Know your costs and grow your business.
Brad Burnett has searched for means to manage expenses, identify customer habits, and provide facts and figures to prove that a corporate acquisition would be feasible.
What tool did Burnett, who earned undergraduate (’93) and graduate (MBA, ’95) degrees at the Harbert College of Business, often use? Data. Information provided by sales records, by expense reports, and even information provided by employees.
As Chief Financial Officer at IOMAX, a global provider of aerospace, surveillance, and weapons system design, for 15 years, Burnett helped grow annual company revenues from $6 million to $250 million. Today, as Vice President of Finance at Sugarleaf Labs in Conover, North Carolina, he is hoping for similar success.
“Understanding costs is crucial regardless of your business,” he says. “Once you understand costs, you are able to make decisions that enable you to position your product in the market and achieve desired profit margins.”
Sugarleaf Labs creates CBD products from raw hemp which are used as topical skin ointments by consumers.
“The cost to create CBD products from raw hemp biomass is variable,” says Burnett. “The type of hemp, yield, and numerous other factors dictate how much CBD oil you can produce with a run of hemp. By understanding these variables and the costs associated with them, we can determine our exact costs.”
Burnett had the opportunity to help build IOMAX from the ground up. He relishes the opportunity to do the same at Sugarleaf, where a corporate transition opportunity happened quickly.
“In first quarter of 2019, we were approached by a Canadian company named Neptune Wellness Solutions,” he explains. “They are a publicly traded company with a great reputation in the industry. Neptune was interested in acquiring Sugarleaf. The first five months of my career at Sugarleaf consisted of preparing the financial models that were used to build the case for the acquisition and the purchase price.
“The acquisition was probably one of the best things that could have happened. It expedited my learning curve. We collected and generated quite a bit of data to support the acquisition. That data is proving to be very useful as we move in to the operational phase and begin to execute the business plan.
Burnett isn’t just a businessman or a data man. He’s an Auburn man to the core. “My parents did a great job of raising me and teaching me values,” says Burnett. “But Auburn molded me into what I am today. I went to Auburn as a boy and left as a man . . . an Auburn man. I love Auburn and consider it home. I feel like a kid on Christmas every time I come back for a football or basketball game.”