This week, Maggie sits down with Carla Titus, the founder and CEO of Wealth, Worth, Within, to talk about why small business owners might want to hire an on-demand CFO.
If you’re a small business owner, or you think you might be one day, this episode is for you! Carla and Maggie discuss what a CFO actually is and how her individualized services can help small business owners take their business to the next level.
Carla Titus is a finance expert with over ten years of corporate financial planning, analysis, strategy, and CFO startup experience. She has applied her CFO expertise to businesses, helping them grow by creating simple yet effective systems to improve cash flow management and bottom-line results. She provides on-demand CFO and financial consulting services to help your business build the financial foundation to scale profitably.
Maggie Germano 0:05
Welcome to the money circle podcast, a safe space where women can learn about and better understand money so that they can take control of their finances and create a better financial future for themselves and their families. Hey there, and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. Before I dive into this week’s episode, I wanted to tell you about an exciting new service that I’m launching next week on Monday, July 6. If you like the conversations that I have on this money circle podcast and you want to get even deeper, join my new private money circle community. There’s so much shame surrounding money already, especially for women. In this safe intersectional feminist space, we will break down that shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. For a monthly fee. You’ll have access to this community where you can learn from support other women along their financial journey. attend and participate in monthly group coaching calls. get access to helpful tools and resources like worksheets and webinars, and you’ll get discounts on one on one financial coaching sessions with me. To learn more about this exciting and inclusive community visit Maggie germano.com slash money circle or send me an email at boss at Maggie Germano calm. I can’t wait to share this with you. On today’s episode, I’m chatting with Karla Titus, who is the founder of wealth worth within where she offers on demand CFO services so that you can transform your business finances. We talked about what a CFO actually is, and when a business owner might need one to take their business to the next level. If you’re an entrepreneur or you think you might be one someday This episode is for you. Enjoy
Maggie Germano 2:02
Okay, welcome, Carla. Thanks so much for being here today. Thank you for having me. And, you know, you reached out after fin con after we had a really nice long conversation at the opening party. So I was happy to hear from you and learn from you on the podcast.
Carla Titus 2:20
Yeah, that was awesome. It was my first FinCon. So it’s a little overwhelming, but I am a total extrovert. So I was like, Okay, let’s connect with people. Let’s make new friends. And you were one of them. And I’m so excited to be here with you today.
Maggie Germano 2:32
Well, thank you, and thanks for reaching out afterwards. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and the work that you do?
Carla Titus 2:40
Yeah, so I’m Carla Titus. I’m the founder and CEO of wealth and worth within. My company was founded with a mission to help women and entrepreneur, be empowered to take control of their money. You know, through the knowledge and access to financial planning for your business, and normally is not available at an affordable price. So we’re talking about CFO on demand or fractional CFO that has the expertise, the education, the knowledge to help grow and scale their business profitably. I help my clients gain Financial Peace of mind so they can focus back on their business, which is why they started that in the first place and why they love doing it. So I want to get give them time back, right so that they can go do those things that they’re passionate about in like, generate more business and sales so that they can continue to make money and grow in that profitable trajectory.
Maggie Germano 3:35
That’s great that it sounds like I mean, we’ll get more into this, but it sounds like it’s something that’s really needed for a lot of entrepreneurs as well.
Carla Titus 3:44
You’d be surprised when I find a lot of my clients are like, I didn’t know this existed like, what I’ve been needing this my whole life, right? And I’m like, well, don’t worry, we’re here. Now. Let’s get working and let’s get you know, your finances in order. It doesn’t really take that long if they’re committed and why do the homework like, you know, we can turn things around pretty quickly. And all the numbers show are the results of that work. So there’s definitely no fluff.
Maggie Germano 4:09
That’s great. And so you mentioned that you’re kind of like a CFO on demand, can you explain a little bit about what a CFO is and what kind of work they do?
Carla Titus 4:20
they think about a financial strategy of the direction you want to take the business to. So we start with foundational things first, because most of the time, I find my clients are just not as organized in their finances as they want to be. And that’s part of the struggle they’ve tried to DIY this for a long time. They’re just frustrated, they’re like this doesn’t work I’m gonna give up and I’m just gonna try to make more money and then figure the rest out later. Right. And so I come in to help them bring them structure and knowledge on Okay, here are two processes you need to have, you need to collect on your receivables you need to manage your cash flow because if you run out of money, you run out of a business, right? We need to look at your financial statements and start making decisions based on what the numbers are telling us. We need to plan out a budget, we need to look at what are your plans for next year or the next three months? Right? What does it look like? are you adding new product lines? are you adding a new service? Are you taking away some things that you don’t want to do anymore? Because they’re not profitable? Do we even know if those things are profitable? And we start asking a lot of those questions that are driven by all the numbers and the knowledge that they should have around their business finances that they tend to put aside, because they maybe are scared, they’re overwhelmed, they don’t think it’s important. And then it catches up with them. And then it’s kind of, you know, late, and then they need expert help. That is not cheap, of course, right? To get them out of that. And so I practically want to work with my clients to give them access to this information early in their business so that as they grow and scale, they already have those processes in place to help them thrive and they’re not struggling and you know, we’re solopreneurs at times are we’re handling a lot of things right. And so if you don’t have a team to delegate to you are to HR to finance illegal that everything department Especially the sales department. And so having to prioritize your time between doing the finances and doing all the other things you have to do is hard. And so I help them, lending them by hand outsourcing some of that work to me so that I can oversee the work for them. And really just bring them the highlights and the things they really need to be concerned about. And the other the other stuff that gets done, but they don’t have to do it themselves anymore. So like, they just got that time box right away to focus on the things that matters to them.
