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The Record Community News

Taking control of organizational finances

The GNI Startups Lab helped The Record co-founder develop a new skill set and gain confidence

The challenge

Joe Coughlin spent 15 years working for a local newspaper publisher before the company went out of business. He founded The Record with two other journalists to fill the gap and serve his community in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Two years later, Joe is proud of his startup’s growing impact on the area, but knew he needed a better plan to increase revenue from readers and sponsors.

Joe also wanted to improve his ability to project the company’s finances at the beginning of the year and develop a better understanding of the templates and tools he could use to forecast revenue swings. His budget projections at the beginning of the year were often incorrect, which led the organization to play “catch up” for the remainder of the year. Joe knew that there had to be a better way.

“Back At The Other Company, I Looked At Budgets, And I Helped – But I Wasn'T Building Them. I Wasn'T Forecasting, None Of That. All Of That Stuff I Just Kept Trying To Google And Learn On The Fly And Just Figure It Out. I Definitely Needed, And Wanted, Help Understanding The Best Practices.”

Joe Coughlin
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Record Community News

The results

Joe’s pairing with coach Eric Johnston was a perfect fit, he said. Joe credits Eric with helping him achieve a mindset shift that made him more confident in his role as The Record’s “numbers guy.” Eric helped Joe build a budget that was more conservative in its assumptions. Then, Eric and Joe worked together to create 4-5 revenue opportunities and scheduled those opportunities during the “valleys” of their revenue projections.

As the Startups Lab wound down, Joe prepared for his annual financial presentation to The Record’s board of directors. Eric was a great thought partner and helped Joe identify and visualize key metrics for his presentation. Eric also coached Joe on explaining the shifts in The Record’s revenue and the reasons behind the more conservative approach to budgeting for 2023. Joe made a successful presentation to his board of directors, who accepted his budget forecast for 2023..

Successes:

Prepared budget and financial projections to present to board of directors

Doubled the amount of community matches for 2022 NewsMatch campaign

“Crushed” his Q12023 revenue opportunity

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