Business Finance workshop at the Wine Industry Financial Symposium

For at least 18 years, the Wine Industry Symposium Group, an organization of California wine industry professionals, has held the Wine Industry Financial Symposium to “develop a communications bridge to the financial community.”

This year, I will be conducting a 90 minute workshop to help companies in the wine industry revitalize their free cash flow. Here’s the exact title of the workshop scheduled for Monday, September 20, 2010 at 3:30 p.m. You can find the program and registration details here.


Cash Flow has never been more critical as we face a clouded andunpredictable business landscape. Learn about the power of Strategic Finance and how you can extract cash from your operations and pour the juice into your bank account.

For the wine industry, this event is the kickoff for our Financial Adrenaline series, (more…)

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Business Finance: Vol. 1 – What do we believe?

In Volume 1, we quantify the gap in financial literacy that can destroy a business. We show you the difference between traditional financial statements, spreadsheets and ratios ... and the powerful visual and interactive tools that are available to help executives drive improved business performance. We know that you believe passionately in your business, and that you want to manage the risks and protect your family.We know that you want to understand the most important aspects of Strategic Finance because you know it plays a critical role on many fronts. Our introductory video will help you understand the power of Strategic Finance and and why your intense focus on Free Cash Flow is more important than any other measure of business performance.

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“There you go again” ….

I think that line is attributed to Ronald Reagan’s impressive debate performance against Jimmy Carter in 1980 … but just the same, it applies to the stream of recent articles about business lending in the middle market.

The WSJ discusses a report that banks have eased their credit standards in recent months. Of course, there’s no metrics to confirm that, or what it means … and you’ll waste a lot of energy finding middle market businesses that concur. More realistically, there is little demand for credit because businesses have little confidence in economic growth in the near term. (more…)

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“We’re not an eleemosynary institution!”

That’s the phrase one of my oldest and closest banker friends always used – he became the President of a major division of a major bank before he retired. You may not know that word – and it’s at least a “50-center”, maybe more, but he loved it and used it on me all the time.

… pause … have you looked it up yet or are you waiting for me to tell you? … come on ….

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Okay. It means charitable, as in “we’re not a charitable organization” … meaning we do have a few basic rules:

  • We expect to get paid … so we’d like to confirm that your projections provide sufficient free cash flow so you can actually pay us back.
  • We like to have some collateral in case something goes wrong.
  • We’d like to see some owners’ capital invested in the business so we know we’re in this together.
  • We’ll probably ask for your personal guaranty, too, to be sure you’re dedicated like the “bacon” and not just committed like the “egg”.
  • It would be nice if you had some kind of demonstrable track record and relevant management experience so we can assess whether you know what you’re doing in the business you’re in now.

Those are the basic rules … which is why I’m getting pretty tired of the endless news articles and blog posts about the lack of adequate capital for small business. (more…)

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