One of the more common weaknesses for most owners and CEOs of SMBs is money management. It’s not that they don’t like money, it’s that they don’t feel confident managing it. So, instead of managing it, they focus on the things they like doing–like selling or marketing or creating products or solving problems or creating strategy etc.–hoping that the money thing will just take care of itself–which it won’t. So, what can you do?
Well, one simple practice you can engage in, that’ll keep you focused on managing the money, is to get a DAILY cash report. Not a once a week or worse, once a month cash report, but a once a day cash report. You can have your bookkeeper or CFO or accountant send you the amount or you can create a dashboard that automatically updates that number every day, but regardless of what system you use, you really ought to set one up.
A great example of the power of this practice can be found on Verne Harnish’s blog this week. He writes about John Ratliff, the founder of Appletree who for years had relied on a big line of credit that he would access two or three times a month to get his company through each month. For years he had heard Verne talk about getting a daily cash report, but hadn’t acted on it. Finally annoyed by his company’s practice, he decided to start receiving a daily cash report. He then wrote the following to Verne.
“I started getting cash reports daily (only took 15 years!) and wow what an insight that is. Today is September 30th, close of the 3rd quarter (hard to believe) and we just finished the best quarter in our history, and maybe more importantly our best cash position ever! No LOC use this month and a killer cash position. Thanks for finally getting the cash message through my thick head.”
So, if you’d rather not wait fifteen years or keep dipping into your LOC, why don’t you try this simple practice of receiving a daily cash report. It’ll force you to think about revenues, expenses and cash flow on a daily basis–and that will take you to a new place that not knowing won’t. Avoiding or not knowing is almost always a bad strategy. However, knowing and being able to act quickly are almost always winning strategies.
To your accelerated success!