A recent study, The Principal Financial Well-Being Index, found that business owners generally have positive vibes about where they stand financially. Almost half are optimistic about the 2016 economy—and with good reason. Sixty-four percent feel their financials have improved significantly or somewhat from last year, and 74 percent have built a surplus of cash.
I asked three small-business owners—Sarah Jacoby, owner of dance center Studio 9 in Poughkeepsie, New York; Jenne Myers, CEO of nonprofit Chicago Cares in Chicago; and Vick Vaishnavi, CEO of software firm Yottaa in Boston—about their financial preparation for this year, as well as their anticipated results.
In terms of your business, what does financial success mean to you?
Sarah Jacoby: As business owners, we all have our ups and downs throughout the year, but I feel I am successful because, overall, I have maintained a flourishing atmosphere as far as cash flow, employees and financial growth. The studio is debt-free and is solidly in the black.
Jenne Myers: Although we are a nonprofit, it’s important at the end of the day that we’re in the black, not in the red. Our donors want to have confidence in our financial status, which means that we want to have a surplus. We also place a really high importance on having an engaged volunteer and donor base. The more invested they are in our work, the more they feel responsible for our success, and the more willing they are to contribute and advocate to their networks on our behalf.
Vick Vaishnavi: Since Yottaa is in a very high growth market, we measure financial success strictly in terms of maximizing revenue performance. In order for us to do so, we must execute at a very high level across all functional areas of the company.
What are one or two financial goals you’ve set for your business this year?
Myers: Our main goal is to diversify our funding. Unlike most nonprofits, we get about 75 percent of our funding from corporate sponsors. In 2016, we want to continue to diversify our revenue streams, including events, individual giving and grants. While our corporate partners will continue to be key to our success, we want to make sure that we’re more stable and sustainable by having a wide range of funding sources.
Vaishnavi: Our financial goals for 2016 are to grow revenue by 100 percent, significantly increase the annual contract values of our deals and double the headcount for the company.
Jacoby: I would like to open a fourth location to better serve the large Hudson Valley area. Financially, this expansion will include startup costs, daily operations for the first six months and any unforeseeable expenses. I also want to increase my staff and instructor pay and compensation packages.
For the rest of the interview, check out the full article on the AMEX Open Forum.