Could value-based sales boost your company’s bottom line?

If your company sells products or services to other businesses, you’re probably familiar with the challenge of growing your sales numbers. At times, you might even struggle to maintain them. One way to put yourself in a better position to succeed is to diversify your approaches, so you’re not limited to a single method by which salespeople interact with customers. Have you ever considered value-based sales? Under this method, sales reps act as sort of business consultants, working closely with customers or prospects to identify specific needs or solve certain problems. The objective is to provide as much value as possible from the sales that result. This approach has its risks but, under the right circumstances, it can pay off. 

What is value? Before embarking on a value-based sales initiative, you’ll need to identify what kinds of value you may be able to provide. This can’t be a fuzzy concept; sales reps should be able to put dollars and cents to their value-based sales propositions or at least build a compelling case. Value generally takes four forms: 

Dollars gained; your product or service will lead to an increase in revenue for the subject based on a reasonable financial projection, Dollars saved; your product or service will demonstrably save the customer or prospect money, Risk reduced; your product or service will address and help minimize one or more identifiable threats to the business in question, and Qualitative; if you can’t make a case for one of the other three value types, you may still be able to argue that your product or service improves the quality of the subject’s operations in some way. 

At least one of these four types of value will be the ultimate objective when salespeople engage customers or prospects. However, to identify that objective, your sales team will need to put in considerable effort. How does the process work? Perhaps the biggest downside of a value-based sales approach is that it’s labor-intensive. As opposed to, say, making cold calls with a product or service list and a series of talking points, your salespeople will need to do a “deep dive” into targeted businesses. They’ll need to learn details such as each company’s mission, history, management structure, financial status, strengths and weaknesses. Then, when interacting with customers or prospects, they’ll need to focus on education — both their own and the subject’s. In other words, a sales rep will need to ask the right questions to learn as much as possible about the customer’s or prospect’s business needs and challenges. Meanwhile, the salesperson will need to act much like a consultant, informing the subject about industry trends, potential solutions and perhaps how comparable companies have overcome similar issues. 

As you can see, value-based sales is more about relationship building and knowledge sharing than straight selling. Because of this, it can be a gamble. Some sales reps may spend extensive time and effort with a customer or prospect, even helping that business in certain ways, only to reap little to no sales revenue. On the other hand, when the approach works well, your company may be able to build a dynamic, long-lasting relationship with a lucrative customer. Are there such sales in your pipeline? If value-based sales sounds like something that could benefit your business, discuss it with your leadership team and sales staff. You’ll likely want to review your sales pipeline and determine which customers or prospects would be good fits for the approach.

5 tips for more easily obtaining cyberinsurance

Every business should dedicate time and resources to cybersecurity. Hackers are out there, in many cases, far across the globe, they’re on the prowl for vulnerable companies. These criminals typically strike at random — doing damage to not only a business’s ability to operate, but also its reputation. One way to protect yourself, at least financially, is to invest in cyberinsurance. This type o f coverage is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of incidents — including data breaches, business interruption and network damage. 

If you decide to buy a policy, here are five tips to help make the application process a little easier: 

1. Be detail-oriented when filling out the paperwork. Insurers usually ask an applicant to complete a questionnaire to help them understand the risks facing the company in question. Answering the questionnaire fully and accurately may call for input from your leadership team, IT department and even third parties such as your cloud service provider. Take your time and be as thorough as possible. Missed questions or incomplete answers could result in denial of coverage or a longer-than-necessary approval time. 

2. Establish (or fortify) a comprehensive cybersecurity program. Your business has a better chance of obtaining optimal coverage if you have a formal program that includes documented policies for best practices such as: Installing software updates and patches, Encrypting data, Using multifactor authentication, and Educating employees about ongoing cyberthreats. Before applying for coverage, either establish such a program if you don’t have one or strengthen the one in place. Be sure to generate clear documentation about the program and all its features that you can show insurers. 

3. Create and document a disaster recovery plan. An effective cybersecurity program can’t focus only on preventing negative incidents. It must also include a disaster recovery plan specifically focused on cyberthreats, so everyone knows what to do if something bad happens. If your company has yet to create such a plan, establish and implement one before applying for cyberinsurance. Put it in writing so you can share it with insurers. Review your disaster recovery plan at least annually to ensure it’s up to date. 

