For this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statements”, I had the opportunity to interview Karla Briones, Founder of Karla Briones Consulting – New Canadian Entrepreneur.
Karla’s mission is to support immigrants on their entrepreneurial journey.
Karla Briones Consulting – New Canadian Entrepreneur, provides business development, consulting, mentorship, corporate revamps and exit strategies for the New Canadian Entrepreneur at any stage of the business journey – from ideation to established corporations. They provide strategic mentorship every step of the way for Canadian newcomers and international entrepreneurs preparing to immigrate to Canada.
In addition to the New Canadian Entrepreneur digital platform and Immpreneur Canada Podcast, Karla is also a successful Franchisee owning two Global Pet Food locations and a Freshii location. And just recently, she and her best friend launched Frida’s Attic, a fun distributor and retailer of one-of-a-kind Mexican designs, that supports indigenous women and their local communities.
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?
I own four businesses in three very different industries, so the toughest part has been juggling four different finance departments, cash flows and year-ends. I have learned to be very meticulous in the management of money and knowing my numbers inside and out. I have also learned that I am not good at everything and it is imperative to delegate the day-to-day bookkeeping to someone who does this for a living. As entrepreneurs it is very easy to want to “save money” by doing it all – but don’t mess with your finance department! It’s great to learn how to do it and know how the mechanics work, however, I always ask myself: where do I add more value in my companies? And wherever I don’t see I add it, I outsource.
Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?
Know your industry ratios. Knowing what industry benchmarks you are supposed to be working with is very beneficial for a positive cash flow business. In other words, know the industry averages of what percentage of sales you should be investing in HR, marketing, rent, inventory, etc. Know them, breathe them and live them. When I started out in my retail businesses, this was always a struggle – knowing how much to reinvest in inventory without digging into my bottom line. There were a few times I white-knuckled it hoping my bank account would clear payroll and rent. Once I figured out my industry benchmarks I was able to create a system that forced me to look at my P&L numbers on a weekly basis and it became very easy to have profitable businesses. This knowledge was a game changer in my earlier days.
Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?
Succession planning. How to sell your business and when to base a sale price on EBITDA vs. a percentage of revenue.