Ep. #997 - Hiring Fractional CFOs
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, let’s answer how to know when hiring fractional CFOs is a good idea. Stay tuned as Lauren Conaway talks to Alejandra Santos, founder and CEO of Startup Tandem. They dissect the value of knowing the business financials and the impact of a fractional CFO on your success.
Covered In This Episode
Are you thinking about hiring a fractional CFO? What can this move do for your business?
Learn all the answers from Lauren and Alejandra. Also, these businesswomen are here to help you with their insights on managing business finances and customizing services.
Listen to this Startup Hustle episode today.
- Alejandra Santos and her journey (02:49)
- Tips to efficiently manage your business finances (07:42)
- What is Startup Tandem? (11:13)
- How Alejandra transformed one client’s business (13:10)
- On customizing services for your clients (15:57)
- Long-term goals for Startup Tandem (17:38)
- Industries that Alejandra wants to invest in (18:41)
- On helping more female entrepreneurs find success (20:25)
- Significant challenges on an entrepreneur’s financial journey (23:28)
- Acquired debt (25:42)
- Finding the right partner (28:07)
- Challenges in building credibility in the financial space (31:07)
- Best financial practices for founders (32:32)
- Why hire a fractional CFO? (35:36)
- Maximizing data to plan your business financials (36:57)
So it’s not just a matter of knowing the math. It’s a matter of knowing how and when to apply it, which is where that CFO piece comes in.– Lauren Conaway
I love seeing people succeed. So that’s definitely what drives me every day.– Alejandra Santos
I think it comes with an action process that you get to realize. That you manifest money like you’re manifesting a house or anything like that. All you have to do is continue working towards it, thinking positively, and giving money to everybody that needs it. That’s basically what it is.– Alejandra Santos
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 00:01
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Double, a flexible assistance service for busy executives that matches you with an experienced assistant. Today, it is easier than ever to hire a virtual assistant online, and no solution is better than Double. Double is a flexible assistant service built for busy founders, executives, and anyone looking to save time and focus on what matters most. Want to take control of your business and unlock a more productive version of yourself? Go to withdouble.com today and get $300 off your first month when you sign up with the code HUSTLE22. That is withdouble.com; use the code HUSTLE22, and save $300. And also save a little bit of your sanity, friends, because I gotta tell you, I sometimes feel like, without my virtual assistant, I would be descending into madness. So definitely check out Double today. Now, my friends, we’re gonna actually talk about a topic that I’m super excited about. And it’s because I don’t have a lot of knowledge in this space. So our poor guest is going to have to take me along, kind of carry me through this conversation. I can see her laughing right now because she knows exactly how this is gonna go. But Alejandra Santos is the founder and CEO of Startup Tandem, and we’re going to be talking about finance. I know that our founders who play along at home, most of you are really into the product, and you’re really into iterating and developing your services and getting better and better. But one of the things that startup founders really need to get better at is that finance piece. How we talk about money and our relationship with money is crucially important on our journey as founders. As we’re looking to grow and scale and become strong businesses. And I am so grateful to have you with us today, Alejandra. Thank you so much.
Alejandra Santos 02:05
Lauren, thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here. So excited to give you some of my knowledge and to everybody that’s listening in on finance. And just, you know, share a little bit of my journey and see how it can help you guys.
Lauren Conaway 02:19
Awesome. Well, that is exactly what we are here for. So let’s go ahead and hop right into it. I’m going to ask you a question. Tell us about your journey, my friend.
Alejandra Santos 02:29
My journey. Okay, so I’m gonna say my journey started when I moved to America when I was 17 years old. And at the time, I came from a small business owners kind of family, you know, entrepreneurial family. So when I came to America, I wanted to do something different with my life. Obviously, I went through school, I did all this program, so I became an employee, and I learned the ropes of different kinds of industries. And at some point, I faced myself with intrapreneurship, working for intrapreneurs in California, and it was very eye-opening there to see exactly what the needs were as a, you know, people running different hats and, you know, doing different kinds of functions on how to scale their business. And as an employee, I was very junior at that level. And I realized, you know, there’s a lot of structures that are missing, a lot of processes and policies that are missing. It wasn’t really clear exactly what I wanted to do until I became part of a consulting company that does exactly what I actually do right now. And that right, there was even a bigger eye opener because I saw not only the need as an internal employee for an intrapreneurial company but also the need from an outside perspective of an entrepreneurial company as a consultant. And that’s when I realized, you know, very holistically speaking, okay, intrapreneurship. It’s hard. It’s amazing. It’s a drive. It’s a journey. And having the right people by your side is the most important part of the journey. So that’s when I created my company.
