Interruption

Interruption

This shouldn’t be here.

It shouldn’t have gotten done.

But the thought of missing a Tuesday for the first time in 172 consecutive Tuesdays has me doing something I probably shouldn’t be doing. I should still be in bed. I’m very weak.

Actually, I should be in Boston to attend a conference I’ve been looking forward to for a year. But, illness can have a way a derailing all of our best laid plans.

Over the last week-and-a-half, both of my children have been affected by a different iteration of  the virus that is currently going around. My oldest took the least of it; my youngest was nearly hospitalized. I managed to dodge it, until I didn’t. It caught up to me on Sunday, the day that was all planned out: tidy up work before my trip and, of course, pack for the 5 day venture. As my condition worsened, I made the call at 5pm to cancel my travel plans. By 8pm, I was headed for emergency.

This has been the first time I haven’t gotten out of bed in 2 whole days since, well, that story is a little personal.

I have heard a disappointing number of business owners over the years express how they need to hold on to the reigns and keep control; their justification is that they need to be needed. They feel that their purpose is to control the business. How unfortunate.

What happens to the business of an owner with that mindset who suddenly took ill? Does the business stop? What should be told to customers, employees, suppliers?

If you are a business owner, ask yourself the following to gain some insight into your business continuity plan:

  1. Can your business run without you there every day?
  2. Is there someone, or several others, who know what you know so that your business can operate uninterrupted in your absence?
  3. Do you have health insurances (disability, long term care, critical illness) to cover your personal financial obligations during an illness so that you won’t be draining cash from your business during that time?
  4. Do your loved ones and/or your key people know who to contact and what to do in case of your severe illness or sudden passing?

As a solo-preneur, I am my business. If I’m not working it, my business stops. So for the last few days, things have stopped. Can your business afford to stop?

Plan for Prosperity

There are few guarantees in life, and yet it happens too often that we don’t plan for that which is guaranteed. Maybe us weak humans have difficulty facing our own mortality? Maybe it’s something more narcissistic? No matter what it is, we’re all going to get sick now and again (whether it’s a minor illness from which we recover or something more serious) and we are all going to die…someday. If we aren’t prepared for the inevitable, the people left behind are the ones who will be hurt the most.

Take some of that (perceived) unpleasantness onto yourself and do this hard work so that you can save your loved ones, your employees, and your legacy the pain of trying to keep things afloat while you’re out of the picture.

Growth Avenue

Avenues to Growth – an Introduction

There are many tactics that can be implemented to achieve growth in your business. Listing them right off the hop would be meaningless, because first we must understand your goals.

What is it you are trying to achieve in business? Why are you in business? As Michael Gerber wrote in The E-Myth Revisited, “the problem is not that the owners of small businesses don’t work; the problem is that they’re doing the wrong work.” Gerber has built a career and a successful enterprise on breaking down why most small businesses fail. In my opinion, it is summed up nicely in what Gerber calls the Fatal Assumption.

The Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand the business that does the technical work. And the reason it’s fatal is it just isn’t true.  The technical work of a business and a business that does that technical work are two totally different things!

Michael Gerber – The E-Myth Revisited, page 13

So, if the reason you’re in business is because you are an expert at the technical work being done in your business, you may be wondering why your dreams and aspirations of growth, wealth, and freedom haven’t transpired as imagined when you took the leap.

Business is complex. There are many facets to successful business, far more than simply “doing the work.”
Understanding that is the first step.
Asking for help is the second step.

Because if you are an expert at the technical work of your business, then is it likely you’ve struggled managing the business which does that technical work.

And growth has possibly eluded you…
Or, at least the potential for growth that your industry may present?

As a former bank lender, and having had several conversations with current bankers over the last half-dozen years since I left banking, the sentiments are the same. One banker was recently describing a client, who was a good client but could be so much better, by saying, “He builds a helluva road, but can’t manage his cash to save his life.”

Change the character to either he or she, and change the activity to almost any technical work. She/He:

  • Builds a helluva road,
  • Installs a helluva wiring system,
  • Designs a helluva house,
  • Welds a helluva bead,
  • Grows a helluva crop,

…the list can go on and on.

Just doing the work will grow your business to a point, but that point is reached when you, as the owner/manager, run out of capacity.

