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Supporting Female Entrepreneurs

Transcript 

Lindsay (host):  

Welcome to the Female Founder Friday podcast, a collection of inspiring conversations with the most interesting female entrepreneurs and small business owners. I'm your host Lindsay White and together with my incredible guests, we'll explore the struggles of being a female entrepreneur, the most important lessons, and the future of women leaders in business, and I'm very passionate about helping female entrepreneurs become the calm, confident leader, their team and their business really need. That's why I've created my VIP leadership coaching program. This three-month program is specifically designed to help high-performing women, uncover their authentic leadership brand and style, so they can lead more effectively and authentically in their life and their business. If you're ready to transform your leadership, connect with me today at www.highvoltageleadership.ca

 

Lindsay (host):

My guest on this week's episode is Kathy Svetina, founder of NewCastle Finance, where she offers fractional CFO, and finance services to women-owned businesses. Now, Kathy comes from a family of entrepreneurs, and she saw firsthand how challenging it was for them to access the important financial planning and support as they build their companies. After a 14-year career working in corporate finance, Kathy set out to change all of that. Now, she helps women business owners make great financial decisions that result in healthy, sustainable, and thriving businesses. We had such a dynamic and empowering conversation that I know you're gonna love today's episode.

Lindsay (host): 

Awesome. I've got Kathy here with me today. Thank you so much for being a part of the Female Founder Friday podcast. I'm super excited to speak with you. How are you?

Kathy (guest):

I'm good! Thanks so much for inviting me. I'm super excited to talk to you. 

  

Lindsay (host):

Awesome. Awesome! Well, I've heard a little bit of your story in the past but I really want to know about your journey to becoming a female founder, and what that looked like. Will you tell us about that?

 

Kathy (guest): 

Yeah. I started in corporate finance, and I was there for 14 years and one thing that always bothered me, you know, one thing was that number one it's very male-dominated.

Lindsay (host):

Yeah. 

Kathy (guest):

And the other piece of it, too, is that when you go to large companies they have so much resources, helping them with their finances. They have, you know, the entire departments dedicated to financial planning, to their accounting, to their bookkeeping to their taxes, but when you go into the small business space, they really have no one doing that for them.  And I come from a family of entrepreneurs and I was at a table when those types of decisions were made, and the problem that I saw was that they really had no one helped them through it. And again, you know, you have the accountants, you have the bookkeepers, but there's no one doing that high-level financial planning. So what I decided after I left the corporate, and I was going back and forth. What should I do, should I go into, you know another corporate job-

Lindsay (host):

Right.

 

Kathy (guest):

You know, it's kind of a same old same old. And I decided I want to go on my own and I want to help businesses get that financial planning, the strategic level finances that they really do truly need and have no one to, to help them with that I'm going to be doing that, and I work with female entrepreneurs only and that's because I feel like my mission is to help women be the CEOs of their companies. And the way to get there is to know the numbers, to really be comfortable with it, and to do that financial planning that it's usually missing.

Lindsay (host):  

Yeah, I really love that and I think, You know that's what's made our connection so special. First of all, that we focus on female entrepreneurs and small business owners and, I mean, we are them, they are us, she is we, and we just focus, sort of slightly different angles - you on the financial strategy, me on the people strategy to really help these incredible women, step into that CEO space feel really confident feel really powerful feel like a great leader. And I think that's you know that's why we hit it off right from the start because we really do have a very similar mission you and I.

Kathy (guest):

Yeah, we do. We really do.

 

Lindsay (host):

I love that. I love that a lot. Tell us a little bit more about how you do that how you help these incredible female CEOs really embrace this financial strategy?

Kathy (guest):

Yeah, usually when they come to me, they've already passed the $1 million mark and that's when the business gets a little bit more complex.

 

Lindsay (host):

Right.

