Saturday, December 28, 2019

The entrepreneur’s beginning-of-year checklist


Written by: Meredith Wood December 13, 2019

This article was originally published on Dec. 31, 2018, and was updated on Dec. 13, 2019.

As an entrepreneur, you always have a lot to do, and little time in which to do it. But the beginning of the year offers you a unique opportunity to stop, breathe and evaluate. Take advantage of this time to reflect and refocus your efforts.

Just like making a list of New Year’s resolutions, we’ve made a list of business owner responsibilities that you might choose to tackle as you head into the new calendar year.

Beginning-of-year checklist: 8 essential things to do

Make your way down this checklist of important tasks to do on behalf of your business:

Set realistic financial goals.
Explore affordable financing products.
Migrate your busywork to automated solutions.
Investigate remote work options.
Focus on ROI in marketing efforts.
Connect with a mentor.
Read up on industry trends.
Do a recap and forecast with your team.

Before you charge ahead into the new year doing business as usual, check off these eight essential but manageable tasks.

1. Set realistic financial goals

The idea of setting goals might seem trite — of course, you want to accomplish big things. But if you’re not the kind of entrepreneur who really puts the things you want to achieve down in writing, make this the year you’ll do it.

Setting goals isn’t just about saying, “It’d be cool to make a million dollars,” though.

Because you’re a business owner, many of the goals you’ll look to achieve will be financial. Depending on how long you’ve been in business, how successful you’ve been of late, and what you’re looking to achieve in the next year, your financial goals may vary.

The best way to set these goals is to look into well-established systems of team productivity and goal-setting that other companies use to achieve results. Examples include Intel’s OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), and SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) frameworks.

With OKRs, for example, you might make a list of objectives and key results for each area of your organization. Sales, finance, marketing, human resources, business development, engineering, product development — every team that contributes to the bottom line should have a sense of what they’re looking to accomplish heading into the new year.

Additionally, look into different tools and project management processes to help you achieve these.

It’s not enough to just set goals — you have to move your organization toward implementing the infrastructure to support achieving them, too.

2. Explore affordable financing products

If you’re headed into the new year on a roll — holiday sales were strong, and the business performed well throughout much of the year prior — then you want to at least explore the business financing options available to you.

This might seem backward to some business owners. Business loans, lines of credit and other business financing options are for businesses that need money, right? Why would I take out a loan if business is booming?
The truth is, the best time to look for financing is when your business is doing well.

When the business is struggling and you need a loan to stay afloat, you’re much less likely to qualify for the high-quality loan products that businesses use to catapult to greater success, such as SBA loans or 0% introductory APR credit cards.

There’s no need to take out a loan if you don’t need one. If you see an opportunity for expansion or improvement on the horizon, however, the beginning of the year is a good time to look into what financing you could qualify for.

Related: GoDaddy and Kabbage partnership gives entrepreneurs easy access to capital

3. Migrate your busywork to automated solutions

Automated solutions are quickly changing the way we work day-to-day.

People now spend much less updating spreadsheets, filling out timesheets or logging correspondence with clients.

We now have software and tools that can do these things for us while we focus on getting real work done.

If you aren’t using automated software solutions for tasks like accounting, customer relationship management and time tracking, it’s time to start.

Take accounting software for example. Consider that at the beginning of a new year, you have to wrap up your financial statements: P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow statement among them. Your business accounting software can run these reports with ease, while sending all the necessary information to your bookkeeper to process, as well as to the IRS.

Meanwhile, instead of spending hours calculating everything by hand, you can review your documents and ask yourself these important questions about your business:
Over the past year, have you managed your cash flow well?
Did your investments pay off and create the ROI you expected?
Are you going to need to replace any equipment or hire new staff?
Based on your forecasting, will you generate enough revenues to cover anticipated expenses?

Let your software do the heavy lifting, so you can work smarter in the year to come. Here are some options to get you started.

4. Investigate remote work options

Remote work — whether it’s allowing your full-time employees to work from home, contracting remote freelancers to help you complete a project, or utilizing the gig economy to help your business reach new customers (via delivery services, for example) — will be one of the defining work trends of this generation.

For some businesses, it’s not possible to utilize remote work opportunities, such as if you own a brick-and-mortar retail store. But these businesses will be in the minority: According to Upwork, 73% of all departments will have remote workers by 2028.

  • How would hiring remote workers benefit your business?
  • Could you widen your talent search for the right candidate, even if they live in a different (and less expensive) market?
  • Could you spend less money on office space as you instead rent coworking space across different cities, scaling up or down as needed?
  • Could you make the right temporary hire instead of the wrong long-term hire?

Start researching how an investment in your remote workforce — the price of remote communication tools, collaborative platforms and more cloud storage — could be worth their weight and then some.

Related: Remote work apps to keep you productive, creative and connected on the move

5. Focus on ROI in marketing efforts
When deciding which marketing initiatives to focus on in the coming year, your primary concern should be what kind of return on investment you’ll get from each one.

Novice marketers tend to take a “let’s throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” approach when it comes to new campaigns. Social media, email, blogging, paid advertising on social platforms — sure, why not? Hey, I heard Pinterest is getting big again, let’s buy advertisements on there as well as on Facebook and Instagram. This is all about “building our brand” anyway, right?

Marketing almost always involves striking a balance between understanding that not every initiative is perfectly measurable (many consider word-of-mouth the most effective marketing strategy, and that’s impossible to measure with confidence) and making sure that some marketing channels demonstrate a real ROI before moving forward with them.
Looking for a better digital marketing solution? GoDaddy Websites + Marketing integrates beautiful websites with email, SEO, social media and other marketing tools to drive more eyeballs to your business.

Especially when facing a year as uncertain as 2020 — which may continue to be weighed down by trade tensions, or could experience a recession, as some are predicting —it’s important to focus on marketing initiatives that you can show will make a difference in your bottom line.

