(NOTE: This is a follow-up to a previous blog post about business cash flow and money management; read it here)
Clearly, we need money for basic business purposes: turn on the lights, buy supplies, fix things, hire help, grow our clientele through marketing, pay taxes, and pay ourselves. These are all practical reasons to manage our finances carefully and intentionally.
Yet isn’t it strange how very few actually manage their money well?
I’ve been studying these types of phenomena for years, marveling at how we unconsciously struggle to eat better, workout more, and become organized with our finances. And yet, the vast majority of people who want to adopt a healthier diet, who want to move their bodies regularly, who want to manage their business finances more effectively, can’t, don’t or won’t.
It takes someone with incredible fortitude, awareness, and humility to say, “I’m ready to tackle this mountain and I have no idea where to begin.”
This is what happened in my plastic surgery days. When I walked in the door each morning, I knew the rent and overhead for my office exceeded my revenue.
I feared looking at the numbers because I already knew it was ugly.
After amassing more than $350,000 in debt within a couple of years, creditors with nasty attitudes were harassing me, even paging me in the operating room. Naively, I didn’t know who to deal with first or how to “right the ship.” Family and friends sensed what was happening, but they didn’t know how to help. As much as I studied what to do, how to better manage the money that came in, it was clear I wasn’t going to get through this alone. At this point, the woman who became my wife, Denise, bravely stepped in and helped me manage the mess. I’m eternally grateful to her for doing that for me and our future.
Perhaps your story resembles mine. Perhaps, like me, you can muster the courage to face the numbers, but you aren’t confident about where to put your energy. Your biggest obstacles are probably: “where to begin,” “how to begin,” and “what to do”. Chances are you’d give anything for someone to bail you out!
In my previous blog post, I spoke about how the lack of financial clarity causes burnout and a sense of failure, even despite obvious successes. Here’s what else comes with being confused about your money: a debilitating sense of self-doubt.
Self-doubt leaks out in all kinds of ways and can be felt by those with whom we associate. When I pick up on self-doubt in one of my clients, I’ve learned that it means they’ve lost connection with their purpose. They forgot how to express their deepest values.
I’m here to tell you, this isn’t a life sentence. I’m living proof, along with countless colleagues and client entrepreneurs I’ve worked with, that we can take control of our financial health once and for all, without being at the mercy of circumstance and chance.
Taming the financial beast is possible! This victory will not only save our lives, it will refuel our mission and purpose like nothing else.
This leads me back to the beginning of this blog post.
We think we need better money management and cash flow to run the basics of a business. Does this old business saying sound familiar? “The primary purpose of a business is to make a profit.”
Undeniably, a business must turn a profit.
Yet, I believe that “turning on the lights,” “buying supplies,” “paying for help,” and so forth are accurate, yet superficial reasons for turning a profit and the root cause of why we continuously ignore this crucial crusade.
Instead, when we return to the WHY of our work (our reason for being, our vocational mission), guess what happens? — Motivation suddenly appears! We must clean up the financial health of our business for the sake of others and the importance of our passion.
Some believe that when they focus on their finances, it detracts from their mission.
If this is true for you, then THIS is where we should part ways. If you believe that fulfilling your mission means ignoring your money matters, then seriously, go directly to the unsubscribe link on any email I’ve ever sent to you.
But if this conversation stirs you up inside, then congratulations! Something is waking up inside of you.
If you’re interested in continuing this dialogue, then sometime in the next few days, I’m going to be asking for your help, your input, and your opinions. I’ll ask your thoughts on how my business partner, Dan, and I can best help you kick-start your journey to overcome “financial vagueness” and understand fundamental principles and best practices of cash flow and financial management.
Whether you’re avoiding the numbers altogether, unhappy with your current management system, or simply want to keep improving what isn’t quite yet perfect… stay tuned for some unprecedented guidance and simple tools.
Until next time, consider this: Think about what happens when we go into a grocery store without a shopping list and we’re starving. What happens? We wind up buying unnecessary items and spending way too much.
This is what the majority of us do every single day with our business finances: Without knowing where we stand with our money, it’s all too easy to justify buying another gadget, gizmo, doo-dad, or yet another business training program. Let’s stop the insanity together, unravel this intricate, financial knot, and find a practical cure for “financial vagueness syndrome*.”
*Thanks to my good friend and colleague, Joan Sotkin, who coined the phrase “financial vagueness syndrome.”