Lauren Conaway 04:10
Yes. Well, that’s incredible. So when we’re talking about the right people by your side, I mean that you can, you have to have your team, and your team can be the people who work for you and work with you. But it can also be the people who are invested in your success. You know, your mentors and your brand advocates and all of the folks who are collectively engaged in what you’re doing. But the piece that Alejandra speaks to and the piece that I love so much, and the piece that I want to hear more about, is that finance piece. Can you talk to us a little bit about where you’re either in love or your appreciation of that piece of business came from?
Alejandra Santos 04:51
So yes, thank you for asking that. Actually, my mom was a finance-savvy person back in my country. She owns her own finance brokerage. Oh, wow. And that’s where it comes from.
Lauren Conaway 05:05
A second-generation financial wizard. Okay.
Alejandra Santos 05:09
And also my father, you know, a small business owner as well, very analytical, they were teaching me the ropes, as you know, as early as I was three, four years old. Wow. Yeah, on, like, what taxes meant or what, you know, what inventory purchase was, and I was a tiny little child. But I mean, the love for numbers is basically the fact that I love problem-solving. I love watching trends, I love identifying problems, and, you know, creating solutions. And that’s, I think finance when I look at finance, it is not just you grab a calculator, and you know, you say what, what I’m when I’m breaking even No, it really understands what those numbers mean, in your company. And that’s what I like about it, the story behind it.
Lauren Conaway 05:55
Yeah, well, you said something really interesting. Well, so first things first, I think it’s really, really important what you just said about problem-solving because the fact is, you know, math is math, you know, two plus two is always going to equal four, unless, I don’t know you’re in some alternate universe or something like that. But the fact is when you apply the financial pieces, and that knowledge and that wisdom that you bring to your clients and customers, when you apply it, well, you’re able to take that data and take those insights and turn it into better decisions for your company. Right? So it’s not just a matter of knowing the math. It’s a matter of knowing how and when to apply it, which is where that CFO piece comes in. Right?
Alejandra Santos 06:38
Correct. Correct. And not only, you know, not only when to apply, but also creating that infrastructure that allows you to really make decisions in a good, fast and efficient way.
Lauren Conaway 06:51
Yeah, I love that. Well, we’ll talk to us a little bit more about that, you know, talk to us about that infrastructure piece, what are, what can some of our listeners at home apply in their businesses tomorrow.
Alejandra Santos 07:03
So I’m going to tell you something that I see very often that intrapreneurs do and need, they don’t get their financials in place until they decide that it’s time to, I’m going to sell my company, or I’m going to bring an investor in or I want to get some depth, right. And that the time is really, really late, it’s probably not the right time to go backward and fix everything or to go backward, or to go forward and start setting up processes and procedures and policies, because you already have a history of something that it’s not even clear anymore, right. So that’s what that means. So basically, what I say by infrastructure is even an S intrapreneur. Myself, and as intrapreneurs that I’ve talked to every day, getting a finance person, just like any other position in the C suite, is expensive, you know, it’s not easy, it’s not an affordable, you know, the budget-friendly position that you can just give away when you’re starting to build a company, but you can definitely get someone to help you set up those policies and infrastructure in place, where at the time that you have to, you know, go and ask for money or go in ask for somebody to look at your financials, you’re already in a way much better respond, then if you have never looked at those before. And that just means a lot of things are in that can mean a lot of things that can mean, you know, as simple as understanding how your revenue is, you know, reflected in your financial statements. Are you using your right? Cost of services and cost of goods in your financials, it’s very simple stuff that you believe me or not, a lot of Intrapreneurs don’t even have that in their financials. So it’s really hard. If I ask somebody, what are your margins? Oh, I don’t know, that’s a question that everybody should have to know when you’re doing it, you know, when you’re running a business. So it’s as simple as that as also creating an approval process or creating a payable process where you’re not paying everybody through Venmo or Zelle. Or, you know, you actually have this structure in place. Or, you know, when you collect money, you have a billing system that, you know, you can go ahead, and it’s automatic. You have a process in place as well. Or, you know, when you’re, you know, talking about profit margins, do you understand exactly what are the biggest drivers in those financials? So it’s very simple things that will take you a long way farther. Yeah.