For many businesses, email marketing is one of the best channels in digital marketing, as you can use it to recapture abandoned shopping carts, remarket to new buyers, and cement your relationship with existing customers.

But every business is different, so understand who you’re trying to reach and why before you start pouring money into a marketing channel to try to appeal to them.

6. Connect with a mentor

No matter what stage of life or business ownership you’re in, a mentor is an invaluable resource.

Whether you’re a new or well-established entrepreneur, gaining insight from someone in your field or industry who has been in your shoes can help you navigate uncertainty with greater ease and less financial risk.

According to a report from Kabbage, entrepreneurs basically fall into two camps: people who have benefited from having a mentor, and people who wish they had benefited from having a mentor.
  • 92% of small businesses agreed that mentors had a direct impact on growth and the survival of their business.
  • Of all the respondents, 63% didn’t have a mentor — and 89% of those small business owners wished that they did.

Mentors offer business owners objective advice, tales of subjective experience, access to a larger network of people and resources and much more.

When starting off a new year, consider getting in touch with someone who can help guide you through the next year of your business — and hopefully beyond.

You can connect with a mentor via a number of well-known organizations, such as SCORE or MENTOR.

Related: Finding a mentor — where to look and what to look for

7. Examine industry trends

As a busy owner, it’s important to know how to react to changes in your industry or sector. But if you can be proactive — well, that’s much better.

Don’t begin the year without taking the pulse on what’s going on, both within your industry and in every other industry that has bearing on yours.

For instance, if you make and sell wool sweaters internationally, you shouldn’t just look at wholesale and retail clothing trends. You also want to look at the price of your raw materials, including wool and dye, and fuel for the ships and planes that carry your goods.

You might even want to keep an eye on the length of seasons — are people even wearing sweaters as often as they used to? Maybe you need to introduce a lighter-weight thread into your product line, or try to open up distribution domestically, based on what you find.

Either way, you’re making proactive decisions.

This has become an especially important step to take as China and the United States continue to engage in a trade war. Prices for your goods may fluctuate or skyrocket at a moment’s notice. See if you can find a more stable inventory source, or build up a backlog of useable inventory that can potentially last until tensions ease.

Related: How to make your product imports profitable

8. Do a recap and forecast with your team

Whether your team is you and your accountant or lawyer, or you’ve built a robust and growing workforce with managers and freelance contributors, take the time at the end of each year (and the beginning of a new one) to update everyone on where you are and where you’re going.

An all-hands meeting that reviews OKRs and/or SMART objectives, your finances, and your ROI on major projects from the year before will not only keep your team in the loop, but it will help them feel more personally connected to the success of the business.

Additionally, informing your team of what you’re looking to accomplish next year — new OKRs, sure, but also possible investments in remote work opportunities, migrating workflows onto new platforms, and plans for expansion — comes with big benefits.

It will help ease the transition in case of major changes, and will allow you to field questions and hear valuable feedback about what works or what could be improved.

That last part is important.

Take the time to talk to your employees and understand how they’re feeling about their roles and responsibilities.

If you don’t do quarterly or biannual check-ins or reviews, the beginning of the year is a great time to do an annual review.

No business owner is an island. Keep your team informed as to how you’re doing and what’s coming next, and you’ll get greater buy-in and enthusiasm than if you keep them in the dark until the day of changes arrives.
Plan for success

Of course, there are probably a million things you’d like to do to give your business a fresh coat of paint, so to speak, at the beginning of the year.

If you can focus on a few vital stats and make improvements, a little just might go a long way.

Start with this beginning-of-the-year checklist, and you might find that certain areas require a greater investment of your time and energy than you originally thought. Similarly, you might decide that you can alter or skip certain steps next year, since they weren’t as impactful as you hoped.

As long as you cover the basics and do your due diligence to make sure your business is thinking proactively about the future, you’ll be well ahead of the curve.

Image by: thr3 eyes on Unsplash

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Strategic CFOs look through the windshield, not rearview

    Credit: Flickr user Thomas Anderson

Following $140 million in Series C and D round funding, growth marketing platform Iterable, based out of San Francisco, has hired Will Johnson as its CFO, it announced Wednesday.
Johnson, in speaking to CFO Dive, offered an analogy. “We’re a freight train barreling down the tracks. The goal for a team like the one I manage is to lay the infrastructure, lay the tracks ahead of the train so the train never ends up in the dirt.”​
Within the past 12 months, Iterable, which supports customer engagement for brands including Zillow and SeatGeek, has expanded considerably. It has opened additional offices in Denver and London, hosted two conferences in San Francisco and London, and introduced a new metadata-driven individualization engine called Catalog.

Johnson, along with newly hired CISO Andrew Becherer, will play key roles in helping Iterable further its global expansion, enhance service offerings and better understand the growth marketing space, the company said.

Johnson brings more than 25 years of venture capital and emerging technology experience to the Iterable team, having held leadership positions at Workday, DemandTec, GuideSpark and more. The operational expertise Johnson brings from a career in startup ventures, as well as billion-dollar public companies, will provide additional strategic leadership to continue optimizing Iterable's business and growth objectives of the future.

Iterable is the third SaaS business for which Johnson has served as CFO. The two prior businesses, Inkling and GuideSpark, were similarly sized, but the growth trajectory at Iterable “is a bit steeper, and more substantial.” 

High growth trajectory

“Let me be clear,” Johnson said. “When I joined [Inkling and GuideSpark], both of them were at a similar stage, measured by customers, employees, revenue metrics, and so on: those fairly traditional measures of the business. But again, the real difference here has been the growth rate. [Iterable is] a very quickly growing platform, and that was part of the allure for me. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of the business growing as quickly as we are. But there are challenges there too.”

In this sense, Johnson and his finance team must build only “a mile or two ahead, not going 10 or 20 miles down the line,” in laying down the train tracks. “Things change, and you want to be flexible enough to change course, so you don’t have such rigid, inflexible processes that can’t adjust to changes in business over time,” he said.

