Episode 52: Tracey Bissett – Know Your Numbers To Achieve Your Success

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Gold Nuggets

  • Steve didn’t ask how Juliet was doing. She’s going to tell us anyway because she prepared an answer.
  • “I don’t think any business owner can really hit their goals unless they understand the financial position of the company.”
  • “I don’t think you need to do your numbers yourself. I think it’s really important to get a qualified bookkeeper that you’re able to communicate with as well.”
  • “The question of, ‘what do you see when you look at these numbers?’ Could start a wonderful conversation that could also lead to education.”
  • “Let’s not just imagine it in our heads, but actually lay out a plan.”
  • “Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, and cash is king.”
  • “Entrepreneurs may not talk about it the way we do, they might not manage it efficiently or effectively, but the mere fact that they are still in business and have been able to manage cash flow over whatever length of time their business has been around, is a testament to their ability and their success.”
  • “Give the financial side of the business as much attention as the other sides.”
  • “Banks generally aren’t in the business of funding startups.”
  • “If you have a banker and you’re unhappy, or you’re looking for a new one, it’s really important to talk to people you know.”
  • “The banker is not your best friend.”
  • “Nobody expects an entrepreneur to be perfect, but they do expect them to be transparent, knowledgeable, and to be enhancing their skills.”
  • Tracey has a gift for listeners (linked below).
  • Steve’s questions are famous.
  • “When you understand your money, it changes the trajectory of your life.”
  • “It’s really important to be kind to yourself.”
  • “I believe that through knowledge and discipline, financial peace is possible for all of us.” – Dave Ramsey

Meet Tracey Bissett

Our guest is Founder of Bissett Financial Fitness, Inc., Tracey Bissett.

Tracey has over 20 years of experience in financial services. Prior to Bissett Financial Fitness Inc, Tracey worked as an executive at TD Bank. Her experience and education make her uniquely qualified to coach on all aspects of money.

In 2020, Bissett Financial Fitness, Inc. launched the Young Money Scholarship Fund to assist post-secondary students with their finances.

Tracey holds an MBA from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor’s from Queen’s University, a Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Certificate from Centennial College, and a Higher Education Teaching Certificate from Harvard University.

Smart Man, Smarter Woman References

We talk about a lot in each episode; however, we don’t want you to miss a thing! Here are some key items were mentioned if you want to take a closer look.

Website Recommendations:
Free Gift: bissettfinancialfitness.com/biz-money-coach

Book Recommendation:
Atomic Habits by James Clear

Stay Connected:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bissettfinfit
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/traceybissett/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bissettfinfit/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bissettfinfit/

Learn more about our Cloud Accounting Services here


Steve Loates (00:00):

Welcome everyone to another episode of our podcast, Smart Man, Smarter Woman. The podcast for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. And thank you very much for giving us a listen today. I am Steve Loates.

Juliet Aurora (00:14):

And I am Juliet Aurora.

Steve Loates (00:16):

And we are your co-hosts. And before we get to today’s guest, we’re really excited to have her on the show today, Juliet, do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with our audience today?

Juliet Aurora (00:29):

You’re starting out so early with words of wisdom. Your words of wisdom, come at the end with your quote. So I don’t want to infringe on your space at all, but I’m doing, you didn’t ask me how I was doing, and I even had an answer prepared for how I was doing today. So I’m going to just jump in and tell you how I was doing, even though you didn’t ask me.

Steve Loates (00:48):

Would you like me to rephrase and ask the question?

Juliet Aurora (00:51):

No, I don’t even need a question. I can jump in and answer it anyways. I am actually in a fabulous place today. My pool opened. The temperature is now at 87 degrees. So it’s pool entry weather for me. And I went for my first swim of the season. And the last swim of last season was the end of October. So it’s been a big chunk of time since I’d been in it, and I forgot how motivated I come out of the pool. How the time that I am swimming lengths is where all my ideas come up. As you know, Steve, I came in to your office after I came out of the pool and I said, “Here’s a radical thought?” And that’s where my radical thoughts come from. So just a reminder to all our entrepreneurs out there, that there is probably something like a pool for each of you, where you get your energy from, you feel re-energized and you come up with innovative ideas, make sure you know where that is and that you are visiting it often.

