Jul 27, 2022

9 min read

How Highbeam drives proactive financial intelligence

Jimmy Lin is the Founder and President of Heat Press Nation, the industry-leading ecommerce retailer for heat press equipment and supplies, serving crafters, creative entrepreneurs, and SMBs.

We sat down with Jimmy to learn how he implements Highbeam software to unlock the next phase of his brand’s impressive growth trajectory, diving deep on:

  1. Why automated reporting and processes are crucial for merchants
  2. Three metrics every founder should use to track their financial health
  3. How Highbeam’s actionable banking dashboards save time and money
It’s critical that merchants have the right tools to look past granular sales and revenue data and see the bigger picture of their store’s financial performance.

Heat Press first encountered Highbeam through a mutual friend and ecommerce operators.

Jimmy’s initial interest stemmed from 13 years of personally managing Heat Press’s fiscal health: namely unpacking detailed ratios and expenses and manually pulling key metrics.

Yet, even with his finance and accounting background, Jimmy admits that managing the financial side of a startup is nearly universally difficult.

With that, ecommerce is a unique beast — so Highbeam as a solution tailored specifically for the space made it highly attractive, alongside a few of Heat Press’s financial pain points:

  • Holistic Views — Jimmy hoped to step back and elevate Heat Press’s financial scope, from basic expense ratios to a complete knowledge of the company’s financial health.
  • Automation — By extension, he sought to replace manual year-to-year tracking of time periods with automated, equally accurate software.
  • Resources — Financial analysis is time-intensive, while businesses often lack the proper staffing and expertise for working with financial data.
With Highbeam, ecommerce merchants can now visualize and make data-driven decisions based on proactive insights, instant feedback, and financial analytics.
Highbeam - Homepage

The Heat Press Journey: Financial Growing Pains

ecommerce founders, even those with Jimmy’s background in numbers, are typically strapped for resources, leaving them unable to sit and dig through data for trend signifiers.

As a result, Jimmy has had instances where Heat Press lost money because he simply had no time to spare for devoting the necessary level of attention. He provides one example:

  1. After one of their paid marketing channels adjusted its algorithm, CACs skyrocketed.
  2. Heat Press’s spend gradually ramped up, but not enough for Jimmy to register it.
  3. Since the brand, like many ecommerce businesses, runs on auto-pay, the Heat Press team had already spent $180,000 on that channel (with zero sales) by the time the alarm sounded.

That experience drove home one lesson for Jimmy’s team: They needed to stay vigilant and pay constant attention in order to catch these trigger events early, rather than 1 or 2 months later.

Yet, Jimmy still didn’t have the time or staff to implement that kind of finance monitoring. So, he began searching for potential banking software that could proactively fill the gaps between spending and manual bookkeeping. In Highbeam, Jimmy finally found exactly what he needed.

Founders have better things to do than stare at credit card statements every single day. But that means you’re catching big things two or three months late.

How Highbeam Drives Proactive Financial Intelligence

Rather than reactive approaches, Highbeam analyzes expenses coming in through Heat Press’s accounts in real-time. Jimmy believes that, had he been using Highbeam at the time, he could have lost only $10,000 in ad spend (not $180,000) before he detected the irregular behavior.

Jimmy also applies this same methodology to major events like inventory spikes, waves of returns, or auto-paying vendors who may accidentally overcharge the company.

Now, Highbeam can easily alert him when expenses outpace revenue by a large percentage — picking up issues more quickly, accurately, and cheaply than manual efforts.

After all, Heat Press’s previous manual processes would break down or get pushed aside anytime the team became too busy. Even multi-million-dollar enterprises generally do not have dedicated accounting departments for double-checking every instance of cash movement.

Through Highbeam, explains Jimmy, Heat Press now has a responsive system for flagging trends before they materialize — a massive leap forward from reliance on human intervention.

Founders need to be able to automate their store’s ability to quickly flag spikes or financial discrepancies that need to be addressed. Highbeam delivers that.

The Value in Streamlined Processes & Centralized Metrics

In his quest to reduce the need for manual interventions, Jimmy sees incredible value in wholly transparent metrics and centralized dashboards.

Both generate added financial direction, which is critical for him and other ecommerce merchants.

As he points out, a majority of founders or operators who wear multiple hats just don’t know what metrics they should be tracking unless someone (or a piece of software) guides them. In addition, Jimmy emphasizes Highbeam’s role in helping Heat Press look beyond granular sales and revenue, which are two important components — but just pieces of a far larger puzzle.

Through Highbeam’s streamlined data hubs and AI-powered suggestions, he can view both ebbs and flows in daily revenue as well as greater, more holistic monthly or quarterly figures.

For Jimmy, these dashboards intelligently break down and auto-analyze info, allowing the Heat Press team to be far more targeted and well-informed when making everyday decisions.

Financial dashboards and insights are an encouragement to review necessary fiscal data and take action. Otherwise, that information will get overlooked.
Highbeam - Cash Balance Forecasting

Three Financial Metrics Every Founder Should Prioritize

Jimmy advises that younger brands just starting to automate their financial processes track a few core metrics that signify larger business health. These three include:

  1. Top Sellers — Tracking Heat Press’s top sellers on a monthly and quarterly basis enables them to properly allocate resources to specific product lines.
  2. ROAS — This ensures ad spend meets benchmark revenue targets. Jimmy specifically tracks trends in the combination of first-time and return consumers versus ad spend.
  3. Overall Vendor Spend — Tracking overall spend between vendors indicates product performance and overstocking while making sure all necessary stock is in place.

Across the board, costs have risen dramatically over the last three quarters — from labor to real estate to freight and shipping. In his words, business owners just don’t want to be surprised.

In Jimmy’s experience, Highbeam helped flag potential blockers early, allowing him to react accordingly and immediately, and to make decisions in tune with the reality of his business.

More importantly, having an ecommerce-specific banking tool and financial partner helped him know exactly what trends to look at and how those data-driven patterns impact his brand’s growth.

It makes you feel far more secure to have someone — or a software tool like Highbeam — double-checking financial data to ensure you’re never surprised.


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