MEET Genevia Fulbright: Genevia Gee Fulbright, CPA, the current President & COO of Fulbright & Fulbright, has a very unique skill set gained through a traditional audit, tax and business advisory background and training. This finance guru also has a flair for marketing, executive coaching, writing and diversity engagement. Fulbright, a published author (with several titles including Make the Leap: Shift From Corporate Worker to Entrepreneur) is a strategic networker and former bank director who has served on numerous boards and committees including the AICPA Foundation, AICPA Minority Initiatives Committee, National Association of Corporate Directors (Research Triangle Chapter), National Association of Black Accountants (RTP Chapter) and the YMCA. Fulbright has also served as a video manager/casting director for a corporate video entitled “A Tale of Two Boards.” As a volunteer advocate representing the CPA profession she has also presented educational materials and met on Capitol Hill. In her spare time, Fulbright most enjoys vacationing with her husband and teenage daughter.
MN: Have you always had a passion for working with numbers? If so, where did you acquire this passion?
GGF: I was always that kid in the neighborhood by the reservoir at the top of Seneca Street in Oakland, California playing Monopoly, Life, card games or dominoes. I would challenge the other kids and talk them off the basketball court or from a kick-ball or baseball game in the reservoir circle. I always enjoyed math, taking advanced courses throughout high school.
One semester I decided to take a high school accounting course because an older student said that all math geeks were good at accounting and that, if you became proficient at accounting, tax and finances, you would never have to look for a job once you graduated from college. When I entered college I decided I would major in accounting and become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I was anxious to learn how to advise businesses and individuals on the financial aspects of their lives. I have never looked back and feel confident that I made the right choice for my personality. And it was true; I’ve never had to search for a job. For me, the ability to talk to people about numbers, while at the same time coaching them to be their best, is one of the most exciting aspects of being a CPA.
MN: What is an Income Enhancement Coach and what are some of the services you provide clients as an Income Enhancement Coach?
GGF: One aspect of what I do as a financial professional is to perform executive coaching and business coaching to help clients define their personal and professional goals and determine how they can use their current or future skills to improve their income and overall financial position. I like to say that I help clients figure out how to make more money based upon their personality and desires. Some clients I’ve helped learn to network more effectively, while others need outside help with a professional marketing guru to improve their overall business marketing strategies while still others need to understand the profit margins of the goods and services they provide so they can focus on where they need to spend more energy.
Sometimes I help companies identify potential board members, determine whether a promotion was in their best interest or whether self-employment would help improve their situation. I’ve also coached small businesses as well as other CPAs about their practices in effort to determine effective growth strategies and effective exit strategies (from start-ups/early stage through seasoned 30+ year old enterprises).
MN: Tell us about the three leading financial mistakes you see entrepreneurs make regarding start-up businesses, mistakes that could cost companies net revenues for years?
GGF: Three common mistakes for entrepreneurs:
- Failing to prepare a business plan (this should include the overall direction of the company, overall marketing strategy, competition grid, budget projections, capitalization, etc.)
- Not budgeting for the owner’s compensation and/or exit strategy (how are you going to live during the early-stages and how will you exit, including building your business to sell, implementing key strategies to take public, leaving a legacy with qualified successors, etc.)
- Unrealistic expectations and not studying the market for realistic demand (if there are only 100 potential clients, then unless you have a marketing strategy to reach the clients and your product will provide enough profit margin, maybe this is not an industry you need to enter if there are already 25 credible competitors)