Dr. David Kohl spoke recently in southern Saskatchewan. He described how success requires alignment of your expertise, your capacity, and your market.
Clearly, you have expertise or you would likely not be in business.
If you operate in a market that is hungry for your product or service, then growth is ready for the taking.
Is your capacity is sufficient in ALL areas that need to be covered in order to sustain growth: management, finance, reporting, staffing, logistics, facilities & equipment, etc?
(**Did you notice that facilities & equipment was found at the END of that list?  That is symbolic.)

All too often, the “technician” owners put emphasis on the facilities & equipment because that’s where their expertise is found. It’s why the “technician” owners are more apt to fail. Getting additional equipment is the easy part; managing the cash flow, bankers, and staff is the hard part.

So in this Introduction to the “Avenues to Growth”, we have described that:

  1. You need alignment of your expertise, your capacity, and your marketplace;
  2. You need clarification of your reason for being in business; and
  3. You must define your business goals.

Plan for Prosperity

Over the coming weeks, we will be exploring the Avenues to Growth in greater detail. The explicit certainty in any growth plan is that growth must be intentional. Accidental growth or fortuitous growth is not sustainable unless the owners & management team conduct a postmortem on how and why the growth occured so that lessons can be learned, mistakes not repeated, and good decisions leveraged further in the future.

The other explicit certainty to growth: there are many avenues to get there, none are a straight line, and there is no “Easy Street.”

 

**The featured image is a screen shot from a Google street-view of Fort Wayne, Indiana. In a weird twist of irony, Growth Avenue in Fort Wayne is a dead end street.

Coach

Who Needs a Coach?

Muhammad Ali.

Wayne Gretzky.

Tom Brady.

Professional athletes…emphasis on “professional,” the best at what they did (do). Evoking cries of “The G.O.A.T.” which stands for “Greatest Of All Time,” these legends all used a coach.

Football teams have more coaches than they are allowed players on the field at any one time. Baseball, hockey, soccer, olympic squads, the list goes on…all have coaches.

Individual success, such as Tiger Woods, Venus Williams, Michael Phelps, even many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, all use a coach. One of the best, if not the best coach of corporate executives, Marshall Goldsmith, uses a coach himself.

Right now, I have three. Each has a specific purpose, yet they compliment each other in how I benefit from having them. This does not include the advisers I use for accounting, legal, investments, or insurance where the number then increases to more than ten.

Back to the professional athlete, who is so skilled at what he or she does that they make a living doing it (and a exceptionally good living at that.) If you’re already top of your game, what good is a coach? If that were true, then everyone at the top of their game (see a small sample list above) would have fired their coach. Just because we might be at the top of our game doesn’t mean there is no longer room for improvement. None of us is perfect.

Can you and your business benefit from a coach? What aspects of your business could use some coaching?

Efficiency: is your efficiency all it could be? The old adage that I lean on is “You don’t know what you don’t know”, so is the perspective from an expert a worthy pursuit?
Finance: this relates to banking, borrowing, and investing. Is your approach more reactive to these important facets of your business, or do you regularly analyze your situation to proactively position you and your business? I couldn’t tell you how often I’ve seen something as simple as monthly account fees going totally unmonitored and therefore costing 2-3x what would be charged if a regular review was done.
Growth: this can take so many forms; I could write a book! Growth is not just about size and scale, there are many ways to grow (both personally and business.) If growth is your desire, considering how varied and complex growth can be, having a growth coach can save hours of stress, create multiples of efficiency, and help avoid pitfalls along the way.

The list is almost endless: from technology and social media to HR and governance/policy development, there is an expert available who is willing to help you take your business to new heights.

Plan for Prosperity

It is not reasonable to expect that you, as an entrepreneur and business owner, can know everything related to the successful operation, sustainability, and life-cycle of your business. And yet, considering that your business is the driver of your family’s lifestyle and a big part of your legacy, it is tragic to leave to chance so much of what is critical to business success.

Do what you do best, and get help for the rest.™

-Kim Gerencser

The quote above is a major cornerstone of my advisory work with clients, that’s why I’ve trademarked it. It’s been said that we can spend our entire lives trying to improve on our weaknesses and all we’ll end up with are a bunch of strong weaknesses. Whereas if we leveraged our strengths, the potential they create can grossly overshadow the drawbacks of any weaknesses…especially if we leverage others whose strengths are in the areas of our weaknesses.

 

 

balance sheet

Balanced View of the Balance Sheet

Like any piece of business information, the balance sheet is only as useful as the quality and accuracy of the information presented in it. In my experience, the balance sheet either gets too much emphasis or not enough. Too much when a business is not profitable, but always falls back on “Well we (they) have strong equity.” Too little when a young business is in high growth phase and is focused on nothing more than the next expansion opportunity, usually at all costs.

