First-generation entrepreneurs face a different set of experiences than second- and third-generation entrepreneurs.
“The key difference is that they are very innovative,” says Randy Gerber, founder of Gerber LLC. “Their agenda is to typically build the best business or product – or both – that they can.”
A few generations removed might have different motivations – preserve a business or hit a very calculated growth rate, but first-timers, “Innovation and experimentation is a big part of their culture and fabric as a person,” Gerber says.
With that innovation often comes a moment where a business needs to raise the stakes. To go from operating to putting a more permanent set of facts around the longevity of a business. That’s also where Gerber LLC comes in with its financial and business services for first-generation entrepreneurs that cement the connection between goals in business and goals in life.
When a business has established itself – there’s infrastructure, revenue, profit and loss statements, “When they are about to take on a substantial financial risk, whether it be in the form of inventory, or people, or a building, or a contract of some sort, when they are in the process before doing it is a good time to hire us,” Gerber says.
Gerber LLC’s services connect the dots between business and personal finances to help business owners make decisions that will best fit the goals of both. It’s an individualized approach that starts with a business’ ‘Why?’ then tackles an organization’s pain points first.
The Gerber LLC team’s financial savvy analyzes a business owner’s personal finances – cash flow, banking arrangements, personal balance sheet – and makes sure it’s structured in a fashion to support the business. There comes a similar examination of the internal business structure that ensures a business’ finances are aligned to meet personal and professional goals.
Gerber LLC’s services coach a business on how to prioritize financial decisions, “What they should do when and how they should do it,” Gerber says.
He provides examples like a business owner making the decision to send their child to private school or invest in a new employee. Or finance the growth of the business versus refinancing their home.
A strong financial understanding and set goals can also help answer tough questions entrepreneurs face like, “How hard should I work?” Gerber says many business grow for growth’s sake. Instead, business should be analyzing situations like will taking on an additional $3 million of money produce the net results to make it worth it?
While Gerber LLC’s current services are more for established businesses netting around $20 million, an emerging entrepreneurs program will serve businesses in the $300,000 – $1 million range. The program offers nine months of sequential sessions, starting at the very basic level of writing a business plan, then moving on to topics like cash-flow and capitalization.
Gerber LLC currently has a beta group completing the program, with plans to start another in September before officially launching the service in early 2017.
Gerber LLC is also constantly evolving its programming to better serve its clients.
“We’re constantly innovating the content to help first-generation entrepreneurs make better decisions,” Gerber says.
The group is measuring and monitoring client behaviors, cataloging data to put empirical evidence behind what has and hasn’t worked for other entrepreneurs.
“One of the big things is how much time do people spend in their business,” Gerber says.
They are seeing that more time spent in the early stages doesn’t necessarily produce better results.
“It’s one thing to say it, but here’s our proof of it,” Gerber says of what they are aiming for.
A testament to the healthy business climate in Columbus, Gerber LLC is seeing more companies of size approach, and in industries not always expected.
“We’re getting more clients from industries that are pretty popular in Columbus,” Gerber says.
Their client list is evolving as Columbus is evolving, including restauranteurs and developers – industries Gerber didn’t expect to service 10 years ago.
For more information, visit gerberfinancialadvisors.com.