We had the good fortune of connecting with Jim Downes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jim, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Our success at Blueprint CFO can be largely attributed to the unique way we work with our clients, and our unique outlook on the role of accounting and finance.
At Blueprint CFO, we believe that having completed monthly financials in hand is just the tip of the accounting iceberg. Here, we understand that accounting and finance professionals can play a much larger role in a company than simply reporting the numbers.
We see data-driven decision-making as a cornerstone to a business’s success and longevity, and implement future-focused accounting principles at Blueprint CFO to help companies not only know their numbers, but utilize them for business transformation and increased profitability.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Most accountants are historians, and end the conversation at “here’s how your business did financially last month.” At Blueprint CFO, we are futurists, and believe that the numbers should be a strategic growth tool, not the end of the conversation. In working with our clients, we look to the past with one clear objective: to utilize that data to help companies draw the map for a more profitable tomorrow.
Not only are we different because of our future-focused approach here at Blueprint CFO; we are also unique in the quality of our accounting team. Without timely and accurate accounting, how can you truly know how your company is doing from a financial standpoint? We pride ourselves in helping clients accurately understand where their business stands today so that they can make informed decisions to drive future growth.
We recently signed up a client, a middle-market company leader, with annual sales of around $2 million. The client came to us with a shocking realization: he didn’t know if he had made $100,000 last year… or lost $100,000! While this might seem like an extreme case, it’s not.
Believe it or not, many small and middle-market companies have inadequate accounting, and are flying blind when it comes to running their companies as a result. After all, if you don’t know your numbers, you can’t truly know your business.
At Blueprint CFO, we help small to medium sized businesses succeed by equipping them with the data they need to run their business, and serving as a strategic partner as they pursue their growth goals. It’s a game changer!
Nothing is easy in business. I started to do, in effect, what we do today over two decades ago when I lived in Detroit. While this initial iteration of the business did bring in clients, the company did not have the business model that Blueprint CFO does today, utilizing a full accounting team to get truly comprehensive data to our CFO team.
Two years after my first company was dissolved in 2007, I moved to Los Angeles and began working in the turnaround consulting industry. While this change led me to start thinking about revamping my business with a new model in mind, it took me until 2019 (a full decade!) to find the courage and bring Blueprint CFO to market.
While the road has been long, I am very glad I finally took the leap. Since Blueprint CFO was founded, we have helped countless clients deepen their understanding of their businesses, and ultimately achieve their growth goals. Our clients are very appreciative of what we do for them, and our team is equally thrilled to serve as their strategic partners.
Through it all, the primary lesson I’ve learned is to be persistent and patient. If you have a good idea and are unsuccessful in your attempt to launch a business around it, it may just not be the right time. Never give up, continue seeking strategic opportunities, and keep an analytical eye when it comes to internal and external factors that may play a role in your successes or downfalls.
Another lesson I’ve uncovered throughout my entrepreneurial journey is to be conservative when you launch a new business. Most new businesses fail because they run out of money, so I’d advise up-and-coming entrepreneurs to spend money very conservatively and focus on longevity rather than growth speed.
Most entrepreneurs only become truly successful once they partner up with a strong financial partner. Why is that? More often than not, creative people will not run their business like a business when left to their devices. On the other hand, though, a business can’t really be successful without creative people – successful companies require a spirit of innovation, differentiation, and risk-taking.
But successful businesses also require balance, and this is where a Blueprint CFO can come in. By working with a data-driven strategic partner who will slow you down a bit, meet your investment ideas with consultative advice, and help you see where your business truly stands through KPIs and accurate accounting, we force you to run your business like a business.
Our capabilities at Blueprint CFO extends beyond what a bookkeeper or CPA alone can provide. At Blueprint CFO, we truly care about our clients’ businesses, and are involved in their growth, every step of the way. Our CFOs are not merely financial advisors, but true strategic partners who are invested in helping you grow your business.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A friend of mine actually just visited us from the United Kingdom! Because Los Angeles and Orange County have so much to offer, it was tricky to narrow down what to do with them.
Our itinerary began with Santa Monica, including the Santa Monica Pier, 3rd Street Promenade, and breakfast at Shutters on the Beach. Continuing on with the Los Angeles leg of our tour, we made a stop at Beverly Hills to see Rodeo Drive and eat at my favorite local restaurant, Il Pastaio, and also visited Mulholland Drive, the Hollywood Sign, and Universal Studios.
Of course, there were also lots of sights to see in Orange County! We had lunch at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach, took a trip to the South Coast Plaza, and visited Downtown Long Beach and Huntington Beach, the Surfing Capital of the USA. Finally, of course, no trip to Orange County would be complete without a day (or two) at Disneyland.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There is a lot of credit to spread around, from our rockstar Blueprint team, to our star clients, as well as our strategic partners. Additionally, I am a big proponent of continued learning, and read countless business books to help me be the best strategic advisor I can be for my clients. Some of the books that have influenced me the most over the years include The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack, First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham, Good to Great by Jim Collins, Traction by Gino Wickman, Focus by Al Ries, and Keith J. Cunningham’s The Ultimate Blueprint for an Insanely Successful Business.
Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/6criticalfunctions/ (Jim Downes LinkedIn Profile)