4. Prepare to be tested. Some insurers may want to test your company’s cyberdefenses with a “penetration test.” This is a simulated cyberattack on your systems designed to uncover weak points that hackers could exploit. Before applying for cyberinsurance, conduct a thorough assessment of your networks and, if necessary, train or upskill your employees to follow protocols and be wary of “phishing” schemes and other threats. 

5. Consider a third-party assessment. To better uncover weaknesses that could result in a denial of coverage or unreasonably high premiums, you may want to engage a third-party consultant to assess your cybersecurity program, as well as your equipment, network and users. Doing so can be beneficial before applying for cyberinsurance because some IT security firms maintain relationships with insurers and can help streamline the application process. 

Like most types of coverage, cyberinsurance is a risk-management measure worth exploring with your leadership team and professional advisors. 

Breaking Through the Toughest of Business Situations

In my years navigating business finance, I’ve seen companies of all sizes face challenges and celebrate successes. It’s a universal truth: business is as much about peaks as it is valleys. However, with the right insights and a proactive mindset, even the toughest challenges can be tackled. This isn’t just about the numbers; it’s about the drive and determination behind them. Let’s dive into strategies that can help businesses find their footing during uncertain times, armed with practical knowledge and forward-focused thinking.


Always be prepared for the unthinkable.  We’ve had a tenuous twelve months and the next twelve unclear.  Crisis can happen.  Here are a few of our top suggestions to incorporate into your planning:


  1. Reserves
    1. Minimum cash reserves should be equal to three times your monthly spend. Ideally six months is preferable during times of uncertainty.
    2. Establish a working line of credit with a reputable lender if you do not currently have one in place.
    3. Inject personal funds or assets as a temporary relief measure.
    4. Ask for help from friends and family. They may be willing to lend money or invest in the long-term success of the business.
  2. Existing Debt
    1. If you have a large amount of existing debt, negotiate with your lenders for debt restructuring, deferred payments, or conversion to a debt equity instrument.
  3. Operational Review
    1. As long as there are not any continued challenges with your supply chain, adopt a strategy of just-in-time inventory management. Don’t suspend cash in non-moving or obsolete inventory.  Liquidate inventory that is non-moving or obsolete.
    2. Be honest with Customers and Suppliers about the current state of your business. It will not be a shock to them, and they will be very supportive if your relationship has been strong.
  4. Staffing
    1. Be honest with your employees and prepare them for possible outcomes. This can be a strong strategy to gain acceptance and creativity if handled with trust and respect. 
    2. Be cognizant of your current staffing levels. Use this time to evaluate those who are underperforming and base your future staffing levels on either training them up or managing them out through a layoff if one is needed.
    3. I have had multiple opportunities to be creative with professional staff cost cuts. You can keep your staff but temporarily restructure their duties, where they are working, and hours per week to temporarily reduce overall payroll burden.
  5. Review your Core Business Strategy
    1. Conduct a thorough margin review and determine where there are opportunities for improvement by cutting non-profitable sectors and/or products. Work smarter not harder….
    2. Focus your time and energy on your core competencies. Outsource non-core functions.
  6. Exit Strategies
    1. Does this downturn provide an opportunity to exit the business? Is there still value that another company may be interested in? 
    2. If not now, review your exit plan strategy for the future and update for current changes in the business environment. You may have to recast and re-think your final strategy.

Experience has shown me in navigating the complexities of business finance that challenges and successes are integral to the journey. The obstacles are real, however, with strategic planning, understanding, and determination, we’ve always been able to chart a path forward. Resilience is more than just pushing through; it’s about growing, adapting, and learning from each experience. As we continue to move forward, let’s draw from our shared knowledge and remain anchored in our mission. Here’s to the progress we’ve made and the continued growth ahead.

To hear more about my experience and to contact us to find out how we can help you, email me at  You can also check us out on the web at or call us directly at 518.693.7446.


CEFO Engagement: Transforming Financial Operations at a Chemical Manufacturing Plant


  1. Introduction

In today’s competive business environment, ensuring optimal financial operations is key for manufacturing companies. This paper recounts an engagement where focused financial intervention transformed the operations of a local chemical manufacturing plant.