 

Kathy (guest):

You can't just look at your bank account and say, "Oh I got money in the bank, everything is good." Especially if you are growing so the businesses that I work with are in the high growth mode. They've already passed the $1 million mark and they're usually between a million and ten and they need more financial planning than just looking at their bank account, and their accountants and bookkeepers do not have that expertise and it's actually the accountants and bookkeepers that contact me and say, "Hey I have this client, would you be able to help with this particular piece?" And it's really all about partnering. When I come in, you know consultants are there and they just fix the immediate problem we move on. In a Fractional CFO, I am there on their business day and they're out so I'm a part of their management meetings, I'm a part of the sales meeting because I really need to understand the business, and I've just come in, you know, for an hour a week and that's it. I'm really there in the business, and I absolutely love it because I get to work with so many different businesses, I get to work with so many extraordinary women, they're building these, what looks like empires that have so much potential and it's super exciting.

 

Lindsay (host): 

Yeah, I love that I'm getting goosebumps as you're talking because that is the exciting part isn't it, it's really about being a business partner with these incredible women, they have passion, they have these amazing visions like you said, they're building an empire, and being a part of that is just thrilling, isn't it?

 

Kathy (guest):

Yeah, it is it's something that makes you know, waking up in the morning so much easier and so much more enjoyable. 

 

Lindsay (host):

Totally get it. I totally get where you're coming from. What I'd love to know, from your own business perspective is, where have you sort of made some mistakes along the way, where have you kind of messed it up, Kathy and what have you learned?

 

Kathy (guest):

Gosh. Where do I start, right? You know I'm very good with finances, this is my forte. And I've been doing this for so long, but all the other pieces in the business because the business is not just finances, it's not just sales and that's just marketing it's not just operation, it's all of it together. I'm in the same boat as other founders, you're really good at that particular core function that you start your business with, but all the other ones you have to learn. You kind of stumble as you go. And for me was, well, I had two. 

 

Kathy (guest):

One was marketing, and I'm really understanding what's happened marketing works well for my business. When you look out especially online world, there's a lot of gurus out there, they give this advice, it's very cookie-cutter, but understanding what works well for me and for the type of customers that I'm reaching and what type of conversations I should be having, what type of content I need to put out there. And for me, for myself, you know, originally, I was on Facebook, I was on Instagram, I was everywhere, whatever it really realizes that my customers are not there. My customers are in LinkedIn and I'm very heavy on LinkedIn. And a lot of them like I said, have come through me, through referrals. Building those relationships was really valuable for me. That part of marketing and like really understand what works. 

 

Kathy (guest):

And the other piece is trying to do all things by myself at the beginning.

 

Lindsay (host):

Such a common mistake that we all make, isn't it?

 

Kathy (guest):

Yes, yes. And it's been a long journey, and then once they start realizing that I do not have to do everything by myself. And what was really helpful for me is looking at my business through those what I call the "process lens" and the "workflow lens".

 

Lindsay (host):

Okay.

 

Kathy (guest):

And see everything what is it that I really need to be a part of, and what is it that I can delegate or automate to someone else. 

 

Lindsay (host):

Yeah. 

 

Kathy (guest):

And that's when I was able to figure out, this is a piece of core function in my business, I need to be involved in it, but these are the other pieces that I can give to someone else, and right now, I've actually built a fantastic team that supports me in the back office. They do my podcast management. They do my content strategy. They do my social media and it's been absolutely fabulous because now I have the time to have these types of conversations like podcast guesting in which I absolutely enjoy or because I get to talk to people like you. 

Lindsay (host):

Yeah. 

 

Kathy (guest):

And building and delivering the service for my clients and being in their business, it's freezes time. so that I can, I can do the things that I love and not be modeled in podcast management or email or admin tasks.

 

Lindsay (host):

I think that is such a great lesson is really identifying and getting super clear on what I would call your zone of genius, right? What are the things that first of all that you're really skilled in, and generally that's why you started your business, right? 

Kathy (guest):

Yep.

