Tom Matthews

Providing CFO services and Business Transition Services in South Florida

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About Tom

Tom Matthews

Naples, FL CFO

35 Years of Experience

Direct Contact

tommatthews@b2bcfo.com

office 239-776-5286

Universities:

University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana

Certificates & Licenses:

BS Accounting - 1978, IL CPA - 1978

Organizations:

Treasurer, Entrepreneurial Society of Naples

Secretary, Naples Sunset Rotary

Contact Tom Matthews and receive a free Discovery Analysis™

  • A confidential meeting with the business owner(s), then interview company staff.
  • Look at the company’s financial information and computer systems.
  • Benchmark financial information against industry averages.
  • Create a confidential report of our findings in The Strategy Gameplan™







Tom’s Bio

Tom Matthews has over 30 years of financial management and operational experience. He started his career in public accounting (as a CPA) then moved to industry. He honed his "big company" skills at the US division of Britain's largest travel tour operator. Not only was he responsible for all US financial reporting, he was also the finance liaison for development, installation and implementation of the largest computer reservations system in the United States.

While his public accounting time gave him experience in many industries, he has specialized in all aspects of real estate including property management, commercial real estate development and multi-family development, land improvement and development. He also has specialties in travel, small and medium sized manufacturing companies and retail. He has been involved in multiple M&A transactions - on the buy side and on the sell side. He will do a great job helping you navigate through the process of buying or selling a business.

Tom's best role is as a financial visionary. The role of the new CFO has expanded into operations, IT, customer service and RD while still controlling finance. This unique positioning has made Tom invaluable at the companies with which he has worked. One of his most important roles is that of investor liaison. His knowledge, understanding and confidence are very important in maintaining great relationships with both banks and equity investors. And when there are bumps in the road, Tom is on the front line keeping the investors calm. This goes a long way to solving problems in times of crises.

Some of Tom's most challenging engagements have been the source of his greatest learning. He has been brought into the challenges of business crises by investors afraid of losing their investments. Tom's finely tuned HR skills are brought to bear in these situations. On the one hand, staff at these companies usually have to be trimmed and on the other hand the remaining staff’s morale has to be kept at high levels. These are also the times in which frequent ongoing communication has to be maintained with all interested parties: vendors, bankers, suppliers and, of course, staff. It has been through this trial by fire that Tom has gained the best experiences and greatest skills.

Tom's previous work has given him the unique experience of really knowing and understanding the commercial loan officer and the loan committee to which he reports. There are many good deals that are turned down because the banker doesn't know the business and the business owner doesn't know the banker. Tom has very successfully created the bridges needed to get loans approved.

To know Tom is to like him. He and his wife (his high school sweetheart) have three children and one granddaughter. The entrepreneurial spirit demands that we work hard and we play hard. That is Tom's mantra for life. And the playing is extraordinary: scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, medical missions to South America and photographing the polar bears in the Arctic Circle. Never a dull moment. There is nothing better for Tom than sharing these experiences with family and friends. And don't be surprised when Tom and Donna invite you to their home for dinner. Both are extraordinary chefs and love to share with their friends.

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Recent Articles

Jul 5Tom Matthews

Strategic Finance, the Missing Link.

Jul 5Tom Matthews

All business owners have an accounting department.  This department varies in size from the owner’s spouse “doing the books” to a staff of 10 all processing the company’s transactions.  Almost without exception, companies are missing the strategic financial person – the CFO.  This person looks more forward than backward.  He or she manages the financial risks of the company.  This person is also in charge of financial planning, banker and investor relationships and safeguarding the financial assets of the company.

Jun 6Tom Matthews

Excel is your enemy.

Jun 6Tom Matthews

You accounting department has two goals when delivering information to you:  it must be insightful and/or it must help you make a good decision.  Everything else is noise and is a distraction to your running your company. Like every client I have, you are probably tracking a lot of financial and operational data in excel.  Cash flow forecasts, job costing information, sales tracking, labor hours and on and on. I have a client that was tracking cost allocations in excel. 

May 10Tom Matthews

TED Talks and Your Sales Team

May 10Tom Matthews

As leaders, one of our main responsibilities is setting our team up for success.  This takes many forms – from a great work environment to giving them the tools to succeed to training.  One of the training areas that every one of us needs help with is that of making persuasive presentations.  While this is especially true of your sales team, it applies to all people in your organization. We had our B2B CFO®   Partners’ meeting in Phoenix in April. 

