Subscriber Opinion – An Open Letter To the Incoming Administration

Election day is finally here. After weeks of constant barrage from both of the main camps – today finds us reflecting on the sincere hope that whomever wins gets our country (and all of our communities within) to a place we can honestly say is more solid and better.

One of our Baltimore region subscribers – Carol Coughlin, Outsourced CFO and successful business owner who is the CEO and Founder of BottomLine Growth Strategies, issued this open letter to the Incoming Administration and shared it with her contacts, clients and colleagues.

We liked it so much…we thought we’d share it as whomever you voted for, there’s plenty of good common sense and food for thought found in Carol’s honest and wise words shared below, we hope you enjoy them.

An Open Letter to the Incoming Administration by


Dear President and Incoming Administration: Election years are times for growth and change. Or, at least, they’re times for TALK about growth and change. Every four years, in fact, an avalanche of smart ideas come cascading from our politicians’, especially ideas related to “running government like a business.” As consultants for business optimization – meaning we know what it truly takes to create a sustainable, profitable business – we can’t help but be a little jaded.After all, every spring our country goes back to the status quo with nary a business-like strategy in sight.

This year, we want success. Not a sound bite. We want you, our leaders, to follow the example set by the best businesses in the U.S. We’re not partisan. We don’t have a hidden agenda. We simply think it’s time we all looked past the politics to what makes sense financially, operationally and ethically. It’s time to look at what government really needs to do to run the country like a business:

Forget Financial Fantasy
Companies cannot borrow money indefinitely without a plan to pay it back. If a business becomes upside down, it only has two choices: increase revenue or decrease spending. The same holds true for government.

If a company chooses to reverse its upside-down status by increasing prices, customers may stop buying if the price is too high. Similarly, government can increase revenue by increasing taxes, but constituents are then likely to make spending and growth decisions to avoid those taxes.

Both solutions result in no benefit and much angst, and the goal is not getting upside down in the first place.

Successful companies don’t make growth plans without first making educated assumptions about what the future holds via a strong forward-looking financial planning process. This includes generating realistic projections, as well as “what-if” scenarios for various contingencies. Neglecting to take these same actions in government results in situations we’ve seen over and over where programs end up being far more expensive than projections indicated – which tells us those projections were not realistic in the first place.

In business, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or metrics, such as productivity measures and profit margins, are part of the financial dashboard that drives everything for success. Government equivalents include housing starts, unemployment figures and rate of inflation. However, successful companies never take numbers at face value. They consider what’s influencing the data. In government, though, manipulation of data in support of a political agenda, or neglecting to explain key assumptions, is par for the course.

Outlaw Outdated Operations
Inefficiency increases cost, so successful companies must regularly assess efficiency by looking at three areas: people, processes and systems. If the right decisions are not made in these areas, the result is inefficiency.

In terms of people, for example, a CEO may decide to keep a long-time employee who’s no longer the right fit for her position simply to avoid dealing with the issue. Yet, employees who were once assets often do become obstacles to progress as the company grows. That’s why we recommend re-examining

BottomLine Growth Strategies was founded on Carol Coughlin’s passion and mission to give small- to mid-size business owners the same high-level financial strategy and operational guidance usually reserved for large corporations. Our CFO Guides bring the big-picture, objective perspective, as well as the practical “how-to,” required for managing growth and change effectively. Ultimately, helping you create a sustainable profitable organization and reach the next level of success. To set up a free consultation, contact us at 443-798-1357 or After all, no one summits solo.

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