Maggie Germano 6:28
That’s great. And I definitely relate to the idea that you know, you started your business for a reason. But as you kind of get stuck in the weeds, and you’re the only one working on your business, it can be it can feel like you’re being pulled away from the actual work you’re trying to do and you’re getting really stuck in the details.
Carla Titus 6:47
Yeah, and then once we get that set up for them, then we could talk high level strategy and really go into the depth of planning longer term. What are the key performance indicators and metrics you really want to see in your business that will help To help you with that scaling and growing, and that you could do successfully, right, because just because you want to grow in scale doesn’t mean you still will stay profitable, right? We’ve seen it where we have to invest more in our businesses to grow them. Sometimes we need to bring in more people, we need to hire more help, or we need to invest more in our products, you know, and inventory. And so that takes a dent into your finances. If you’re not prepared for that, then it’s really hard to scale. And that’s where a lot of people get stuck in that stage of going maybe from six figures to seven figures or even from zero to, you know, six figures. And I help them bring them clarity through some of the strategy sessions that we have to align, you know, those expectations and then create milestones on how we get there. Because that’s the thing is that we think we’re here today, we want to be there tomorrow. Good luck to you. See you in six months. Let me know how that goes. Right. And what I do is I bring that clarity of like, Okay, what is gonna happen in the next six months, every month, every week, there’s a piece of something you need to be doing to help move your business forward, and then we focus on what that is. So breaking down the plan of execution that most of the time people are missing, and they just, you know, hope for the best grocer fingers. And then that’s not really a great approach to go about it right, if you want to hit those goals, for sure.
Maggie Germano 8:13
Right. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. Like, kind of playing it by ear doesn’t always work when you’re actually trying to grow and be a sustainable business and move forward.
Carla Titus 8:22
I mean, it’s an approach. Yeah. Right. We’re all trying our best. But then if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, and really get some help here, then that’s where you see a four frictional on demand CFO can help you with them.
Maggie Germano 8:36
That’s great. And how did you get into this kind of work?
Carla Titus 8:40
So I have corporate finance planning experience and an undergrad in finance was very much my area of expertise or my zone of genius, how they call it, and I just love doing this, right, the number crunching that looking at match regs and kind of see what the numbers are telling me as a story and it comes really naturally to me. I find that a lot of intrapreneurs I was meeting they’re like, what do you mean metrics? Like, what are the numbers mean? I don’t understand what you’re saying, right. And so I had to really make that corporate finance experience translated to the entrepreneur who has a less complicated business right than corporate, but still needs a structure in place to be able to support them. And so I saw that gap in knowledge that needed to be closed, especially around women entrepreneur, just because maybe there is not the access or the desire to get help sometimes where we don’t want to say, Hey, we need help because we want to raise our hands because we might look you know, certain way and there is no shame in that right? Um, like if you need help you bring in the expert to help you right. If you need help with sales, you hire a specialist that does that, right? If you need help with bookkeeping, you hire a bookkeeper, like, there’s no reason why you couldn’t get help in this area, especially if it’s not your zone of genius because I want you to stay there. And in order to do that, then you need to work with someone that can kind of lead you and help you through that. All save you time because this is not easy to figure out, right? So if you want to save time and you want to get there faster, then you bring the help and you bring the expertise in. If you are tired of struggling with it, right, you’re just like, forget it, I’m not doing this dry thing anymore. Because of course, information is available, right? But the translation of it might not be and you might struggle with certain things that are particular to your business and you want someone to decode that for you, then, you know, you need some expert help, right? That’s seen as that can compare to other entrepreneurs, businesses and say, You know what, we tried that before it didn’t work, like you don’t want to do that, right? Let’s go down this other options or brainstorm some other ideas that can help you. But then it’s learning from that experience that that person has had supporting other businesses already, that also helps, you know, helps you kind of spring forward even faster. So it all comes together, right with the support of someone who knows what they’re doing and then working in partnership with that CEO to really ambition What does the business need to be in a year or two or five Yours All right, what do you want to accomplish? And then tailoring the support needed around that, based on those goals that you’ve outlined?
Maggie Germano 11:08
Yeah, I love that. It’s a combination of the, the numbers work of like, you know, you have this background in the corporate finance so you understand how all of that actually works. And so you’re taking that away from the CEO of this small business so that they don’t have to worry about it anymore. But also the visioning the strategy, the working together to figure out where you want to end up and then how to get there sounds like it’s a really great pairing of the two.
Carla Titus 11:38
Yeah, because like it or not, every aspect of your business pretty much touches money, right? Everything boils down to that. And so that’s our life. So if you’re an entrepreneur that uses your business to provide for your personal budget, that is also you know, an intricacy that we assess for to see what are the goals around that as well. But everything touches money and everything might cost you money. There might be some free options, right where you assess the value for those as well. You don’t want to go free for everything and then have to spend 10 hours doing the same thing that one tool that you pay monthly can save you, you know, five, or those 10 hours on. And so it’s about assessing like the return on investment for every dollar that you spend in your business, and really being intentional about it. Because I find that a lot of what we do is really reactionary and we go in hoping, again, that we will get results. But we don’t set metrics. We do not know what our success is define us. And so there’s no way for us to track to that right and know how are we performing against it, because we didn’t thought about it in the first place. And so it was an afterthought. And again, I take the business from being reactive to proactively planning that path that you want to get to so that is no surprise that you’re going to get there because you know why you need to do
Maggie Germano 12:51
yeah, I really love that and I I talk that way to my clients as well about, you know, not letting your money kind of rule you but you You telling your money what to do for you. And so in order to have any kind of starting point in, in order to move forward at all, you have to understand where you’re actually starting from. And it sounds like it’s the same way with business, you have to actually understand what is happening now in order to like, measure the way forward and project that way forward.