The construction of a balance sheet is quite simple: assets on the left, liabilities plus owner’s equity on the right. As the name implies, the two sides must balance. So when liabilities are greater than the assets, there is negative equity. Yes, you can have negative equity, but not for long unless you have an incredibly patient banker.

When describing the instances above where the balance sheet gets too much emphasis, the focus is clearly on the bottom half of the balance sheet, specifically the long term assets & long term liabilities and the owner’s equity. The equity is usually provided by appreciation of long term business assets, and if the equity is built almost solely on that and not retained earnings (net profit from operations) then there is definitely too much emphasis put on the bottom half of the balance sheet, namely equity.

The top half of the balance sheet is where most of the trouble starts. The top half is where we find the current assets and current liabilities; the difference between the two is working capital. Current liabilities have grown to dangerous levels from ever increasing loan and lease payments, cash advances, and trade credit. When current liabilities exceed current assets, you have negative working capital.

If your balance sheet has negative equity and negative working capital, you are the definition of insolvent, and the next phone you make is likely 1-800-AUCTION.

Ok, so there is equity on your balance sheet, more than enough to cover off the negative working capital. A patient and understanding lender might be willing to help you tap into that equity to “recapitalize” the business.  Do that once if you need to. By the time you’ve gone to that well two or three times, you’re likely closer to needing the classifieds to find a job rather than the next deal on equipment.

Equity doesn’t pay bills. Cash does.

Why punish your cash and working capital by rushing debt repayment to create equity?

Plan for Prosperity

The next time you catch yourself, or anyone else for that matter, leaning hard on the bottom of the balance sheet, namely the equity portion, think long and hard about why the focus is not balanced between the top half and bottom half of the balance sheet.

Not only do the left and right sides of the balance sheet need to balance, but so does the top and bottom.

marking a bench 4

Benchmark Against the Best

Who do you look up to? It doesn’t have to be another business like yours, it can be anyone or any business. Why do you look up to that person or entity? What have they done that you want to emulate?

“If you benchmark yourself against the average you’ll be out of business in 5 years.”

Dr. David Kohl

What Dr. Kohl is referring to is that “average” is not success. As one client said this past week, “Average is the best of the worst, or the worst of the best; either way it’s not where we want to be.”

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of using averages when analyzing business performance. The sample pool will skew the calculation up or down; extenuating circumstances create anomalies in year-over-year business results; the list could go on. In my opinion, average is a useful tool to make yourself feel better about where you’re at. I prefer to make clients uncomfortable about where they’re at so that they are motivated to “Be Better™”.

Here’s someone we all know about who is never not trying to be better: Warren Buffett. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting the Oracle of Omaha is without flaw or that he is somehow worthy of unwavering praise, but it cannot be denied that his approach to building wealth has enjoyed success beyond most of our wildest dreams. Recent articles in the Financial Post indicate that Berkshire Hathaway is currently sitting on about $116 Billion in cash and other short term investments. This cash is sitting idle for the purposes of making acquisitions, but Buffett has admitted that he’s struggled to find acquisitions at sensible prices. Also, the article states that Buffett is unwilling to load up on debt to finance deals at current prices.

“We will stick with our simple guideline: The less the prudence with which others conduct their affairs, the greater the prudence with which we must conduct our own,”

Warren Buffett.

It has been written in this series of commentaries that during the elongated commodity super-cycle which ran from about 2007 to 2015 we could find many “average” businesses who appeared to be “excellent”. The appearance of excellence was fed by strong yields and high commodity prices. To translate: everybody was making money, even the worst managers and the high cost operators. To paraphrase Dr. Kohl: when the bottom 20% of producers become profitable, we’re in trouble! It didn’t take much prudence to be profitable during the boom; how did you compare during the boom? How do you compare now?

So when considering who you want to mirror, is it one who has been racking up debt balls-out on the expansion train or one who has been quietly amassing a war-chest of financial strength that can be deployed when the right opportunity presents? Is it one who operates with reckless abandon, or strategic execution? Is it someone who is average, or is it the cream of the crop?