Lindsay (host):

And then also I think it's important what are the things that you really love to do? And to your point, what are the things that are really important that you need to stay directly connected to, right? Sort of analyzing it from a couple of perspectives, and then recognizing what are the things that you don't love to do. You don't have any skill or experience of that. And that really is not important for you to be involved in and when you can sort those out and you can find the right people, right? And feel supported, just like you talked about, I think that when the magic can really happen in a business. You're totally speaking my language because that is exactly what I love to talk about with female entrepreneurs is really creating that beautiful team. I think that is such a valuable lesson. I think we have to all go through that moment in time where we feel a little stressed out to kind of come to the place where we're willing to delegate, right?

 

Kathy (guest): 

Yeah. You have to feel the pain to be able to lessen and let go.

 

Lindsay (host):  

You know, it's so true. I guess I'm on a bit of a mission to say to female entrepreneurs. You don't have to be in that painful moment. You don't have to lose sleep and work, 14 and 16-hour days, right, like, but for some of us takes us a little longer to learn than others, right, Kathy? We have to have to feel the pinch a little bit, so that's, that's beautiful it's a beautiful lesson I hope everybody that's listening really takes that one to heart. I love that. One of the other things that I'm really talking about on season two here is what does leadership mean to you like how do you really lead Kathy, not only with your team but also with some of your clients, as a fractional CFO?

Kathy (guest):

I'm very big on having clear communication and defined expectations because no one can read your mind. They just can't. 

Lindsay (host):

True!

 

Kathy (guest):

And having those clearly defined expectations, and I have that, not just with my employees but also with my clients and the customers because he makes everything so much easier. Even before we started working together, it's simple things like that. How are we going to communicate? How many days is it going to take for me to respond to your email I usually have? 

 

Kathy (guest):

Let's say, for example, it takes about, I have two business days to respond to an email. I will respond earlier, but that gives you the expectation when you can expect that you will get an email from me as a response, and I'm all in. It's also nice because when you have clear expectations like these. It says boundaries for yourself as well because I am very much. I like deep focus work and when you work with finances when you work, whereas with money in general it's not just the spreadsheet work where there's a lot of thinking involved so I need to give myself space to be able to do that deep thinking work, and not just go from one task to another and just looking at the email that just came in so it's understanding how you work, and how your mind and brain works. That's really important. So that's what I've started to incorporate in, not just in my work but also in my leadership habits as well.

 

Lindsay (host):  

I really love that that is such a great point, really understanding what your working style is and how you can be most effective. I think that that is really a spectacular point. So that makes me curious then how did you come to uncover that?

 

Kathy (guest):  

I'm actually, this was pretty recent that I started incorporating this how I work into how to lead and how our worth of the clients, and there's a tool out there is called a Predictive Index Analytics, and it tells you exactly what type of leader you are and how you work, and what is your balance and once again, it's a questionnaire that you filled out and it was super helpful for me because I'm always thinking about how can I improve, how can I make things more efficient for myself and my employees for my clients so taking those insights that I got from that questionnaire was an eye-opener for me. 

 

Kathy (guest):

And you know, having clear expectations,  it's also important, not just because people can't be your mind, obviously, but you also have to put it into practice. For example how that works for me. I have a code of conduct that I give to my employees on not only just how to you know take the time off and stuff but also how to communicate with me, how to handle mistakes. Mistakes happen worldwide, and I noticed like when employees when they get when they make mistakes sometimes they say disappear or they write, you know that there are all sorts of things that can happen but having that clearly defined what happens, you know, it's okay, just let me know, and how we're going to deal with it. It just takes all this pressure and this mystery out of it, it makes everything so much nicer and easier to work. 

 

Lindsay (host):

I think that that's such a great point. We aren't mind readers as leaders like we don't know what's happening inside the heads of our team members, but in the same token, I think that gives them a lot of stress, trying to figure out what's right and wrong for us. Right. And when we can be really transparent and collaborative in our sharing of this is what works for me. This is what I need from you. What do you need for me right like I think we also have to be able to step into that feedback loop as a leader. How am I showing up to enable you to do a great job? Right? So, I mean, Kathy, I have this sort of underlying belief that, I think everybody wants to show up and do great work every day. I really do. No. Do I think people end up in the wrong roles or they end up doing stuff they shouldn't, whatever? But for the most part, I think we, whether we lead or whether we're part of a team, all want to do our best. Right? And when we enable people as a leader to do that, I think it's really powerful. So I think that's, You know, that's to be really commended and celebrated that how you approach your leadership. I'm curious, how does that show up then, when you're acting as a CFO inside of an organization but you're still a consultant. How do you manage that part of the relationship?

