What is your gut reaction to dealing with money and finances? If your answer is fear, revulsion, hiding, trepidation, than you are not alone.
Financial ignorance is one of the main reasons eight out of ten businesses fail in the first 18 months of business.
Being an entrepreneur will bring any money fears or issues that you have directly to the surface.
One of the things that set entrepreneurs apart is the ability to manage fear.
So here’s how to come face to face with your money demons. You’re pouring your energy, passion, time, and life into building and managing your organization -- don’t let money be what derails it!
1. Understand your relationship with money
We all carry stories and beliefs about money. Get curious about how you behave and what you believe.
What messages did you receive about money growing up? Recognize the beliefs for what they are and get really honest about whether or not they are serving you in your business.
For example, you may have received a message growing up to avoid unnecessary debt at all costs. That likely worked for you to live within your means in your personal life, but as a business owner, how might your aversion to debt impact your business? Hint: It could keep you from growing. It often takes money to make money and an infusion of capital might be necessary to invest in the next hire, marketing strategy, or equipment that will accelerate your revenues (and repay the debt many times over).
Another money message example: You have to work really really hard to make money. That likely worked for you to start your business, get through school, etc. but as a business owner, how might that message hold you back? Hint: It could lead to burnout. For your business to grow sustainably, you’ll need to have clarity and focus to work smarter, not harder, to delegate, prioritize and spend your time on higher value add activities. If it feels easy, you’re doing something right!
Take a few minutes to consider some of the following:
(Fill in your personal definition.)
Living on a budget is….
What is your greatest concern regarding money?
What is “enough” money for you?
2. Take control
If you’re just starting out:
Sit down with that box of receipts, go through your credit card statements, and make a list of what you’ve spent! It’s far too easy to underestimate what you’re spending on your business. Open a separate bank account so you can easily see all business related expenses in one place.
Understand the story you need your numbers to tell you. Hire a bookkeeper to help you set up your chart of accounts and bookkeeping system, and then hold your bookkeeper accountable.
3. Get curious. Ask questions. Understand your financial story
Become curious about the story to be found in your numbers. What are the trends, month to month and year to year? Do you know your profit margin, months of cash on hand, biggest cost drivers, and biggest contributors to your revenues?
If you have a bookkeeper, ask questions! Learn how to run financial reports from your accounting software, and understand what they’re telling you.
4. Educate yourself
Lack of information is not an excuse! There are so many free or low-cost online courses available.
If you’d prefer to work 1-1 with someone, consider hiring a coach to help you work through your money stories and take control of your finances.
5. Practice positive affirmations This may sound a bit “woo-woo” to you, but even as a totally practical, realistic, numbers-oriented person, I truly believe that energy attracts energy. You will receive more of what you put your attention towards. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, express gratitude for what you do have on a daily basis.
Act as if your next opportunity is right around the corner
…and it will be.
Money is simply a tool to achieve your business dreams.
Tame the fear. Take control. Build your dream.