Carla Titus 13:20
Yeah, and I find a lot of the people that I work with sometimes don’t even want to look at the numbers because they’re scared to see what’s behind the scenes. But I’m like, okay, so you rather be scared and ignore the problem and then be out of a business or like, you know, worst case be running at a deficit every month, and have no idea why don’t you don’t have money in the bank, or you rather just know, confirm the problem and then put an action plan to improve upon it right. And that is what I do. It’s like, hey, you’re ready to confront the problem. Let’s do it because we have a solution for it. This is not a puzzle, right? There’s only a few cases where that’s going to be the case where maybe I’ll advice that you sell the business or that you shut it down. But that is not the norm, right. There’s always ways You can improve upon it. And other experts we could bring in as well. Because I do that for my clients as I vet all their experts that I want to, you know, have them facility, certain areas of the business that I’ve worked with, for other clients have seen results in to kind of bring that expertise to help them move forward in those areas of concerns that we have identified. And so while the work I do is, you know, me kind of helping the CEO, there’s many more people that at times get involved to kind of help move that in the direction we needed to.
Maggie Germano 14:30
Yeah, that’s nice to hear that you’re also you’re thinking about who else can be helpful to solve certain problems and it’s not just, it’s not just you, and it’s not just the business owner you’re working with? There’s potentially other people you can kind of bring in.
Carla Titus 14:44
Absolutely. And I normally work with a lot of bookkeepers and CPAs, as well because it touches all aspects right? And I take a more holistic approach on Hey, can we maximize your taxes? Can we make sure your bookkeeping is done correctly, because that is the foundation I work on top of for the financial strategy. So I need To make sure that it’s all, you know, taken care of. And so if you already have a team in place, great, I work with them. If you need a team, we can bring that to you as well. And so there’s a lot of advantages on how I structured the way I work with my CEOs to, you know, adopt what they already have. And if it’s something that’s working great, if it’s not working, then we can change it right?
Maggie Germano 15:21
Yeah, now that’s great. I like I like how that’s like a problem solving approach with that as well. So you mentioned that it’s very rare that you would ever recommend that someone either sell their business or shut down the business? Do you have any kind of examples of like when that actually might be the best course of action for people?
Carla Titus 15:41
Sure. So I see where people started a business that were very passionate about it, and then they lost interest over time because life happened or your priorities are elsewhere. But maybe they don’t even have the time to work on it to make us successful. So you know, we assess that as an option because it is an option, right? Whether or not we want to Talk about it is different. But if we can get them to the point where they’re comfortable talking about it and assessing for that, then there might be time to let go. But I don’t want people to just shut it down. They’ve created systems and processes and things that are valuable. So to me, it’s important for them to understand that there is a valuation we can put on their business, and then go find someone that can broker that deal for them and get some money in their pocket for what they’ve created. Right? Because someone else can take it over and not start from scratch and build upon it, even though they don’t see a valuable anymore, doesn’t mean there’s no value to that. So that’s one one reason we would assess for that. Another one is if you’re consistently running at a deficit, and there is no path to profitability in the shorter term, and you don’t have the cash flow, that you can invest personally into the business to offset that period, then it might be time for you to consider a right to move on. Maybe there’s like consideration around merging with another business that you need to consider you. I mean, there’s so many ways that you can Get out of it right by having an exit strategy is really important. Anytime that you run a business period, so this should not be a surprise to you that you’re like, Oh, I have to sell it or I have to just shut it down. Or I have to try to find a buyer for it or merge it right in some way. Because this, this scenario has happened, right? And you should be prepared for it. Especially as you build your business, you need to be thinking about what are the processes and systems I need in place for this to run with or without me, right? Maybe it runs better with you guys in it, but it also can run without you or a team of people that is running it for you, but you not being the one that it all depends on because I see that a lot that entrepreneurs tend to be like the the stop for anything that goes through in the business and then they’re like, why am I so overwhelmed? Why am I working so hard? Well, it’s because every process requires you to approve it or overseeing or agreed to before he moves forward. So how do we remove ourselves in almost Fire ourselves from the job right of doing the business and then become that CEO guiding light that our businesses need to be able to thrive. And so we kind of worked through the considerations on when it’s a good time to let go. But, you know, there’s, there’s brainstorming that goes along with that we assess on how we turn things around, and how long it’s gonna take. And then the entrepreneur has to consider is that feasible for me or not? to do, and then we kind of go from there.
Maggie Germano 18:29
That makes a lot of sense. So, yeah, it sounds like on one hand, it is kind of a, an issue where, you know, the business owners just not resonating with them anymore. And they have to kind of admit that and just be honest with themselves, but maybe something else is around the corner instead, versus maybe it’s something they still really love, but it’s just kind of putting them in the hole and they can’t afford to actually keep going. So it sounds like it’s just two different situations that you just really have to kind of be honest about what makes sense moving forward.
Carla Titus 19:02
Yeah, and we just take the emotion out of it when we are assessing, right? Because there’s a lot that goes into creating a business from scratch, and you run it for so long that your identities wrapped up in that. So it’s a lot of letting go and like thinking about what is a look like and then not getting so caught up on that emotion. So I have to kind of manage for that at times and be like, okay, I’ve definitely objective Lee speaking, right? This is not feasible. But I know you have a lot of, you know, time and effort you put into it that at this point becomes some cause and you obviously don’t want to let go. But what are the options, right that the real options that we have, for course of action, and then what does that look like? And that just getting them to that point where they’re willing to talk about that? It’s important, right?