One of the changes Johnson cited was his new company’s geographic footprint. “We’re based in the Bay Area, and most of our employees are here, but we’re not wedded to the Bay Area,” he explained. “We opened a Denver office not too long ago; that’s a testament to our being nimble in charting our course. That’s acknowledging that in Denver, it’s much easier [than in the Bay Area] to attract and retain employees.”

Overall, the high rate of growth Iterable is experiencing creates its own set of unique challenges for Johnson, which, while difficult, he says makes it “unique, fun and rewarding [to be] part of the journey.”
Professional evolution

Johnson was forthcoming about the evolution of the CFO role, and how he will fit into it, as this, he said, is “not [his] first rodeo.”

“Two points,” he said. “Tactically, I’m responsible for the core pieces of finance: accounting and financial planning & analysis. Another piece is the deal desk [on] the commercial side. We work very closely with our sales ops team, but a couple folks on my finance team are responsible for approving and vetting the commercial terms of our customer contracts, and the pricing model, and so forth.

“So that’s finance, and then again legal, both sides of the coin there, commercial and corporate,” he said.

“And the third piece is facilities and employee culture, which ... plays an important role in helping us scale, from an employee perspective.”

Johnson pointed to the extensive differences between a modern, or “strategic” CFO, and an old-fashioned, or “accounting” CFO.

“An old mentor of mine would say today that the accounting CFO is going the way of the dinosaur,” Johnson said. “The moniker he used was ‘strategic CFO,’ someone who goes far beyond the realm of accounting or traditional finance. They’re a true business partner to the CEO. [Iterable has] a CEO, COO and CFO, and the three of us view one another as business partners.”

Johnson says CFOs are best positioned to fall under the “strategic” category if they’ve “seen elements outside of core accounting and finance.” Johnson himself, “well before” becoming a CFO, was a venture investor for “like, ten years.”

“When I moved into my operating career, I managed business development: two channel teams for indirect sales. These teams had quotas!” he said. “Today, as a CFO, I have much more sympathy for the sales team because I’ve walked in their shoes. That’s not to say I’m a pushover; it’s a really strong product, but selling is still tough.”

The new perspective
As a strategic CFO, having that diverse set of experiences, allows Johnson to have a “more holistic perspective than someone who just grew up in accounting,” he said.

In his new role, Johnson, looking back, encourages CFOs to see themselves as business partners to the rest of the organization and the board.

“I think all of us, as CFOs, can [change] how the role is viewed, and hopefully we’re far enough along in our transition [that] all of us, in a tactical or local sense, can [help] get the investor community and our peers in the tech arena to see [us] as true business partners, as opposed to traditional accounting role.”

As for his future at Iterable, Johnson knows how he’ll try to spend his time. “An accounting CFO spends most of their time looking out the rearview mirror, and telling their board and peers on the management team what happened last month or last quarter,” he said.

“A strategic CFO should spend their time at least as much looking out the windshield, to the future, as the rearview. And then help inform and influence that roadmap, and know where the business is headed.”

Happy Holidays 2019

饾棪饾棽饾椈饾棻饾椂饾椈饾棿 饾椉饾槀饾椏 饾槃饾棶饾椏饾椇饾棽饾榾饾榿 饾榿饾椀饾椉饾槀饾棿饾椀饾榿饾榾 饾棶饾椈饾棻 饾棷饾棽饾榾饾榿 饾槃饾椂饾榾饾椀饾棽饾榾 饾棾饾椉饾椏 饾棶 饾槃饾椉饾椈饾棻饾棽饾椏饾棾饾槀饾椆 饾椀饾椉饾椆饾椂饾棻饾棶饾槅 饾榾饾棽饾棶饾榾饾椉饾椈 饾棶饾椈饾棻 饾棶 饾榾饾槀饾棸饾棸饾棽饾榾饾榾饾棾饾槀饾椆 饾棶饾椈饾棻 饾棿饾椆饾椉饾椏饾椂饾椉饾槀饾榾 饾椀饾棶饾椊饾椊饾槅 饾椈饾棽饾槃 饾槅饾棽饾棶饾椏!

饾棪饾椉饾椆饾棽饾棻饾棶饾棻 饾棫饾棶饾椈饾椈饾棽饾椏

Monday, December 9, 2019

Soledad Tanner speech at University of Houston Downtown (FMA) Financial Management Association (FMA)

I was a special guest at the University of Houston Downtown (UHD) Financial Management Association (FMA) Fall 2019 Banquet, this Friday Dec 6, 2019.

During the banquet, Financial Management Association (FMA) i saluted senior class members and wish them well in their future endeavors and will recognize members who have exceeded expectations and those who worked their hardest as an FMA member. Cords and Stoles will be handed out for the graduates along with a certification of completion.

Thank you, Selena Requena- President, Megan Doherty – Corporate Relations- and Cassandra Sifuentes – Fundraising & Events - Financial Management Association (FMA) for the invite.

Soledad Tanner, MIB

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Persistent Myth of Female Office Rivalries

By:Andrea S. Kramer Alton B. Harris

The popular press is full of articles claiming women bully other women, spread malicious rumors about them, behave in two-faced ways toward them, and seek to undermine their professional standing. The problem with all such claims is that they are simply not true. In conducting research for our book, It’s Not You, It’s The Workplace, we could find no empirical evidence supporting the notion that women are more mean-spirited, antagonistic, or untrustworthy in dealing with other women than men are in dealing with other men. Indeed, the best recent psychological research finds that “one’s sex has little or no bearing on personality, cognition and leadership.” But, if there is no empirical evidence that women are inherently hostile to other women, why is this view so prevalent?

We believe the answer lies in a fundamental misunderstanding of why women sometimes have fraught work relationships with other women. It’s not because they have some unique, female psychological characteristic, it’s because of workplace discrimination.