Lauren Conaway 09:26
Well, it’s so funny that you asked if you could believe it because I absolutely can’t believe it. I actually talk to a lot of early-stage entrepreneurs. And the fact is like I said, and this is something that we talk about a lot like, entrepreneurs, you know, we’re we tend to be very, very passionate about the problem that we’re solving whatever problem whatever form that may take, and that means that we get really into product development and research and design. But when it comes to building a business, it’s not just sales. It’s not just creating the solution. It’s not just all of these moving pieces that come together. A lot of being an entrepreneur is doing things that you’re massively uncomfortable with. And for a lot of entrepreneurs, that piece that they’re uncomfortable with is finance. So talk to us a little bit about that, like, how do you work with clients? Actually, you know, I’m gonna back it up for a second. And I’m gonna say, talk to us about Startup Tandem, what specifically you do. But then, let’s talk a little bit about what that means and what kind of freedom you offer your clients.
Alejandra Santos 10:33
Yeah, so Startup Tandem was, you know, I created sort of tendon because, as I said, I have that, you know, internal employee experience. And then I also had that external consulting experience with another company. And I basically created a sort of tendon because I am very passionate. I mean, I had gone on runs many times, meditated on my run, and, you know, cried just because I really wanted to be part of somebody’s success story. That, to me, brings me a lot of joy. And my skill set is in problem-solving and in numbers, so why not? I’m going to put my skill set to work and help other people be successful. The startup tendon was created because I want to make sure that I can be part of their journey at any stage where they are at and not just this company that will only, you know, like, it’s only when you can afford me kind of a deal. Because I don’t think that, you know, entrepreneurs need more than that, they need the kind of care, that kind of support in order to become successful in order to scale their business, right, because you can also grow broke really fast as well. That’s another thing you can do. So, you know, so startup tending, you know, we basically have, you know, a very business model, it’s like, we scale as your business scales. So I will customize our services, according to, you know, wherever you are in your journey to, and a pre-revenue 150 K grows 10 million CAGR? Who cares? Wherever you are, you’re gonna get it service, and at least it’s going to give you some kind of infrastructure to get you to the next level.
Lauren Conaway 12:04
That is awesome. So, I’m gonna give you a little opportunity to brag on yourself here, because you took the the modest way. And I’m not going to allow it, you’re not going to be modest right now. But talk to us about maybe talking to us about a client that you stepped in, and you were able to offer that kind of guidance and that assistance, and you were able to help them transform their business and their relationship with the financial peace.
Alejandra Santos 12:30
So everybody, you know, most of the people that come to me, they really don’t know what they’re doing with numbers, this is how it is. But they’re very, very smart people educated, you know, they know they’re really good. Other craft, right. And, and they’re really, you know, they’re really know, as well, a lot of different topics on you know, finance, Texas and all of that, which is part of intrapreneurial researching and understanding all those concepts. But I’ve had different clients, and I’m not. I cannot say names. Yeah, but I’ve had different clients that, for example, come to me and they say, Oh, my goodness, you know, I think it’s time to, to sell my company, the next five years, I’ve been in business for 10 years, here it is. And I’m like, Okay, let’s look at this. And it’s hard to even get them in a meeting because they were so scared of going over the numbers, but as you know, I try to make it enjoyable. I try not only to talk about the numbers in a way that’s only informative and educational, but also in a way that is kind of like a story. Kind of like I’m talking to you like, um, you know, we’re like, we’re having coffee, make it pleasant, right? Because numbers are a very uncomfortable topic. But there’s many different stories, like I’ve got this, you know, 10 year cleanup to do with my team in order for you to be able to even be okay in the next five years, right to be able to sell your company, if that opportunity shows up. So, you know, it’s a journey is a journey, it’s a process, it’s definitely breaking it down in a way that people understand. Like, if you understand, you know, if you’re an engineer and you’re, you know, doing some research then I’m gonna try to get on that level and talk to you in your engineer terms. If you are more sales, I’m gonna go in and let you know, like, I’m gonna try to make my language fit your personality that way you don’t feel like it’s overwhelming, but it’s a journey.
