4 Simple Financial Analyses to Help Measure the Success of Your Small Business

As the year draws to a close, many small business owners are taking stock of their business, basking in their successes and trying to comprehend their mistakes.  Unfortunately a big picture view does not always immediately reveal itself– a thorough understanding of your business requires at least some analysis and introspection.  You may be tempted to look at cash (or lack thereof) in your bank account or your net profit , however these are not always reliable indicators of success or failure , particularly when taken in isolation.  Every small business owner should identify the specific needs and constraints of their business to determine the optimal analysis  required to assess its financial performance.  Some general analysis that most businesses can benefit from are presented below:
Read More

Is Facebook’s Valuation Justified? A Comparison of Key Financial Metrics to Apple and Google

The recent release of Facebook's S-1, the financial filings that are required to be publicly available prior to filing an IPO, has created a media frenzy. The report has been dissected and analyzed extensively, financial news networks can’t seem to stop talking about it and it seems that people who have never heard of an IPO are discussing it, fittingly, on their Facebook pages.   The most controversial issue, of course, is whether Facebook is actually worth $100 Billion. 

Although Facebook is unique in its global reach and ubiquity, the starting point for any valuation is to compare it with similar businesses.  I have chosen Apple and Google, given the similarity of their business models and their respective global dominance, to compare certain key metrics:

Read More

5 Notable Disclosures in Groupon’s Financial Statements and What They Mean.

Since Groupon first submitted its S-1 filing in June, 2011, there has been a wave of negative sentiment around Groupon’s  upcoming IPO.  Many analysts believe that not only is Groupon not a good investment at the approximate $20 Billion + that its IPO’s initial share price will value it at, but  is in fact on the brink of insolvency.  They are also some that do not believe that, in the long run, Groupon’s business model is profitable . 

In an effort to determine whether Groupon is in fact  a raging buy or, as alternatively presented, on the verge of insolvency, I have undertaken an analysis of their latest S-1 , which was filed with the SEC on August 10, 2011.  The document, which is required by all companies who want to file an initial public offering, comprehensively reviews its operations, long term viability, business risks (which are numerous) and its financial condition.  Some of the more interesting discoveries, as they relate to the 6 months ending June 30, 2011, are presented below:

Read More

Apple Vs Google: Comparison of Quarterly Results (Infographic)

Apple and Google both had incredible quarterly results for the 3 months ended June 25th (strange quarter end date) and June 30th respectively.  They beat forecasts by significant margins, continue to expand their operations and have massive amounts of cash on their balance sheets with virtually no debt.  The infographic below presents some key figures of interest.  It is interesting to note that while Apple is almost twice the size of Google, based on Market Capitalization, their Earnings per share is virtually the same.  The majority (68%) of Apple's sales come from the iPhone and ipad , while almost all of Google's sales come from advertising.  Another interesting distinction for this quarter is that while Apple spent 2% of its gross revenues on  R&D, Google's investment in R&D was about 13%.
Read More

American Apparel's Financial and Legal Woes Continue

As evidenced by their most recent quarterly filing, American Apparel's continues to grapple with financial issues. Despite its strong brand recognition (among a host of accolades, they were named "label of the year" by The Guardian in 2008), it's reputation as a trendsetter, and it's provocative advertising, they are struggling to survive. The company lost $9.5 million in the 3rd quarter of 2010 (alone) compared with a profit of $4.2 million for the same period in 2009. Exacerbating the problem is the resignation of their auditors, Deloitte and Touche, in August, 2010 who claimed that there were "potential material errors in the consolidated financial statements for 2009". This has become the subject of an official FBI criminal investigation.

Read More