Gendered Workplaces

Workplaces are gendered when they are led and dominated by men and operated in accordance with masculine norms, values, and expectations. In such workplaces, two powerful — if implicit or unconscious — biases can lead women into antagonistic relationships: affinity bias and gender bias.

Affinity bias is the natural, instinctive preference people have to associate with and provide support for people who are like them. Because of affinity bias, male managers typically consider giving women career-enhancing assignments, appointing them to important teams or including them in their networks only after the men in the office with whom they feel more comfortable.

Gender bias is the assumption that men are superior to women at leadership, high-pressure tasks, and difficult negotiations. Because of gender bias, women are seen as less competent, ambitious, and competitive than men.

Affinity bias and gender bias often work in tandem to make women’s same-gender workplace relationships difficult because they limit the number of positions for women at leadership tables, thereby forcing the people vying for those spots into direct competition with one another. The two forms of bias also create substantial, if not overt, pressure on women to adopt a decidedly masculine management style in order to identify with the male in-group and distance or differentiate themselves from their female peers. These dynamics can foster antagonism between women, which is then often wrongly attributed to their inherent nature, rather than to workplace circumstances.

Workplace Expectations

Women (and men) hold gender stereotypes about how women (and men) should behave. For example, women expect female (but not male) colleagues to be interested in their personal issues, concerned about their welfare, supportive of their desires, and more aware of and sensitive to their unique needs, wishes, and difficulties. In other words, they assume that other women will be “more understanding, more nurturing, more giving, and more forgiving than men.” And, when this fails to happen, they can react in antagonistic ways.

In high status, demanding careers, however, women (and men) are under pressure to be direct, assertive, and business-like and not to treat people differently because of their gender. Female executives are thus caught between the expectations of their workplaces and the expectations of other women, perceived as cold, selfish, hostile or antagonistic — while men who behave in precisely the same way are perceived to be simply doing their jobs.

Of course, some women are genuinely unpleasant, unfriendly, and adversarial. But there is no evidence that there is a higher proportion of such women than there is of men who act in a similar way. Certainly, there are not enough “mean girls” at in the workplace to justify painting all women with this brush.

Women and Men Are Not Different

As we noted at the beginning of this article, there is another reason to reject the caricature of women as inherently hostile to other women: the lack of any significant non-biological difference between the sexes. The differences that do exist are small, with more variation in temperament, ability, and behavior among women than between women (in general) and men (in general).

When women and men behave differently in the workplace, it is not because of different psychological characteristics but because biased practices and procedures result in the two groups having disparate workplace experiences. Women and men do feel, behave, and interact differently in the workplace because of the tasks they are asked to perform, the conditions under which they are asked to do them, and expectations as to how they will perform.

The caricatures of women as bullies or backstabbers who are inherently hostile to other women have nothing to do with their actual psychological makeup and everything to do with the stereotypes and biases they confront at work. Instead of setting up female rivalries, let’s fix those workplaces so that women are not systematically disadvantaged in their pursuit of career advancement.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Hispanics, Not Trump, are the Biggest Engine Of U.S. Economic Growth

Over the medium-term horizon, Hispanic labor will become an ever more important source of US...+] Source: 
Written by: Mayra Rodriguez Valladares
Contributor Banking & Insurance

Over the medium-term horizon, Hispanic labor will become an ever more important source of US... [+] GETTY

In ground breaking research that has significant implications for U.S. policymakers and financial institutions, Peterson Institution for International Economics (PIIE) researchers found that “The Hispanic community in the United States has contributed significantly to US economic growth in recent decades and will continue to do so over the next 10 to 20 years.”

Gonzalo Huertas PIIE

Research Analyst Gonzalo Huertas and Senior Fellow Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, in their recently published working paper, The Economic Benefits of Latino Immigration: How the Migrant Hispanic Population’s Demographic Characteristics Contribute to US Growth, present an incredible diversity of quantitative analysis that proves that “The outsized contribution of Hispanic immigrants to US economic growth results from the quality of the workforce, not just quantity.” Moreover, in what goes against numerous unfortunate, negative stereotypes “Hispanic arrivals have exceeded contemporary native-born Americans and some other migrant groups in their entrepreneurial capabilities and integration into economically relevant parts of the workforce.”

Jacob F. Kirkegaard PIIE

Given the growth of Hispanics in the U.S. workforce, they represent significant market opportunities for every type of financial institution, including banks, insurance companies, asset managers, and fintech. Unidos US, a non-partisan Latino civil rights and advocacy organization projects that in five years, Hispanics will account for about 20% of the U.S. workforce and over 30% by 2050.

Hispanics will soon be 1/3 of the U.S. workforce
Hispanics will soon be 1/3 of the U.S. workforce UNIDOUS

Huertas’ and Kirkegaard’s research shows that “the increase in Hispanic labor could contribute around 0.21 percentage points to annual real GDP growth in the United States over the next three decades if the Hispanic community catches up to the rest of the country in labor productivity.” By 2025, the increase in employed Hispanic labor could contribute more to US GDP growth than non-Hispanic labor.

Projected contribution to GDP growth from changes in employed labor PIIE

Huertas and Kirkegaard also found that Hispanics are the largest demographic group in new opportunity entrepreneurship. "While the US economy has exhibited gradually declining economic dynamism in recent decades, and the share of new firms being created each year has fallen in a trend accelerated after the Great Recession, foreign-born and Hispanic populations have become engines of US entrepreneurship, especially since the Great Recession.” The growth of the Hispanic population and the relatively younger composition of the Hispanic community are key factors driving entrepreneurship developments. Other factors, such as a decline in the historical gap between the Hispanic unemployment rate and the national average, would also contribute positively to this trend.

US rate of new opportunity-driven entrepreneurs, by ethnic group and Hispanic origin, 1996–2016 PIIE

“One issue that we raise, in light of higher opportunity-driven entrepreneurship rates,” said Kirkegaard “is that the Hispanic community needs ample access to financing and business services to facilitate growth of their businesses. It certainly would seem an obvious case where non-banks and fintech innovation could play a role.”