Apr 26Tom Matthews

You Need to Be Deliberate When Selling Your Business

Apr 26Tom Matthews

Most of you have sold a home at one time.  You remember the chaos – repairing the broken stuff, updating the kitchen or master bathroom and maybe a new coat of paint.  If you think that was a challenge, the preparation needed to sell your business is ten times more complicated.  A business has so many more moving parts than selling a home.  Unfortunately, most of you getting ready to sell your business do not have the internal skills or

Apr 11Tom Matthews

Another Source of Cash for Your Business

Apr 11Tom Matthews

B2B CFO®   has a very active intranet.  Any time a partner has a question or challenge, he can post it on the intranet for all partners to review and maybe help.  A topic was raised over the last few days about a financing concept I had never heard of. It is called Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS).  It is a way to fund a new business with your IRA or 401-k account without paying early withdrawal fees or income taxes.

Mar 30Tom Matthews

How much can you sell your business for?

Mar 30Tom Matthews

There are approximately 28 million small businesses in America.  Of those, baby boomers own more than 12 million of them.  As those baby boomers get closer to retirement age, the number of businesses going up for sale is increasing dramatically. Historically, almost 45,000 small businesses sold each year.  Because of the baby boomers, that number is expected to rise to 378,000 businesses each year for the next 10-15 years.  If you plan to sell your business, you probably have some

Nov 16Tom Matthews

You’re All Great Problem Solvers BUT …

Nov 16Tom Matthews

At this stage of the game, we are all pretty good problem solvers.  Someone comes to you with a problem – you think about it for a few minutes – and you give him a solution based on your own intuitions and experiences.  Problem solved. That works great when the problem is not very complicated.  The trouble is problems come in all flavors from easy to very complicated.  We are making a mistake when we apply this methodology to complicated

Aug 22Tom Matthews

You Need To Up Your Recruiting Game

Aug 22Tom Matthews

Without fail, I have never had a client that has not told me that it is hard to find good staff.  Every industry, every job duty.  Now add up the costs of making a mistake and you are really behind the eight ball. Here is what all of us want: We have a new position – or we have to fill an existing position.  We advertise on LinkedIn.  We get great response, whittle the list down to three then make

Mar 25Tom Matthews

How much mediocrity do you accept?

Mar 25Tom Matthews

How much mediocrity do you accept? My definition of mediocrity is sub-par performance by someone in our organization (including me) that does not meet the minimum bar to help our company be successful. I wanted to write about this because I have seen instances of this with many of my clients.  Of course, I am the enlightened one so I would never allow it to happen in my business.  Yep, you guessed it, I found evidence of mediocrity in my

Mar 9Tom Matthews

Do you have a Board of Advisors?

Mar 9Tom Matthews
Board Of Advisors

Do you have a Board of Advisors? Here is my question to you:  who do you turn to when you want an insightful, honest, well-thought answer to a question.  I would argue that most of you have no one. Staff Good staff are definitely insightful.  And their answer may be well thought out.  However, it cannot be honest.  There are just too many risks when the answer is a challenging one.  All you business owners that think you are getting

Feb 25Tom Matthews

Leadership is Necessary

Feb 25Tom Matthews
Leadership

The Chamber of SW Florida had a one-day retreat yesterday.  There were many topics discussed, and I would like to talk about one of them. The idea of leadership came up, specifically, the need for people to be trained and to be coached in developing their leadership skills.  I’m not talking about the owner or the CEO of a company.  I’m talking about mid-level managers, foremen and supervisors.  When a manager has really great leadership skills, those skills translate to

Feb 4Tom Matthews

Giving is getting.

Feb 4Tom Matthews
Give time.

When I interviewed my new assistant Donna, she asked me a question that caught me off guard: “Tom, what do you do to give back to the community?”  It turns out this is a good question and one that I believe all of us should ask ourselves. Each of us have passions beyond our businesses.  We love to be outside, we love kids, animals, all kinds of things. What a great opportunity to do some volunteer work inside that passion. 

Oct 28Tom Matthews

Raising money and proof of concept.

Oct 28Tom Matthews

People with great ideas love and value those ideas.  People with money very rarely value those ideas.  This is a disconnect that frustrates a lot of business owners.  But if you do it right, this does not have to be an impediment to getting the cash you need. Here is a surprising statement:  bankers don’t really care about who the business owner is.  I have never seen a banker say “I’m not going to lend money because the business owner

Oct 20Tom Matthews

What would the economists say about your company?

Oct 20Tom Matthews
Economists

If they were given only one sentence and they do not even know you, they would say your company is cyclical.  In fact they say everything on this earth is cyclical.  The time lines may be short or long, the highs may be a little high or very high but we are all living a cycle. This is important – and should be important to you because this gives us more of an opportunity to predict the future.  I’m sure

Oct 13Tom Matthews

Small Businesses are Growing

Oct 13Tom Matthews

We have all heard this: “if you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.”  According to all the published stats, this could not be more true in today’s small business world – the one all of us live in. Duke University published a survey of 489 small business owners in June of this year.  61% of those surveyed plan to increase capital spending this year, 45% will increase R&D spending and 62% will increase their staff sizes. These are very significant

Oct 5Tom Matthews

The greatest help wanted ad ever written.