Steve Loates (01:48):

Awesome. That’s great advice. And I would like to clarify for our audience, since many of them know we are in Canada. When you say 87 degrees, you meant the temperature of the water. You didn’t mean the air temperature.

Juliet Aurora (02:03):

Absolutely. [crosstalk 00:02:04] Air temperature was 40.

Steve Loates (02:07):

Okay, because, again, for our audience where we live, we are looking forward two, 10 centimeters of snow tomorrow. So it should be fun watching Juliet swim in the snow. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. That might be very interesting. So, anyway, our audience doesn’t want to listen to us. They want to listen to our guest. So let’s bring her in and her name is Tracey Bissett, and I hope I pronounced that correctly, Tracey, and she’s joining us today from the beautiful Atlantic, Canada, Nova Scotia. So welcome, Tracey. And thank you very much for joining us today.

Tracey Bissett (02:47):

Thank you so much. I’m really excited to be here with you.

Steve Loates (02:49):

Awesome. So why don’t we start out as we usually do with each of our shows, if you could perhaps share a little bit about yourself, your own journey and what you do and how you help people.

Tracey Bissett (03:01):

Absolutely. So, as you said, I am joining you today from Nova Scotia. I am a native of Nova Scotia and you usually can find me in [inaudible 00:03:09] outside of Toronto and Ontario, but I’ve been out here for a couple months enjoying their different COVID state, which has been lovely. I am a financial coach for young adults, as well as entrepreneurs and my career after my formal financial education took me to banking. So I was a banker for many years at TD Bank in the areas of commercial lending and risk management. So I was either supporting entrepreneurs directly get access to the financing they needed, or I was on the other side of the transaction, actually approving those loans for entrepreneurs across all industries, all across the country. So really fun for me, just like what happens sometimes in big corporations, there was a downsizing.

Tracey Bissett (03:49):

And so my chair was taken away from the table and I took a bit of time to think about what would be the best thing for me. So I packaged up all the things that I love to do. So I love helping people learn about money. I love supporting entrepreneurs. I have a knack for taking complicated things and making them sound straightforward and simple. And I loved sharing what I had already learned with other people. So I was doing that through HR, with learning and development, creating courses and teaching newer lenders.

Tracey Bissett (04:19):

So I’ve really taken the coaching and education aspects and created Bissett financial fitness, where we do predominantly coaching and group programs for entrepreneurs. I’ve got a podcast Young Money, which is really geared towards 18 to 30 ish and age group and people who love them. And so there we talk about all the different ways to amass wealth and create financial freedom and flexibility in your life. And I am also a professor at Centennial College in Scarborough in the business school, and I’m teaching students to become financial planners. So that’s a little bit about me and who I help. And it’s really fun for me to really increase financial fitness and financial knowledge in those categories that I work with.

Steve Loates (05:01):

Awesome. Awesome.

Juliet Aurora (05:02):

I think this is going to be a fun episode because for those of you in our audience who don’t know the business that Steve and I run is a cloud accounting and bookkeeping firm. And so we get to talk numbers and we don’t usually get to talk numbers with our guests. So I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Steve Loates (05:18):

Absolutely. I mean, I think we should just jump right in here and perhaps start out with, obviously, you have a very, very wide range of experience Tracey, and have probably spoken to many entrepreneurs over the years. What is the biggest mistake or mistakes you see entrepreneurs making when it comes to their finances?

Tracey Bissett (05:45):

So the biggest one I see consistently is either completely delegating the financial side of their business to their bookkeeper or accountant, or putting their head in the sand and just hoping it’s going to out. So, people usually fall into one of those two camps, and then there are the exceptions who really take control of the financial side of their business. And even if we think about my example, I was an expert at like three things at the bank. Then I started my business and I had to do 50 things. I didn’t think I knew how to do 50 things. And so I went out to get some help and make a website, learn how to do marketing, all of those kinds of things.

Tracey Bissett (06:23):

And unfortunately, I see too often that entrepreneurs feel like they’re supposed to already know the financial side of their business. And if they didn’t take a program of study that taught them, usually their passion is not linked to numbers. That’s why they’re exceptional at delivering their product or service. So it’s kind of this myth that they’re supposed to already know it, as opposed to, I need to learn it and I need to take accountability for it. And I don’t think any business owner can really hit their goals unless they understand the financial position of the company. And then can actually use money and cashflow as a tool to help you get there.