Maggie Germano 19:46
Yeah, absolutely. And related to that, how do you approach that in a delicate way when there is so much emotion and not even just if it’s the point where someone needs to maybe shut down their business but just working with someone On their business, I’m, I’m sure there’s a lot of emotion I’m sure a lot of business owners are control freaks about what they want to give away. I know, right? And that’s speaking for me or me. But so how do you have those conversations just on the daily basis when you’re working with people, to get them to kind of see things objectively and try to take some of the emotion out of it so they can actually move forward?
Carla Titus 20:26
Yeah, well, it starts with a lot of empathy and compassion for where they’re going through. And I understand because I’ve seen that before. And I know the pains right, of doing that. And so it doesn’t necessarily always start with your business, no Bible, we need to shut it down. Right? Because I would not be a good approach. I mean, they probably would not want to hear another thing I say after that. So we really start with like, Okay, what is going on? Like, what are the feelings what has been happening? Why is this not working? Like, look at the numbers, let’s see what the numbers are telling us right? and kind of give them some insight into, hey, this is what I’m seeing. This is what I’m spotting disorder concerns right? How do we solve it going forward? Or is there a going forward way that we should consider outside of that right of, hey, maybe it’s time to let go? Like, what do you feel about that? Like, what are you thinking right when I say that, and kind of getting those emotions out first so that we could deal with them. And then once we move past the emotions, and we got to stay where we’re like, Okay, now we’re going to look at this objectively, if you want to continue, this is what it takes, right? It takes six months of cash flow influx to be able to get there, do you want to bring investors? And do you want to put it out of your own pocket? Like, what are the options that we have? And then if none of those are viable, then you really start to kind of get them to that resolution of, hey, maybe I can’t make this a reality anymore. Right. And I know that’s not like an easy, you know, realization to come to but I kind of helped them manage through that process. And then again, at the end of it doesn’t mean that they don’t get anything for it or for your efforts, right. We still can try to sell it right for what’s left and and what they do on that transition. planned for that. So don’t necessarily like when I go down this path, but it’s sometimes the thing that you have to this guy’s a hard conversation to have to have an entrepreneur sometimes. And this is just one of many right, that we go through as we discover things in their business that need to be fixed.
Maggie Germano 22:15
Right? Absolutely. And it sounds like if they’re bringing you in if they’re hiring you, if they’re looking for someone to be that CFO role for them, they’re obviously looking for help. They’re looking for external advice and opinion and all that so hopefully, they’re at least willing to hear different things and it sounds like you’re approaching it in a way that is empathetic and kind and thoughtful so you’re not just gonna be like blowing their their business
Carla Titus 22:43
Oh, no, not at all. Because I know how hard it is to you know, start something and have it be your baby and see a grow up, right. And yeah, that’s the whole point of the CFO of the man or fractional CFO coming into your business to help us I have no tie to your business. And I do One the results to be positive for you and be able to achieve the goals that you set yourself out to write. But I’m also removed from the emotion of, I didn’t put time investment to build this, I just tried to help you make it better and improve upon it right. And I have a vested interest in that. But I can be very objective where you are so in your business that it’s hard for you to see what’s happening, right is like to say it’s hard to see that inside of the yard, the jar when you’re outside of it, right. And so that’s the same thing as like, I’m on the outside so I can see in and kind of pinpoint what are the issues and concerns. And then we can work through it and kind of solve them.
Maggie Germano 23:37
That’s really great. And, you know, you started touching on this a little while ago when you first started talking about, you know, how you got into the work and why it’s important to you. But you said that you primarily work with female entrepreneurs. And so can you tell us a little bit more about like, what made you want to focus on women entrepreneurs and then Why you think this kind of work is so crucial for for women in particular?
Carla Titus 24:05
Yeah, so just full disclosure, I do have some male clients, they are totally secure in their man. And they’re happy to work with me because they’re just looking for the expertise and support. So with that out of the way, I felt it was important for me to focus on women, because they’re the ones that the financial industry is not catering to. Because normally this is a male dominated area. Most of the people I work with most of the women that I work with, say, you know, when I go to someone who is not a female, maybe they don’t talk to me the way that I want to be talked to, right or maybe I’m being taught to instead of appear conversation, which is what I do, right for my women enterpreneurs like, Hey, I’m just appeared to you. I’m, you know, I’m here with just different expertise and you but we’re at the same level, right? I’m not talking down to you, I’m just helping you with knowledge. I’m educating you and empowering you to make those decisions because I’m not making the decisions for you. Right, and that’s just another brain In your business that kind of helps you work through problems in a way that is non threatening or non, you know, felt like you have to reject it because it’s, you know, different approach, right? It’s like we’re relationship based, we’re not transactionally based, or we talk to women. And so we bring that relationship to the table. And honestly, all of my conversations start with that, right? It’s like, how are you doing? How are the kids like, what’s going on in your life, because that tends to affect the business and your state of mind. And so I understand that building that relationship being like the peer to my women entrepreneur really helps them want listen to what I have to say, to really retain that knowledge, right, and three empowers them to go make the right decisions for their business. So to me that was super important when starting this work. And honestly, I feel that the more women owned businesses, the better the world can be right? Because we go through a lot of things that men unfortunately don’t get to go through right being mothers being you know, wives and sisters and daughters to everyone around us and Getting that in front of our minds. When we’re building businesses in Britain, I seen occasions where, you know, women are thinking about, you know, things that mothers need, right and the flexibility and the things that mothers need in the workplace that at times, that doesn’t come to mind, because men have not gone through that experience. So they don’t know the hospitals and the hassles that it is to become a mom and the changes and things. And so having women support other women in that journey and their careers, right to me is really important. And for that to happen, they need to have successful businesses that make money so they can hire more women to help with them. Right. And again, I have nothing against men. You know, they’re amazing. I have really great supportive men in my life mentors, you know, husband, my child is a man. So I’m like, totally loving on you as well. Right? But I really felt that the gap was here with women entrepreneur and I needed and I had a duty to close that and a responsibility to really help them thrive, as they build those businesses.
