It’s Female Founder Friday, and I’m pleased to introduce you to the woman entrepreneur behind KBS CFO. As an entrepreneur, have you ever wished you could find an expert to help you streamline your processes, fine tune your e-commerce, create comprehensive key performance indicator reports for your company, or build reliable finance forecasts to help with growth planning and strategy? Have you ever wished for a way to accelerate or control your company’s growth? I believe 99.9% of us have made those wishes. Robin Thieme is the female founder who built the one-stop solution shop that makes those business wishes (as well as outsourced CFOs ) come true!
So, if you’re in the midst of building a startup that solves a problem, or you’re curious to read more about how Robin built a virtual organization well before “cloud computing” was a mainstream term, don’t miss her thoughtful answers to my questions below.
What inspired you to create your company?
As long as I can remember, I have had a passion for inventions, ingenuity and bringing new products/services to market. This personal passion was complimented by a love of team sports. I have always felt a deep reward from being part of a team, and the success made possible through skill, dedication, practice, communication and teamwork.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, nearly half of all businesses shut down within their first five years. Often this is because owners try to go it alone, and hit fatal roadblock such as inadequate cash flow, sticky payment systems or poor distribution. Because of my CPA/Accounting and technology background, combined with a deep understanding of business operations, I am able to identify current and upcoming operational bottlenecks to business growth. Working as a team with trusted, skilled, dedicated KBS team members, KBS clients have a much better shot to sustain, grow and profit.
Since starting KBS in 2004, we have had the privilege of working and supporting 100’s of businesses, as they launch, grow and mature. I am thankful for their trust, and confidence and I sincerely look forward to the future opportunities that will come our way.
What was your biggest obstacle and failure in going from idea to business?
The biggest obstacle (failure is not part of my vocabulary :)), is aligning the appropriate skilled team member/professionals with the solutions that are needed for my clients. Finding the right fit that can implement the vision I develop to support that organization in fulfilling their plans.
If I may add a second obstacle, it is articulating change to my clients in a manner that is effective and not too scary for them. Change can be so scary, risky and unsettling, but, the pace of change has increased exponentially, so having a process in place to manage that can be vital for our businesses. Yes, you are talking to an Accountant who encourages change :).
We recently recognized the need for a name change, so, with the new name, I am excited to continue our work as KBS CFO moving in to 2018. We have hired a few new team members and plan to hire a few more.
The growth of many of our clients continues to keep the team very busy, but, it is vital that the pace of Learning meet or exceed the rate of change, so, our success for both KBS CFO and our clients depends on us keeping pace with the rapid changes happening with artificial intelligence and it’s impact on the accounting industry. I am excited (and a little nervous) for the future’s promise of allowing our service to center more about interpreting and gaining insights from the accounting information versus the majority of all of our efforts being centered around pulling the information together.
What is a life or business hack that you recommend to help other female founders?
“Business hack – Use Asana, with Slack or some similar tool combination to escape the inefficiencies of managing team work via email.”
If you had a theme song what would it be?
A song that really motivates me is “So what,” by Pink.
Please share your best piece of advice for aspiring female founders.
My observation is that female founders are less inclined to ‘think big’ and potentially caught by the trap of seeking perfection before launching – my most recent motto is “Perfection is a fool’s errand.’, but, I also like a recent quote from Netflix Founder Marc Randolph – “Perfection is the enemy of innovation.”