Juliet Aurora (06:55):

And do you find that that is the biggest reason that a business owner, whether they’re doing their numbers themselves or they’ve outsourced it, that they have a hand in it to understand it is because it gives them some tools to grow their business. Or what do you think is the reason that they need to be involved in the process?

Tracey Bissett (07:18):

I don’t think you can effectively move your clients on a journey. You can’t hit any of the goals that you have without knowing the numbers and using them to move forward. And just to, in case that wasn’t absolutely clear, I don’t think you need to do your numbers yourself. I think it’s really important to get a qualified bookkeeper, have an accountant that you work with, that you’re able to communicate with as well, because a bookkeeper can do your books a whole bunch of different ways. They can classify revenue in all different categories, but if you don’t tell them how you think about it and what your strategy is for the business, they can’t marry up the books to match with the strategy. And so many kind of avoid that side because they’re feeling bad, embarrassed, ashamed, because they don’t know it. So then they don’t even know what questions to ask to start.

Tracey Bissett (08:01):

So it’s kind of this vicious cycle where “I’m going to just not say anything because I’m not sure”, and then things kind of get worse. And I would love to say that people come to work with me because they want to increase their financial acumen, and they’re just building on this financial foundation, but they’re usually at some kind of critical juncture where they’re losing money. They’re not able to pay their bills. They can’t get a consistent paycheck from their business. And it’s at this tipping point where they realize I’ve got to do something or things won’t continue.

Juliet Aurora (08:30):

Yeah. And I think just with the experience, because obviously we’re in this space is that the last year with COVID has been really tough on small businesses. And that the ones that we see who were emerging from the other side, or have been able to weather the storm, because we don’t even know when the end of that storm is going to happen, are the ones that had a good handle on their numbers. So it’s not only, a mechanism for you to measure your growth or make sure that your strategy’s happening. Sometimes it’s a survival thing as well. It could be because of what the industry or the environment is throwing at you. So, I think that this is going to be a great conversation for business owners, who, as Tracey said, are embarrassed that they don’t know and don’t know what questions to ask. So maybe that’s our starting point is what are the questions that business owners should be asking about their numbers?

Tracey Bissett (09:29):

So if you’re already working with a bookkeeper and accountant and some of the easy ones to ask and people can jot them down as they go through, but ask them when you look at my numbers, what do you see? Are there any things you think we’re doing well? Are there any things you think look challenging or not looking good as a trend and start by asking the professionals what they’re seeing and tell them about your strategy. Ask them do the numbers reflect my strategy, the way I’ve laid it out to you, or the way I think about my revenue or the way I go after my clients, and I segment them, because there is this need for communication between the parties to make sure that what shows up in the numbers actually reflects the way you think about your business. And while bookkeepers and accountants are extremely smart, and they’re excellent at what they do they’re not mind readers. You guys, I bet you’d be doing something different if you had a crystal ball and you could read minds.

Tracey Bissett (10:22):

So you need to communicate as a business owner to make sure that people know what you think. You may decide to make some changes in your strategy based on what you’re hearing back on the numbers. So, really important to get involved. To your earlier point Juliet, I was working at TD during the 2008 financial crisis. We certainly saw that companies who came through strong their companies with cash on hand and access to credit, they weren’t carrying too much debt. The same thing has been absolutely true through COVID. And I think it’s become even more critical to have a solid bookkeeping and accounting team on your side, because of all of the documentation and support that was required to get the government supports. If you didn’t have your books ready, you were really scrambling and you didn’t even necessarily know if you were going to qualify for the government support. So what better motivation to make sure that you’re not missing out on free money when the time comes to just always be current is another reason to have that all in order?

Steve Loates (11:18):

Yeah. I’d like to come back because you said something I think is really important, Tracey. And I want to make sure that everyone in the audience and a particular segment in our audience, because I know you’re out there heard this. And one of the challenges when you get a new client, as our firm is trying to develop trust, right? Because when you’re doing somebody bookkeeping and it becomes very personal because we see all the skeletons in the closet and you can’t really tell us a story because we know what’s going on. So building that level of trust becomes very important. And one of the challenges we’ve found over the years is in order to develop the trust because so many business owners, as you’ve just said, they don’t know what questions to ask. They know nobody ever taught them about business finances and even terminology.

