Today marks a first. Since beginning to share these letters publicly I’ve refrained from using cuss words and overly intimate details of my life (two habits of the past), but I also kept currency out of the communication. Now, I attempt to talk publicly about financial performance to a digital community without being legally mandated to do so.
So, why? Transparency is, to me, a universal good. These updates are a means of accountability as a financial steward and small business leader to the community (you). Imagine if more privately-controlled companies disclosed their performance. Perhaps there would be more ethical behaviour as well as a greater financial literacy among communities.
But first, a few words about people and not numbers. Zachary D. Bulick, a friend to many, and loyal employee since fall 2014, has decided to move on. After a sabbatical of 40 days and 40 nights Zach let me know that he was resigning his post as Chief of Staff. Zach has been my right hand man since he blessed Victoria with his presence four years ago. He shaped the vision for our current office, fleshed out our core values, and fostered the growth of our young management team.
When Zach joined Frontier, he transformed us. Nearly five years ago I tried to share a vision of where Frontier was going with him, but the strange feelings I had to combat were that the vision I had was conditional on having a people and thought leader like him join to make it a reality. I literally changed our name when he joined (from Frontier Consulting to Frontier Marketing Co) and moved offices to suit the leap we’d made having him entrust a period of his career to us (we moved into a space literally ten times bigger).
In one’s entrepreneurial journey many faces will come and go, but few people truly leave their fingerprints everywhere the way Zach has. Zach’s powerful empathy and grasp of intentional design-mind is embedded in our culture. Each new employee receives a Birkman report, and therefore an advanced knowledge of their work style and needs, thanks to him. Our office has a cheap and cheerful look, not strictly because that’s his style, but thanks to his intense research into spaces and our needs do we have the aesthetic that we do.
I’m going to miss the greatest complimentary leader I’ve ever worked alongside. His departure marks the ending of an era. Our leadership, myself included, is thrust into an arena of greater independence. Zach cheered us on, encouraged us, sat with us when we needed to cry. He leaves as a legacy a leadership team ready for greatness thanks to him. I hope I can make him proud from wherever he chooses to go next.
Okay, numbers time.
For our fiscal 2018 first quarter the company posted quarterly revenue of $738 thousand, an increase of 11% from the year-ago quarter. Two years ago our first quarter revenue sat at a mere $461 thousand, representing an increase of 60% over two years.
While this is a record-breaking first quarter it comes with caveats. Our largest-ever quarter was Q2 last year and management at Frontier has been actively working to front-load as much of their fall fundraising as possible. Mission accomplished I say.
I’m expecting a $800 thousand second quarter which would be a record, so stay tuned.
Our focus will be on net cash flow, as opposed to profit and loss, not simply to avoid profitability discussions but simply because our highly seasonal and growth-oriented operations distort profit and create a highly challenging cash management environment. If I’m starting to age after a lifetime of boyish looks, it’s because of cash flow.
We generated net cash increase of $118 thousand this quarter, compared to $62 thousand for the year-ago quarter and, for perspective, -$81 thousand the previous quarter. It’s been quite an up and down journey.
The second quarter has always been a negative cash flow period. My goal is to keep the low from getting too low. One strategy we’ve begun employing, along with front-loading work, is to front-load annual expenses such as insurance, subscriptions, and office expenses. I would estimate we’ve spent about $15 thousand in such expenses in this period that would otherwise be at various times throughout the year.
Some other highlights:
73% of operating expense are on people (employees and contractors)
After free rent for the first 18 months we’ll be finally paying rent in Q2
Glass Register’s revenue is up 35% from the year-ago quarter
Capstone’s revenue is over $10,000, its second quarter of operations
Good Marketer’s earned its first revenue from recruitment services
Charity Electric increased service revenue two fold compared to two years ago
Frontier (now 8 years old!) has also doubled service revenue compared to two years ago
Since this is the first of these types of updates, and I hope to do them each quarter, I welcome feedback and questions. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if anything struck you.
Benjamin Johnson, CEO