Lauren Conaway 14:35
I love that so much because I think that one of the most important things that we can do is advisors and mentors and guides and fractional CFOs. Now as we have to meet people on their level, you know, you can be a fantastic speaker communicator in your own right but if your audience doesn’t understand, or isn’t able to fully, you know, comprehend or feel comfortable with the information they You’re giving, then it’s all for nothing. Right? So I love how you’re able to kind of customize and, and really get personal with your approach. I love that methodology. What do you think? What do you think inspired that in you?
Alejandra Santos 15:17
That’s a good question. Um, so I’ve been doing a lot of, I’ve done a lot of teaching across, you know, throughout my years, and teaching to different kinds of audiences has helped me, you know, like, I’ve taught finance classes to engineers, and then I’ve taught finance classes to to scientists, right. So it’s kind of like, it’s interesting to me, just, I like when people get that wow, like, oh, that factor like, Oh, I get it now. Uh-huh. That aha moment?
Lauren Conaway 15:53
It’s like, yeah, well, that that was super cool. And how, how fulfilling is it to you as a founder, when you see that light bulb come on, in someone’s eyes, or when you see, when you have fundamentally changed someone’s relationship to the financial piece of their business?
Alejandra Santos 16:09
It’s the same feeling that I get every time I fight for my clients. And when it comes to, you know, fighting for better terms on a deal or, you know, getting better interest rates, right, or, you know, it’s the same feeling. It’s kind of like, Wow, I did that. That is awesome.
Lauren Conaway 16:31
I love that so much I so I have to tell you, that is something that you and I have in common. My friend, like, I love the aha moment. Like when somebody finally gets it. You know, that’s one of the most fulfilling parts of what I do. And I think what a lot of entrepreneurs do, so talk to us a little bit more about Startup Tandem. What are your long term vision or goal for the work that you do?
Alejandra Santos 16:59
So we do well, I mean, we do offer a lot of services right now for intrapreneurs. in their, in their businesses, we cater a lot to startups and small businesses, our main focus is, you know, to help intrapreneurs business owners to be compliant. And for them to not worry about the things you know, that, you know, that they probably should be worrying about, for them to focus on the bigger picture. So that’s the main goal of Startup Tandem. However, in the future, I definitely have big plans. I definitely would like to invest in a few startups myself, I love the beauty space. Yes, I love the beauty space, I have a lot of those clients skincare products.
Lauren Conaway 17:49
And I just love the margins are really fascinating, like you say that you yourself want to be an investor, and you have a lot of clients in the beauty space. But what other kind of industry inspires you? Or makes you want to get involved?
Alejandra Santos 18:00
Um, me too, a lot of you know, woman intrapreneurship. So that’s why you’re in that? Yeah, yeah, that’s one thing. I definitely support women owned businesses. And we’re doing a program with another venture firm, where they, you know, they teach underrepresented professionals to become venture capitalists. And I think that’s pretty cool. I’m part of that as well. So just, you know, when I started my company, I just wanted to make a difference. I definitely think that when you are a founder of a company, you have a lot of power, you have a lot of power to create an amazing product or service, an amazing culture, and you also have the power to influence people outside, right? So that’s my goal. My goal is to become this, you know, this woman that people, you know, look up to, because I do have a very interesting path that they can look up to and say, Oh, my God, if she did it, I can do it. Because I want to be that force of inspiration and that energy. And I also want to be able to support other women on their journey and support other underrepresented professionals as well on your journey.
Lauren Conaway 19:09
Yeah, well, and I, you know, let’s just take a moment to acknowledge the fact that hashtag representation matters. You know, in my daily work, I don’t think I can express to you how many entrepreneurs I talk to on a day to day basis, who say, hey, you know, I didn’t think that entrepreneurship was possible for me, until I saw so and so do it. And because they were able to do it, you know, in the face of great obstacles, even even in the face of great obstacles. I know that I can do it too. So it’s a very empowering thing. And I love that that’s kind of your core, would you would you say that that’s your core?
Alejandra Santos 19:46
Um, yes, I would say that is one of my courses. Absolutely empowering intrapreneurs empowering women. Like I said, I love seeing people successful. So that’s definitely what drives me every day by having a conversation with the client. into the prospect client. And they tell me about their plans, just kind of forming that big picture for them. And being part of that really gives me chills. So that’s what keeps me driving, you know, wakes me up every morning, and keeps me going through the challenges and you know, in the spears and everything that comes to me. So yeah, I mean, my core is seeing people successful? I don’t I don’t know that sounds like any. I don’t know how that sounds. But that’s exactly what wakes me up every day.
