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“LivePlan helps me forecast the best that I can, so I can be the best that I can.”

With over 25 years of IT experience, Mauricio Rodriguez decided he wanted to start his own business, FletNet, providing support for communications companies. In 2018, when a CEO friend advised him to make a business plan, Mauricio signed up for LivePlan, connected his Xero accounting data, and soon realized that business planning was just the beginning of what LivePlan could do for his startup.

“I'm a very data-based decision-maker,” says Mauricio. Today LivePlan helps him see how FletNet is doing, and then, based on the data, make decisions on how to improve. With FletNet growing and ready to increase headcount, Mauricio is currently focused on hiring people at the right time.

“I want to bring on and retain the talent I need to grow the business,” says Mauricio. “I plan and review the expenses and the planning for onboarding staff. I plug in the numbers and review: cash flow healthy, profit-and-loss healthy. That tells me when I can bring on staff and grow the business.”

Mauricio realized that business planning was just the beginning of what LivePlan could do for his startup.
Mauricio realized that business planning was just the beginning of what LivePlan could do for his startup.

Investing in staff and continuing to grow the company using LivePlan

Mauricio's experience working in smaller organizations has shown him what it takes to build solid IT infrastructure from the ground up—lessons he now applies as he scales FletNet.

“I had to do everything from designing and implementing systems, to racking and stacking equipment,” says Mauricio. “I have that broad knowledge of all the components involved when I install, or when one of my team members installs for a customer. I can use that background to overcome obstacles and hurdles. That also helps us catch problems before they become trouble.”

“I had to do everything from designing and implementing systems, to racking and stacking equipment”

Today, FletNet provides network infrastructure planning, architecture and design, configuration auditing, equipment installation, and ongoing maintenance and support.

“International CSPs need cost-effective reliable remote hand services wherever their implementations are present.” Mauricio saw that international communications service providers (CSPs) needed more on-the-ground agile IT support and “remote hands” assistance in their South Florida installations.

“But they had a pain point that there was no real-time communication,” he explains. “Ticket gets sent, it gets worked out or it doesn't. We do a real-time, more modern approach, being on chat or other communications throughout the project.”

He also enjoyed working in the “dynamic environment” of small companies and wanted to build his own. In order to maintain a solid, profitable company culture though, Mauricio understood that FletNet needed to have solid, reliable numbers that he could forecast and analyze for short-term and long-term business strategy.

In the short term, Mauricio is strategically adding staff, aiming to double headcount during the first quarter of 2021, and run full daytime and nighttime IT remote hands crews.

“Once I bring on staff,” says Mauricio, “I use LivePlan to look at how I can then continue investing in the business and continue growing.”

Mauricio Rodriguez, founder/owner of FletNet
Mauricio Rodriguez, founder/owner of FletNet.

Comparing forecast to performance in LivePlan

As FletNet moves through its day-to-day operations, Mauricio also turns to LivePlan to compare how the company’s actual performance compares to his forecasts.

“The real value is comparing how you've performed against your Forecast”

Mauricio has found that integrating his Xero data into LivePlan lets him work with his business's actual numbers. “The real value is comparing how you've performed against your Forecast,” says Mauricio. “The integration is rolled up in the Benchmark, with ‘Results vs. Benchmark.’ I always look for the numbers to be green. If I see a red number, that's a cue that I need to look into it more.”

Organized financials have helped Mauricio get the most out of LivePlan's Benchmarks and comparison tools. When working with real-world numbers in LivePlan, he suggests checking that your business's financials are organized.

“The chart of accounts needs to be complete, well defined, and well understood,” he explains. “Categorize all your transactions into the right account. You have to have organized bookkeeping to do this right.”

Mauricio uses the Results vs Benchmark view to compare actual performance to his forecasts, helping him identify potential issues.
Mauricio uses the Results vs Benchmark view to compare actual performance to his forecasts, helping him identify potential issues.

Using data to plan short-term and long-term growth with LivePlan's Forecast and Benchmark tools

A previous boss once told Mauricio something that's directly influenced how he uses LivePlan to grow FletNet:

“He told me, ‘We might think that we're doing great right now as a company, but the forecast is the most important thing we can track.’”

Initially, Mauricio used LivePlan to guide him in developing FletNet's business plan. Today his primary focus is on how LivePlan's forecasting, benchmarking, and dashboard tools help him review data and plan the company's growth throughout 2021 and beyond. With LivePlan receiving actual accounting data from FletNet's Xero account, Mauricio can conduct analysis and make projections based on current, real-world numbers.

“The forecast I focus on the most is cash flow,” he explains. “You don't want to have to figure out how to fund your business in any given month. You want to know the business can fund itself.”

“If I see a dip in cash flow, I can see it graphically, at a high level, then I can dive in, analyze it”

During Mauricio's weekly cash flow review, he might also check the P&L, or profit-and-loss, to review FletNet's profitability and overall financial health.

