The Importance of Having BlackBooks

August 20, 2019

Advances in technology has enabled easy access to a wealth of information right at our finger tips; whenever, and wherever we need it. This is very convenient when working on the fly and being able to source information as needed. From a business perspective this allows easy access to vital company information and financials.

Finance Report on Black Books

But, is this the best case if you wish to own the information?

What happens when you get stumped on a critical number? Do you take the time to open a browser, locate the file containing the information, open the file, then determine how that critical number was derived? What happens if you don’t have access or can’t connect to the Internet during an important meeting and need that information? This is a very real problem that stresses the importance of owning your numbers.

Business owners with a solid understanding of their numbers have an advantage over those that don’t. The numbers are more than just a snapshot of the health of a business; they demonstrate trends, show patterns and answer questions such as why, for example, the expenses are so high, or profit margin so low.

Being able to easily read the source, flow, and interaction of information as a story aids in understanding how and where operations can be optimized. Without truly understanding the numbers and their story, they are just numbers on a page.

One solution to this is the use of a BlackBook. The BlackBook is basically a binder containing a printout of all-important information about a company. It should contain monthly financial reports such as P & L or budget vs actual. It should contain information about the company itself such as the business they are in, their organizational charts etc… It should contain items to help them plan such as the corporate calendar, deadlines, cap table etc… The BlackBook allows you to have everything and anything one place. It allows you to answer any question a client may have with a flip of the page. All the numbers you need reside in one place, easy to manage and continuously updated.

Black book

Picture yourself in a meeting front of clients — all the data right there at your fingertips — no need to hunt these numbers down online… it’s not the quickest way.

It seems too simple to be able to make an impact, but not having to pull up the Internet to answer questions in front of clients, or in meetings is worth it. Updating is also quick and easy; you just need to pull the same financials that are already present, every time a new month closes.

GrowthLab’s current BlackBook template includes these very things, in addition to organizational charts, Corporate Calendars, Cap Tables, and anything we would need to know about our client’s business operations and deadlines; All on one place we know the cadence of their business operations, what their bottom line looks like, how well they did against the previous year, and much more.

Financial Report

Already, we have seen the ease of access to these numbers that are all in one place and easy to find. We no longer need to question numbers that were seen prepping for meetings and are unsure of later. Now, we truly have all the information we need at the tips of our fingers.

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