Maggie Germano 27:01
I love that. And I fully relate to that as well, where, you know, men are great. I have met in my life that I love as well. But they’ve always been catered to from the financial industry, the business industry. And they’re, for the most part as a gender, like getting a lot of what they need from all different directions. And I agree with you that there really is that gap when it comes to women, both with just money in general, as well as in business and being taken seriously. And I you know, I’ve seen reports about women business owners getting less funding from, you know, investors and that sort of thing. So, we really need all the help that we can get, because more and more women are starting their own businesses, they’re becoming the breadwinners, they’re filling the economy with their amazing work. And so having more people out there like you who are focusing on helping them grow and succeed is really important.
Carla Titus 27:58
And you know what, we really need more Is those men advocates that are really helping women get access to that capital, right? And be able to help them see the value and being a speaking voice for us to kind of get us to those tables to have those conversations because we’re very capable, right? We’re just as capable. Right? And at times, I think we can multitask even more so than men at times. Because we’re moms and we got to go at all right. And so I think that is just coming to the realization that women are a power, right, and that needs to be taken seriously and be paid attention to. And I think the more men can be our advocates and our allies to help drive that conversation and be like, Hey, you know, I noticed there’s no women in the room, should we be a little bit more diverse, right and and bring that perspective to the table, right? Or should we make sure that women get a chance to fight for that capital, right, and actually get funded just as well as the man because they’re just less capable. Those conversations really need to start having taking place right and it’s going to take a lot of men who see The GOP and understand it and want to be part of the solution for us to move forward that way.
Maggie Germano 29:06
I wholeheartedly agree with that as well. Yeah, women, we’re stepping up and doing what we can to raise each other up as you know, as we’re moving forward, but we also need those allies who are already in those rooms to be speaking up and pointing that out. So yeah, I completely agree with that as well. Um, so you know, going back to kind of the clients that you typically work with or like the people that might want to work with you. What are some of the like the biggest struggles that your clients are dealing with on a day to day basis with their business?
Carla Titus 29:42
Yeah, so some of the foundational things that I see missing is this cashflow management piece as well as a lack of planning for a budget. Right and I know people hate the word budget, I’m with you. Like we like to call it a spending plan. It’s so much cooler, right? And Gives you like the freedom to actually go spend your money, which is great, but essentially telling your money what to do before it happens. Because guess what, after the month ends, your money will go wherever you are located in it. And if you didn’t plan for it, it’s going to go poof, disappear. And you’re gonna be like, why don’t I have money in my bank account? I had all this sales this month, what happened? Right, and that is a reactionary way of looking at it. When you’re like, I’m going to plan ahead, and I’m going to allocate certain amount for spending on this certain amount to training and development certain amount to hiring contractors to help in my business, you’re limiting how much you do of that, because you are trying to expect a certain result to come out of that particular investment. Right? So you’re setting metrics on like, what are you going to get for that, and you understand it very well. And so that’s what a budget helps you is allocating your resources the right way so you can get the ROI for the things that you’re investing money on. And then from the cash flow perspective, I feel like a lot of people don’t even pay enough attention to that and maybe if you’re an entrepreneur that has an ease with sales, that’s a wonderful right because you No, you can bring in the money, no problem tomorrow. And you might have a concern but doesn’t exempt you from planning your cash flow to know what is the health of that, right. And the way you look at that as you look at all your assets, like your bank account, the monies that you’re going to be receiving, if you’re billing and your billing cycle, maybe is net 30, meaning 30 days out from when your customers have to pay you, then you need to understand that and plan for that. Because if you have bills coming out, right, your rent doesn’t stop your utilities and things that you use in your business doesn’t stop coming just because you didn’t collect your check from your customer. You’re not going to go sorry, can’t pay rent today, because my customer didn’t pay me on time. That doesn’t fly as far as I know, let me know otherwise. And so you need to plan out your cache to make sure you can pay all your bills as you’re waiting for that money to come in. Now if you charge her for on grade, because that’s a little less complicated cash flow situation, but you still need to plan right because you’re still spending money. So you never want to spend above what you’re making. If you don’t have that plan laid out on when you’re going to be receiving that cash and all Honestly, I work with six figure enterpreneurs that still struggle with cash flow management. So this is not something that they teach you normally, right and kind of go through the exercise of knowing about it. So it’s important that you educate yourself on how this process works. And that’s something I do for my clients, providing them templates and kind of walking them through the process so that they can do it themselves going forward, and be confident that they’re not going to run out of money, therefore, they’re not gonna, you know, go out of business.
Maggie Germano 32:28
Yeah, I mean, the inflow and outflow of money is like one of the biggest parts of business and one of the most important parts of business if you’re trying to do business actually survive off of your income. Yes.