Lauren Conaway 20:26
No. And I mean, I think that it’s absolutely perfect for who you are, is a massively successful representation of what you do. You’ve found a way to align the core of who you are and the goals and what you want to do with the day to day work that you engage in. And not everybody has that. That’s super cool, my friend. Well done.
Alejandra Santos 20:52
Thank you, Lauren. Yeah, I mean, I had, you know, everybody has to make a choice in their life. And I think I made a choice to make this business a little too late. But at the same time at the right time, right, you know, when you say, Oh, I wish you could have done that. But then suddenly, you’re like, Well, it’s actually the right moment that I’m doing it. But I wish it could have come a little bit earlier, right? Because if it would have come a little bit earlier, I would have, you know, probably helped more people along the way.
Lauren Conaway 21:18
But if it would have come, there’s a lot to be said for like, yeah, they have to be ready as the founders.
Alejandra Santos 21:22
Exactly. That’s what I was going through as well. Like all the experiences that I had, there, actually, you know, made me to be in this moment right now ready to take on more and give more knowledge.
Lauren Conaway 21:32
Yeah, I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself. If I were you, you would be in this place. And in this moment in time to to help founders and to help entrepreneurs and to help underestimated historically excluded people to find generational wealth and success. And all have those opportunities that we talked about, that is, that’s incredible. And I just give you so many props for that. You know, one of the things that we talk about a lot around Startup Hustle is that team component, and I’m sure that your clients feel just amazing knowing that you have their back. Now, you know, when people ask me what my best advice for building a business is, most of the time it involves the team and knowing when to delegate. So today, I want to add that knowing when to hire an assistant is really key too. It’s usually the hardest thing for a startup founder to do because we want to be so close to everything like, we don’t want to delegate, we want to protect our babies and take care of our babies. But sometimes that’s not the way. Sometimes we need to find people who can support us and help us to focus on the things that we do best in the things that we love. We know that finding an assistant is hard to do. But it doesn’t have to be when you connect with our friends over at Double. They are the experts in pairing founders with remote executive assistants you can trust Double will match you with experienced US based assistants and arm them with tools and training to ensure you are always getting the best of the best Startup Hustle listeners can get in withdouble.com, use code HUSTLE22 and save $300 Right off the bat. And that’s not nothing. That is withdouble.com. Use code HUSTLE22 and save $300 All right, so let’s hop right back into it. And I’m gonna ask you, we’re gonna get pretty tactical here. And I’m just going to ask you, what are some of the most significant challenges that you see entrepreneurs grapple with on their, their financial journey, you’ve referred to a couple of them, but I just kind of like to drill down in that just a little bit.
Alejandra Santos 23:31
So yes, definitely. So a few things that I’ve noticed. It’s, believe it or not, structuring your company, picking up the business, the business tax structure, that doesn’t really give you the best savings. Yeah, that’s one of them. buying into systems that are too much of an early stage, right, like complex systems, which can be really costly. That’s another one that I see as well cash management is top 100% not setting up the right infrastructure is the other one we already talked about that a little bit that’s you know, setting the right infrastructure from the beginning will just help you minimize costs and like increase your profits so long the way so just taking that you know from the beginning space, when to look for better opportunities when it comes to financing it’s another one when is a good time to ask for actually depth to ride especially people that are fundraising all the time. There is a time there that is golden to go and say okay, I can get a better you know line of credit or you know, opportunity somewhere else is because they just fun raced in go I spoke about going broke too fast. That happens a lot. You know when people want to scale rapidly and get too much stepped out So that one right there is one to watch.
Lauren Conaway 25:03
Now, so you said too much debt? And how can you? How can you tell if you’re acquiring too much debt? I don’t know.