Steve Loates (12:22):

And so quite often, you can sit there with them in a meeting and they’re nodding their head and you know they don’t understand, but they’re nodding their head because they don’t want to look stupid for lack of a better word. And I loved your question, and again, this is for all of you out there who need this, if you’re concerned, or if you’re not comfortable having these conversations with your accountant or bookkeeper, the question of what do you see when you look at these numbers could start a wonderful conversation that could actually also lead to education. So, I thought that was a great question. And one of the best ones I’ve heard. So, thank you for that. I just wanted to make sure that everyone out there heard that question.

Tracey Bissett (13:15):

Yeah. And then the important thing is when the answer comes. So if Juliet gives an answer to what does she see, not being afraid to say, “What do you mean by that? I don’t know those terms very well. Could you show me on my financial statements? What you mean?” Because oftentimes there’s just this mismatch of language, financial statements and financial results, they have a language all to their own. There’s lots of acronyms. There’s lots of terms that don’t make sense. So you might actually be thinking about the same things, but it’s very important to get on the same page. And just to have that confidence to say, I think I know what you mean, but could you show me, could you explain what that means to you so I can make sure I’m understanding you correctly.

Juliet Aurora (13:55):

Do you have, when you’re working with a client, they come to you and they’re either struggling with cash or they, for your perfect example, they can’t withdraw a regular paycheck? We see that very often with, with business owners where the entrepreneurs get paid last. And is there any money left? Okay, I’m going to take a paycheck. So what would be your starting point with them to kind of change that so that there is a regular paycheck that’s happening for them? Where would you start?

Tracey Bissett (14:27):

So, when I’m working with them, the first thing I do is a financial assessment of their results. And I’m looking at their results here over a year, as well as to industry benchmarks. And then talking about what I’m seeing. Then we really dive into understanding the cashflow cycle. So do you have a business where you do work, then you send out invoices and hope to get paid in 30, 60 or 90 days, or do you have a kind of business where you deposits upfront and understanding their various specific cashflow cycle? From there, it’s digging into the pricing, because I work with business owners, typically, sales are between a hundred thousand and 2 million. So there’s usually not tons of profit. On paper, there might be a breakeven, there might be a loss, maybe a little bit of a profit, but then it’s digging into, are you actually profitable on what you’re selling?

Tracey Bissett (15:14):

And from there then it’s, what’s the appropriate strategy? Too often, I see, and I’m sure you guys do this as well. That there’s so much focus on the top line and there’s not very much focused on the bottom line. And COVID, I’ve seen it with so many clients that in reduction in their revenue, when they got clearer on their expenses and reduced them, they actually made more money than when they had higher revenue and higher sales. And that’s just a beautiful thing to learn that in a nice, safe way, because they actually made more money, because it’s really driving decisions going forward. So, then, okay, if I’m not paying somebody else what’s left for me? And then I get into cashflow forecasting, so then we can play, okay, what if you got one more client? What if he got two more clients, let’s adjust the numbers? Now let’s put in what we think would be a reasonable amount for you to take out every month. And let’s actually put it in a spreadsheet and see how that plays out.

Tracey Bissett (16:07):

And COVID as well has shown us how critical it is to make sure you’re getting paid as the business owner, then there’s three ways to get paid. You have salary, you get to expense to the company. You can take dividends, or you can pay out shareholder loans, but COVID has showed us what the government supports, especially in Canada, you needed to have a T4 income, or you were going to be shut out of a lot of government support. So even more case. So not only do you want to be able to handle debt and your responsibilities personally for that, but if you want your business to be able to get those kinds of supports.

Tracey Bissett (16:41):

So then let’s look at what’s the base amount we can put in there. Okay, does it look like you’re going to be able to pay that out consistently? Maybe there might be some challenges, but if we’re cashflow forecasting, then we can say, “Okay, what if we brought on a new employee, how much more revenue could that generate? What would that look like then?” And then we can actually stop imagining in our heads, what maybe, or what can’t happen. And let’s actually focus and make a plan to make those things actually happen.

