Downtown El Paso was hit hard with the 2020 pandemic and it undoubtedly left small businesses with several questions. Ethos Financial helped us answer some of the questions we thought might be at the top of a small business owner’s mind going into 2021. Inaam Ziyadeh, owner of Ethos Financial understands the lay of the land, officing out of the Wells Fargo Building Downtown. The walls of the modern and professional offices echo her knowledge and passion for finances. She specializes in helping business owners build a solid foundation for financial success.
Inaam grew up in Kuwait until the age of 16 when her family fled to Jordan at the height of the Gulf War. She lived in Jordan for three years completing high school and spending a year at the University of Jordan before moving to Colorado. Her husband’s ties to El Paso led to a move here, where Inaam attended and graduated from UTEP earning a Finance and Marketing degree. She has been in the finance world for seven years coming from a job as an Arabic language and Ethics teacher. She is an active member of the community and is member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) and National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors (NAIFA).
DTEP INSIDER: How Should a Small Businesses plan for 2021, after a year like 2020?
Inaam Ziyadeh: One of the biggest things that 2020, taught people is to plan for the future and do not procrastinate. 2020 was a very strange and chaotic year, I experienced it myself. The best way to prepare for that is to have a plan in place. For business owners, I always tell my clients to plan ahead and make sure you have a cash revenue set aside. As business owners we usually think about reinvesting in our business, we want to see it grow but we tend to forget about our [personal finances] so make sure as a business owner you do have that cushion for [your own] future. There is a rule of thumb to have six to nine months of living expenses or six to nine months of business overhead expenses saved. Make saving a habit by using systematic deposits, using this method for six weeks, can make it less a chore and more a habit.
DTEP: What can small business owners do to keep overhead expenses low, as most are trying to save in places to stay above?
IZ: Cutting down on the energy, cutting down on the thermostat, some people said they cut down on snacks in the break room. Printing! Now with the virtual meetings, I can tell you myself that is a huge expense lowered. For the restaurants in Downtown there are tangible items such as supplies and food items-this is the time they can negotiate with suppliers. Suppliers need their business as much as they need a [supplier], so this is a good time to renegotiate the pricing.
DTEP: How do I know if my business is profitable?
IZ: The formula is simple– check your profit margin, revenue minus expenses equals profit. (Revenue-Expenses=Profit) If that answer is a surplus or a plus then you’re making profit, if it’s negative then you’re losing money, and if it is equal on both sides of the formula then you’re breaking even.
DTEP: Should I purchase a major business expense, for example a large expensive piece of equipment?
IZ: That is what we call capitalization, and it could be very expensive but how much revenue is this going to bring me? That is the trick, if this is going to add value to the business and help it to grow. Look at the numbers again between [yourself] and a professional to see how much your [business] is growing.
DTEP: Is there anything else you would like to add that you feel would be beneficial to a small business?
IZ: Something I strongly believe is extremely important is a Business Succession Plan. The process involves answering these three questions: Who do I want to pass down the business or sell it to? When am I planning to do that and at what level or for how much? Some owners who want to hand down the business to a family member as a gift don’t consider in detail how, without their business, they might lack the necessary income to support the next phase of their career or living expenses. Those extra years may allow you to balance the right successor and the right income.
DTEP: You could have been anywhere in El Paso, why Downtown?
IZ: First of all, Downtown is central to everything, and you feel that you are connected to both sides of El Paso… easier access. Also, for us [at Ethos], we have everything around us. If I need to hit the bank, I’ll hit the bank, if I need to go to City hall it is right down there. It’s accessible to everything especially for me being in the financial industry. There is access to a lot of the services and facilities.
There are beautiful restaurants that I am so proud of. I like the busy life, I like it when I want to grab some lunch with a client or walk down with my assistants for a treat, so I just take the elevator, walk down, enjoy and take a break. I love the view!
I am looking forward to the growth of Downtown and if I don’t do it myself and support it myself it’s not going to grow. I strongly feel this is the time to be a very active part of the growth of Downtown, the growth of El Paso and put the expertise back into the community and give back to the community, so I am an active member of the community. Downtown is a great spot to be in.
One thing I would say about El Paso, if they give me millions I would not leave El Paso. It is a large city but it has a small town mentality, everybody knows everyone in El Paso, and it’s such a sweet environment and community.
Inaam Ziyadeh is a Financial Representative of Principal Life Insurance Company and Principal National Life Company and a Principal Securities Registered Representative and Financial Advisor. Ethos Financial is not affiliated with any member company of Principal Financial Group®. 1505704-022021