Alejandra Santos 25:13
I cannot. No,no? No, it’s a good question. So it’s a good question. I love it. So you definitely have to look at your debt and equity ratio. But most importantly is like, you look at your balance sheet, right? Just as a simple glance with our ratios, just look at your balance sheet. And you can see, okay, how much debt do I have in the books? Right? How many credit cards do I have? How many loans do I have? How am I financing my inventory? We’re doing inventory purchases, which, you know, we do have a lot of those clients, what are my terms there? If you look at these, you know, financing terms, financial and loan, or what is the APR there? What is the cost of capital? And then if you look again, on your balance sheet, and you say, Okay, so who are my investors? Right? Am I the only one there? Then you start, you know, when you look at someone’s company financials, and you look at all these steps, and then you look at all these investors, you already know, the founder already practically lost his company, but you know, the company doesn’t belong anymore. They’re to the person because of how he has been managed. So just looking at the balance sheet very, very quickly, without any ratios without any calculations, no calculators, it looks exactly. What’s your depth? What’s your equity? Are you the only equity person? Are you coming in more in your, you know, Cap table, and that will give you a really good glance on where you’re standing?
Lauren Conaway 26:35
Yeah, I, man, that is so actionable. Thank you so much for that. That was incredible. Now, one of the things that I understand about Startup Tandem, so one of the things that we as entrepreneurs, particularly if we’re bootstrapping, but you know, we have limited time resources. But more often than not, we have very limited money. And I’m sure that some of the pushback that you receive when you’re, you know, trying to look for clients and fill out your client pipeline, is the fact that you know, hiring someone from the outside is going to be costly. Now, I don’t believe that because I think that if you put the right experts in place, you actually actively ended up saving yourself money down the line. But what are some what are some overcoming objections, things that you talk to your client about with potential clients?
Alejandra Santos 27:28
Well, there’s always the thing about money. 100% Correct. But that’s something that’s what comes about finding the right partner, right? That’s exactly what it comes back to. Because there is a lot, yes, there’s a lot of companies out there, that all they want to do is, you know, charge you and that’s, that’s what it is, you know, you just have to be aware, you have to do your research, you have to, you know, talk to other people at these companies or work with get your references together, see what their experience was, right. But one of the things that I also liked, I encourage people, you know, is, you know, talk to my references, talk to my clients, talk to my old, my clients are no longer with me and see how they liked it, you know, what kind of services I provide? And then also, I am very flexible as well with people when it comes to budgets, yes. Because I understand, as an entrepreneur myself, I get it, I 100% get it. And as a CFO, I get budgets 100%. So when you tell me your budget, then that’s exactly the number I already know exactly what I can do with that number. And you know, later down the line, we can talk about something else, right, let’s see where you are later down the line and see what other services we can provide. But that’s one of them. Other ones that I get is, you know, you look too young. I actually do get that a lot and see that when we opt-in to pre show Kandra and I will so first of all, both of us have messy offices at the moment.
Lauren Conaway 28:54
And we had a moment of communion where we were just like, Hey, what’s up, you’re too busy to clean me too. Another thing that I did notice was that Alejandra is a lovely young woman, and definitely has the look of I probably would have pushed you like early to mid 20s. I imagine that’s probably not the case. I don’t really know if that’s true or not. But I can imagine that credibility might be difficult because you have all of this amazing experience. But you’re just so you’re so pretty and you’re in your 20s It was really hard.
Alejandra Santos 29:44
It is actually a challenge. Yes. I’m definitely not as young as early 20s or mid 20. I’m not in my 20s anymore.
Lauren Conaway 29:54
I mean, I’m super jealous. Like congratulations on the great skin and everything but damn you a little bit.
Alejandra Santos 30:00
Yeah, it’s kind of like a bliss and occurs at the same time.
Lauren Conaway 30:05
Yeah, you’re 18 years old though, like, and you’re gonna look like you’re in your 50s or 60s. And then there are people like me who are just gonna be like you young whippersnapper. It’s gonna happen, I can feel it.
Alejandra Santos 30:20
Really great, Lauren, and if any of you ever want to come to California, please.
Lauren Conaway 30:26
Absolutely. And we’re gonna have all kinds of fun. So building credibility in the space, like, that’s been a challenge. What other challenges have you experienced as you’ve been growing your business?
Alejandra Santos 30:38
Credibility is one of them, as like I was saying, but I’m, you know, I’m very grateful. I’m very grateful for finding really good partners that have vouched for me, that have referred me, that have, you know, my clients, my clients love me, oh my god, I love my clients. I mean, I had clients before I even had a company. So I hit that they were my, my seed money, I tell them, you guys you guys are part of my journey, they love it. So, I mean, there’s a lot of challenges when it comes to business. Um, you know, as you already know, there are a lot of options out there, there’s a lot of people doing exactly what I do. And at the end of the day, it is just finding that person that you click with, because you’re gonna talk to this person all the time, you’re gonna, this person is going to be on your face and your finances, on your DMS, on all kinds of things. So just don’t make sure that this person is, you know, the right fit for your personality, the right fit for the conversation. Are they you know, talking about the topics that you liked, the questions that you have, are they researching your challenges, your problems? And who really cares for your business? It’s basically what it comes down to. But there’s so many challenges, Lauren?
