CEO Confession

What I’m about to tell you may ruin my business.  Obviously, I’m hoping it doesn’t.  My wish is that you’ll respect this confession and maybe even relate to it.  Whatever your reaction, I’ll include my e-mail address at the conclusion and you can let me know your thoughts.  Is it a brave or stupid act to publicly admit my limitations to potential customers?  In the meantime, this is my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Some people refer to me as a serial entrepreneur.  Some think I’m delusional with my grandiose business ideas while others have called me much worse.  These labels neither excite nor irritate me because I know the truth.  I have a very short attention span and a good head for business.  I’m a business generalist with a strong interest in marketing and a solid belief in karma.  I’m also pretty lucky.

So here’s the problem.  I’ve never been good in the areas of accounting or finance.  Income statements and balance sheets could be grocery lists and dryer sheets as far as I’m concerned.  Spreadsheets make my eyes glaze over.  It’s just not my strong suit.

Okay, now would be a good time to double check what site you’re on, right?  Silicon Valley Accounting Solutions – yep, that’s right.  After what you’ve just read, how is that possible?

I’ll try to explain.

In 2003, I co-founded New Business Consultants to serve as an advisor and mentor to startup companies.  It provided me an opportunity to work in industries and on projects that I’d otherwise never discover.  While coaching young entrepreneurs in the ways that had served me well in my business endeavors over the years, it became abundantly clear that I was very weak on the financial side of things and had, indeed, been incredibly lucky with my previous businesses.

Fortunately for me, my partner, Elaine Orgain, is the finance and accounting whiz that recognized early on how ineffectively I processed financial data.  It became her mission to make accounting less intimidating to me.  An enormous challenge to be sure, but one I welcomed.

Together, we worked to relieve some of the rigidity of standard financial reports.  We incorporated more visual elements – charts, graphs, and various images that appealed more to my style of learning.  Key financial information was displayed in custom dashboards that replaced many pages of detailed spreadsheets.  I was beginning to better understand the data and embrace how important it was to use this information when making decisions for our business.

Once I started paying close attention to cost of goods sold (COGS), profit margin, and cash flow, it hit me like a ton of bricks of just how lucky I’d been my entire career.  Here I’d run several successful operations and never fully appreciated the role of accounting and finance in my companies.  I now readily admit that my “gut” and intuition are nowhere near as reliable as the numbers that run our business.

In a short period of time, I let go of the dread that I felt when discussing company finances to an almost giddy anticipation of our regular accounting meetings.  Wanting to share this experience with other CEOs, business owners, and entrepreneurs, we decided to spin out a division of our business to focus on outsourced accounting services.  And thus was born Silicon Valley Accounting Solutions.

So there you have it.  By addressing my biggest weakness as a business owner, we created a service company to make accounting and finance easier for others like me.  We’ve assembled a team of outstanding individuals that understand how important it is to do great work and make sure you get the best solution available while enjoying the process.

As for me, I get to focus on my strengths in the business by leading a team of folks that are way smarter than me when it comes to accounting. Meet the people responsible for making me more successful.

What do you think?  I’d really like to know if you can relate to this story – or if you think I’m crazy for sharing.  To discuss further or let me know your thoughts, please email me at

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