Want to Master Your Financials? Here’s How to Start


Financial expert Jim Zielinski tells us how to get on the right track toward success.

Is careful examining and monitoring a magazine’s financial operation the FUN part of publishing? Probably not—at least for most of us.

Financial expert Jim Zielinski consults with niche media companies, large and small, about the best way to understand their financials.

Once you see what effective reporting of your numbers can do for your media company, you’ll see your business in a whole new light. On a product-by-product basis or overall, taking a deep dive into the numbers can tell you where to invest, where to cut, and where to allocate resources.

We asked Jim to give us some pointers on steering your media business in the right direction:

Niche Media HQ: Why do you think some niche magazine publishers find it hard to know exactly what their financials say? What are 3 steps they can take today to understand their financials better?

JZ: Better understanding starts with organization. Here are 3 steps that can help publishers get on track:

  • Have revenue and expenses by product
  • Have revenue and expenses by type (that is, sales expense, editorial expense, circ expense) rather then by actual category (paper, printing, salary, etc)
  • Put the expenses for the staff into the categories where they work…sales, editorial, production, web, etc

Really knowing your numbers and understanding how they interplay will help you survive and thrive in today’s ever-changing publishing landscape.

Niche Media HQ: Is there a key benchmark you can share with us that would help niche publishers understand where they stack up relative to other comparable media companies?

The most important benchmark is revenue per employee…that’s a number we’ll talk more about at the Niche Media Conference. Revenue per employee is the most key basic measure because it fundamentally incorporates the entire P&L (Profit and Loss) in one number.  In media businesses, staff payroll and related expenses account for the majority of total expenses.

Niche Media HQ Bonus question:  What’s your favorite Southern dish?

JZ: That’s easy…shrimp and grits!!

Thanks, Jim.  With these tips we’ll never look at a spreadsheet the same way again.

FYI—Jim will be leading the session Making Financials Sexy at the Niche Media Conference in Charleston this February. Learn more about it here.


19afd32More about Jim: Jim Zielinski is founder of Zielinski Financial Advisors, LLC, an independent financial consultancy. The firm’s focus is on acquisitions, bank financing, profit and performance improvement, and preparing your company for sale.



Diana Landau, Niche Content WranglerAbout this blogger: Diana Landau is Content Wrangler of Niche Media. A former corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast who sometimes gets carried away.



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