Oct 5Tom Matthews
The Help Wanted World

Men Wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness. Constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success. This help wanted ad was written by Ernest Shakleton for his 1914 South Pole Expedition.  It is one of the best stories that I’ve ever read.  Not because of his great success (the expedition failed) but because he did not lose one man on one of the most challenging expeditions there have ever been. 

Sep 23Tom Matthews

Customer Service and Air Conditioning

Sep 23Tom Matthews

You know this story.  It’s midnight on Saturday and the house seems very warm.  I check the thermostat:  temperature set at 72, house temp at 78.  Welcome to summers in SW FL. This is where it gets fun.  I call an air conditioning company Sunday morning.  I want to leave a message so I’m first on the list Monday morning.  Instead of leaving a message, the phone is answered.  An appointment is set for 1:00PM Sun afternoon. The name of

Sep 3Tom Matthews

Decision Making: A Case Study

Sep 3Tom Matthews

I had a client meeting last week where the business told me she is worried about all the money she is spending.  She believes it is a little out of control but doesn’t know what to do.  After all, you have to spend money to make money. The need to spend money seems to be a human trait.  How many times a day does someone come to you with “I need to buy ….”  Staff, spouse, kids?  And as soon

Aug 25Tom Matthews

Do you know who I’m talking about?

Aug 25Tom Matthews

On a cold January day, a forty-three year old man was sworn in as the chief executive of his country.  By his side stood his predecessor, a famous general who, fifteen years earlier, had commanded his nation’s armed forces in a war that resulted in the defeat of Germany.  The young leader was raised in the Roman Catholic faith.  He spent the next five hours watching parades in his honor and stayed up celebrating until three o’clock in the morning.

Aug 19Tom Matthews

Management by Exception

Aug 19Tom Matthews

My client base has grown quite a bit which means I get to see how many of you manage your business.  There are three categories of management:  people, processes and numbers (cash!).  As your businesses grow, you lose some of the insights you had when your business was small because of the number of transactions that you are not directly involved in.  So how do you manage your business at this higher level? You do this by gathering information and

Aug 11Tom Matthews

How many of the 12 criteria to a great workplace do you follow?

Aug 11Tom Matthews

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman of the Gallup Organization conducted a multi-year study asking what makes a great company to work for.  The result (published in the book First, Break All the Rules:  What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently) is summarized by asking 12 questions.  More than 80,000 interviews were conducted to get the answers. How good are you and your company? 1)      Do I know what is expected of me at work? 2)      Do I have the materials

Aug 3Tom Matthews

Who are you accountable to?

Aug 3Tom Matthews

Dan Brunell is a Vistage Chair and a friend.  He has been coaching me for a few months and I want to talk a little about some really good results.  Here is the back story. The life of a business owner can be a very lonely one.  Not because we don’t have people around.  Rather because we have no one to really challenge us.  When we don’t have that person to call us out, we are not as good as

Mar 10Tom Matthews

Do you have champions?

Mar 10Tom Matthews
Do-you-have-champions-in-your-business

My business takes me into many different companies.  I get to see the good and the bad and, most importantly, I find the common themes to good and bad business practices.  I want to share one of the good ones with you today. Here’s a question:  does your company use software to help you process transactions?  Quicbkooks?  Autocad?  Excel and Word?  I already know the answer and it is yes.  Here is the next question:  do you have a champion

Feb 24Tom Matthews

The Law of Added Value

Feb 24Tom Matthews

I am reading Tony Robbins newest book where he talks about “The Law of Added Value.”  It is a pretty interesting concept and worthy of discussion today. Here is Tony:  “Both my Dad and Michael Eisner have full time jobs.  However, my Dad makes $11/hour as a car park attendant and Michael Eisner makes $50 million/year as the head of Disney.  Why the difference?”  This is a very dramatic example but does lend credibility to the idea that we make

Dec 3Tom Matthews

How much money do I need for retirement?

Dec 3Tom Matthews
How-much-cash-do-I-need-for-retirement

This is part 2 of my 5 part series on selling your company.  The first installment, How Much is My Company Worth is here. The two big troubles with anyone selling their company is 1) the Value Gap and 2) your company has not been prepped for sale.  Today, we try to better understand the value gap and answer the question: How much money do I need for retirement? There are two parts to the value gap:  1) ego and

Nov 11Tom Matthews

How do I go about selling my company?

Nov 11Tom Matthews

The average number of businesses sold from 2007-2012 was less than 8,000 per year.  With the baby boomers getting ready to retire, that number is expected to grow to 378,000 per year for the next 20 years.  If you are going to sell your company, you need a business ready to sell and a great success team available to help you. There are 5 major areas that will affect the success of selling your company.   How much is my

Nov 4Tom Matthews

How do our leaders look at leadership?

