As a kid it struck me as funny that my grandmother Rose always wore gloves. It may sound weird, but the story behind those gloves is a key inspiration for my business. And in a way, those gloves tie into every entrepreneur’s story.
Grandma Rose was a florist, and one of my most distinct childhood memories was playing in her floral shop Roses. I would dye carnations there, and I remember watching the petals soak up food coloring on hot days as we sat in the walk-in refrigerator. At the time, there was no way I could have fully appreciated the quiet determination and love she put into her work.
Only later in life did I learn the reason she wore those gloves all the time: She was allergic to chlorophyll. If she actually touched the flowers, she’d break out in a rash. But she loved what she did so much that she found a way to make it work. That entrepreneurial passion is such an inspiration to me to this day!
I help you understand the stories behind your numbers so you can run a successful business (instead of being run over by it).
Although people don’t usually think of accounting this way, there are stories behind your numbers. It turns out that understanding those stories matters a lot when it comes to the success of your business.
Things like cash flow projections and break-even analyses are nothing new. But the problem is they’re rarely explained in a way that makes sense to people who don’t speak accountese.
When I started working clients on their bookkeeping, I quickly discovered that I really loved the education side of my work. I’d come in as a bookkeeper, but more and more often I found myself educating people on how to manage their business finances overall.
I only came to fully appreciate how much numbers were driven by behaviors through experience working with dozens of entrepreneurs whom I liked and admired. I love helping people understand QuickBooks and understand what their numbers mean. I love looking at the behaviors behind the numbers, which is something I also sort of grew into.
Built on a growth mindset
I began my corporate career in accounting during the Great Recession, in a whirlwind of layoffs and financial chaos. It was an increasingly high-pressure position, and although I have many positive memories of people I worked with during that time, I didn’t like the person it was turning me into.
In 2010 I was asked to lay off a coworker who was two years away from retirement. I went into my boss the very next day, did a closed-door session with her and said, “I don’t want you to lay off my coworker. She’s two years off from retirement, and the economy’s starting to move in the right direction. I’d like to go part-time, open my own bookkeeping business and see how it goes. Is this acceptable?”
She agreed. She didn’t want to follow through on the layoff any more than I did. My going part-time freed up enough cash to keep my colleague employed, and I got to pursue my dream.
That’s how Open Book Consulting was born.
It’s not just about what you want to do; it’s who you want to be
When something goes south financially—when you’re laid off for instance—the outcome isn’t determined by how much money you have in the bank. It’s what we decide to do in our business, how we decide to treat people, how we decide to react, how we decide to sacrifice or not sacrifice. That’s what drives our businesses. And the measures of those actions are the numbers that our businesses generate.
“Who do I want to be?” Open Book Consulting, like so many other businesses, was conceived when I asked myself that question. Running my own business has helped me become the person I wanted to be, as with so many other small business owners.
You’re in business because in one way or another you want to affect positive change. I’m here to make sure the numbers are supporting your mission.
Run your business instead of getting run over by your business
When you’re really passionate about something, when you love something, you just keep doing it. And sometimes it’s to your destruction but more often, if you’re smart about it, it’s to your success. Often enough, the difference is determined by whether you know your numbers.
If you want to fulfill your company’s purpose, having clean books is a start. But you also have to understand the stories behind the numbers. You need to have an eye toward the future, which means budgeting, planning, and cash flow projections. Having a sound, up-to-date grasp of your numbers means you can live the life you deserve.
My grandmother was successful at being a florist. But I don’t think the money was ever generous. I don’t think she ever made as much as she could have.
My grandparents Rose and Harley were generous, intelligent and civic-minded entrepreneurs. Harley, a farmer with a productive civic and entrepreneurial streak, was constantly reinventing himself. And Rose was a force of a woman. But they struggled more than they should have financially. With Open Books Consulting as your trusted advisor and bookkeeper, you can embody the values you admire in other people and be a good steward of your business.
Debbi Allison, Accounting Consultant
Open Book Consulting