This post is the fifth a series of eight blog posts on the creation of the Successful Business Mindset. You can see the introduction to these eight posts, by clicking here. You can click on each section of the Successful Business Mindset by clicking on the names below. Each one will become live as I complete the blog post.
Each discussion will be broken down into MECHANICS and MINDSET. Mechanics will discuss the practical tasks and areas that you need to be doing well; and Mindset will discuss different approaches to the Mechanics.
This blog post will discuss the FINANCE area of The Successful Business Mindset.
If you struggle balancing your personal checkbook; or with numbers in any form; then the topic of finance may seem pretty scary to you as a business owner. It doesn’t have to be.
As a business leader, there are seven “mechanical” areas of finance that need to be considered:
- Accounting & Book Keeping: How do you ensure financial transactions are tracked accurately and you have a handle on direct costs, overhead and profitability?
- Cash: How many months can you last, if your customers stopped paying?
- Pricing: What have you done to ensure your prices are not too low or too high?
- Budgeting and Forecasting: What’s your process for budgeting and forecasting monthly expenses and revenues
- Controls: What specific controls have you put in place to prevent fraud or embezzlement?
- Investing: How do you gain funding for ideas that stretch your personal finances?
- Debt: How well are you leveraging debt to grow your business?
Without money, your business will cease to exist. This fact may seem very overly simple to some of you; and may cause fear in others. By its nature, a healthy business is a money-making-machine. Like any machine, it can work well, work poorly or not work. Also like any machine, it can be fixed by focusing on the seven mechanical aspects of finance that I have listed above.
I do an exercise I call “climbing the ladder”. In this exercise, I will go through seven different approaches to money and finance based on the seven different energy levels. These energy levels characterize how you are THINKING about finance. If you don’t know what I mean by Energy Levels, you can refer back to the introductory post on the Successful Business Mindset.
- Level 1: You will be fearful that you will run out of money and be completely unaware that you can do anything about it. You will feel a victim of money and completely out of control with your finances.
- Level 2: You are constantly counting money and overly concerned about forecasts and whether you have enough money. You will try to reduce expenses and increase revenues to maximize profits always concerned about keeping high cash balances in your checking account.
- Level 3: You will feel satisfied with your finances; or oblivious. You know you have enough money, but don’t feel like you are actively in control of how your company generates cash or profit. You will leave your finances alone because you are making a living and that’s all you need.
- Level 4: You are concerned about your employee’s salaries and want to make sure that you are giving customers what they need whether it’s in your budget or not. While you watch your finances, you routinely prioritize the needs of people over profit.
- Level 5: You actively consider ways to invest excess profits into exploring new and innovative ideas to grow your company. You always consider your expenses as investments and require a financial return; and growth.
- Level 6: You have a strong sense of how money works and how to best leverage your financial resources for the benefit of your company. You actively look at mergers and acquisitions and have a keen sense of how such moves will improve your industry and your company.
- Level 7: You look at money as a resource and nothing more. You have no sense of greed; but instead look at finances as a way to complete the creation in your mind’s eye.
I’m guessing that you can identify certain people in your organization who function at each different level of energy. Most of us will shift from one level to the next depending on circumstances.
I’ve listed seven areas of the mechanics of Finance along with seven levels of energy.
- If you DO the right things in your business, but operate at lower energy levels, you will become burned out; and most likely less successful than you could have been.
- If you tend to FEEL good about your company, but fail to DO the right things, your company will flounder and fail.
As you can probably guess, one will lead to the other. What us humans fail to grasp is that energy precedes action. In other words, you will typically be thinking of opportunity (Level 5) before you discover opportunity in your company. Likewise, you will feel like a victim (Level 1) before you act in a way that will close the doors to your company.
I use both lists of mechanics and mindset to help my business owner clients set goals; and then work toward those goals. While it’s usually easy for my clients to see the mechanical goals, it is more difficult to see the mindset goals. Once they understand the energy levels, they are able to move to the level that best suits their company. Once they have both mindset and mechanics figured out, they quickly move forward.
If you’d like to see where you are with your business and create an ACTION PLAN, sign up for my Successful Business Mindset tool below.
As a long-time small business owner, I know how hard it is to create the business of your dreams while struggling with the financial realities of attracting prospects, converting those prospects into high-paying customers, and making money for you and your family. The biggest mistake in my past was not seeking the advice of wise counsel sooner than I did. I don’t want you to make the same mistake. I help my clients see exactly what they need to work on in their business by doing the Business Wheel exercise. If you’d like to try it out, sign up to the right. It’s completely FREE.