Lauren Conaway 31:52
Yeah, well, don’t, don’t we know it. Right. Right. Listeners, I know, I want to hear a Hell yeah, from you at home, if you have been experiencing issues as a founder in your space, because I don’t know a single founder who hasn’t dealt with some pretty difficult stuff. Well, so talk to us a little bit about some of those, those best practices again, so I’m going to ask you, what is the one thing that you wish your potential clients and that your clients knew before they even came to you.
Alejandra Santos 32:26
At least to have their own chart of accounts together in their house.
Lauren Conaway 32:32
That isn’t, it might not be up on the financing. So Chart of Accounts, that’s where you have created your menu of revenue, potential revenue channels, and, you know, debits, credits, all of that stuff that you’ve created coding around it, so that you can pull accounting reports really quickly.
Alejandra Santos 32:53
You can do financial statements, at least have your accounts, you know, exactly how you want to read your financials. It’s more about how you interpret your financials and your money rather than, you know, just anybody else. Because at the end of the day, the financials are just for you. And your business, you’re making decisions, right? So just make sure that you understand what your financials mean, right? Not just because someone just put an account in there now, like, exactly what you finished, what is your cost of doing service? What is your cost of doing, you know, selling goods? What is your revenue? Where’s it coming from? Is it coming from Amazon? Is it coming from, you know, in a store, like, what is where, where’s the money coming from? Kind of like understanding those basics?
Lauren Conaway 33:36
Yeah. Well, yeah, I mean, honestly, and we already talked about the fact that like, these are the kinds of numbers that founders should be able to just pull immediately, like somebody asks you, and you don’t have to look at your phone, you don’t have to look at an Excel spreadsheet or whatever system you’re using. You’re just able to say it right there. Right then there at least seems like a pretty good idea, right?
Alejandra Santos 33:58
Yeah, exactly. Like 30% of my money comes from online marketing. Okay, cool. What Google Ads Facebook has, where is it coming from? Right, exactly. Those kinds of relationships have a really tight handle on your numbers.
Lauren Conaway 34:09
And I feel like that’s kind of the gateway to again, you know, insights and data and information. It’s only as strong as the action that you are able to take from it. That’s why we talk about actionable insights. And so knowing your numbers is the pathway to making change in your business that can be that can make you more profitable, it can make you more efficient. And so you’re really kind of you’re kind of the gateway drug to success, my friend, but you are incredible. talk first about the fractional piece. Why would an organization do well to hire a fractional CFO over like a full time? Full time team member?
Alejandra Santos 34:58
So with a fractional CFO, you get a whole team behind it, that’s the whole idea of and you just don’t you don’t get one person, at least not Well, as you get an analyst you get, you know, you get a team of accounting, you get a team of finance. So yes, you’re talking to a person, but if you need in depth research on, you know, any trend that’s going on, or any industry, or competitors, what they’re doing, you can throw it in and say, Hey, can you do this for me? And yeah, you have, you have a team rather than in person at a fractional cost. That’s basically what it is. But it’s just depending on what your business needs are, right? Like, from a startup fractional CFO, myself, and entrepreneur myself, I know that hiring a C suite is one of these very costly, it’s super expensive, especially when you’re growing a business, like you want to make sure that you’re putting your money in the right buckets. So right in order to scale your business, you’re gonna have to do, you know, pick your battles kind of a thing. So if you cannot afford to hire one full person that’s going to take on this whole, you know, venture, then go ahead and get a service or a fractional CFO that comes with a team that can do research for you that can stay up to speed and up to date with anything that’s going on in the world. And if you need something, then you can just spit it out, and they will give it back to you.
Lauren Conaway 36:17
Yeah. Well, and in the CFO, like that role. The CFO is there to help you, keep you from making mistakes. But really, like when we talk about the CFO, the great thing that CFOs offer over like an accountant or bookkeeper is that vision piece? Can you talk to us a little bit about that?