Unfortunately, Hispanics, often struggle to obtain credit. According to Sabrina Terry, UnidosUS Senior Strategist of Economic Policy Project, Policy and Advocacy, “Entrepreneurs still struggle to access credit. They may end up at a predatory lender. If they cannot get a loan, they will end up with a non-bank with a loan with a much higher rate.” Part of the problem she explained, is that many Hispanics’ largest expenses, such as rents and mobile phone payments, often do not appear in a typical consumer credit report. “Financial institutions need to learn about other metrics, alternative data, to better understand the credit worthiness of Latinos and that show that they are responsible and can pay back their debt,” said Terry.

Sabrina Terry, Senior Strategist UNIDOSUS

When I discussed the PIIE research with financial advisors at Stamford-based Fifth Street Advisors, Partner and Co-Founder Abelardo Curdum铆, observed that “It is interesting to be able to corroborate what we have already been observing anecdotally. In our wealth management business, we see a robust demand for our services from Hispanics who are both professionals and entrepreneurs. They have the same aspirations as the rest of the population and they need the same sophisticated financial planning to manage, conserve and grow their wealth.”

Abelardo Curdum铆, Partner and Co-Founder FIFTH STREET ADVISOR

Of great importance not only to Hispanics, but also to the whole country, Huertas and Kirkegaard found that “Hispanic high school graduation rates have risen from just over 60 percent to almost 90 percent in the last 20 years, reaching levels just below the currently historically high US average high school graduation rate of 93 percent.” However, Hispanics “have ground to cover to catch up with the US average in attaining higher education degrees.” Curdum铆 stated that “A definite common thread is Hispanics’ healthy respect for education regardless of where they come from or whether they are immigrants or born in the United States. This is acquired from parents who are willing to forgo everything as long as the children have access to a good education. We see that this high value on education continues to be passed on to the next generations.”

Other important demographic factors for financial institutions are that Hispanics are having fewer children, which can mean, more disposable income for these individuals. According to PIIE, “even when the recent declining Hispanic fertility and net migration data is taken into account, the community will still account for the majority of the contribution to GDP growth from labor input in the future, a finding that underlines that it is important to continue fostering increased labor productivity among Hispanics. The continued numerical growth of the Hispanic community makes it imperative that their positive trend in educational attainment be sustained and strengthened to include the highest tertiary levels of education. Only then can the Hispanic community reap the full demographic dividend and convergence in wage levels be achieved.”

US assumed and actual life expectancies 2014, 2016, and 2020, at birth and at age 65 SOURCES: US CENSUS BUREAU (2014) AND CDC (CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION) (2018).

Importantly, the life of expectancy of Hispanics is higher than that of other demographic groups. This poses good opportunities for financial advisors who work providing financial services, such as retirement plans, insurance, annuities, and long-term care plans. According to Huertas and Kirkegaard “higher levels of Hispanic opportunity-driven entrepreneurship than among the rest of the US population, emphasizes the importance in securing the community full access to financing and other business support crucial to grow start-up businesses to scale.”

Business Symposium presentation at the University of St. Thomas Houston (UST) about "Successful Consulting: Turning your passion into profit"

Learn about the reality of entrepreneurship, the importance of learning what problem you are solving, and having a personal advisory support group. Then, I talked about the importance of determining your company vision, mission and values, of having a realistic money talk to achieve profit & Productivity. Finally, I close with: Can you have it all? Passion, purpose & profit.

Soledad Tanner. MIB

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Four common tax errors that can be costly for small businesses


A small business owner often wears many different hats. They might have to wear their boss hat one day, and the employee hat the next. When tax season comes around, it might be their tax hat.

They may think of doing their taxes as just another item to quickly cross off their to-do list. However, this approach could leave taxpayers open to mistakes when filing and paying taxes.

Accidentally failing to comply with tax laws, violating tax codes, or filling out forms incorrectly can leave taxpayers and their businesses open to possible penalties. Using IRS Free File or a certified public accountant is the easiest ways to avoid these kinds of errors.

Being aware of common mistakes can also help tame the stress of tax time. Here are a few mistakes small business owners should avoid:

Underpaying estimated taxes

Business owners should generally make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when their return is filed. If they don’t pay enough tax through withholding and estimated tax payments, they may be charged a penalty.

Depositing employment taxes
Business owners with employees are expected to deposit taxes they withhold, plus the employer’s share of those taxes, through electronic fund transfers. If those taxes are not deposited correctly and on time, the business owner may be charged a penalty.

Filing late

Just like individual returns, business tax returns must be filed in a timely manner. To avoid late filing penalties, taxpayers should be aware of all tax requirements for their type of business the filing deadlines.

Not separating business and personal expenses

It can be tempting to use one credit card for all expenses especially if the business is a sole proprietorship. Doing so can make it very hard to tell legitimate business expenses from personal ones. This could cause errors when claiming deductions and become a problem if the taxpayer or their business is ever audited.

Cameron Business Symposium November, 22 2019 Speakers

Cameron Business Symposium November, 22 2019 Schedule

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Mujeres millennials: ¿c贸mo pueden tomar mejores decisiones financieras?

Foto de Bruce Mars / Pexels


No solo se trata de mejoras educativas y de oportunidades. Uno de los m谩s grandes desaf铆os de nuestra regi贸n es involucrar m谩s a mujeres millennial en decisiones financieras socialmente responsables.

Sea que hablemos de mujeres o de millennials en general, ambos grupos tienen los 铆ndices m谩s altos de inter茅s por realizar inversiones de manera socialmente responsable. Sin embargo, contra lo que pudiera pensarse, es posible que en este rubro ninguno de estos grupos sea considerado tomador de decisiones. A煤n as铆, los n煤meros demuestran que 70% de mujeres est谩n interesadas en realizar inversiones de impacto, y muchos informes muestran que las mujeres dicen de manera categ贸rica que quieren un retorno tanto financiero como social de sus inversiones.