Plan for Prosperity

Benchmarking data is hard to come by; not everyone is willing to share the details of their successes or failures. So to start, benchmark against yourself. How did your most recent year stack up against your best year ever? How do your 2018 expense projections compare to your 2003 expenses? What has been the 10 year trend of your working capital, EBITDA, net profit, total debt, and total equity? Is it something you’d be proud to share? Let me know; I’d love to hear from you on what you learned from this exercise.

S&P500

Don’t Panic

The markets are on a wild ride over the last week. After an elongated bull market, we’ve seen huge drops in the value of the S&P500, which have created ripples in Canada as well as in foreign markets. Right on cue, we hear investment advisors insist that staying the course and not panic selling is the best thing to do. The markets always go up and go down. After every crisis, brighter days returned which left us to quickly forget how we felt during said crisis.

“This, too, shall pass,” I heard an investment advisor say today in the media.

“Markets take the escalator up, but the elevator down,” is what I’ve heard from many commodity market advisors. This also applies to equity markets it would seem.

It must be asked, “Why is the best advice to hold? Why not get out before the market falls any further?”
The answer: because staying in the market is part of your PLAN!

*Anyone getting tired of hearing about planning yet?

If your PLAN is to buy and sell, in other words trying to time the market to maximize return and even “outperform” the market, then you’ll probably have to go it alone because no investment advisor would work with you. CyclesBut your PLAN, when beginning your investment activities, was to create wealth from long term growth. If that wasn’t your plan, you’d need to be a day-trader; I’m going out on a limb here, but if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably not a day trader.

Back to your PLAN: jumping in and out of the market looks more like this graphic, because as weak humans we’re emotional creatures who make dumb decisions when emotion creeps into the equation.

How does this apply to your business? Have you made emotional marketing decisions in the past? Have you tried to time the market? Read through every point on the graphic; tally up how many apply to you (as in, how many of those have you said in your career?)

 

Plan for Prosperity

If you find yourself wandering, unsure of how much you might benefit from planning in your business, consider the metaphorical genius found in the children’s fairy tale Alice in Wonderland.

When Alice asks the Cheshire Cat, “What road do I take?” his reply is, “Where do you want to go?”
When she says “I don’t know,” his apt response is, “Then it really doesn’t matter (which way you go), does it?”

In essence, what the Cheshire Cat is telling Alice is that “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” There are many different people who have been attributed to that specific statement, so I cannot confirm who said it first. But nonetheless, it applies…to life and to business…to your investment strategy and to your business strategy…

Don’t panic, just decide where you want to go.

Financial data

Questions from Farmers

Over the winter, I do a number of speaking engagements, usually around finance and management. Here are some questions and comments from the audience, and excerpts of my response.

 

Farmer: How do I improve my working capital and current ratio?

Kim: Simply put, either reduce your current liabilities or increase your current assets…or both! Considering current liabilities, what makes up the lion’s share? Typically it’s lines of credit, cash advances, and loan payments due in the current year. So to achieve the goal of reducing current liabilities, over time (because it will take time) wean yourself off of operating credit. Protect, even hoard, your cash over time so that you can achieve working capital equal to 50% of your annual cash costs. By the time you achieve that level of working capital, your current ratio should be very strong.

 

Farmer: As someone who is still in growth phase, I can’t expect the kind of return on my cash costs that you’re suggesting. Isn’t it okay to run at zero because I’m in a growth phase?

Kim: First, your business and the industry are cyclical, so yes there will be years when your return is zero, but don’t accept being at zero year over year for any length of time. That being said, your growth phase is likely running your cash to zero, and what I’m prescribing as “return on cash costs” is a profitability measure; they’re different. A business can be profitable and have no cash because the cash might be immediately fed directly into the growth of the business. Yes, you’re going to run tight on cash during a growth phase, but don’t accept poor profitability.

 

The following are a sample of comments made by participants:

  • Mentioning “Mission” and “Vision” statements is interesting. I don’t think having one makes you more money, but it’s funny how those that have one are doing better than those that don’t.
  • I’m trying to figure out how to value unborn calves when looking at my working capital.
  • This current ratio figure is going to swing widely depending on when (what time of year) you do it.
  • Don’t buy (something like equipment or pick-up trucks) just because you have some cash.
  • We’ve got someone doing our books for us, and we review all our ratios monthly.
  • I never viewed HR as a risk before.
  • Every farmer should attend this seminar. Even if they know everything you’ve discussed, it’s a good refresher.

