Episode 191: Knowing Your Agency’s Numbers with Christina Sjahli
When I started Scoop, I really had no idea what I was in for as an agency owner when it came to making and managing money. Talk about a learning curve! Over the last four years, I’ve had to master new money management skills, and in this episode, guest Christina Sjahli talks budgeting, cash flow, and other fundamentals as your business grows.
As a solo business owner, the ups and downs of cash flow, client cycles, and more are dramatically different than they are when you’re building a team and have more overhead. And honestly, I’m a creative. I had NO idea what to expect as my business grew, and I made and spent more money.
It’s been an education, and it’s something I willingly share with anyone who will listen. And while I talk about money often with my clients, I’m by no means an expert, so I wanted today’s guest, Christina Sjahli, who’s an on-demand CFO to join us to talk about managing your money as an agency. And even if you don’t own an agency, I actually think there are some great takeaways on budgeting and pricing that every single service business owner needs to hear.
Here’s What We Discussed:
- Christina told us about her business and how she makes money.
- For anyone running an agency or a team that delivers services, what we absolutely need to nail down at a high level.
- One of the biggest cash flow mistakes or challenges we should watch out for.
- What fundamentals we should have in place to ensure that we’re focused on the profit in the business and staying on track.
- How to know if you can afford to hire and if there are times when you really can’t afford not to.
Christina Sjahli is a cashflow catalyst who provides On-Demand Chief Financial Officer (CFO) services for successful digital entrepreneurs. She helps you grow your business success story with ease and confidence through the power of numbers, without the commitment and expense of hiring a full-time CFO. She is also the host of Her CEO Journey: The Business Finance Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs, where she asks her guests to share the good, the bad, and the truth about the money they have made or lost and recovered as entrepreneurs.
Lessons Learned from Christina:
- Cashflow Is Critical. Christina recommended creating a short and long-term cash flow projection to help plan for capacity and determine what you need to be doing in terms of new business. Most agency owners don’t look more than 12 months ahead, and it’s hard to accomplish your vision without the cashflow projection and plan to back it up.
- Monitor and Manage Client Budgets. We talked about how there’s always a danger of overservicing your clients and tying up capacity because you’re not monitoring or managing client budgets. You need to be able to determine which clients are profitable, which ones are not, and price your projects in the future in a way that protects you from over-servicing or letting budgets get out of hand.
- Hire with a Plan and a Budget. One of the big questions we’re often faced with is trying to figure out if it’s time to hire and if we can afford it. Christina recommended setting aside several months of that person’s salary or professional fees to ensure you can afford it. She shared that it may be a matter of adjusting your profit, making a short-term sacrifice based on the need to build capacity, or deciding that you need to wait. It’s never going to be the perfect time to hire, but you can have a plan.