Running a company is a constant source of new challenges. This is true regardless of how successful your company appears from the outside.

It was true at Thrive Networks, which I co-founded and which was a leader in the rise of outsourced managed IT services. It is true at my current company SmartBooks, which is one of the leading outsourced bookkeeping and accounting firms serving small and medium-sized businesses. And it is true for virtually all of the more than 500 small business clients I have worked with over the last 16 years since starting my first B2B services firm in 2000.

My career has been a blend of entrepreneurship, finance and operations. As such, I am often asked to share lessons that I have learned about running a business from a finance and operations perspective; here are five of my top financial leadership lessons for business owners.

1. Know Your Numbers

Know which numbers drive your business and stay on top of those metrics. This could include something as basic as your cash balance in the bank or more complicated calculations and forecasts. Create weekly and monthly scorecards to track those metrics.  After Staples acquired my first company, I was told that I produced the best monthly operating report package at Staples. Even though at the time we were only a $10 million business within a $10 billion business, we knew our numbers and constantly worked to improve on them. If you don’t have enough finance background to determine the right metrics for your business and how to track them, engage someone like a part-time CFO who can help you.


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