 

Plan for Prosperity

There is a reason I use the heading “Plan for Prosperity” for my closing comments: we need to plan our businesses. Whether that be our 10 year strategy, the next 18 months of cash flow, or determining how our growth aspirations would be affected by a rising dollar or rising interest rates, planning is key to your business. And the planning must, yes…MUST, go beyond the crop plan. That crop plan is but one aspect of your business. Don’t ignore the others unless you don’t want prosperity.

When considering how to approach the plans you must address in your business, consider the following three questions in order:

  1. Why do we do what we do?
  2. What do we want to achieve?
  3. How will we do it?

If you’ve managed to provide honest and detailed answers, the rest of the “planning” becomes much more clear.

 

roi

Sustainability – What is It?

Are you sick of buzzwords? They’re everywhere…all the time. Some are actually impactful, but all are meaningless without context.

One buzzword that actually has some meat is “sustainability,” but in the next breath it’s meaningless because it can be over-used, misinterpreted, or put into the wrong context. Often times the word is attached to “environmental” sustainability and conjures up visions of environmental enthusiasts/activists/evangelists, but the term sustainability is simply defined as being able to last or continue for a long time.
Ref. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sustainable

Using that frame of reference, let’s focus on the financial aspect.

You have put many changes in place in your business over the years. Ranging from new/improved processes to increased size & scale, each change has had an impact on your business. No question, your intention has always been to implement a change for the betterment of your business. But prior to initiating any action, was an assessment of the sustainability of the proposed change ever done? How did you quantify the impact of the change?

There are many success stories floating around lately about producers who gave up some rented land and increased their overall business profits from doing so. While this is counterintuitive to the deeply embedded mindset that “bigger is better,” clearly the financial sustainability of the status quo was in question for these particular operations.

What is the financial sustainability of increasing the size of the factory (more land), adding capacity (more/bigger/newer equipment), or increasing labor (more people)? Each of these needs to be evaluated beyond the obvious cash costs. What are the incidental costs, meaning:

  • Increasing the size of the factory (More Land) carries
    • Higher ownership/operating costs for PP&E (property, plant, & equipment);
    • More cash to service debt on the asset;
    • Change in insurance costs (which way will premiums go, up or down?)
    • Change in utilities costs (which way will heat and power go, up or down?)
    • More working capital to be able to utilize the increased scale of the business;
    • Etc.
  • Adding Capacity (More/Bigger/Newer Equipment) carries
    • Higher costs for PP&E (property, plant, & equipment);
    • More cash to service debt on the asset;
    • Change in insurance costs (which way will premiums go, up or down?)
    • Change in operating costs (which way will fuel and repairs go, up or down?)
    • Will you need to add staff (another operator)?
    • Will you need to upgrade your systems and/or technology so the new equipment can operate relatively seamlessly in your existing set-up?
  • Increasing Labor (More People) carries
    • Additional cost for benefits (pension, vacation, etc.)
    • Higher management requirement (to approve holidays, implement performance evaluations, conduct scheduling);
    • Any additional tools for employees to use (hand tools, vehicles, computers, etc.)
    • Training costs.

Each of these points above has an impact on the decision to increase the size of the factory, the capacity of the equipment, or the volume of human capital in your business. Evaluating each decision above with a broader perspective, which would include an expected ROI (Return on Investment), is the best way to understand the sustainability of each option. If the desired change to your business provides insufficient ROI, it puts the sustainability of not only the project but your entire business in question. At minimum, ROI must exceed the cost of borrowed capital that was utilized for the project.

Plan for Prosperity

Buzzwords aside, sustainability is as much of a mindset as it is a business practice. Sustainability deserves a place in your business’ values and mission & vision statements. It should make up a component of every business decision that you consider. If your business is not sustainable, what are your plans for afterwards?

Contrast

Contrast

Did you ever wonder how so much expansion is going on during what is supposedly challenging economic times?

In this part of the world, in fact in this part of Canada, we are experiencing economic growth that is far less than we’ve enjoyed over the last decade. Government spending has been reduced provincially, and the federal government deficit has grown exponentially; we were teased with drastic changes to our federal business income tax structure; we’re paying higher levels of consumption tax; unemployment has grown; overall confidence has declined.

And yet, we continue to see businesses growing, we see new construction in housing, commercial, and industrial levels, consumers continue to buy new cars and take vacations. On Boxing Day, my thermometer read -32 Celsius but there was a line up outside the doors of the Visions Electronics store prior to their 6am opening. How tough can these times really be?