Carla Titus 32:40
But the last thing to think about for sure,
Maggie Germano 32:44
oh, exactly. I mean, I deal with that with people who are not business owners who, you know, they’re employees and they’re working and even getting a handle on the inflow and outflow of money in those cases is really difficult. So, you know, I personally am also a business So I do understand how difficult it can be with that added layer of it being your own business and you’re the one who has to make sure there’s actually money coming in, let alone controlling the money going out. So it just adds like that whole other complication on top. Totally.
Carla Titus 33:18
Maggie Germano 33:19
And so you mentioned the struggle with like, if you’re, if your clients haven’t paid you yet, and your bills are due and lifestyle goes on people, other people expect to get paid. What are some of the pieces of advice you give to clients in order to make sure that that money is coming in consistently?
Carla Titus 33:38
Yeah, so consider the types of models on how you’re going to build for your services or products right. Sometimes we charge our front which is great because it allows you to now have to collect on receivables later, which facilitates you know the influx of cash if that is not an industry standard that you are able to follow because there are some industries with that is not common and you have To charge after your services are provided or your goods are provided, then just make sure you have an idea of how long that takes. And that cycle, it might they might tell you is 30 days, it actually might end up being more, and it gets sent to your, they’re doing the transfers, and they forgot about paying the bill on time, and they’re 15 days late. So you need to start assessing of what is the actual timeline that I look at, for my payables when it comes through and then plan your cash to make sure that allows you to cover a 45 day 60 day period before you’re in trouble and run out of money. So pay attention to those payment terms, not only the ones that you give out to clients on how long you can wait for money to come in, but also on the payment terms you are getting in your business, meaning if you’re dealing with suppliers and vendors and they’re like, I need payment upon invoice, you can say hey, can we negotiate a 30 days payment terms and then they might say, you know, I can only give you 15 great, I just got myself 15 days to wait for it and they’ll have to worry about it. And then I could deal with that. Then of course I’m going to budget and plan that ahead to make sure I can call That bill, but then I don’t have the cash, you know, problems because you have a little bit of leeway now. And so you need to take control of negotiating those payments. And then if you don’t know how to do that, I’m happy to help you with some of that, because there’s some language around negotiation on where you want to start with a higher bid, you know, then you want to end up to make sure that you get what you’re actually looking for. And there’s some other given takes that you can kind of work out with your vendors or suppliers to understand, you know, where they start where they said, You also need to know like, if there is their business in trouble, and they are trying to manage their cash flow, that maybe they’re not going to give you a payment terms, right. So knowing that about who you’re working with is also important. And so just make sure you ask though, because you can never go wrong, like the worst it’s going to happen is they’ll say no. And then you will go on and just plan for that. If nothing else, you might get something out of it. So make sure to ask and ask for what you’re looking for or above that so that you can end there.
Maggie Germano 35:59
Yeah, that’s so good. And I talked a lot about negotiation when it comes to like salary negotiation and talking to an employer about income. But I mean, negotiation is so important in so many different parts of our lives. So even when it’s not just about the money that’s coming in, but also negotiating terms and finding out what kinds of you know, better solutions you can get and working with people, is because people might be willing to work with you when you might not realize it. And so and like you said, it never hurts to ask.
Carla Titus 36:34
Yeah, definitely. No, I think everything in life is negotiable. Honestly, that’s how I go about life. And then if I’m told no, then I know maybe they weren’t ready for the conversation, or maybe it’s just not an option they have right now. That doesn’t mean I’m going to not try it again later. And so it’s all about can you agree to something that’s, you know, beneficial to both parties. That’s really how I look at negotiation more so than the you know, I gotta get my way. You That’s not really how I go into a negotiation, right? It’s really thinking, How can this be been beneficial to both sides? And then let’s get to that agreement, right? And what does that look like and compromise because there’ll be compromise on both sides sometimes that you’ll have to be willing, but then you know what your walkaway line is? If you’re like, Okay, no, that doesn’t work for me. And so then you understand what is that point you can get to write that works for Worst parties. And normally there is people are open to it. You just have to bring it up. Right? You don’t have the guts to do it. Yeah. And so that’s how I live at least.
Maggie Germano 37:33
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s so important. And like you’re saying the worst case scenario is that you’re just at the same point you were starting at and you can decide if you are able to do that or not. And best case scenario, you end up in a much better position either with, you know, better payment terms or lower costs. If you’re working with somebody else or higher costs appear. If someone’s hiring you, you just you’re always gonna potentially up at a better place and probably not end up in a worse place just because you tried to negotiate.
Carla Titus 38:06
And that’s funny because in my culture so I’m Peruvian, so Hispanic, right? We negotiate for everything like you’re like five years old and you go to the market, like you have to negotiate and haggle and learn how to do that early on. So I feel like to meet your supernatural and not hard at all. But then my clients are like, what you can do that? I’m like, Oh, yeah, I don’t even ask for permission. I just do it. Right. But I feel like it’s like, ingrained in my culture to just like, be able to do that anyway. So I just do it with any opportunity I have, where it’s appropriate, of course, right? You don’t want to like negotiate for like, something that’s already like price. Well, they use evaluate and then you just like, Okay, that’s good. I’ll think.
Maggie Germano 38:41
Yeah, that’s great. It’s actually with the role that you’re trying to play for clients. It’s good that you have you already have that kind of ingrained skill of negotiating and feeling comfortable having those conversations. Yes, for sure. So I don’t think we’ve talked about this yet, but it definitely comes up a lot just for me as an entrepreneur personally, for other entrepreneurs that I’ve talked to, and that’s really around feeling comfortable raising your prices or feeling comfortable even saying what your prices are that you’ve already set for your shell. And that can be something that holds women back I mean people in general but I think women especially because you know, especially if they’re in a work that is you know, mission driven and or they really are just so passionate about it that they do it for free if they could. So maybe they struggle with pricing it at a place that actually brings them profit or or talking about it in a in a better way. How can women feel more confident having those conversations around pricing and, and even raising prices when it seems like it’s time to do so?
