Many founders are grappling with a common issue: small businesses are losing money. Eater reported 40 restaurant closures in NYC within the first two weeks of this year alone. It's not a sustainable way to run a business, especially in the challenging restaurant landscape. To address this, we're committed to sharing honest stories and, more importantly, solutions. We'll discuss a model that has proven successful for Cohere and our clients – a Financial Wellness Program.
Our Financial Wellness model was created out of necessity. We needed to adopt financial health and wellness as a cultural shift. This program showed us how.
After some financial strife of our own, Cohere started to adopt our own Partner's advice - Erik Oberholtzer who has used this "equitable sharing" in his previous experience as Founder of Tender Greens.
YOU MUST START WITH BEING HONEST AND GET OUT OF YOUR EGO MINDSET
Transparency is scary, especially when it comes to finances because most leaders blame themselves. Just as we reported recently, it is important to accept that there are economic and consumer downturn trends that you can't control. Hiding the truth about your numbers from investors, your team, the public...is detrimental for your health. A lack of transparency also causes a poor cycle that keeps the place from improving the numbers. When we share the truth, we are empowered with accurate information that we can use to achieve shared goals.
Start with small steps to share the burden of your situation with those who can help you by starting with:
First ask advisors who have done this before for support at your P&L level, identify 5 key areas for improvement
Set a meeting to share this with your key management and leadership team, commit to true honesty
Create a document as a "critical path" on key priorities to help improve those KPIs. This serves as a guide for how all levels of the organization can participate in an easy to digest format
Dedicate the team to the next steps and set the next check-in date for accountability
COMMIT TO A YEAR OF FINANCIAL WELLNESS
Shared financial literacy, all learning how to read a budget and how their role impacts it
Financial reporting, monthly and quarterly, no exceptions
Agree to "exercises" that show results
SET REWARDS SO EVERYONE CAN PARTICIPATE
After we shared our high level cost issues, where we needed help, and roles - we identified key places that the entire team could share in the reward. We opened ourselves up to critique and questioning - but also to honest feedback and guidance. With their help, we built these shared rewards which are now in full effect and encourage growth:
Bonus Program - We now incentivize our company and employees by setting quarterly “baseline” and “stretch” goals - handing out bonuses if and when we hit them.
401Ks, Health Benefits, and Long-Term Wealth-Building - We better packaged our 401K and health benefits for employees as a part of this process and are also working to add an “equitable share program” wherein Cohere trades services for ownership in new ventures, spreading out that ownership among team members. As we help brand and market exciting new projects, our team will be set up to benefit from their long-term success.
Be unafraid to ask for help.
We have been apart of openings, closings, and most useful lately - rebuilding. Our intention is to influence change in the food industry, and that can only be done if we help one another. Let us know if we can support your financial wellness and growth.