Notwithstanding the socio-economic challenges that our society faces (none of which I am trying to discount here), behavior would indicate that the “tough times” aren’t as tough as we’re being led to believe.

Contrast the difference between 2 businesses in the same industry: both make widgets, both have sales forces, both face the same challenges of staying relevant in the sleepy industry of widget production.

Company A wants to corner the market and pursues a mission of expansion that leans hard on the idea that “bigger is better,” and expecting it to lead to greater efficiency, sales, and profits. Company A increases debt and increases cash flow spending on capital assets, technology, and marketing to fuel its expansion aspirations.

Company B recognizes the truth in the adage “Innovate or die.” While the widget production industry is sleepy, Company B knows that the status quo is not sustainable. Five years ago, Company B developed a 5 year plan to position itself to be an innovator in widget production. It carefully managed margins and cash flow so as to create a “war chest” of resources.

Which company is building a new production facility in 2018? Which company is at risk of losing not only its market share, but its best people,  to its competitor? Which company will blame the tough economic times for the decline of its business?

The best businesses, and it doesn’t matter which industry they are in, the best businesses plan. They plan for cycles, growth, innovation, and the unforeseen (like the 4 D’s: death, divorce, disability, disagreement.) Businesses that do not plan leave themselves at the mercy of the market, the fickle nature of consumerism, or “tough economic times.”

Plan for Prosperity

Planning, in and of itself, does not guarantee prosperity. Even execution of the best plan does not guarantee prosperity. But in contrast to your competitors who do not plan, who make decisions based on short term perspective and emotion, or who are happy just floating along, there is a clear and obvious line separating the grain from the chaff.

Which side of that line do you want to be on?

Goal Congruence_LI

Goal Congruence

Have you been beat up enough yet about “defining your goals”? Every article I read relating to business management and every presentation I attend relating to business management always brings up the need for you as the businessperson to “define your goals.” For the record, “business management” in the context of this piece also include business transition (succession) planning.

The beatings will continue. They’ll continue as until everyone doesn’t just listen to the advice, but acts on it.

More often than not, when I ask a client (or even a prospective client) what are their goals, I get a blank stare, as if the concept is a foreign language. Far too many business owners have given little consideration to what they are trying to achieve in the business.

If it’s just a place to work and/or a lifestyle to enjoy, then declare it as your goal.
If it’s a family legacy that has been left to you that you intend to leave to your children, then declare it as your goal.
If it’s to achieve the largest scale in your market area, then declare it as your goal.
If it’s to create financial wealth and prosperity for you and your family, then declare it as your goal.

Don’t just tell the advisor you’ve hired, and paid well, that your goal is “to make more money.” That’s everyone’s goal, whether employed for someone else or self-employed like you. Let’s get serious.

There are four sample goals described above. These four have been chosen because they are the most common goals I have identified in working with entrepreneurs for the last 15 years. What I mean by “identified” is that while some of these goals have been declared, it’s more common that the goal is insinuated by (or surmised from) the behavior of the owners. The problem is when business owners try to combine more than one of those four sample goals listed above; this happens almost all the time.

The first goal listed, lifestyle, is not congruent with any of the other three.
We’ve learned that largest scale does not automatically equate to increased financial wealth and prosperity; again, not necessarily congruent.
The only congruity among the four samples is between family legacy and financial prosperity.
– yet behaviors often do not follow those goals.

It is advisable to have multiple goals in business and in life. In business, none of the goals we may have can be achieved without prudence in financial management. Remember, profit feeds your business, it feeds your family, and it feeds your ability to spend time with your family & on other things you enjoy. If you feel uncomfortable declaring one of your business goals to be financial wealth because you don’t want to be thought of as a greedy person, then don’t declare it, but for the sake of your business’ and your family’s future, behave like it. If you’re not profitable, if you’re suffering under the pressure of non-existent working capital, or worse, then none of your goals are achievable. Period. Hard stop. I’m sorry to have to deliver that cold truth in such a harsh manner.

To Plan for Prosperity

The challenge I lay out for all entrepreneurs is this: be clear on why you do what you do, establish working parameters and behaviors that support it, and evaluate your progress & results regularly to ensure you’re still on track. How sad would it be to never check the map for the entire journey only to end up somewhere you never meant to be?

Not only must your goals be congruent, but your behaviors must be as well. You and your business face enough turmoil, challenges, and risks. Don’t create more challenges by making decisions that aren’t congruent with your goals.