Juliet Aurora (17:07):

And I love that where you said that let’s not just imagine it in our heads, but actually lay out a plan because most business owners and Steve and I are guilty of this as well, we map it all out in our head and think that that’s enough. Okay, we’re looking to grow. We’re looking to scale. Yeah, we need to bring all these employees, but what’s your new breakeven point when you have that new employee? And being able to answer those questions is going to let you sleep at night because you’re not thinking about, “Well, can I afford this new employee that I just hired? Or can I not?” You actually know the answer. And if you know the answer, even if the answer is no, you can prepare for it and you will sleep better.

Tracey Bissett (17:51):

Absolutely. And I’ve seen people who won’t get their hands around the numbers and see the facts, they actually have more stress and anxiety, and they’re not sleeping more than somebody else who actually can quantify an issue, because once you can quantify it, you can move into solving. And you can decide what you can do, what you’re comfortable with. Everybody’s got a different tolerance for risk. So if you are comfortable knowing you might have a cash flow shortage in three months, but you know that bringing on the person, right now, it’s the right thing to do.

Tracey Bissett (18:19):

When you know that you can turn on sales, when you need to, you’re going to do it. Somebody else might say, you know what, I’m going to work extra hard and generate those sales first. Then I’m going to bring someone on. And that’s where it becomes very personal to that company and that business owner or owner. So nothing’s also provided as much challenge I think for companies where there’s either a couple who’s running it or two unmarried business partners, where you have to get very clear on your goals and each of you have to be aligned to move forward because those risk tolerance questions really drive behavior.

Steve Loates (18:54):

Yeah. For sure. Also, when I heard you say businesses worry too much or too much emphasis on the top line, it made me think of how many times we’ve had that conversation with business owners. And really the only ones who care about that top line are your suppliers and [crosstalk 00:19:16] And ego, absolutely. And it always reminds me of that, what is it? Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity and cash is king. And I think if more small business owners had that painted on their wall so they look at it, every single day, I think it would serve them well over time.

Tracey Bissett (19:38):

Yeah. That kind of brings to mind too. I was working with a lawyer and sometimes lawyers aren’t the best on billing and getting their invoices out. And this woman was working really hard, like 18, 19 hours a day, but she was writing off a third of her sales every year. And so that meant that people weren’t paying and that’s a write off. And so I said, “Why don’t you just work less? Have two thirds of the revenue and collect all the money. What about that plan? And sleep more, go do some fun stuff.” And so when you actually think about how can that impact your life, that’s where you got to make those connections. Because small business owners, I mean, they live for their businesses, our culture and society touts these revenue metrics. And I think that gets people into this false place. So, yeah, I’m on board with both of you and would love for people to be focusing on the bottom line.

Steve Loates (20:28):

Okay. So, we’ve talked a little bit about some of the mistakes perhaps that entrepreneurs make when it comes to their finances. Maybe we’ll give them some credit now for a little while. What are some of the things that you see them doing right with their money that could learn from?

Tracey Bissett (20:49):

So the biggest one is usually when somebody comes to work with me, they’ll say, “I don’t know anything about my statements. I don’t know anything about my numbers. I’m terrible at math. I’m the worst. And I bet you’re going to tell me I’m the worst”, and I’m sure you guys have heard that too. And I’ll say, “Well, how long have you been in business?” If it’s any more than like three, four months, so some people will say a year, two years, five years, 10 years. And I will say, “You know how to manage cashflow” and they’ll say, “No, I don’t. I don’t know what’s cashflow.” And if you’ve been in business, you’ve managed to get money come in, money go out, you’re still around, you know how to do it.

Tracey Bissett (21:23):

And so I like to start with people having that big pat on the back, it’s so important to start from a foundation, wherever it is, and build from there. And the entrepreneurs may not talk about it the way that we do, they might not manage it efficiently or effectively, but the mere fact that they are still in business and have been able to manage cashflow over whatever length of time their business has been around is a testament to their ability and their success. So I think that needs to be really celebrated.

Steve Loates (21:53):

Very good.