Carla Titus 40:00
So first you need to understand what market you’re going after, because that is going to really dictate is your market, you know, price elasticity meaning like, can they afford a higher price born or not? So understanding that is really important, because then you’re gonna position yourself in that segment of the market to kind of tailor to that, too. If you have to understand your value proposition, right, you need to know what value you’re delivering. And what are people willing to pay for that? How big of a pain point are you really solving for them? Before you can confidently say your pricing because that’s where we get stuck. We’re like, Oh, we don’t know. Like, maybe it’s 500. Okay, like, I’m not sure you client Tell me can you pay 500 for days, and then you really like, then you’re losing, right? Like, you don’t want to start that way you want to say, Okay, here’s what you get with my service or product. Here’s the benefits to way and here’s how it’s going to improve to save you time, save you money, save your effort, whatever it is that you’re doing for them the problem you’re solving for them. And then you can say and that is $500. And then you won’t even like that. Can I say that because you know that you’re delivering way more value than the the price you’re charging for it right? But you won’t know that until you go through that exercise of outlining what are the benefits? What are the pain points you’re solving? And what are maybe the alternative solutions that they will look at, to assess. And it was interesting because the other day I was listening to a podcast where they were talking about, also the option of not doing anything is against you, right? Because he could hire someone else, they could hire you, or they could just not hire anyone. And so you need to fight against that. And your value proposition is really going to help you gaining clarity on that’s going to help you be able to target and speak their language, put yourself in their foot, and sorry, in their position and understand. What are they feeling? What are they experiencing? How are they dealing with this? Is this a big enough paper that they’re willing to pay $500 for it, or somewhere like $50 worth it right? And then you price accordingly and then go do your research. Honestly, there’s so many people out there doing the same kind of work or Similar work that you can look and see, okay, their position for this type of market their position at this price point, what are they offering? How is it different from what I’m offering, and then test your pricing because guess what pricing this non stagnant, pricing fluctuates? As you gain more confidence experience, you work more and more clients, you’re solving bigger pain points, then maybe you can raise your prices. And yes, it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have to raise prices on your existing clients especially. So you have to make a decision as a CEO, do I want to keep the prices for grandfathered them in or do I want to get everyone to the same price point. And therefore I’m going to communicate this ahead of time to ensure that they take advantage of an offer by more hours of your time ahead of the price going up. So you just created like demand for your product because you’re about to raise your prices, that means it’s more value you’re delivering and they want to get in at the lower price, right because they know they’re getting such good value for it. So now that’s another strategy by the way where you can generate additional sales. If you are going to raise your prices. You know, you can reach Your prices anytime as long as you communicate that to your clients in advance, I feel it’s like nice courtesy thing to do that it’s coming up. And then they might want to sign up now, if they haven’t already. And given them a heads up, but yeah, you should be revisiting your pricing like every six months to every year to see especially if your business changing if you’re adding product lines or services, like you need to be watching that, and then see what the market is doing. Because before you know it, the market could drop. And then you need to reassess your pricing strategy for that, because there might be some changes that impact you that you have no idea about. So it’s all about keeping an eye on that. And so there’s a lot of the work that we do with clients to kind of walk them through what is the strategy, what are the steps you’re going to take? How do you move people from that and you know, there’s going to be Fallout, some clients are not going to want to pay more because maybe they didn’t see the value or because they’re like, okay, I already got my problem solved. So I don’t need your service anymore. Or I don’t need another, you know, pencil and pen, whatever it is. They’re, you know, purchasing from you. And so be prepared for that to plan for that right plan in your, in your communications as you’re moving forward. But what it taught, you need to be able to make money. Because if you don’t have money in the bank account, your business will not exist for long, and you won’t be able to help all the people you want to help. And so be mindful of that as you go through it. And just be prepared, right? Because change is part of being an entrepreneur. And if you have a plan for it to tackle it, then I think you’ll feel a lot more confident in going through with raising your prices and moving that along.
Maggie Germano 44:35
That’s great advice. I I really love that. And then something I’ll just kind of add is you know, sometimes if you raise your prices, not even necessarily on like existing clients, but if you just decide like, you think that your services are worth more than what you’ve been charging or you need to charge more in order to like actually make a profit. Sometimes you can be kind of You know, cutting the people out who maybe don’t value what you’re offering as much like you might lose potential clients, but you’re probably going to be gaining people who really do see the value because they’re willing to pay that increased price and, and, you know, making that investment in the work that you are doing. So you might be losing clients, but those might be the clients that didn’t really necessarily see the value and weren’t willing to be paying for it in the first place.
Carla Titus 45:29
As part of growing and scaling a business, right, if you want to be able to raise prices and move people along, you need to start serving as different market maybe right and those are the things that you’re talking about Mikey right. That is a consideration where you lose some lower paying clients so you can access the higher paying clients and you will be surprised what people are willing to pay for things they see value in especially if it’s a huge pain point for them to solve that they don’t know how to solve. So just think about that for a minute because a lot of you’re there listening thinking huh? Don’t know how someone could ever pay like more than $500 for my thing, right? And then maybe again, there is some value proposition where you need to go do but then there is people out there that have successful businesses that are making a lot of money that don’t mind hashing out the money As long as the problem is taken care of for them. So just something to keep in mind.
