Meet Vinnie Fisher, an ex-lawyer who shook the online world by building three 8-figure businesses. Today, Vinnie focuses most of his efforts on FullyAccountable, a next-gen accountancy and consulting service that helps companies get their internal structure and processes in order. In this week’s podcast, Vinnie gives some pretty extraordinary advice on how to effectively run and grow any business.
How FullyAccountable came to life
As is the case with a great many businesses, FullyAccountable was born as a solution to a personal problem.
In his previous businesses, Vinnie Fisher always found accounting to be the weak spot in his businesses. The entrepreneur wouldn’t be able to derive some of the key metrics that are essential for any business – such as cost per customer acquisition or real profit margins – which had led a couple of his companies to fail.
But, as an entrepreneur, Vinnie knew this couldn’t go on: “We woke up one day inside of our large health supplement company, and we decided to fix that.”
After Vinnie applied certain accounting techniques inside his own companies, his friends were quick to notice the changes and wanted a similar solution for themselves. That’s when Vinnie knew the idea had potential.
More revenue isn’t the solution to everything
One of the most common misconceptions among entrepreneurs is the belief that gross revenue solves all problems, Vinnie says. In fact, the entrepreneur confessed to be guilty of believing in this myth himself.
However, the extensive business experience that included both huge wins and painful losses made the man reconsider.
Today, Vinnie Fisher is a big advocate of efficiency and sound internal systems (finance, accounting, HR) as essential factors for sustainable, stable growth.
How well is your business doing?
As a cornerstone of any effective accounting and financial planning program, Vinnie emphasizes benchmarking – comparing certain metrics of your own business to the industry average.
You’d think that such information could only be accessed by insiders or by paying large sums of money, and you’d be wrong. “The most private software I start with is this thing called Google”, Vinnie laughingly admitted.
Try and ask Google a specific, long-tail question that interests you, for example – “What is the industry standard profit margin of [your industry]?”
This kind of knowledge will quickly provide the context needed to assess how is your company doing, relatively to the competition.
For example, if you’re in the online space doing education-related businesses and not generating at least 50% profit margins, you have a seriously ‘leaky bucket’. If you’re selling supplements to the mass market and not making at least 12% ‘after everything’, you have a ‘leaky bucket’ as well.
Many businesses lie to themselves about where their profits go. One of the most popular stories you’ll hear is “I’m sacrificing profits to grow my company.” However, in reality, some of your profits are most likely being consumed by ineffective marketing campaigns and other inefficient processes – stuff that doesn’t help your company in any way whatsoever.
This raises another important question: should you be a ‘growth’ company or a ‘profit’ company?
Vinnie agrees with the thought that unless you have unlimited funding, everyone should focus on generating profits. “Understand where you make the most money, and focus on those areas”, he adds.
The number two reason why businesses fail is because they run out of cash
Insufficient market capitalization – a fancy term for running out of cash – is one of the leading causes why companies go under. “Marketers lose all their creativity when they’re freaked out about cash”, Vinnie shares from experience in working with companies.
One of the key goals behind FullyAccountable is helping marketers get back on their feet, normalize their cash flows and then help them systemize their marketing efforts: “Marketing by math is […] really the right way to do it. Like, all our friends at Facebook and all these other tools in Google – they give us tools so that we can market by math. But you know what? We just wanna market by our gut feeling. We wanna guess.”
Vinnie also emphasizes that more often than not, marketers are forced to admit they were wrong, when comparing their initial assumptions to the actual market data.
When I mentioned using various statistics such as Google Analytics to better understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, Vinnie said this: “Most people, they run these nice, fancy tools and they don’t do anything with them.”
If you’d like to hear the full interview with Vinnie Fisher, click on the play button at the top of the page!