Si nos enfocamos en mujeres j贸venes, los datos de Morgan Stanley muestran que el 86% de millennials (definidos en t茅rminos generales como aquellos que nacieron entre los a帽os 80 y 2000) est谩n interesados en inversiones socialmente responsables. Sin embargo, al observar la intersecci贸n entre estas dos poblaciones, encontramos que las mujeres de la generaci贸n del milenio tienen menos probabilidades de tomar decisiones de inversi贸n por s铆 mismas en comparaci贸n con las generaciones anteriores. De hecho, el 61% de las mujeres milenarias encuestadas por UBS dejan las decisiones de inversi贸n a sus esposos, m谩s que cualquier otra generaci贸n reciente.

El enigma millennial

¿Por qu茅 las mujeres millennial, m谩s educadas, m谩s exitosas y con un criterio m谩s abierto que nunca, est谩n dejando las decisiones importantes sobre el dinero a otra persona? ¿Por qu茅 las mujeres m谩s j贸venes est谩n perpetuando el status quo en lugar de transformarlo? ¿Acaso los datos de Am茅rica Latina y el Caribe respaldan estos datos de UBS sobre mujeres millennial con tendencias similares, o es solo un fen贸meno de Estados Unidos y Europa?

Las mujeres millennial que no toman sus propias decisiones de inversi贸n son importantes por tres razones econ贸micas principales:

  • Es probable que est茅n perdiendo oportunidades para apoyar veh铆culos de inversi贸n de impacto. Cuando entregan sus decisiones financieras a sus esposos, es posible que las mujeres no inviertan con firmeza en los problemas locales o globales que les interesan, ya sea atenci贸n m茅dica, educaci贸n, conversaci贸n, microfinanzas, igualdad de g茅nero, agricultura sostenible, desarrollo comunitario y dem谩s. Si las mujeres no est谩n al volante de sus inversiones, es posible que un cambio social significativo no se d茅 por completo.
  • Es posible que no maximicen su propia creaci贸n de riqueza ni creen un plan realista para su futuro. Los eventos y situaciones de la vida de muchas mujeres introducen barreras para crear riqueza. Una brecha salarial del 26% en la regi贸n, la interrupci贸n de las carreras y el trabajo flexible tambi茅n pueden tener un impacto perjudicial en la creaci贸n de riqueza de las mujeres, y sus estrategias de inversi贸n se benefician al tomar en cuenta estos factores. En promedio, las mujeres tienden a vivir m谩s que los hombres en Am茅rica Latina y el Caribe por 6,3 a帽os, y esto hace que sus necesidades de planificaci贸n de la riqueza a menudo deban abarcar un horizonte temporal m谩s prolongado. Estas mujeres se beneficiar铆an de estrategias de inversi贸n que reflejen estas realidades.
  • Se acerca una transferencia masiva de riqueza, y las mujeres latinas deben estar preparadas. A nivel mundial, las mujeres heredar谩n US$ 28,7 billones en riqueza intergeneracional en los pr贸ximos 40 a帽os. Sabemos que las mujeres millennials se sienten c贸modas invirtiendo en otras mujeres de manera filantr贸pica, pero la pregunta es: ¿c贸mo hacer la transici贸n de su zona de confort filantr贸pica a la inversi贸n?
Entonces, ¿c贸mo aumentamos el conocimiento, la confianza y la cantidad de inversionistas millennials activas en la regi贸n de ALC y los guiamos a opciones de inversi贸n socialmente responsables?

La hoja de ruta para el empoderamiento financiero
  • Ofrezcamos mejores consejos financieros y m谩s personalizados, idealmente de asesoras financieras altamente capacitadas (¡y tambi茅n de hombres!) en ALC, que refuercen que tanto el impacto social como el rendimiento son posibles en las inversiones. Un buen asesoramiento financiero puede ayudar a las mujeres a superar algunos de sus desaf铆os de riqueza, reforzar su confianza financiera y evaluar mejor el riesgo. Jacki Zehner, de Women Moving Millions, se帽ala que las mujeres responden particularmente bien a un enfoque personalizado del asesoramiento financiero centrado en el fomento de la confianza.
  • Crear centros de entrenamiento para mujeres que inviertan en ALC alrededor de las redes existentes de mujeres. Debemos crear modelos de construcci贸n de comunidades basados en relaciones que saquen a las mujeres de un formato de “ense帽anza” y para fomentar el di谩logo entre ellas. Estos grupos pueden ayudar a las mujeres millennial a aprender de sus pares sobre c贸mo se convirtieron en inversionistas.
  • Alinear productos con potenciales inversionistas mujeres. Hay un n煤mero creciente de fondos mutuos y fondos de inversi贸n que est谩n democratizando el acceso a inversiones de impacto y con enfoque de g茅nero, aunque la oferta en ALC a煤n es limitada. Se puede aprender mucho de la accesibilidad de estos veh铆culos l铆quidos, con tarifas relativamente bajas y m铆nimos bajos, como rampas de acceso para millones de inversionistas (hombres y mujeres) que apoyan la equidad de g茅nero a nivel mundial.
  • Ayudar a los inversionistas a dar el salto de productos individuales a carteras. Cada vez hay m谩s carteras de enfoques de g茅nero m谩s diversificadas para abordar la violencia de g茅nero, la falta de representaci贸n cr贸nica de las mujeres en el liderazgo y las necesidades de atenci贸n m茅dica de las mujeres.
  • Aumentar la investigaci贸n de las distintas necesidades y opiniones de mujeres millennials en ALC para ayudar a guiar la creaci贸n de veh铆culos y estrategias de inversi贸n para desarrollar inversionistas en la regi贸n. Los datos son incre铆blemente escasos en ALC sobre el tema y los administradores de activos, los bancos de desarrollo, los asesores financieros y las mujeres inversionistas –entre otros– podr铆an tener un papel m谩s activo en la recopilaci贸n de estos datos para avanzar en este campo.

