Business Development

What is the best way for our start-up to get the support of a business analyst?

Becky Margiotta Co Founder at The Billions Institute

September 24th, 2015

We're one year into our small business. We've generated a little over $600k in revenue and will close out the year with a modest profit. We have approx 45 days cash on hand. We're confident in our products and cautiously optimistic that we're going to survive. 

Our challenge is we don't know what we don't know. Should we be paying ourselves more or less? Should we hire more help especially on the back-end and operations side? We need help making expansion decisions and factoring in finances.
  • Who does this kind of thing well?
  • I'm assuming we could pay someone a fixed rate versus hire them at this point in our development. Is that correct?
  • What kinds of things should we be asking this person to do for us?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

Mark Talaba Founder, Vision Former, serial entrepreneur

September 25th, 2015

Hi Becky. 
I started my first business in 1971 (age 20), backed by an investor, and his only requirement was that, win or lose, we had to work with his accountant and understand finance. We succeeded, I sold out after 4 years and relocated, and the first thing I did when I started a new business was to find a finance person, with whom I worked for the next 14 years. 

 So yes, find (don't hire) an advisor who is 1) strong in financial matters, 2) has lots of experience in early stage growth companies, and 3) is clearly interested in helping you understand the how and why of key financial matters -- particularly cash flow and cost of growth. With $600k in revenue in your first year, this could be a seasoned management (not tax) accountant. Meanwhile, the book 'Bottom Line Basics' is great for self-education. The fact that it's still in print after 18 years is testament to its value. 

Lastly, check out the Californian Small Business Development Network for a university SBDC program, and look for a course in the challenges of business growth. 

Best of luck!

Craig Conlee

September 24th, 2015


Lane Campbell Lifelong Entrepreneur

September 25th, 2015

You need someone who has grown a company to advice you.  

I recently found out about this former CEO who offers this kind of service and has a ton of great free content on his website:

I'd recommend starting with him and seeing what you think.

Peter Johnston Businesses are composed of pixels, bytes & atoms. All 3 change constantly. I make that change +ve.

September 28th, 2015

Let's see if this makes sense... You created a startup so that you could get away from having someone tell you what to do. Now you've achieved it, the first thing you want to do is hire someone to tell you what to do.

They say on financial services "Past results are no guide to future performance". Perhaps this should also be tattooed on the forehead of all business advisors.

But you also show another potentially fatal flaw in your business. It should be gathering data. And it should be testing, to get it. From this data you can work out what to do next. You should be able to see where your bottlenecks are, your opportunities lie and your skill-gaps exist.

And you really need to get out more - you should be building a network of people who know the sort of stuff you need to know more on so you can crowdsource some advice and opinions and build a consensus as well as maximising the number of opportunities you're aware of.

Out of that will come some people you can trust to help. Otherwise you are simply easy prey for the out of date egotists who love telling people what to do.

Roy Sequeira Rapid Reliable Results - Business & Management Consulting

September 28th, 2015

Absolutely Marvellous!! Pithy advice that is right on the mark.

Steve Owens

September 24th, 2015

I know a group that acts like a BoD for companies like yours.  Might be a good fit for you.  Send me an email, and can send you their contact info.

Mark Wald Managing Director at Supporting Strategies - Santa Monica

September 24th, 2015

I offer this exact service, Becky.  Please feel free to contact me to talk through your needs in more detail.  If I'm not a good fit I'll be happy to recommend alternatives.

Greg Lustig CEO at Pantheon Partners LLC

September 26th, 2015

Becky, You are on the road to wisdom as you now recognize that you don't know what you don't know. By combing my expertise and experience in corporate law and finance with the strong pragmatic business acumen I have gained from leading multiple companies to new levels of success, I am ideally qualified to give you the guidance you require. As to your current financial situation, the answer to your question depends on your need for capital reserves and whether or not your company is an LLC. Best regards. Gregory J. Lustig CEO Pantheon Partners, LLC Tel: 561-998-4226 Email: glustig@pantheonpartners.met Skype: gregorylustig

Michael Farmer Managing Partner, MNSA: Inspire, Aspire, Achieve: 2-10x results from strategic conception to field implementation

September 24th, 2015

Becky, I can help you.  We would need to discuss your issues in greater detail to determine the business priorities and how to address them.  Everything is possible.  Some skill assessments probably need to be made to determine what you have already and what you need.  Separately, you may need more than one expert, and yes, you should contract with an expert, initially, for clear services and deliverables on the short term rather than hiring or engaging for the long term up front.  That long-term decision can be made later when you determine the overall fit and chemistry with you and your team.  Do talk to several experienced people about your needs.  Contact me if you wish to move forward. 

Katherine Gaffney Founding Partner at Xcelerate Financial

October 16th, 2015

Hi Becky,

Sounds like you have gotten some amazing traction going in your first year.

I started doing CFO consulting 4 years ago for all the reasons you listed. It's difficult for a founder to know what market rates are for certain expenditures as well as metrics that you should be tracking to for optimal success.

I suggest we have an intro call so we can dig into some aspects of your business and you can see if you would be interested in continuing startup CFO services.

Just send me a note at