 

Kathy (guest): 

And again, it's everything comes down to the expectations and I'm very much process-driven as well so I use project management tools for example to look at one of the processes that we're going to look at. For example when I do budgeting, what are some of the items I need to go through where we are, so the clients always have that communication where we are what we're doing what I need from them what they need from me, everything is in one space and I'm a huge believer of using project management tools. I use ClickUp And I can tell you that ever since I started using it my practice has absolutely been transformed because it does not just help me but it also helps the clients they're able to see everything. And if I have to bring in a consultant, if I have to bring in an expert from anywhere else, I'm able to delegate those things much easier.

 

Lindsay (host):  

Right. Because you can inside, I use a slightly different software but most of them run similar, you can delegate those tasks and move them around and timelines and comments or questions, they make things really easy and streamlined and transparent, don't they?

 

Kathy (guest):

Yes, exactly. And people. I've noticed that usually the problems come around when either people have no idea what's happening in the field like they're in the dark, or they just don't know what the expectations were so having that type of process and that type of working environment just takes care of both of those right at the front, and I don't have to worry about it I mean uh you know there could be some miscommunication later on but you can manage that, but you're taking a lot of that out at the beginning by just looking at how you're going to do the work and how you going to communicate and set those game rules at the beginning so that everyone knows what they're doing and how they're going to be doing it.

 

Lindsay (host):

I think that's so important. I was just hosting a webinar, earlier today where we were talking about values in your organization and how they're really the cornerstone of your culture. And it's the same principle you're talking about, right, you can have a value, say for example integrity, that's a value in lots of businesses, but it's how you make that value real, it's the behaviors, it's the actions, it's the measurement that actually makes that really a powerful value that everyone can connect to. And I hear you sort of saying the same things from a process side of the business which I think fits together really beautifully, Kathy.

 

Kathy (guest):

Yeah and you know, it goes to finding the values and how you want to show up as a leader, how you want to show up for your clients, for your customers and what type of life you want to lead, and then going down and putting it all into a process so I always started with a value as well. What is my value? My value is to have clear communications, defined expectations and how am I going to do that? How am I going to serve my employees, and my customers love it in the best way possible and that's where the process comes in, that's kind of like the nitty-gritty little things, right, the project management, the task is all that, but it all works together.

 

Lindsay (host): 

Yeah, it totally does. I really love that, I think, again, that's why we've connected so beautifully, because we really look at the same pieces from slightly different perspectives, and I think it builds something that is really fulsome. And really three-dimensional right for female founders for their businesses for their teams. You know, in a really collaborative way so I really really love that. Kathy, thank you so much for being a part of the Female Founder Friday podcast. What we've talked about some incredible things today and I know it's gonna add value for everyone that's listening.

 

Kathy (guest):  

Thanks so much for having me on Lindsay. I enjoyed it. 

 

Lindsay (host):

Oh, it's been such a pleasure!

 

Lindsay (host):

To everyone tuning in today, thank you for listening to the ‘Female Founder Friday’ Podcast. I really love how Kathy weaves culture and values throughout all the process that she creates.  You can find out more about Kathy and the amazing work she does with her clients at newcastlefinance.us and you can connect with me on Instagram @highvoltleadership.

 

Lindsay (host):

The ‘Female Founder Friday’ Podcast has a goal to impact 1,000 listeners! It would mean the world to me if you left this episode a five-star review and shared it with your friends - let’s engage 1,000 female entrepreneurs and amplify the message! Thank you so much for being a part of the show! Connect with me at www.highvoltageleadership.ca

In a nutshell, I empower women to lead, and that starts with leading your day.