Alejandra Santos 36:38
Correct saying the big picture. So accounting is being in the details, right? And being in the actual so what’s happening right now with fractional CFO is actually looking at trends. And you know, from those trends, you can derive what’s going to happen in the future, right? Like, what is the best way to tackle a problem that we can have in the future, or you know, how to maximize revenue, because you can see that the trend using the software or, you know, using this kind of channel is actually really good. So how can we maximize on that? So it’s kind of like planning the future. While you’re doing you know, accounting and all of that you’re actually in the actuals, you’re staying in the act, you’re looking at a very narrow vision. So that’s what the CFO does. He helps you get into the bigger picture, like identifying if you’re in the service industry, which ones are your biggest clients? You know, like identifying those biggest clients? How do we make them spend more money on your business? So they become your kind of scaling partner in crime? Yeah.
Lauren Conaway 37:36
Well, I love that. And honestly, I feel like all of our entrepreneurs who are listening are just like, yeah, I want to make more money for my business. So definitely check out Startup Tandem, for sure. Now, I forewarned Alejandra, about the opportunity that we’re about to partake in here, and I’m about to ask the human question, and I have to tell you what I warned her. She actually gave me a look. So I don’t really know how she feels about this. But Alejandra I’m about to ask you. The human question. Are you ready? Okay. Oh, nervous. question that has nothing to do with anything. It’s not gonna hurt. All right. So my question is, and I actually don’t even have a question right now. I’m just kind of looking around my office and I see a bunch of books, because I have a bunch of books in my office. So I’m gonna ask you, are you a big reader? Are you reading anything right now?
Alejandra Santos 38:32
You know, I read about spiritual, manifesting good energy positivity. Those are the kind of mean to sometimes I read something about finance, but that doesn’t get me to sleep. So I just read about, you know, positivity and energy. I like to read about the souls and how they choose your families and how many lives people can have.
Lauren Conaway 38:57
And those trees, oh, man, I love that so much. Because here you are, you’re like this very analytical, very, like, numbers driven person and yet, you’re reading things that kind of speak to the soul. That’s really beautiful. Yeah. Surprising, that is not what I expected from you. You’re, you’re a surprising founder. i Are there any particular books that you would recommend to our listeners, if they’re interested in that kind of spiritual vein?
Alejandra Santos 39:31
You know, I was reading something about manifesting money. That’s a good one, actually. Yeah, it’s actually a very, yeah, you know, it’s all about manifestation about being, you know, having a good relationship with money, which you and I talked briefly about before starting, you know, is it’s very important to be positive and, and kind of see money does like an energy and energy exchange between people and you know, and that’s all it is. And I think it comes with any fuss. The station process is that you get to realize that if you manifest money like it’s manifesting like a house or anything like that, you’ll just have to continue working towards it, thinking positively, and giving money to everybody that needs it. That’s basically what it is.
Lauren Conaway 40:14
Oh my gosh, I love that. I think I’m gonna start adopting that in my own life just to be like it’s not really money.
Alejandra Santos 40:27
Well, I mean, the more attached you are to things you know, the worse it is. You have to detach yourself to make it come to more.
Lauren Conaway 40:37
Yeah, well, I absolutely love that, and I have to tell you I have. I absolutely loved just. Thank you for letting me pick your brain. I’m very set like I don’t often have this happen when I have guests, but like I was like, very selfishly, like, I’m just taking notes here, and I’m like, Okay, what are the things that I need to do with finance? So thank you so much for sharing your wisdom so freely and authentically.
Alejandra Santos 41:01
Now, thank you so much for having me, Lauren. It’s been great. So much fun. I honestly do love how you handle the podcast. We appreciate it.
Lauren Conaway 41:11
Well, thank you. You know what, I just love doing it. And you know what else? My friends, founders, and entrepreneurs who are listening at home, we love our episode sponsors. And once again, today’s episode of Startup Hustle was sponsored by Double. Double is a remote executive assistant that can help you with everything from email and calendar organization, which is what I need help with, to expense reporting and database management. Oh crap, I also need help with that too. I just need help with all the things. Find your perfect system today. Head over to withdouble.com and use the code HUSTLE22 to get $300 off even easier. Click on the link in the show notes; that should be right down there with a little link. While you’re there, make sure you hit that subscribe button so you can be sure to always get your daily dose of Startup Hustle. Thanks so much for joining us. And we will catch you on the flip side.