Nov 4Tom Matthews

Merriam-Webster’s third dictionary definition of leadership is …the power or ability to lead other people.  This is a deceptively simple explanation of a very complex subject.  For today’s post, I thought I would see what the world’s leaders said about leadership.  Enjoy. A leaders is a dealer in hope – Napoleon Bonaparte. Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction – John F. Kennedy. To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. 

Oct 30Tom Matthews

A Tale of Two Geniuses

Oct 30Tom Matthews

  Jerry Mills is the founder of B2B CFO® and a great mentor to all of us.  He recommended we read Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson.  The book was so good I bought another Isaacson book, Einstein, His Life and Universe.  This post is about the lessons we can learn from these two inspired men. I am always looking to learn, to get better. To study, to try and understand really successful people is a great way to learn.  I

Aug 26Tom Matthews

The Search for Excellence Continues

Aug 26Tom Matthews

In 1977 the consulting company McKinsey assigned a project to Tom Peters and Robert Waterman.  The project was about organizations, their structures and people.  Out of that project the book, In Search of Excellence was published in 1982.  It is the most successful business book ever! Peters and Waterman visited many companies, good and bad (as compared to criteria they had created).  Then they documented the themes that seemed to bind the good companies together.  I read a lot and

May 16Tom Matthews

Why do customers buy?

May 16Tom Matthews

The answer is a little shocking and a little counter intuitive.  Because it is not price, it is not even the product.  It is who you are, who your company is. A customer buys if he believes you are competent and you have character.   A 2013 BrightLocal survey asked the question:  Do you read online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business?  85% of all businesses said they do this regularly or occasionally.  The conclusion: 

May 9Tom Matthews

How strong is your company?

May 9Tom Matthews

As a business owner, you are keenly aware of your sales and the balance in your bank account.  For some of you, that is where your financial analysis stops.  Others of you do spend some time on the rest of the income statement. But almost no one ever looks at the balance sheet – or the ratios that go along with the balance sheet.  I think that is a mistake so I would like to show you a couple of

Apr 29Tom Matthews

Apr 22Tom Matthews

A lesson on what to do with your financials.

Apr 22Tom Matthews
Money Written On A Chalkboard

Here is my challenge to you:  every month, when you get your financial statements, draw one conclusion from the statements that create one call to action.  Then act.  If you do this, your company will be much improved in a year from now. The problem is you get your financial statements every month, experience a happy or angry moment and put them away.  You are missing an opportunity. They are not just meant for review; they are meant to motivate

Apr 18Tom Matthews

How can a pilot teach you to be a better business owner?

Apr 18Tom Matthews

Learning to fly brought a great and valuable lesson to me.  Create and use checklists – especially when performing a task you don’t do very often. Let me show you what I mean.  I was an owner of a Cessna T210 – Centurian.  A high performance, fast airplane!  Here are the checklists that were required to reviw every time the action was performed:   Before starting engine                15 steps Starting Engine                          16 steps Before Take-Off                        11 steps

Apr 9Tom Matthews

The 5 things you should not do when looking for a commercial loan.

Apr 9Tom Matthews

I’ve said this before and here it comes again.  The banks are lending money.  Not like they were in the early 2000’s but that’s OK., lending was way over the top back then. But if you do need a loan, then please put your best foot forward.  That means don’t do any of the following: DON’T give your banker bad financial statements.  This is the number one reason my banker friends tell me they turn down loans.  The financials are

Apr 1Tom Matthews

Keep the gorilla 100% focused on the banana.

Apr 1Tom Matthews
Black And White Picture Of A Gorilla

This is such a great statement and the idea behind it so important to leadership that I had to write a post around this subject. Fill a room with new business owners – leaders – and ask them what they are really good at.  Most will tell you that they are great multitaskers.  And the statement usually comes with a slight puffing of the chest.  They’ve got it wrong. The new business paradigm is if you, as a leader, are

Jan 21Tom Matthews

5 Steps to get rid of your payroll frustration.

Jan 21Tom Matthews

The largest expense of all service companies and almost all other companies is employee costs.  If the comments I get from my clients are representative, employees – specifically payroll issues – is your biggest frustration when it comes to dealing with the internal policies of your company. So how can you reduce this frustration and, at the same time, gain a competitive advantage from your competitors?  I sat down with a human resources friend of mine and asked her where

Dec 17Tom Matthews

Increase your sales by 50% in 2014

Dec 17Tom Matthews

Sounds like I’m selling one of the new sales programs.  Get your free 50 DVD’s, watch them then you can retire!  That’s not what this is about. Rick Ruby is a business coach and owns a company called Core Training.  He is very expensive but guarantees results. His systems work incredibly well so I thought I would share what I consider the best sales productivity tool ever invented. He calls it his Greatness Tracker.  It is a one page document

