A powerful idea in the mind of an entrepreneur is like a seed in a sidewalk crack. It only needs a little bit of dirt and some sunlight to take root and grow into something real. Carole Sprunk had a passion for print media and the dream that one day she could publish something she cared about--something excellent.
While she worked in Business Development for a large printing and packaging company, Carole was made aware of an opportunity to purchase EDGE Magazine, West Omaha’s premier lifestyle publication. For Carole, this represented more than just an investment opportunity. It was a chance for her to do something she cared about deeply in a community she loved.
Though she wasn’t ready to make the purchase initially, the prospect of buying EDGE Magazine didn’t leave her thoughts. Months would pass and she found herself continuously checking the magazine’s sale listing. When the listing was removed, she was concerned the magazine had been sold.
She reached out to the former owner and found out EDGE was still on the market. Carole had been saving money for months, running an independent cleaning service on the side to earn enough to make the purchase. After a lengthy negotiation, Carole was finally able to come to an agreement and purchase EDGE Magazine.
According to Carole, EDGE represented an intimidating, yet exciting challenge. She had never done anything so complicated as owning and publishing a publication of this caliber. But her passion for print and her commitment to her own dream meant she was willing to do whatever it took to find success.
One morning Carole looked down at her cup of coffee. It had been a rough morning, the kind where nothing seems to be going right. Naturally, she pondered another kind of liquid refuge and said to the coffee, “I wish you were bourbon.” It was like a light had been switched on in her mind. Surely, she thought, there must be bourbon coffee.
Carole was right. After a bit of research, she found the purest version of what she had imagined: bourbon barrel-aged coffee. Beyond placing an order, she considered the possibility of producing, marketing, and selling her own barrel-aged product.
During her time in the print industry, Carole had managed a private label for a pet treat company. Since then, she had a desire to private label her own product, but the right idea had yet to emerge. Bourbon barrel-aged coffee was something she could get behind.
Carole’s joy and enthusiasm for coffee, bourbon, and community would be her guiding light as she launched Clout Coffee in May of 2018. This would be yet another venture fraught with unique challenges, but Carole was determined to make it work.
Through hard work, will, and a courageous spirit, Carole found herself running two businesses, each with their own exciting potential and particular challenges. For EDGE Magazine to flourish in the digital age, it would need to be an exceptional publication that attracted a steady stream of advertisers. In the case of Clout Coffee, Carole had to overcome steep initial investments and production costs, while navigating a complex landscape of retail and e-commerce sales platforms.
Challenges like these put twists and turns in the road to profitability for any business. That’s why detailed financial records and well-informed budgets are so vital to success. She had tried to handle her financial services in-house, but when investors joined Clout Coffee, Carole was encouraged to hire professional financial services to help strengthen her records, and institute detailed reporting and budgeting practices.
One investor, with experience in the financial industry, put Carole in touch with Mary Ferry from Advantage Insights. Carole was worried her financial records were an irredeemable mess. She wasn’t sure how an experienced CPA would react to it, and what it would take to set things right. To her relief, working with Mary was immediately illuminating,
“She makes it easy to understand anything. She was kind, listened, and spoke into the challenges I faced.”
Founder, Clout Coffee
Owner/Publisher, EDGE Magazine
It took time to get her financial records cleaned up, and new budgeting practices implemented, but Carole was able to see her path forward clearer than ever before. Breakdowns of profit and loss revealed a lot more about the costs associated with various retail storefronts such as the Amazon store.
With help from Advantage Insights, Carole was able to budget for large investments, create a position for herself on the payroll, and work toward the goal of increasing her website sales.
“I got a really clear visual as to why certain things weren’t going well for me before, and what I needed to do to fix it.”
Mary’s thorough, kind approach made it possible for Carole to be upfront about where she needed to improve, and trust the processes Mary put in place to do so. Now Carole receives monthly financial reports, updated budgets, and detailed profitability break-downs to help her business stay nimble and responsive to new challenges.
The same can be said for EDGE Magazine, which had taken a hit in ad revenue since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. By working with Advantage Insights, Carole was able to budget for more help selling ads, the lifeblood of any print publication.
A lot has changed for EDGE Magazine and Clout Coffee since Carole decided to invest in professional financial services. Expenditures and income are reported accurately, creating a database of financial information that improves tax outcomes, illuminates budgeting decisions, and turns every misstep into a valuable lesson for the future.
Carole’s passion and dedication to print publishing and barrel-aged coffee remain the same, but thorough reporting and budgeting unlock new possibilities for her businesses. For small business owners who aren’t sure if they should make the investment in financial services, Carole has some advice,
“You can’t be good at everything in business. Sometimes you need to outsource professional help. I wish I would’ve started sooner.”
Your business can benefit from financial management too. Until you have a thorough understanding of your finances, you’ll be in the dark when it comes to investment decisions, hiring, pricing, marketing, and so much more.
Get a grip of your finances and work with an expert to make sure your hard work is pushing your business in the right direction. Profitability depends on your capacity to understand the costs of doing business and the opportunities available to you at any given time.
No matter your industry, you face unique challenges that set your business apart. With so many unpredictable outside factors, it’s important to gain financial insight on what you can know. Advantage Insights offers Virtual Financial Management solutions for all kinds of small businesses. Schedule a free consultation today to find out how these services can simplify your reporting processes and supercharge your budgeting practices.
To learn more about Advantage Insights financial services, including Entrepreneur Advisory services, click here. For more information, call 402-281-3785 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.