Getting control of business finances

“Getting financial control of the business is something a lot of jewelers keep saying, as opposed to doing it,” said financial educator, entrepreneur, and banker Steve LeFever, chairman of Business Resource Services Inc. of Seattle, Wash.

But jewelers who are serious about financial control got lots of useful, practical, ready-to-use financial advice on how to do it in a series of detailed, well-attended educational sessions taught by LeFever using case studies and step-by-step work sheets.

In “Break-Even Analysis: Drivers of Profitability” on Wednesday, LeFever explained how a break-even analysis “identifies where revenues cover costs,” no profit is generated, but no loss is incurred.” As a management tool, jewelers can use it effectively to answer questions like, “What additional sales will I need to cover the rent increase? If I raise prices, how much can my sales drop before my profits are affected? If sales drop (in a recession, for example), how much do I need to cut fixed costs to maintain my current level of profit? Or, if I cut my price, what additional sales will I have to make in order to maintain my current profit level?”

In a special two-and-a-half hour session on Thursday, LeFever demonstrated how “To Improve Profits, Manage Your Cash Flow.”

“Records show that 90% of business failures are due to faulty management, or more precisely poor financial management,” said LeFever. Among seven top “financial killers” he named was “failure to manage cash flow.” LeFever then led his class through the steps to prepare a cash flow analysis and profit plan.

LeFever also led a Thursday morning breakfast session called “Growing Your Business the Smart Way,” which instructed jewelers on how to take control of their balance sheets to plan for and manage growth effectively and efficiently.

A two-day JCK-sponsored workshop called “Beyond Survival: Practical Tools for Measuring and Managing Financial Performance” is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.