Juliet Aurora (21:54):

So is there something that if a business owner is listening to the podcast and they said, “Okay, well, you know what? I get my statements every month. I kind of look at them, but here’s what I want to do.” What would you recommend as being their starting point? You talked about whether or not if they have a bookkeeper, what to have that, or an accountant to have a conversation with them, but from their perspective, is there something that they should be doing to help them move forward?

Tracey Bissett (22:28):

For sure. And so the first thing is giving the financial side of the business as much attention as the other sides. And so I’m not talking about dedicating hours and hours a day on the financial side of the business, but at least setting a regular time monthly. And I think for people where it’s not your skill set yet, or you’re trying to improve your financial acumen, weekly is a great frequency to get focused. And so maybe your first meeting, you’re just logging into your bank accounts to see what’s going on in there. Maybe you’re looking at your credit card statements. Another meeting might be reviewing those financial results that come from your bookkeeper. The next week might be sitting down with the bookkeeper to say, “Okay, I reviewed them. Here’s some questions I have or things that I’m not quite clear on,” or “I’ve got this idea that I’m starting to form the strategy for. How is that going to show up in my numbers? Can you tell me?”

Tracey Bissett (23:18):

And so you’re, you’re getting into this regular cadence. It’s really important to get your results monthly. Sometimes if the business owner doesn’t specify, there are some bookkeepers out there who might do them quarterly, they might do them semi-annually. And so you need to be the one who drives the frequency as the business owner. The other thing, too, then is factoring in on cashflow. And so working with even a very basic Excel spreadsheet, updating this cashflow forecast every month through using the numbers from your bookkeeper, as well as the information you know about your potential sales. So that’s on you and any people making sales in your company, and depending on how tight your cashflow is standard way, we would do it as monthly. But if your cashflow is tighter and you have to keep a closer eye, you’re going to go down to weekly and some people even do daily. So you’re going to choose the right one for you.

Tracey Bissett (24:08):

And you might say to your bookkeeper or accountant, what is the right frequency? And if he can have a forecast looking out six months, then you can start planning for these potential issues. And I’m a huge advocate of, we want to be conservative about how much is coming in. And we want to be super aggressive about how much is going out and make sure we’re capturing all of those amounts, not just the ones that we remember top of mind. And then we want to see if there’s a problem. So then we can brainstorm. So if we’ve got a shortfall, am I going to go start collecting from the people who haven’t paid me yet? Am I going to create more clients? Am I going to go to the bank and perhaps get a line of credit to help bridge me through that time? But the more lead time we have, the more we can actually solve for, and we can get other people involved to help us like our bookkeeper and accountant, because they’ve been through this before. They would be very helpful at helping us figure our solutions.

Steve Loates (25:01):

That’s great. That reminded me, Juliet, of when you and I are working on our budgets sometimes. You know that part where be conservative with revenue and be… Do you remember having those conversations?

Juliet Aurora (25:16):

I do. I absolutely remember having those conversations. So you [inaudible 00:25:21] …about lending. So there are a lot of business owners who don’t really have a great relationship with a bank manager or a business bank manager, but want to maybe expand or are going through a cashflow crunch and wanted to approach a bank. So with your experience on the lending side, is there any advice that you could give them, maybe what banks look for or look at when they go and ask for some credit?

Tracey Bissett (25:52):

Absolutely. So, first of all, banks, generally, aren’t in the business of funding startups. So, if you’re starting from scratch, know that. It doesn’t mean it’s not possible. So when I left my role and I started my company, the very first thing I did was get incorporated because I wanted to protect for liability. But then I went and got a business bank account, which is absolutely critical. And I got a credit card and a really small line of credit because I didn’t have a track record, that’s all based on my personal credit score, but there’s no way my credit reputation in my business can start and grow if I don’t do that. If you have a banker and you’re unhappy, or you’re looking for a new one, I think it’s really important to talk to people you know, especially if you’re going to deal with someone local.

