Something I often encounter from budding entrepreneurs is strong resistance to spending the time and money to slow down, sit down, and seriously dig into their financial situation and future planning. Two people I worked with not long ago give me great examples of the high cost of putting off “taking a good look” at how things are and could be.
Entrepreneur Number One (we’ll call her Melinda) has been in business a few years now but finds herself unwilling to face the new skills she needs to learn in order to handle the big growth that could come her way. Eventually, the pain of not looking became stronger than the pain to look, so Melinda booked a day with me, fearful though she was. One of the costs of her waiting was that her energy, enthusiasm, and belief in her business success had flatlined. Melinda had taken on some debt to grow her business, but then because she felt guilty about the debt and didn’t really want to face it, she’d failed to keep up her bookkeeping and had no idea where she was in terms of sales, expenses, and accounts receivable. Her guilt drove her to describe herself as “in debt and making no money.” Yet she really didn’t know if that were true or not. As we talked about this, her emotions came to the surface and she realized that constantly telling herself that she was in debt and a failure had drained her faith in herself – a far greater cost than actual financial debt. Melinda needed to step up and act like the successful entrepreneur she is. In her case, that means getting a weekly cash flow statement from her bookkeeper, keeping her pulse on her true operating costs, and letting go of trying to do everything herself in a wrong-headed effort to save money. As we developed a comprehensive list of business systems that Melinda will put in place, she came up with an idea that not only would save her own staff production time, it could easily be a product that she could sell to others in her industry. This one idea will more than reimburse Melinda for the day she spent with me – and more to the point, with sales to others she can probably erase at least half of her debt. Melinda paid dearly for putting off this day – in energy, self-doubt, overhead that was increasing because it wasn’t being watched, production time for her staff, and a missed opportunity to sell to others.
Entrepreneur Number Two (we’ll call her Amy) mentioned to me that she had been wanting to go on a personal retreat to do business planning for a long time. “How long,” I wondered out loud to her. “Six months, at least,” she replied. Amy’s willingness to let everything else come first before she took personal time for herself and her business came close to costing her the chance to more than double her income. It’s not what you will SPEND on your personal retreat, it’s how much it costs you to remain in the same place and fail to take action for moving ahead. Amy tole me that she wants to hit six figures in a year. She has the capability to do that, but not if she doesn’t change her mindset and her business model quickly and drastically. For instance, one reason she has put off going for a 3 day personal retreat is that she doesn’t want to lose work that in essence pays her about $25 per hour. But during her “business makeover” retreat time, she can easily generate ideas and plans that pull her up to an average hourly fee of $100. Until she plans it, that higher hourly fee won’t happen, and neither will her six figure income. It COSTS MONEY to stay stuck. Doing what you have always been doing is only going to get you the very same result you are getting now. So, if you want a different result in your business, take the time for that personal retreat. Set your goals, make your plans, and get on down the road. Your bank account will thank you in the end!
(c) Sue Painter