Dec 12Tom Matthews

Investor Money is Back in Play

Dec 12Tom Matthews

At the end of 2007, the investors (that still had money) ran to the sidelines.  And they have been sitting there for a few years now, bored but safe. Well, the boredom created action and our new economy has created confidence.  The investors are back in a big way.  The rules are a little different but if you need money for your project – especially your real estate project, it’s there for the taking. I have a client with a

Oct 23Tom Matthews

5 Reasons your finance team needs to create a dashboard.

Oct 23Tom Matthews

As a business owner, you get your financial statements and may even read them.  Generally, you don’t pay a lot of attention to them  and it is very rare that you make a decision based on the statements.  The reason for this is financial statements are not good calls to action.  If you want to make better, more timely decisions in your company  you need to a dashboard. What is a dashboard?  It is a timely presentation of information that

Oct 9Tom Matthews

Thoughts of our great leaders.

Oct 9Tom Matthews

Jack Welsh Today’s post is a short, fun read.  Jack Welsh, as the CEO of General Electric is one of my favorite leaders.  He simply got it right.  Here are some of his musings.  Please enjoy. Change before you have to. Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be. An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. Control your own destiny or someone

Oct 2Tom Matthews

How does your company compare?

Oct 2Tom Matthews

There are many measures of how successful you are.  One of the easiest and, I would argue, most important is your financial results.  As the person that brings so many of you my CFO services, I have great insights into who is doing well and who is struggling.  To help you better understand your business, I have created a table that highlights practices and results of the better companies and those that are struggling. I hope you enjoy Doing Well

Aug 14Tom Matthews

How much is your company worth??

Aug 14Tom Matthews

This is really a good – thought provoking video. I hope you enjoy.    

Jul 26Tom Matthews

The Banks Are Lending

Jul 26Tom Matthews

There is a huge disconnect today between what you, the business owner believes about bank lending and what the banks are actually doing.  I’m here to help. The banks are lending.  They are even lending commercial real estate development – something near and dear to my heart.  But there is a challenge in all of this – the banks don’t want any deal, they want good deals.  This is a big change from the early 2000’s and it is probably

Jul 16Tom Matthews

How does your accounting staff stack up?

Jul 16Tom Matthews

Titles in small business are always suspect because the definition is not held constant.  At the end of the day, it’s really about the work, the skills and the responsibilities.   To help better understand the nature of the accounting/finance arena with any business, I have created a task/responsibility chart and assigned each item to either 1) production or 2) CFO level management. The conclusions are: If one person is doing all the work, you are either overpaying for production work

Jul 10Tom Matthews

How are you doing?

Jul 10Tom Matthews

My position as CFO has given me great insights into the inner workings of my clients.  And in my client list, I have companies that are hugely successful and others that struggle.  In reviewing the data to put this post together, I found commonalities  that the successful companies have – and not what you would expect.  How smart an owner is did not matter.  Neither did his education level or how well funded his company was at inception.  Here are

Jul 3Tom Matthews

The three pillars of business success.

Jul 3Tom Matthews

While we all know this, very few of us give any real thought to it.  Every single business in the world has three very distinct areas (pillars) of responsibility: Sales and Marketing Operations Financial Management. Almost all business owners are more oriented toward sales and marketing and away from financial management.  They got into business because of their love of their product and that is where they have passion.  Operations is a natural partner of Sales and Marketing which means

Jun 4Tom Matthews

You: I've got a great website. Everyone else: You're kidding, right?

Jun 4Tom Matthews

It is so easy to create a website and, lacking real standards of what is good and what is bad, there is really a lot of bad.  How often has someone told you “My website guy/gal is really good.  He she does the work on the side so I got a real bargain.” Here, in this post, my goal is to help you create some standards then measure your website against those standards.  To help with my presentation,  I’m going

Jun 2Tom Matthews

What are your core values and why are they important?

Jun 2Tom Matthews

Not only do you need core values, you already have them.  Every business does.  I wrote last week that “as goes the leadership team so goes the company.”  What this means is a company, from top to bottom needs to move forward under the rules of its core values – the personality of your company (of you). What are core values? Those characteristics that define your culture and who you truly are as people. They already exist – but they

May 21Tom Matthews

As Goes the Leadership Team So Goes the Company.

May 21Tom Matthews

I read this in a book called Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.    It’s a great book and a great statement. There was a study conducted by professors Mitch Neubert and Dawn Carlson .  The premise of the study was managers (leaders) have the potential to be agents of virtue or vice within their organizations. How they acted in a situation was observed and copied by their staff. The results of the study is there is a high correlation between

May 14Tom Matthews

What is your business really worth?