Tracey Bissett (26:34):

So ask friends and colleagues, other business owners, who they are dealing with, ask your bookkeeper and accountant for recommendations, because just like anything, there’s great people to deal with. There’s not so great even in the same organization. So why not get to the person that you know has been recommended? They’re going to be looking for your financial statements. So if you’ve been in business for a while, they’re probably going to be looking for three years of financial statements. If you’re looking for a loan of any size, they’re probably going to be looking for a cashflow forecast to support how you’re going to repay that loan. And you want to develop that relationship before you need it. You want to make sure that it grows and your company access to credit grows as your company does. You may have that. You’re going to have definitely your day to day relationship with one of the big banks or credit union, but also not to discount Business Development Bank of Canada, because they are the bank for entrepreneurs.

Tracey Bissett (27:25):

They all have a higher tolerance for risk. And so they can step in sometimes where the traditional banks can’t. And so it’s great to develop a relationship with them as well. You can actually get there and usually get introduced through your primary banker, where your day-to-day bank account is, but look for all of those sources and BDC, especially Business Development Bank of Canada, they’ve got some tremendous resources on their website. They even have business plans because if you are starting from scratch, they may be looking for a business plan. They give you all the tools and templates free that you can look to. They give you even checklist when you’re going and you’re assessing your financial situation and they actually have a financial management game, if you can imagine, where you can kind of assess your knowledge in a fun way. And the final piece, I would say on the lending side, without getting too complicated, the bank’s going to put your statements into a Moody’s respirating system.

Tracey Bissett (28:17):

They’re going to analyze the financial ratios and then they’re going to see what their view is on the risk. So knowing they’re coming from that landscape gives more credence to understanding how your financial statements look and show up. But the very final piece is, the banker is not your best friend. And especially with women entrepreneurs, I see this, there’s a lot of oversharing. Sometimes there’s crying, there’s tears. There’s not a professional level to the relationship. And so you want to be transparent. You want to be able to speak to your own numbers. It’s okay if you wanted to bring your accounts into your keeper with you to get into details, but it’s really important for you to be able to communicate the story of your business. If you did have a loss before, why? What did you learn? What are you doing differently going forward? Nobody expects an entrepreneur to be perfect, but they do expect them to be transparent, to be knowledgeable, to be enhancing their skills. And they’re assessing management credibility. So having a firm grasp of your strategy and how it links to the numbers is really important.

Juliet Aurora (29:20):

That’s so much great advice [crosstalk 00:29:21].

Steve Loates (29:21):

…advice. Yeah.

Juliet Aurora (29:23):

Yeah. And you’ve mentioned all the free gifts that the business development bank of Canada have on their website and make sure that we don’t miss that you have also very generously offered to provide a gift to our listeners. So maybe you could tell us a little bit about that.

Tracey Bissett (29:41):

Absolutely. So if you’ve been inspired, you want to start having these money meetings with yourself or with your business partner or your bookkeeper. And you can head over to bizmoneycoach.ca and download a money meeting agenda. And your first meeting might be just looking at it and that’s okay, because wherever you’re starting is the starting place for you. And then you’re going to schedule your next meeting and you’re going to make it a regular thing in your calendar. So if you head over to bizmoneycoach.ca, you can download that money meeting agenda and get started today. There’s no need to delay things.

Juliet Aurora (30:13):

I appreciate that. Great starting point for so many of our listeners.

Steve Loates (30:18):

That is. Yep. And we will make sure that in the show notes, we have all that information for everyone. And that brings us to that part of the show where we ask our guest the famous and they’re becoming famous on this.

Juliet Aurora (30:34):

I know we think that they’re becoming famous.

Steve Loates (30:38):

Famous to me. So that’s very important. The six questions we ask all of our guests and Tracey, if you’re ready, we could get started.

Tracey Bissett (30:48):

I am ready.

Steve Loates (30:50):

All right. Question number one. What one word best defines an entrepreneur?

Tracey Bissett (30:58):


Steve Loates (31:01):

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attend?

Tracey Bissett (31:09):

Not that I’m going to go back to school, but if I was kind of starting over, I would become a veterinarian.

Steve Loates (31:16):

Awesome. What profession would you like never to attempt?

Tracey Bissett (31:22):


Steve Loates (31:26):

What sound, or noise do you love?

Tracey Bissett (31:30):

So, I have two and one kind of ties into Juliet and the swimming pool, but I love the sound of water and waves, especially growing up in Nova Scotia, that’s very calming. I love that. And I also love music. So any kind of music, I’ve got music on all the time. So, two sounds for me.

