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Make financial planning accessible so entrepreneurs can succeed

By Gabrielle Piché

Make financial planning accessible so entrepreneurs can succeed

By: Gabrielle Piché

Joan Grandmont had difficulty with banks.

She wanted to start an interior design business around 20 years ago, so she went to the bank with her husband. Her husband is a farmer.

“I said, ‘I don’t want my business placed under the farm name.’”

Thirty minutes later, Grandmont was asked to sign on a dotted line, but she was still unclear on what she was signing.

“I wasn’t even spoken to very kindly,” Grandmont said. “I was just a farm wife.”

She later asked her husband what the banker wanted her signature for. It was for her business to be under the farm name, he said.

Grandmont sought help elsewhere. She ended up at the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba (WECM).

“When you get stuck in a situation, don’t have so much pride that you think you can do it by yourself,” Grandmont said.

She said business advisors played a crucial role in her understanding of finances and how to run a company. WECM staff gave Grandmont a loan and helped plan her career.

“I’m not an accountant, I’m not a banker, I’m not a business person, but I am a designer,” Grandmont said. “I just (needed) some help to get going.”

Financial planning is better with two heads than one, regardless of where an entrepreneur is at with their business, said Cheryl Baldwin, the founder and CEO of BCP Business Services.

Financial planners and business advisors should explain things fully when working on financial plans with clients, Baldwin said.

“Even if numbers aren’t their thing, it’s important they understand what the numbers are telling them.”

Business advisors can’t make entrepreneurs care about their finances, Baldwin said. But, advisors can show the benefits of planning.

“It can help (entrepreneurs) have peace of mind so that they’re not wondering (if they’re) going to have enough money in the bank to pay these bills.”

Financial planning allows entrepreneurs to make thoughtful decisions on how many risks they want to take with their company, Baldwin said.

“A budget isn’t finished until we’ve really gone through everything and gotten them to think of all the different impacts of their numbers.”

Financial planners who ask questions will get entrepreneurs thinking about the implications of their budgets, Baldwin said.

“Asking the questions is really where we get insight into where things are going and what’s in the client’s mind.”

Baldwin asks her clients about products’ profitability, how much things cost to produce, how much time things take, and more — it varies per situation.

At the end of the day, it’s about helping entrepreneurs make more money, Baldwin said.

“If you invest in somebody who can help you with the financial planning, nine times out of 10 it will pay off,” she said.