An experienced CFO and Mergers and Acquisition leader, David Bean is on a mission to bring financial intelligence to entrepreneurs that lack a financial background. As the founder of 3C Strategic Advisors, Dave provides Fractional CFO services to small businesses that are in the early stages of growth and aren’t quite ready to bring their financial strategy in-house full-time.
Prior to starting 3C, Dave spent nearly two decades in finance, strategy and mergers and acquisitions leadership roles for privately held, not-for-profit and Fortune 100 companies. He is a licensed CPA and Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA), holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Science Degree in Servant Leadership.
When away from work, Dave enjoys spending time with his wife and three very active children. He can often be found coaching their youth sports teams in the beautiful Arizona weather.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
David Bean: Thank you for the opportunity.
I am Dave Bean, founder of 3C Strategic Advisors. The mission of the firm is to help executives and business owners grow profitably and exit successfully.
We specialize in Fractional CFO services for small businesses that are in growth mode and not quite ready to bring their financial strategy in-house full-time. We also provide mergers & acquisitions support to owners looking to acquire other businesses or transition from theirs.
Prior to starting 3C, I spent nearly two decades in finance, strategy and M&A roles for privately held, not-for-profit and Fortune 100 companies.
Along the way, I realized that small businesses were underserved when it came to true financial strategy. Most small business owners that I interacted with had a bookkeeper or tax accountant, but that was it. Many of those same entrepreneurs lacked an accounting background and had no idea how to use the information received from their accountant. Yet, their companies were growing rapidly, becoming more complex, and forcing the owner to wear multiple hats.
This experience led me to start my own practice. I began providing financial education, arming entrepreneurs with the confidence to use their financial statements as a tool for success and to make data-driven decisions. That evolved into consulting partnerships, acting as a part-time fractional CFO and M&A resource. At 3C, we now partner with small business owners on KPI development, profitability, cash flow, benchmarking, forecasting, strategy, and M&A.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
David Bean: It really comes down to the basics. Deliver an exceptional product and experience to your customers and build a culture where folks enjoy coming to work. I have seen far too many owners struggle to attract and retain talent in today’s labor market. Employees have too many alternatives. If you want a great business, you have to have a culture that backs it up. If you build a culture that is flexible, empathetic, and inspiring your people will do the rest and your customers will feel it.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
David Bean: I often refer back to the classic quote by Warren Buffet, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” While he was referring to the stock market, I think it applies equally to business. When times are good and the economy is strong, owners tend to take on high levels of debt, more risk, and operate without discipline. It is only when the tide shifts, and sadly when it is too late, that many pay the price. Entrepreneurs should spend this year getting their financial house in order. Monitor and build a cash reserve, develop a contingency plan, and take care of your talent.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
David Bean: I have been fortunate in that much of my work was performed virtually even before the pandemic. However, I work in an industry that can sometimes be stuck in the past. Similar firms that worked in a more traditional setting have been forced to adopt a flexible and remote way of operating. Personally, I have found that my communication style and marketing have changed. Operating even more virtually, particularly with prospects, has forced me to become a better storyteller.
I’ve found that it is that much more important that you convey your message in a way that is relatable and digestible.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
David Bean: Nobody operates well out of a place of fear. The pandemic has certainly been challenging for all and life-changing for some. In moments of crisis, emotions run high. It is important to take a step back and collect yourself so that you can make decisions with clarity.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
David Bean: I believe we will continue to see increased comfort with remote communication and adoption of the technology that enables it. For example, during the pandemic I began using a video-messaging solution called Loom. What would have normally been covered in a face-to-face meeting pre-pandemic can now be delivered in a five-minute video that still provides a personal touch. It has become such a time saver that clients have begun requesting loom videos as a replacement for certain meetings.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
David Bean: More than I would like to. Unfortunately, much of the analytical work I do requires a significant amount of screen time. While it can be challenging, I am intentional about balancing screen time with real human interaction. The moments I enjoy most are those spent with clients, colleagues, and my family.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
David Bean: My work is largely based in using financial information to develop strategy. I believe numbers can tell a story if you know how to look at them. Therefore, my job is to teach others how to take that perspective. I regularly spend time educating others by painting a picture of how numbers from a financial statement tell the story of their business: its history, performance, and possibilities for the future.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
David Bean: We live in a world where we are inundated with information. Adding to that, the last few years have been fraught with unpredictable events and uncertainty. It has become more important now than ever to filter through the noise and maintain focus. Entrepreneurs need to let their mission and values guide their business strategy rather than let outside noise dictate how they operate.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
David Bean: I am fascinated by what I see as the emergence of the creator economy. We have the technology and tools for almost anyone to easily create a business now. There are endless ways to make a living and have a positive impact on the world, all while maintaining a better work-life balance than in the past. I’m personally interested in developing new methods of educating entrepreneurs and creating value for clients.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
David Bean: In my experience, too many leaders are apt to point the blame elsewhere than to look inward. It takes real courage to criticize yourself and understand that we are all perfectly imperfect. I think leaders and workplaces are going to have to become more flexible and lead with greater empathy than the past. Even then, I see this shift continuing to occur as more employees realize the number of opportunities that are available to capitalize on their unique skillset and value.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
David Bean: The confidence and charisma of a true keynote speaker. I am naturally a bit of an introvert. While I have become quite comfortable with public speaking, I would love to have the confidence of a Tony Robbins or Gary Vaynerchuck.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
David Bean: I see success and legacy as one in the same. True success extends beyond one’s own lifetime. To consider myself successful, I will have positively impacted and touched the lives of as many people as possible.
If I can inspire and educate future generations to live a life of purpose and meaning, then I would consider that a life well lived.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank David Bean for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with David Bean or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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