Steve Loates (31:45):

Awesome. And what book would you recommend every entrepreneur should read?

Tracey Bissett (31:52):

Atomic Habits from James Clear. And not that I think you need to follow every single thing in it, but I think that when you can create good habits and good routines, especially when it comes to financial stuff, but anything you’re going to have repeatable success. And that’s really the key. It’s all those small successes adding up to create big success.

Steve Loates (32:10):

Absolutely. And a little plug for James Clear, because I’m a huge fan. Loved that book. Also love his newsletter. I think it is one of the best newsletters out there. It’s an easy read and there’s lots of wisdom every week. I think it’s Thursday afternoon. So if you are looking for a good, quick, easy read, James Clear’s newsletter. And our final question, when your own entrepreneurial journey is completed, what do you hope your legacy is?

Tracey Bissett (32:45):

Greater financial fitness in the world. So really tailored to those young adults and entrepreneurs or really everybody, because it is my belief that when you understand your money, whether it’s in your business or personally, it changes the trajectory of your life. I don’t think that money should be a barrier to anybody accomplishing their dreams. And so through my education, through my podcast, and last year, we even created a scholarship fund through visit financial to help post-secondary students get access to money, to be able to help them get to school, because that is another way. When you get some skills and training, you can actually go on to hit your dreams. So greater financial fitness and confidence around money.

Steve Loates (33:23):

Awesome. And just, you mentioned your podcast. What is the name of your podcast, again, for those who’d like to check it out?

Tracey Bissett (33:30):

Young Money Podcast with Tracey Bissett, the advice show for millionaires in the making. And we’ve been running strong since December, 2017. New show every week and try to make it fun. So lots of shows around things in pop culture, lots of shows related to music, because I do think we can learn about money from everything that’s going on. We can learn good things, and things not to do so no shortage of inspiration.

Steve Loates (33:55):

Terrific. And for those in the audience that want to connect with you, Tracey, what is the easiest way for them to do that?

Tracey Bissett (34:02):

Best way is to reach out to me on LinkedIn. So Tracey has an E, Bissett has two S’s, two T’s, love to hear questions and comments from today’s interview. And if you do download the money meeting agenda, you’re going to get dropped right onto my website so you can check out other stuff.

Steve Loates (34:17):

Perfect. And before we conclude our episode, are there any final thoughts Tracey, you would like to share with our audience of entrepreneurs?

Tracey Bissett (34:26):

It’s really important to be kind to yourself. So I talked about financial fitness being a journey we’re starting wherever we are. We can take small incremental steps every day, but we’re going to step off that path. We’re going to make a mistake that we’re all human. So having kindness with yourself to get back on track and keep moving forward, I think that’s really important, especially everything that’s gone on in the last year with COVID things being so uncertain and people being able to persist and be resilient, have some grace and kindness for yourself.

Steve Loates (34:58):

Great advice. And what about you Juliet?

Juliet Aurora (35:01):

There was tons of great information in the last half an hour, 35 minutes that we’ve been speaking, so I’d certainly recommend to our audience that if you’ve heard it once, wait a couple of days and then listen to it again and you’re going to get something completely different out of it. And you’re going to pick up other pieces of information. I mean, obviously we’re in the finance space for entrepreneurs and so realize how important it is to the success of your business. And Tracey has shared so much information that I think will just help move them all forward. So, thank you very much, Tracey. I thought it was a lot of great information for our audience today.

Tracey Bissett (35:40):

Thank you.

Steve Loates (35:41):

Yep. Agreed. And that brings us as we wind down to our words of wisdom for this episode and this episode I selected the following. I believe that through knowledge and discipline financial peace is possible for all of us. Dave Ramsey. And so, again, we come to the end of another episode. Thank you again, Tracey, great guest, as Juliet mentioned, lots and lots of very valuable information for entrepreneurs. Thank you to you, Juliet. My awesome cohost. And most importantly, thank you to you, the listener, for tuning in. We hope you found some value. If you did, we would love it. If you would subscribe and you can check us out at the website, smartmansmarterwoman.com. So, thank you until next time. Take good care of yourself and those that you love. Bye for now.

Song by Adam Vitovsky / CC BY 3.0

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Episode 52