May 14Tom Matthews

The silly but most accurate answer is the price at which a buyer is willing to pay and a seller is willing to take for his business.  Unfortunately, this does not help any of you with valuing your business.  So let’s drill down a bit. B2B CFO® has published a book called “The Exit Strategy Handbook.”   There is a chart on page 47 that I want to show you.  From one set of financials, a company was valued as follows:

May 9Tom Matthews

The ingredients to running your own successful business.

May 9Tom Matthews

  After too long a hiatus, I am back to writing my newsletter.  I hope you  enjoy it. I went to the ESON (Entrepreneurial Society of Naples) meeting last night.  The speaker was one of our local business success stories.  She delivered the best keynote speech I have ever heard.  The funny thing is she is not a trained speaker, she was not paid for her speech and it is not what she does day to day. Why was the

May 6Tom Matthews

Why I chose to be a part time CFO in Naples, FL.

May 6Tom Matthews

The Naples/Ft. Myers area is a very unique business arena and has challenges that are particularly suited to my skill set. The mix of business here is about 70% service and 30% manufacturing, real estate, etc. Each market segment of business has its own demands, regulations and problems. My Southwest Florida business makeup fits me and my skills like a hand to a glove. There probably is not one company in SW Florida that would not greatly improve its success

Feb 20Tom Matthews

Are you hiring? Throw out the job description you prepared.

Feb 20Tom Matthews

All business owners/business managers have an obligation to properly communicate with their staff.  Too many of you get this wrong right from the beginning – at the point you get ready to hire someone.   Here is an excerpt of a job description that one of my clients used when hiring his controller: Maintain a documented system of accounting policies and procedures. Manage outsourced functions Oversee the operations of the accounting department, including the design of an organizational structure adequate for

Feb 15Tom Matthews

Is Accounts Receivable Really an Asset?

Feb 15Tom Matthews

Look on any balance sheet and you will see a line item – in the Assets section – for account receivable.  So yes, this is an asset. But here’s the problem. A business has assets for the sole purpose of making the business grow and be prosperous.  Accounts receivable, in itself, is not doing anything to help your business grow.  It is not like the building you own so you have someplace to conduct business and it is not a

Feb 5Tom Matthews

What are you going to do with all those financial statements?

Feb 5Tom Matthews

My short answer is nothing!  The two reasons you don’t get much from your financial statements is 1) they were designed by someone that does not know your business (your CPA/bookkeeper) and it was designed for someone that does not really know your business (IRS, Banker, vendor).  You’re spending all this money and it really does you, the owner of your business,  no good. So what is the answer? There is a reasonably new discipline in my world called “Lean

Jan 29Tom Matthews

As a business owner, 5% of your annual revenues are stolen.

Jan 29Tom Matthews

That’s a pretty bold subject line.  In fact, each one of you ponders for a second then says “not me…” I don’t get it.  Each of you works so hard, puts in so much effort, takes great care of your staff but refuse to  implement the procedures that will keep your trusted employees from taking things they shouldn’t. This is not my opinion, these are facts born of research.  For example: The trusted office manager of Volkswagen of Ft. Myers,

Jan 23Tom Matthews

What does it take to be an Entrepreneur.

Jan 23Tom Matthews

My job as a partner with B2B CFO® has given me great insights into the psyche of the business owner.  I know many very successful owners and, unfortunately, too many that fail.  Today’s post is my list of pass fail activities that fall true for almost every business regardless of the product. Do This Don’t Do This   Be passionate about your customers.  They are not people that give you money, they are people you help with solving a problem.

Dec 11Tom Matthews

The Banker's Secret Weapon.

Dec 11Tom Matthews

You go to your bank looking for a loan.  You present your financial statements to your banker that shows sales have been growing great over the last couple of years.  You think getting approved will be a piece of cake. Then you get the call.  Loan denied.  Chances are very high that you will not get the real reason for the denial – bankers are very careful about lender liability. So what really happened?  I had lunch with a banker

Nov 1Tom Matthews

Don't let the best salesmen leave you in the dust.

Nov 1Tom Matthews

The author, Robert Cialdini, has got it all figured out (here he is in Wikipedia).  He wrote a book called The Psychology of Persuasion.  In it, he talks about the 6 principles of persuasion.  The first principle is reciprocity – the idea that if you give something to someone, they feel a compelling need to give back to you.  The beauty of Cialdini is he doesn’t just talk the talk.  He cites study after study where “paying it forward” will

Oct 24Tom Matthews

Raising money through Venture Capital. – Part 3.