“I use the chart to check the course,” says Mauricio. “If an item is causing a decrease, I deep-dive into it. That's the forecast item I look at closely: If I see a dip in cash flow, I can see it graphically, at a high level, then I can dive in, analyze it, and see how to improve that cash flow.”

Along with forecasting, LivePlan's Benchmark tools give Mauricio insight into how FletNet compares to the overall industry, based on region and company size.

“I look at the ‘Vs. Benchmark’ column, especially ‘Forecast vs. Benchmark.’ Since we're starting out and don't have a lot of history, I mostly look at the forecast for now.”

Starting with a high-level view, Mauricio is able to gauge if something needs to be reviewed.
Starting with a high-level view, Mauricio is able to gauge if something needs to be reviewed.

Making business decisions in LivePlan without relying on spreadsheets

As Mauricio examines different scenarios for FletNet's continued growth, he's been focused on hiring, pricing, and volume.

“Most of FletNet's work is hourly, but we also do some project work,” he says. “I look at the plan: How much project work can we take on? How does that balance with time and materials work? Where is that non-decreasing curve?”

“LivePlan gives me a simple thumbs up or thumbs down...The data is there, so I can focus on status and results.”

Utilizing up to ten Forecasts in LivePlan, Mauricio can analyze scenarios based on changes in revenue, headcount, client load, and overall business assets. He's also worked data into the LivePlan Pitch, so he can be prepared for discussions with new hires, mentors, or potential investors down the road. Through the Pitch, Mauricio can easily compile and maintain an up-to-date, high-level summary of FletNet's status and long-term plans. This way, he's always ready to discuss FletNet with stakeholders or parties interested in the company.

Part of the power of LivePlan has not only been integrating real data and analyzing scenarios but that Mauricio can do it without having to invest his time in updating and maintaining complex spreadsheets.

“LivePlan gives me a simple thumbs up or thumbs down,” explains Mauricio. “I can measure along the way, and it gives me a heads up when I need to pivot on something or make an adjustment. The data is there, so I can focus on status and results.”

Mauricio understands the importance of relying on solid data and starting with a high level view to determine if something should be reviewed.
Mauricio understands the importance of relying on solid data and starting with a high level view to determine if something should be reviewed.

Measuring success and following your business's roadmap via LivePlan

With a background ranging from tech to product management, Mauricio understands the importance of relying on solid data and accurate calculations.

“I've worked with a lot of business analytics based on CRM, sales reports, and market data,” he says. “I don't like to guess. I like to see the numbers and make decisions based on numbers.”

“I don't like to guess. I like to see the numbers and make decisions based on numbers.”

Through LivePlan, Mauricio can track FletNet's status and progress. He can also identify potential problems and strategize either how to deal with or prevent a negative situation. Going forward, Mauricio expects to continue spending most of his time in LivePlan's Forecast, while also reviewing Benchmarks, setting milestones, and using LivePlan to evolve his five-year plan for FletNet. Over time he also expects to use the Pitch more, especially as he scales FletNet and may need to communicate with mentors, board members, or investors.

“If I talk with people about my business and they are interested, that's what I would use Pitch for,” says Mauricio. “I would use it more for showing potential partners in the business what I was doing and also getting back with mentors on my plans and status for the business. Then they can review things before we meet.”

Inside LivePlan's Forecast tab, Mauricio has been reviewing FletNet's projected cash flow, P&L, and sales and expense categorizations, while also adjusting sales projections to set the company’s course for specific revenue goals.

Based on his projections, Mauricio plans to double revenue in 2021, in tandem with increasing staff levels. “We can sustain that level, and continue to grow after reaching that point,” he says. “It's 100% growth, but it's responsible growth. We can hit that.”

LivePlan's Benchmark tools give Mauricio insight into how FletNet compares to the overall industry, based on region and company size.
LivePlan's Benchmark tools give Mauricio insight into how FletNet compares to the overall industry, based on region and company size.

By reviewing my plan, “I'll continue being nimble”

Just as starting a business doesn't follow a set course, Mauricio knows that evolving FletNet will be a winding road too. He finds that relying on LivePlan to monitor the company's financial health, and look ahead to different potential scenarios, is proving key to how he can grow and scale FletNet over the next five years. Also essential? Going into LivePlan regularly.

“If you want to succeed in business, you measure and change based on what you measured”

“Don't do your plan and then forget about it,” says Mauricio. “Check your plan on a reasonable periodic basis. Weekly, monthly, quarterly, whatever. Plans aren't set in stone. They should be flexible and are ever-changing. If you want to succeed in business, you measure and change based on what you measured.”

By starting and growing FletNet, Mauricio is fulfilling his goal of building his own business. By using LivePlan, he's finding it both a tool and a partner in helping him keep the company on track.

“I'll continue being nimble,” says Mauricio. “LivePlan helps me forecast the best that I can, so I can be the best that I can.”


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FletNet

Mauricio uses LivePlan's data integrations and forecast tools to plan growth for his IT business. What will you do?

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