    Las mujeres de la generaci贸n del milenio son actores clave en la conversaci贸n sobre inversi贸n con enfoque de g茅nero (GLI) que ahora est谩 entrando a ALC. Para obtener m谩s informaci贸n sobre los desaf铆os y oportunidades que presenta GLI en ALC, consulte el documento recientemente publicado por BID Invest, “Inversi贸n con un enfoque de g茅nero: C贸mo las finanzas pueden acelerar la igualdad de g茅nero para Am茅rica Latina y el Caribe”, un informe pionero en su tipo que destaca esta tendencia creciente en la regi贸n.

Adriana en complicidad. Entrevista a Soledad Tanner # 7

En esta entrevista con Adriana Calhoon hablamos acerca de la labor a favor de la comunidad de la organizaci贸n "Women on the Move". Adem谩s contestamos las siguientes preguntas que le ayudar谩n a mejorar su negocio:

¿Como administrar su negocio en un escenario de una posible recesi贸n? ¿Como manejar la contabilidad de su empresa? ¿Cuales son las medidas de emergencia que hay que tomar en una recesi贸n? entre otros temas.

Contrate un experto para que lo asesore y as铆 incremente la utilidad de su negocio. Soledad Tanner Consulting le da estrategias para que su negocio este al 100%. Escuche la entrevista por tips y contactemos al: (832) 998 2136 o a Para mas informaci贸n:

Mas acerca de Adriana Calhoon - AC Media TV:

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Trillion-Dollar Opportunity in Supporting Female Entrepreneurs


There is much discussion and debate about how to support female entrepreneurs — and rightly so. Currently, women-led businesses are less likely to survive, despite evidence that their startups are often highly successful. New analysis by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that if women and men around the world participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could ultimately rise by approximately 3% to 6%, boosting the global economy by $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion.

So how do we support female entrepreneurs? The focus is often on improving access to credit (financial capital) or providing training to help women build new skills (human capital) — two areas critical for improving the success of women-led businesses. However, another key factor in the success of these businesses tends to be overlooked: access to networks.

Working with public, private, and social sector clients around the world, we have seen first-hand how potent such networks can be. And we have also come to understand that these supportive mechanisms are in short supply.

The good news is that action in all sectors can address this gap.

The Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship

To better understand the entrepreneurial gender gap we analyzed 2014-2016 data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), breaking down entrepreneurship and business sustainability rates by gender and across 100 countries. Among the findings:

  • Across all six global regions, the percentage of working-age men who start a new business exceeds the corresponding percentage of working-age women who do by roughly 4 to 6 percentage points.
  • Four countries — Vietnam, Mexico, Indonesia, and the Philippines — have managed to buck the global norm; more women than men launched new businesses in these countries in 2016.
  • In 50 of the 100 countries studied, the gender gap in founding startups (the percent of men versus women who start a new business) narrowed from 2014 through 2016, with the biggest gains occurring in Turkey, South Korea, and Slovakia.
  • In 40 countries, however — most notably in Switzerland, Uruguay, and South Africa — the gender startup gap is widening.

Although the gender gap in startup activity is fairly consistent across most countries, the gap in long-term business success varies more widely. In all regions except North America, women-led companies have lower sustainability levels than companies led by men. In the Middle East and North Africa, for example, women’s businesses are about 50% as likely as men’s to remain in operation 3.5 years after creation, while in Latin America, the women’s businesses are 82% as likely.

Drivers of the Gender Gap

Our research indicates that there are many reasons for these deficits, including differences in access to financial support. According to a BCG analysis of 2018 data from MassChallenge, a US-based global network of accelerators, investments in companies founded or cofounded by women averaged $935,000, which is less than half the average of $2.1 million invested in companies founded by male entrepreneurs. This disparity exists despite the fact that startups founded and cofounded by women actually performed better over time, generating 10% higher cumulative revenue over a five-year period: $730,000 for women compared with $662,000 for men.

This funding challenge is well documented, but our work also identified another, underappreciated challenge — women’s relatively limited access to “social capital” in the form of robust support networks.

Again and again we find that networks are a critical factor for small business success. In low- and middle-income countries, for example, we studied how knowing at least one other entrepreneur (a proxy for entrepreneurial networks) impacted women-led businesses. We found that stronger and broader networks are linked to smaller gender gaps in business sustainability and improved access to a variety of funding sources. Research by other groups, including the Asia Foundation, has found that peer-to-peer networks encourage women to set higher aspirations for their businesses, plan for growth, and embrace innovation.

Building a Better Network

Large corporations can play a big role in cultivating networks. In many parts of the world, women-led small businesses are a significant element in global supply chains, whether as distributors, retailers, or suppliers. Companies can foster networks that help those female entrepreneurs gain insight and advice on everything from how to finance their operations to how to manage inventory. Consumer-packaged goods, for example, can partner with non-profits, trade associations, or local chambers of commerce, to bring together women who run small shops that distribute the company’s products.

Supporting women-led businesses in this way is good business. If they do it well, companies can build a more diverse and reliable supply chain. BCG research has found this is one of many opportunities that companies have to advance societal goals while boosting returns for shareholders.

All organizations that support female entrepreneurs — including companies, international donor groups and governments — can magnify their impact by creating and building out networks for women. In our experience, the best networks are built on the principles of intent, inclusion, and interaction:

Intent: From the start, a network must have a clearly defined purpose. Networks should be much more than a glorified Rolodex. What can women gain by joining the network? Will they get access to human and financial capital, as well as social capital? How can the network help women achieve tangible business goals? Endeavor, for example, has a clear mission with its mentor and investor network to select and mentor high-impact entrepreneurs from around the world and accelerate the growth of their ventures, providing business advice and better access to financial capital. (Full disclosure: BCG has supported, and continues to partner with, Endeavor.)

