I often hear women say ‘I feel ashamed that I haven’t taken time to understand my business finances’.
My cheeks flush pink as I think ‘you’ll never feel more ashamed than me’.
Because I’ve been there. I know the story. But I shouldn’t know the story – I really shouldn’t. I’m an accountant that’s worked in and on companies for years. I know what needs to be done.
But flashback to a few years ago, I’d returned to work after my firstborn (the very feisty Rosie 😍.) I was doing well in my job as a senior manager of the finance team, for a successful company. It was growing, it was exciting, and it was throwing me out of my comfort zone every day.
I was determined to be the woman that could do it all (I think we all know her well 😊) – hold down a full-time career, be a mum, do all the house stuff, and help maintain the family business. But oh, how wrong was I!
The problem was, my husband had a business, one that he ran himself (and still does), and it was growing. And I write this like it was a bad thing – which of course it absolutely wasn’t, because growing is great – but it was growing out of his control. And I wasn’t helping.
Yes me, the accountant, the person who was managing the numbers and systems of another company every day, the person that knew EXACTLY what to do. The only ‘routine’ that we were still doing at that point was the invoicing – the systems, reviews and strategies had all gone out the window. He was consumed working ‘in the business and my job and motherhood were getting all my time – I’d let the ball drop. I wasn’t taking the business seriously.
It got to the point where my husband’s mental health took a real hit and enough was enough. We automated things, set up systems, made some new strategies to reduce workload and increase profits BUT most importantly relieved his pressure.
My 3 Wrong Beliefs
When I think back, I had some seriously wrong beliefs about the finances of our small business, and I know that a lot of other small business owners feel the same.
Business is good – customers are all paying – that’s the most important thing right now!
No, no no!
I’ll catch up with the books soon!
It’s incredibly demotivating when you have such large piles of paperwork or flagged emails to deal with, and soon becomes something you learn to hate – and avoid! Let’s face it – you’ll never catch up until you have to (i.e., tax year-end!
Everything will be OK!
Will it? Will you be able to keep up? Will you be firefighting rather than prepared? How are you going to feel? How high is your anxiety going to be?
Why changing your beliefs will give you more money and freedom
Burying your head in the sand with your small business finances is never going to help your business grow. Only looking at your numbers when you do the tax return or when your accountant calls you in for a year-end chat too late. Think about it – this could be 9 months after the year-end! This could be 20 months since the issues started! Ok, it may help you going forward, but it will also make you feel a little bit sick when you realise how much you’ve overspent, opportunities you didn’t take advantage of or just the reality of how many hours you’ve had to work to get that ‘that’ profit. And it’s all stuff that could have been avoided if you’d just paid attention sooner.
Being at a point where you feel on top of your business finances and where you’re committed to dedicating time to them each week and month is going to give you incredible control over your business in so many ways. Here are just a few;
- You can delve into the profit of each service you provide, so you know which ones to focus on to maximise return but also to understand how much you can afford to pay a freelancer, for example, which is especially important if you can’t take on any more clients due to your own time constraints
- You’ll have the ability to stay in control of your costs at the earliest opportunity
- You’ll have the data to allow you to assess when you can outsource other parts of your small business that you take up too much of your time, and quite frankly that you just don’t enjoy – time that you can spend making more money, or just being with your family
How to get back on track?
First things first – bookkeeping (which I know is the boring part) has to be done. No books mean no data, which means no strategies, end of.
Decide if you want to want to attempt the books yourself or invest in a bookkeeper. Now, note I said ‘invest’. A bookkeeper should always be considered an investment, not an expense. The help they provide is invaluable in making sure you’ve got accurate data, time to do what you are best at (making money), and peace of mind things are done right. So, remember – if you aren’t doing it yourself – make sure someone is!
If you are going to do it yourself, block out some chunks of time to catch up, and stick to it! Reward yourself when it’s done!
Getting everything back on track could well be a big job for you, which is why you need to get into new habits so that it becomes a small routine each day or week instead of a huge unappealing task.
Remember, the more recent the numbers you’re working with, the more impact you’ll have on your profit! Discovering, 11 months down the line, that you’ve been spending waaaaaay too much on that one freelancer is painful, when it could have been avoided if you’d just checked earlier.
So let’s get back on track and back in control!
If you want to brush up on your business finances so you can take back control of your business before it takes control of you. Come and join me in my FREE Facebook challenge, Fearful to Excited with your Business Finances, starting on 9th February for 3 days by clicking HERE. I would love to see you there!