The EBIT Talk – The Accelerated Entrepreneur

Genteel girls born in Virginia in 1958 were taught not to talk about money.  It was impolite.

As an accelerated entrepreneur at VT KnowledgeWorks?

So much talk about money!

When I lived in Tampa, I wrote a financial column for The St. Petersburg Times, and even did workshops on tracking spending using my own figures.  I felt brave and bold in the big city.

But now I’m back in genteel Virginia.  I had to ask, “How much?” two times in two days.  I felt as if I were breaking taboos.

Creative, determined, accelerated entrepreneurs sometimes have to break taboos.

“Given my burn rate, how do I meet my goal EBIT?”

To his credit, Jamie Dunn, CPA and partner with Hodges, Jones & Mabry, PC, smiled only a little.  I sensed kind amusement rather than anything patronizing, which I appreciated.

“Burn rate?” he asked.

Okay, so my new VT KnowledgeWorks company doesn’t have VC–venture capitalist–financing and no one is breathing fire down my neck to see if my burning through his or her cash is resulting in profitability or buy-out.

But I might some day have a burn rate.

“What about my EBIT?” I asked.

Over the weekend, my spouse and I had The EBIT Talk.

We posed, discussed, and answered this question:

How much does the entrepreneur in a partnership need to contribute financially (EBIT – earnings before interest and tax)–and by when–for the entrepreneur to be considered a contributor to the partnership rather than a user of it?

The number one reason couples seek couples counseling?  Money.

The significant other partnership status of several Web 1.0 entrepreneurs I knew in Tampa in the 90s?  Broken.

Why do partners of entrepreneurs give up?  Too little given to the partnership.  Too little money and too little attention over too long of a time.

“Just once more, honey, just a little more time, honey, just a little more money, honey…” can become a way of life.

Jamie Dunn pointed out to me gently that, given the size of my operation (That would be one–me!), cash flow or profit or some other accounting term I can’t remember might be more accurate to use than EBIT.  But EBIT has a sizzling-in-the-know sound to it…

In my first meeting with Jamie Dunn during the VT KnowledgeWorks start-up process, he told me that in addition to having certified financial records in place when a venture capitalist might want to give me The Big Check (Then I would have a burn rate!), having comprehensive and accurate accounting records helps companies make strategic business decisions.

Oh.

You mean my file folder of meticulously collected receipts and stubs (Three quarters of an inch thick?  Maybe?) could be converted to data to help me reach my EBIT–I mean net profit or something–goal?

Across Jamie’s desk, with a huge sense of relief and hope, I slid my company’s seven-month financial history.

After The EBIT Talk with my husband, I felt a huge sense of relief and hope as well.

I’m not saying it wasn’t a hard talk.  I may be an accelerated entrepreneur, but I’m still from Virginia.

I treasure my husband and my relationship with him.  While I’m passionate about entrepreneurship, it often feels like “I.”

I most value “We.”

The EBIT Goal we agree upon is both fair and ambitious. 

The “We” of me loves the fair part.

The accelerated entrepreneur, “I” part of me?  Crazy about the ambitious part!

Ooh, and I’ve got strategic help with the ambitious part.

Jamie Dunn is on the numbers.

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