My wife Angie was in New York recently visiting a friend. It’s her habit to return with gifts, but she couldn’t bring herself to buy me the tried and true “I Love NY” t-shirt; for which I am eternally grateful! She knew I was trying to lose some weight so; she ended up bringing me back something called an “UP Bracelet”. It’s a bracelet made by Jawbone (www.jawbone.com/up), the guys that make hands free earpieces for cell phones. What this little gadget does is track important personal and vital numbers all day long, as I wear it around my wrist. So here I am 3 months later and 24 pounds lighter. You might ask; “How did that little band help me lose 24 pounds?” well it raised my awareness and gave me the information I needed in an easy and timely manner to make better decisions concerning my goal.
The same thing is true for the numbers in your business – once you understand what to look for and set up systems to monitor your numbers – it will raise your awareness and give you vital and timely feedback so you can make better decisions in your business.
Most small business owners in my experience work much more closely with their bookkeepers than their accountants, but end up abdicating a lot of authority for their financial statements because they don’t have confidence in their own ability, and frankly, have too much confidence in someone else’s ability, or just get too busy and procrastinate. Trust me – if you are not looking after your numbers – no one else is!
My “Up Bracelet” that gives me that real time data I need to make better decisions about my physical health, and resulted in me losing 24 pounds in three months? Well that band connects to an app on my I phone and in order for the system to work I have to enter whatever I put in my mouth as I put it into my mouth (just like the accounting software in your business). Then it tracks my burn rate based on the activities and exercise I do. In other words it tracks my calorie flow – and here’s the kicker: When I track what I am eating and what I am doing to burn calories in real time I make better decisions. I choose to focus my thoughts on what I want and not to react to “comfort cravings”, and I choose to exercise more and make it part of my routine. As I got in control of the calorie flow I got in control of my weight, and you can do the same thing with the cash and profits in your business.
When I am working with a client we spend a lot of time in the future creating it, so they can spend more of their time in the present executing with the focus and confidence they are doing the right things the right way to get them to their profit goals and build up their balance sheet.
Look back at your results to understand what happened, taking the learnings and making course corrections, in your thinking and habits. More importantly – pay attention to the cash you are generating and burning in real time so that you can make better decisions in the moment that will have immediate impact on your results. I recommend you track this on a simple spread sheet at least weekly. I guarantee you will spend less on unplanned reactionary impulse items and invest more resources in not urgent but important activities, or healthy inputs like prospecting, building systems, training yourself and your team and in personal development and growth.
After all, it is only as you grow in a healthy way, that your business will grow in a healthy way!
Clint Best is a business coach and the founder of Kaizen Business Development in Kelowna, BC. Clint has been guiding forward thinking business owners through change and growth since 2002.