Helping businesses get financials in order
Some small businesses are great at what they do — cutting hair, painting, baking — but struggle when it comes to the financial side of things.
They don’t know how to price their products, or they don’t know which revenue streams are actually making money.
That’s where Joyce Chesley Hayward steps in. Two years ago she started Fusion4Business, and Profit Freedom, enterprises to help local small businesses increase their profitability.
“I consider myself an external chief financial officer,” Ms Hayward said in an interview. “I look at where I can go in and help with strategic planning. Right now, since it is the end of the year, I am helping some companies with looking at where they want to head.”
Her forte isn’t bookkeeping, but she sometimes finds that side of things has to be fixed, before she can help her clients move forward.
“That is where I have begun to partner with people who do bookkeeping,” she said.
In today’s difficult economic climate, she is often looking at how she can help a business stay in business. Some companies are struggling to pay their bills.
“They want to keep their prices low, but taxes are going up,” she said. “They are doing well, but doing three steps forward and three steps back.”
Sometimes she has to convince small businesses owners to raise their prices to stay afloat.
“I say you’re not a charity,” Ms Hayward said.
She thinks the small businesses that act like big companies are often the ones that make it.
“Businesses that make it through have policies and procedures,” Ms Hayward said. “They have the right people in place to do the right things.”
Ms Hayward started out as an accountant in the Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia area. When she later went into banking, clients would often bring her a shoebox full of mixed-up documents. As a banker she didn’t have the time to sort through the jumble of papers, but the accountant side of her brain often had her explaining to them what they should do next.
“Quite often they’d say we don’t have anyone to help us,” she said.
So she started her own side business helping people to sort themselves out. Eventually, she left banking altogether to devote herself to her own enterprise.
Twenty years ago, she and her Bermudian husband moved back to the island. Today, in addition to running Fusion4Business, she acts as a consultant for the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.
As a business owner herself, she has to practise what she preaches.
“I find that with myself as well and with my clients, sometimes you get into that habit of doing, doing, doing, and you have to say wait a minute, let me step back and do what I know I should be doing,” she said. “It is easy to get in a rat race and get on the treadmill and just move down the road.”
The rewards of the work are seeing that she has made a difference.
“I get great satisfaction when someone says I’ve helped them,” she said. “I have a client now who has been trying to sell his business for a bit, but didn’t have the records to sell it.
“He really had some things going on in his business that were not as appealing to someone wanting to buy the business. He thought this is going to happen in a couple of months. I said ‘ah, this is going to be a process’.
“Over the course of a year, we got him to a point where he is so happy with where things are. That is what I get satisfaction from, businesses that are able to take a step back and say, I understand my numbers now.”
Ms Hayward will give a talk on Strategies for Profitability at a lunch-and-learn event hosted by the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce on Monday from 12.30pm to 2pm.
Attendees will receive tips on having an entrepreneurial money mindset, the right business infrastructure, planning and better understanding financials. Tickets are $40 for chamber members and $45 for non-members and can be purchased in advance from the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.
• For more information, please call 295-4201, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Chamber website at www.bermudachamber.bm . Also see www.Fusion4Business.com, check them out on Facebook and LinkedIn or call 505-2645
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