Inclusion: Next, choose participants carefully. The best networks have a highly dedicated founder, whether that is an individual, an NGO, a corporation, or another organization with a long-term interest and presence in the community. They also have an active membership, and a diverse membership base, including a mix of new entrepreneurs and more established business owners, ideally with varied cultural backgrounds. To drive engagement and commitment, network founders can consider charging membership fees, instituting mandatory attendance requirements, and requiring interviews or references for new members.

Interaction: Structure the network to facilitate both formal and informal interactions. Formal training has its place, but informal, peer-to-peer interactions are crucial to building trust and ensuring that the network stays relevant over time. Online platforms can be critical to success in this area. Nigeria’s Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, for example, has formal mentoring programs, but it also encourages informal relationships, idea exchanges, and collaboration through its online forum which members and alumni can access on demand, whenever they have an internet connection.

It is no exaggeration to say that female entrepreneurs have the power to change the world. Closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship and fueling the growth of women-owned enterprises will unleash new ideas, services, and products into markets around the world. In order for that to happen, we need to ensure women have access to all forms of capital, particularly social capital in the form of powerful networks.

Shalini Unnikrishnan is the Global Lead for Societal Impact in the Consumer and Social Impact practices at Boston Consulting Group.

Roy Hanna is a principal at Boston Consulting Group’s Philadelphia office and is an expert on large-scale change and social impact.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

What is the Leadership Style of the Future CFO?

Driving innovation and improving business outcomes

As the role CFO evolves to strategic business partner their leadership style has to adjust to accommodate the quick pace of innovation, unsettled global markets, heightened competition and other disruptive factors.

To effectively lead, the future CFO need to balance their finance duties with a need for innovation and agility, as they are actively involved in ensuring better business outcomes and developing new revenue streams. “Today’s CFOs are partnering with other members of the C-suite in driving business strategy, so a CFO with a strong accounting or controlling background is no longer enough, you need strong business acumen with greater focus on people” said Anthony Coletta, CFO of SAP North America.

John Gimpert, National Programming Chair & Chicago Regional Director at The CFO Leadership Council, concurred, noting that “high intellect and strong functional skills are no longer sufficient.” The organization’s CFO leadership framework includes enhancing their ability to lead themselves and others, knowing the organization and delivering performance. Attributes essential to delivering performance encompass being diligent about driving results, setting priorities effectively, possessing an open, problem-solving mindset, and adopting an innovative and adaptive approach to change.
The Skills Modern Finance Leaders Need

The future CFO needs to be a thought leader who fosters an open and collaborative culture to build next-generation practices. “That means empowering the team and giving them more control over the day-to-day finance operations,” Coletta said.

To succeed in their new leadership roles, senior finance executives need to be adept at interacting with people inside and outside of their organization. “There is a huge shift in how the CFO spends their time,” Coletta said. The new brand of finance leader must position themselves as an ambassador of innovation by having an open dialog with sales, marketing, IT and other stakeholders.

The future CFO will be an architect of growth and value creation, according to Coletta. “Finance has an impact at every step of the value chain which requires building bridges across the organization and across various finance functions.”

One area where modern CFOs are leading is talent acquisition to foster the next generation of leaders. “I spend a good portion of my time mentoring and encouraging members of the finance team and ensuring that we hire or promote the right people,” Coletta noted. A successful finance team will include people with different backgrounds and demographics, but also a diversity of viewpoints.

Going forward, CFOs will also interact more frequently with those outside of the organization to understand and improve their connection to the finance function and the business overall. “I spend way more time with partners and customers in order to improve those relationships and understand their business imperatives and how finance can better serve their needs with innovative solutions,” Coletta said.

Coletta offers this advice as CFOs shift leadership styles:
  • Focus on the culture, not solely on optimizing processes
  • Understand the broader technology trends and how to translate into core business
  • Continuously invest in learning / people’s development
  • Be an agent of the change you want to see
Click here for more information about the future leadership style of the CFO.

Author: Anthony Coletta

As chief financial officer (CFO) for SAP North America, Anthony Coletta is steering the business in a territory that spans the United States and Canada, fostering operational excellence and overall financial health of the region. His role extends to driving the cloud business in SAP’s largest market and leading strategic initiatives as part of Global Finance leadership team

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Women on the move (Soledad Tanner)

Amazing video presented this morning at the “2019 Women on the Move” award ceremony Luncheon at the Hilton Americas Houston. It was truly an incredible honor to be among such an accomplished group of “dangerous women”. Video filmed by Lisa Malosky and Don Friedell of Lisa Malosky Productions.

Thank you, Graciela Saenz, for nominating me, Cathy Maris for your heartfelt letter of recommendation and Dr. Cindy Childress to supporting me with your talented ghost-writing skills. To all that were there to celebrate this special moment with me: Dr. Dorothy Caram, Helen Cavazos, Graciela Saenz, Lenora Sorola Pohlman, Sandra Smith-Cooper, Angelica Noyola, Angelica Vasquez, Arcy Munoz, and of course my Gabriel Lopez & mi mother Yolanda Cedeno that flew from Ecuador to be here today. 

Congratulations to all the 2019 Women on the Move and Rising Star: Brenda Hellyer, Jennifer Kirk, Jenny Dial Creech, Charlene Jackson, Pamela Anne Quiroz, Kathryn McNeil, Rhonda Smith, Rebeca Aizpuru Huddle, Paula McCann Harris, and our Rising Star: Victoria Chen.

 Thank you to all the people that worked tireless to make this a reality: Paula Mendoza, Ileana Trevino, Carrie Potter, Sheila Manning, Sara Wise, Frances Castaneda Dyess, Nory Angel, Wendy Dawson, Dr. Melanie Johnson, Beatriz Garza, Liz Cloud, Caroline “Baker” Hurley, Debi Wallace - Barfield Photography and the support team from Possible mission: Ana Fernandez & Sylvia Perez

Soledad Tanner, MIB