Maggie Germano 46:20
Yeah, absolutely. And figuring out that value proposition and really getting clear, not just for yourself, I mean, it’s important to get it clear for yourself, but also figuring out how to be communicating that to other people and how to really center that value piece when you are talking to people and trying to get them to hire you. That was something that was a real big game changer for me where it was really focusing on the value that I’m providing to clients, not just like, this is how many sessions you get, and this is how many times you can email me it’s like no, this is actually the problem that I’m going to help you solve. These are the places I’m going to like help you end up in You know, financially, and then that conversation ended up a lot easier to have. And I saw people actually, you know, hiring me more because they could also they could actually see like, Oh, these are the this is actually going to help me this is going to solve some of those issues. It’s not just about the sessions, or the emails or notes after the session, like it’s actually about the outcomes.
Carla Titus 47:25
Honestly, my high earning clients don’t even have time to meet with me sometimes. So I do all of it offline for them and deliver it to them. And they’re like, thank you so much. And then I say, here’s the areas you need to focus on. And they’re like, got it done, let’s go, because I am solving that problem for them. So they’re like, Why do I have to talk to you if I if it’s all taken care of right? And so you’d be surprised that if like, that’s in your offering, and you’re like, Oh, my God is so many sessions, and I don’t know if half the time I’m like sometimes they don’t really even care about that. They just want the problem solved. It doesn’t matter how you solve it, as long as you’re taking care of it. And then maybe you know, you connect with them here on there as needed. And you give them access to that right as an option of what they’re paying for it. But yeah, you’ll be surprised.
Maggie Germano 48:08
Yeah. Now that’s great. That’s funny to hear. So, is there anything else that you just want to make sure that listeners out there who are either currently entrepreneurs or who want to be someday? Anything else, you just want to make sure that they take away from this conversation?
Carla Titus 48:28
Yeah, definitely. So money is really key for business success. That’s one thing, but it doesn’t have to be hard. It can be fun. Like to be honest. Like, I’ve had feedback from people who I’ve taught workshops to that said, Oh, my God didn’t know money could be fun. I’m like, yeah, it can. It’s just it doesn’t have to be hard if you know what you’re doing. Right? And you have the processes in place that will help enable that. And so I want to make sure that people like dawn, just feel scared overwhelmed. Don’t ask for help, like, comment. Ask for help other intrapreneurs maybe start talking about money because it’s okay. It’s okay to bring that up. But maybe they don’t want to talk about money, they’re uncomfortable, that’s fine. Let them go find someone else who will write and then start because you’d be surprised how many people have the same problems you’re struggling with, that maybe they already figured out a solution to that they’re willing to share, right? Or maybe it is time to hire that expert to help you kind of work through that and not waste any more time. And so, just remember, the money is like the oxygen to your living, breathing business, and you need to pay attention because otherwise it will call your attention when it’s too late. And it’s harder to get out of.
Maggie Germano 49:39
Oh, yeah, that’s a really good point getting ahead of it before it’s too late. And, and I also completely agree with you about having these conversations as much as possible, because yeah, you never know who you might talk to who’s either in the same position as you so you can feel less alone but also someone who might have solutions or suggestions for you that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. You kind of kept it to yourself. So I think that’s great advice. salutely. is there anything that you would like to promote to listeners?
Carla Titus 50:07
make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, at wealth worth within. If you want to keep updates, you know, with what’s coming up next and some workshops and blog posts that I’m providing. I also post all my podcast interviews and video recordings with all the content for free on my website, so feel free to check it out. And right now there’s a free signup resource that you can get by signing up to my newsletter for the business budgeting video idea for another course that people are paying a lot of money to access. So you get for free if you sign up for my newsletter. So check it out on my website wealthworthwithin.com.
Maggie Germano 50:46
Great, thank you. And you mentioned kind of where you are on the internet, but how can folks get in touch with you if they want to learn more about you or potentially hire you?
Carla Titus 50:57
Yeah, definitely. So you can go to my website. Wealthworthwithin.com. check me out on Facebook, I have a page that you can like to kind of keep updates on what’s happening and what things I’m offering. I’m very active on Instagram as well. So feel free to follow me there and make comments for anything that you need. And then if you’re ready to work with an on demand, CFO, all my website, there’s a CFO strategy session available, that you can just book it directly. And then we get on the phone and we start working through your financials, you get a financial assessment out of that and like assess the health of your business financially. So that’s a really good insight that you can walk away with as well as a DIY strategy ready for you to implement right away. And it’s a one time investment. So there’s no ongoing commitment. And if you like that and you want to work with me on going then I’m happy to offer you some monthly retainer packages after that, but you don’t have to totally a one time thing that you can take advantage of regardless of what stage of business you’re at, that can solve a lot of problems for you quickly and set you on your way to be profitable.
Maggie Germano 51:59
One Thank you. I love all the different types of opportunities that you offer different ways for people to work with you. That’s great. So much, Carla for being here today. I’ve learned a lot Personally, I know that other budding or experienced entrepreneurs will also walk away with a lot of great information and I appreciate you taking the time.
Carla Titus 52:21
Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed this. Great.
Maggie Germano 52:29
Thank you so much for listening again this week. Don’t forget to rate review and subscribe in your podcasting app so that more people hear about the money circle podcasts and listen. If you’d like to get more connected with money circle or with me, there are lots of ways you can do that. To join the free Facebook group, visit facebook.com slash groups slash money circle group. To stay informed of any upcoming events. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter at Maggie Germano comm slash subscribe to sign up to attend the next money circle meetup. Visit Maggie Germano calm slash money circle. To learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit Maggie germano.com. You can also follow me on instagram and twitter at Maggie Germano. Thanks for listening and have a great week.
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