Oct 24Tom Matthews

Here we are, where the rubber meets the road.  Your plan on how you will spend your investor’s money is presented to him.  If your business plan is like most that I read, you get this wrong. There are 5 buckets of expenditures: Product Development The Management Team The Sales Process Fixed Assets Working capital Nine out of ten of you ask for the money because you need working capital.  This is the worst use of an investor’s money.  Don’t forget,

Oct 19Tom Matthews

Raising money through Venture Capital. – Part 2.

Oct 19Tom Matthews

I received more feedback from Part 1 of this series than any other post I have made.  It seems to be something you are interested in.  For this reason, I have decided to give you the mindset of a venture capitalist in this post and will talk about the “J curve” and uses of cash in Part 3. Today, we are going to look more at your deal from the eyes of the venture capitalist. When you, the businessman, are

Oct 9Tom Matthews

Raising money through Venture Capital. – Part 1.

Oct 9Tom Matthews

I had two meetings with prospective clients last week.  Both are looking to raise money but do not know how to do it.  Here is the story about one of these business owners (we will call him Joe). Joe has a small computer networking business and has an idea to create a new software product that he believes is needed in the market.  After going through the introductions, here is where our conversation went:     Tom:  Have you put

Oct 2Tom Matthews

Help with your Home Mortgage

Oct 2Tom Matthews

The news companies, the government, the banks have all created a great amount of confusion in the mortgage/home loan world.  As it is an industry I have a great amount of experience with, I thought I would try to demystify some of the tales. Harp is a great program.  It is a government sponsored program where you can refinance your current mortgage without regard to the value of your home.  Its purpose is to help all of us that are

Sep 26Tom Matthews

Raising money? Don't make these mistakes.

Sep 26Tom Matthews

The subject of my posts are always based on real life experiences I have.  I just met a potential new client that gave me his investor presentation.  He made all these mistakes.  Raising money is probably the number one reason people first call me.  So I’ve seen it all. You forget to tell the investor what you want.  I cannot tell you how hard I have to search through documents trying to figure out what you need.  And the worst

Sep 19Tom Matthews

Take this quick test.

Sep 19Tom Matthews

The average business owner gets it wrong.  Take a moment to go through this questionnaire. How many hours a week should you work? [    ] 30   [    ] 40    [    ] 50    [    ] 60    [    ] 60+ How many weeks of vacation should you take per year? [    ] none    [    ] 1     [    ] 2     [    ] 3    

Sep 11Tom Matthews

Quickbooks is your friend.

Sep 11Tom Matthews

Here is what I see.  Business owners, as a group, do not like quickbooks, don’t appreciate it and – worst of all – do not treat it as a management tool.  You are missing an opportunity. There is a vicious catch 22 going on between you and your CPA firm.  Typically, it is your CPA that sets up your accounting software, creates your chart of accounts and gives you some rules on how you need to do things.  To be

Sep 5Tom Matthews

A Tale of Two Bike Shops.

Sep 5Tom Matthews

I bought a new bike in June of this year.  The start of my goal to get more fit.  I was on my way back home a couple of days ago and was looking for a frame pump for my bike. Coincidentally, there was a bike shop – one that I had never been in – right on the way home.  So I stopped and went inside.  The owner was sitting in the back at a desk working on something. 

Aug 28Tom Matthews

A business in Naples FL is about to fail…

Aug 28Tom Matthews

And it doesn’t have to.  In general, I do not like to tell you bad stories or scary stories.  But this one needs to be told. I was called in to a business.  A friend of the family (that owns the business) asked me to call one of the family member principals.  Their business is in dire straits and they need my help.  There are two owners – the person I met with and the main decision maker.  I spent

Aug 21Tom Matthews

What does calorie counting and running your business have in common?

Aug 21Tom Matthews

        Please bear with me for a moment.  This will make good sense to you. Here are the facts:  two guys that both weigh 175 pounds get on a treadmill and run 3 miles.  One guy is in great shape, runs the 3 miles in 18 minutes and his heart rate doesn’t go past 130 BPM.  The other guy is in OK shape, runs the 3 miles in 27 minutes and his average heart rate is 143.

Aug 16Tom Matthews

Don't fight it, fix it.

Aug 16Tom Matthews

I attended the August meeting of the Edison Inventors Association in Fort Myers.  Karl Gibbons, president of Third Eye Management, was the keynote speaker.  It was a great presentation and very well received.  There were take-aways for all of us business owners.  Here are some of the best ones: The business personality is the owner’s personality. It is very hard to look at yourself in the mirror and be objective.   So try looking at the personality of your business.  It

Aug 8Tom Matthews

Do you forecast cash flows?

