"Money is one of the most important subjects of your entire life. Some of life's greatest enjoyments and most of life's greatest disappointments stem from your decisions about money. Whether you experience great peace of mind or constant anxiety will depend on getting your finances under control."
--- Robert G. Allen
With so much focus today on the economy, it is difficult not to analyze your holdings. Worry seems to be occupying the minds of most and with the failure of major banks and insurance companies, small businesses are hurting nationwide. This news makes most take an inward perspective of money management and how prepared we are for rainy days.
"Financial education needs to become a part of our national curriculum and scoring systems so that it's not just the rich kids that learn about money.. it's all of us."
--- David Bach
In an old Jimmy Buffett song, Buffett insightfully records this verse: "I've got quarters in my loafers trying to fight inflation when it only used to cost a cent. Sometimes I wish I was back in my crash pad days before I knew what cash flow meant." It is at times like these that some business owners long for the days before we hung out a shingle announcing to the world that we were in business.
But, it is not too late to save our stomachs from ulcers and our eyes from added crow's feet. We can take steps now to learn how to budget our businesses better and how not to leverage everything including the kids to make this thing work.
"Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy."
--- Groucho Marx
It might help if you see this dip in the economy as actually a good thing. First, it is gradually weeding out those businesses that intentionally made poor decisions based on greed. Second, it opened our eyes to the vulnerability of some segments of the market and how fragile a leveraged business can be. Thirdly, this crisis is causing many business owners to re-think business strategies.
These are all good things and things that will make us stronger and more competitive if we learn from them. One of the first things we should make a priority is understanding our business, its cash flow, and what it takes to run it.
"It is once your ideas have been transformed into enough money, and if all failed, you would still live your lifestyle, and you understand that just because you have made more money than most, you are not better than the common person. We are all going to die broke."
--- Tim Blixseth
We've addressed it before, but it is worth repeating: The reason you are in business is to make money to take care of your family, etc. The focus of your business is to provide a service and/or product that benefit your customers.
When the focus is on the money, all of the energy of the business is on making money ---- at all costs. When the focus is on the customer, all of the energy of the business is on producing quality in everything from the product to customer service to follow-up. The money comes as a result of the correct focus.
"There is no substitute for knowledge. To this day, I read three newspapers a day. It is impossible to read a paper without being exposed to ideas. And ideas...more than money...are the real currency for success."
--- Eli Broad
Begin this day to gain more knowledge about your business, your industry, and your customers. Make it your ultimate business goal to focus on the best that you can do for the customer. Read books on running a business without debt, budgeting for your business, and building cash reserves. The information is out there and now is the time to get it.
"I wish it grew on trees, but it takes hard work to make money."
---- Jim Cramer