  1. Background

When our team first approached this plant, it was clear that legacy systems and practices were impeding progress:

  • The plant was working with an outdated QuickBooks desktop system.
  • Inventory valuation posed challenges, leading to inaccuracies.
  • The high costs of factoring receivables burdened their resources.
  • Financial reporting was relegated to year-end processes and often contained material mistakes.
  • Despite these challenges, there was ambition in the owners’ desire to construct their own plant, requiring intricate financial planning and bank negotiations.

III. Actions Undertaken

Our engagement was rooted in understanding, strategy, and execution:

  • Balance Sheet Evaluation: Our primary step was to assess and cleanse the balance sheet of material misstatements, laying a foundation of trust for future financial negotiations.
  • Strategic Direction: We sought to divert from the high-cost invoice factoring system, aiming for more sustainable and cost-effective financing methods.
  • Projections & Forecasting: Leveraging data, we crafted a 5-year projection model predicting margin enhancements, attributing them to the anticipated efficiencies of the new plant and revised product SOPs.
  • Bank Collaborations: With accurate financial records, we introduced the company to three distinct banks. Their renewed interest was a testament to our strategic recalibrations.
  1. Outcomes Realized

Our methodical approach bore fruit:

  • Robust Financing Secured: 
  • $5 million for the new plant.

o A $750k equipment credit line.

o An adaptive credit line based on monthly accounts receivable and inventory.

o Discontinuation of Factoring: By transitioning from the factoring model, we unlocked substantial cost savings.

  • We were successful in acquiring an IDA grant, promising: o Ten years of tax savings.

o Deductions on mortgage recording tax.

o Sales tax waivers on materials.

  1. Conclusion

This engagement stands as a testament to the transformative power of strategic financial intervention. Through meticulous planning, active collaboration, and strategic foresight, we’ve ushered a local chemical manufacturing plant into a new era of financial and operational prosperity. They continue to prosper with a new equity partner supporting their efforts.

Valuations can help business owners plan for the future

If someone was to suggest that you should have your business appraised, you might wonder whether the person was subtly suggesting that you retire and sell the company. Seriously though, a valuation can serve many purposes other than preparing your business for sale so you can head to the beach. Think of it as a checkup that can help you better plan for the future. 

Strategic planning: Today’s economy presents both challenges and opportunities for companies across the country. Chief among the challenges is obtaining financing when necessary — interest rates have risen, inflation is still a concern and many commercial lenders are imposing tough standards on borrowers. A business valuation conducted by an outside expert can help you present timely, in-depth financial data to lenders. The appraisal will not only help them better understand the current state of your business, but also demonstrate how you expect your company to grow. For example, the discounted cash flow section of a valuation report can show how expected future cash flows are projected to increase in value. In addition, a valuator can examine and state an opinion on company-specific factors such as: Your leadership team’s awareness of market conditions, what specific risks you face, and your contingency planning efforts to mitigate these risks. As you go through the valuation process, you may even recognize some of your business’s weaknesses and, in turn, be able to address those shortcomings in strategic planning. 

Acquisitions, sales and gifts: There’s no getting around the fact that, in many cases, the primary reason for getting a valuation is to prepare for a transfer of business interests of some variety — be it an acquisition, sale or gift. Even if you’re not ready to make a move like this right now, an appraiser can help you get a better sense of when the optimal time might be. If you’re able to buy out a competitor or a strategically favorable business, a valuation should play a critical role in your due diligence. When negotiating the final sale price, an appraiser can scrutinize the seller’s asking price, including the reasonableness of cash flow and risk assumptions. If you’re thinking about selling, most appraisers subscribe to transaction databases that report the recent sale prices of similar private businesses. A valuator also can estimate how much you’d net from a deal after taxes, as well as brainstorm creative deal structures that minimize taxes, provide you with income to fund retirement and meet other objectives. In the eyes of a potential buyer, a formal appraisal adds credibility to your asking price as well. And if you want to gift business interests to the next generation in your family, a written appraisal is a must-have to withstand IRS scrutiny. 

Going the extra mile: You probably have plenty of other things on your plate as you work hard to keep your business competitive. But obtaining an appraisal is a savvy way to go the extra mile to get all the information you need to wisely plan for the future.