Aug 8Tom Matthews

Here is a bold statement: your business would run much better if you did a better job managing your cash flow! I have the great advantage of working with some really successful business owners.  When I take on a new client, one of my first goals is to introduce cash flow forecasting best practices.  This is an excel spreadsheet (email me if you want a copy of the Excel template) that your accountant/bookkeeper should present to you every week.  My

Jul 24Tom Matthews

6 Reasons why your business won't soar without a CFO.

Jul 24Tom Matthews

I was talking to a business owner at a networking conference last week.  Like most people that I talk to, he did not really understand what I do.  More importantly, he did not know why his business would benefit from the upgrade to someone acting as a CFO.  With his company size (annual sales just over $6.0 million) I gave him these six reasons why he needs a CFO: He’s out of touch.  I asked him if he knew his

Jul 17Tom Matthews

Which version of Quickbooks?

Jul 17Tom Matthews

This is a “nuts and bolts” post.  I have a client that told me his business is growing so he wants to move from Quickbooks Pro to Quickbooks Enterprise.  Fortunately for him (and his checkbook) he told me he was going to do this before he spent his money. It turns out he was doing just fine with Quickbooks Pro. The reason you would choose one version over another is more a function of features you need rather than the

Jul 11Tom Matthews

6 Steps to Selling Your Business

Jul 11Tom Matthews

If you’re a typical small business owner, you spend more of your time working on today’s issues than tomorrow’s potential. That may keep the doors open for now, but what about when you’re ready to retire, or no longer have the will or energy to run your business? As mid to large businesses grow, owners typically realize they’ll need to find a way out, but most small business owners do not have an exit strategy. Rather than simply selling inventory

Jun 29Tom Matthews

Here are 5 reasons of why you should not process your payroll in-house.

Jun 29Tom Matthews

As a business owner, I have outsourced payroll and I have done it in-house.  Simply put, processing your own payroll is a mine field.  If everything goes perfectly, then you should not have any issues but when does anything in life work perfectly.  I have plenty of horror stories from both my experiences and those of my clients. Let’s get right to it.  Here are 5 reasons why you outsource payroll processing. It’s cheaper than doing it in-house.  While that

Jun 19Tom Matthews

You are losing money to fraud.

Jun 19Tom Matthews

According to  the Association for Certified Fraud Examiners, 5% of your revenues are lost because of fraud.  And for small businesses… those with fewer than 100 employees — tend to suffer more losses (one-third of all fraud losses) and disproportionately higher losses. These organizations are particularly vulnerable to fraud as they typically lack the anti-fraud controls existing in their larger counterparts.  Since the money lost is all bottom line cash, think how much more successful you would be if you were

Jun 12Tom Matthews

Sales strategies ….. continued.

Jun 12Tom Matthews

After spending so much time with Ron Willingham’s Integrity Selling, I now pay much more attention to how people sell to me.  I have a couple of quick stories for you from last week. Salesman calls me (he was a referred to me but we had never met.) and spends 8 minutes talking at me.  The only reason I know he was talking at me is he used my name 10 or 12 times.  He did not ask me any

Jun 5Tom Matthews

A gift of understanding to you

Jun 5Tom Matthews

I love small business and I love business owners.  They are all unsung heroes.  The founder and CEO of  B2B CFO® sent me this passage: “The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say, ‘How lucky he is!’ Observing another man become intellectual, they exclaim, ‘How highly favored he is!’ And noting the saintly character and

May 30Tom Matthews

Resistance is Futile

May 30Tom Matthews

This is the statement that the Borg (for you Star Trek fans) used and that is what I believe about Ron Willingham’s book Integrity Selling for the 21st Century.  It is the best sales training methodology ever devised.  A best of Dale Carnegie,  Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins. Every single one of you has sales duties in your day to day business life.  Even those of you that are not sales people have to sell.  All of us get that.

May 22Tom Matthews

Insurance and computer back-ups

May 22Tom Matthews

The common thread between these two concepts?  In both cases, you assume that you have everything in place and find out you are wrong when hit with a major failure. Most of the good companies I am associated with have a computer backup plan in place.  Some do this daily, some weekly and some monthly.  And I have a copy of clients that are doing on-going incremental back-ups.    Here’s the problem.  Not one of these companies tests their back-ups to

May 15Tom Matthews

It's the Banker, not the Bank

May 15Tom Matthews

We continue with best business practices.  As a reminder all of us want to get in to and stay in the 20% successful group and stay away from the 80% not so successful group. Here is a bold statement:  Your Naples/Ft Myers/SW Florida  Banker is your friend, not your enemy!  If you are trying to borrower money from a bank or if you have bank debt then you need to carefully manage your relationship with your banker.  You need to

May 8Tom Matthews

What's Holding You Back?

May 8Tom Matthews

My goal is to give you insights and calls to action of what the great companies are doing to make themselves successful. Every single business has its winners and losers.  Pareto’s principle (the 80-20 law) says that 20% of companies are going to be really good and the other 80% mediocre to failure.  Let’s take a look at why and what you can do to make sure you are part of the 20%. We know what reasons are NOT key