nothing proposition — either have one on staff, or go without.

Take the middle ground and outsource to get the talent you need at a price you can afford. When you hire me as your CFO, you get transformational work, not transactional work. There’s a big difference, and it’s totally different than hiring a temp and paying someone by the hour.

Hiring me as your CFO is hiring for outcomes and expertise, not a warm body. I can take you from ground level in the mud into the stratosphere. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, contact me here and let’s talk.