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Interview with Mickey Mikeworth

Mickey Mikeworth is a Chief Financial Officer that consults with small business and making small business profitable. Her specialty is working with creative business owners that have unique business models that don't fit into conventions paradigms.

What misconception do creative business owners have about a Chief Financial Officer ( CFO)?
The largest misconceptions is that fiscal management of a business is accounting. Most business owners know that a good accountant can help the get their numbers straight, what they are often missing is financial strategy as it pertains to business growth and that strategy will never come from accounting.

Accounting and CFO strategy are two different positions that need to have a symbiotic relationship. I have found that creative business owners do the best when they can see HOW to invest in their own ideas with multiple forms of capital, understand a clear accounting of how the business can support those ideas, and then learn when to implement those ideas to the marketplace and finally how to measure the success of those ideas.

How do you build transparency?
Transparency is about showing a clear path. The fastest way to show a clear path in business is use language that allows a partner or customer access to facts they helps them to make their own decisions. Some simple examples may be posting hours on the outside of a building, stating a return policy on a receipt, making public knowledge how items are sourced, or posting special deals.

A great rule is that if there is a cool fact that your business is a part of, and that fact sets you apart the rest of the competition: you should share that fact in a meaningful way. I have a client that has placed over 1 million dollars of paychecks directly into the hands of artists in Minnesota. Letting people know that fact may give them information that assists in a buying or partnering decision.

How do you create a marketplace for small business owners?
In creative businesses or new ideas there is often not an existing marketplace. My motto is “Find things that bind”. The fastest way to build a marketplace as a small business owner is to use a grass roots and self-help approach and look for relationships that naturally stick together.

In the case of a luxury brand they want to look at relationships that have a natural commonality. People that buy luxury homes may want to know some great artists, handypersons, organizers, and landscapers. As a business owner you can forge those relationships and pool resources to reach out to those customers in a specific way.

How does it feel to be honored by the “Top Women in Finance” twice by Finance and Commerce Magazine?
That award has special meaning to me because it’s about your service to the community, plus let’s face it, it is always a delight to be recognized by your peers.

It adds a little extra sparkle that my work as a tiny firm is measured against huge banks and lending houses and that it measures to that level of excellence.

What is totally unique and the part of winning that I am personally most proud of is being honored for two uniquely different industry portions of leadership. An interesting fact is that Finance and Commerce actually made a new category in the award for the 13 of us that had achieved this upper echelon of being awarded twice. The stand out for me is that (in the last 70 years) I am the only one who has been awarded two very different financial industry awards. One award was for my work with nonprofit start-ups and the second one was for jobs creation during the recession.

Putting financial ideas and marketplace delivery together for both the profit and the nonprofit sector is not the normal path for those in financial industry. I believe those two worlds have MUCH more in common than anyone talks about.

During a consultation, what are the three most important partnership ideas you advise on and why do you think they are important?

Pick very few: Concentrate on few relationships and deeply integrate them into your business and be very clear on the capital exchanges. Even if it is social capital there is always an exchange that can be measured. Your partnership should be the peanut butter to your jelly.

By staying small and deeply committed the brand will build strength.

Build a vetting system: Each business needs to be able to measure if a possible partner is a perfect fit. That may be defining what the other company has in capital resources right now. They may need to have a specific revenue, marketing budget, methods of doing business, or labor standard. Make a list and stick to it.
Having a standard minimum requirement for doing business will position your brand identity.

Build brand capital- The purpose of a partnership is to allow good things to happen faster. There will be many business sectors that match yours but very few that are eligible to partner. Many businesses will be an identity match because you may share customers, a style, or geographical location.

When you weight the partnership with a higher level of interconnectedness on brand the relationship requires more effort from both partners. That’s when the real fun and exciting part comes- when two brands cozy up together and figure out how to build a financial strategy that makes everyone look and feel great.

Concentration on brand capital takes out the emotional attachment to old ideas.

What is your favorite quotation with regard to investments?
I am still actively teach business and economics.

I have a class session that was built around this concept quote that I made up:
Destruction allows us the ability to build structure.

I use it to remind business owners that there is beauty and an invitation from things that break.

Lots of things break and instead of looking at that fact as a breech or a problem a financial strategy it to look at that break as a request to rebuild or discard. Things that do not break will not get upgraded because “they work just fine” but the fact they work “just fine” does not mean they are structurally the best fit.

Every time something is smashed it will get rebuilt stronger, faster, and overall better. Destruction is a healthy part of building greatness. It’s OK to smash things up a bit.
Interview with Mickey Mikeworth Reviewed by JaamZIN on 3:13:00 PM Rating: 5
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