Last weekend I was at a Money & Mindset Networking event with 350 other business owners. It was uplifting and exhausting at the same time, to meet so many amazing business women and men. If you are an introvert like me, you know what I mean.
I love to meet people, get to know them and have meaningful, inspiring conversations, but any gathering with more than 4 people is stressful for me. And still, I challenge my mindset and go to these events and I do my best to meet with as many people as I can, while sticking to my motto “quality goes over quantity”. I didn’t put myself under the pressure to meet and connect with a certain amount of people. My goal was to feel good, go with the flow and intentionally pick out a few people and really connect with them.
I did not let myself be a wall flower while accepting that I am not a social butterfly.
I consider it a success. I went to the pre-event with about 20 people even though I had to get there late due to my flight. The introvert inside me of course wanted to stay in the hotel room but I did go anyways. Why? Because this way I would see some familiar faces amongst the 350 people the next day at the main event. It turned out to be a great evening, I met some pretty awesome people and was not back in the hotel until 11 pm. The next day it worked out like a charm, I knew a few people already which made me more comfortable and it was easier to go ahead and dive into the networking.
You might feel right at home at events like this, you love it and you shine. You might think, what’s the big deal Conny? Well to market & promote myself, to network, and to meet strangers is leaning far out of my comfort zone for me. Still, I know I have to do it, it’s part of being in business.
Why am I telling you all this?
While I feel at home analyzing numbers, making budgets, forecasts etc, this might be leaning out of the comfort zone for you! But just like marketing, promotion & networking, finances are part of being in business, and you have to do it. Unfortunately a lot of people skip the numbers and finances because they feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable, they might not know where to start or what to do.
While talking with people last weekend it was interesting to see, how their facial expressions changed when I answered their question of what i do. Most of them said that I do important work in their eyes, while they admitted at the same time that they don’t want to have too much to do with it. Which was really funny since the event was called “Money, Mindset & Marketing”. As we all heard at that event, money has a lot to do with mindset, and the stories you tell yourself.
Adjust your mindset and lean out of your comfort zone.
You might now say, but Conny
- my husband/neighbor/aunt/brother is doing my books, all is OK…
- I hired a bookkeeper, all is OK ….
- I have an accountant, all is OK …
Let me tell you, chances are it’s not OK. While talking to just a few people last weekend I heard from two entrepreneur who had to learn it the hard way. Both left it to their husbands to take care of the finances, they thought they didn’t need to pay attention, Until they had to realize, there is a little more to it than what they thought and since it is their business they do have to step up and do something.
Although their taxes and their bills were paid in time and they had some money in the bank, it turned out their books were not really in order and they had been operating their business blind folded.
A bookkeeper records all your sales and expenses. If you have a good one all accounts are up to date at all times and the bank accounts and credit cards reconciled. If you have a good accountant she/he makes sure you follow the tax code while optimizing the tax bill, meaning paying as little taxes as necessary.
What both of them usually don’t do is making sure your cash flow is positive, setting up a budget and comparing actual numbers with the budget numbers on a regular basis. Most don’t keep an eye on your Sales split or your Gross Margin. Most don’t tell you that your inventory is too high (or too low) or that you are buying the wrong inventory etc.
These are tasks that every business owner should do herself or if she does not know how, learn it or hire a controller. If it’s set up right it will not take a lot of time and will make sure you don’t operate your business in the dark.
Like a dashboard on a car, a red light will pop up warning you of something not running smoothly. And just like in a car, if you attend to it it’s usually no big deal, but if you don’t, it can ruin your business.
Change your mindset, challenge your mindset, start paying attention to your numbers.
This is a great, conversational, not-too-scary introduction to something that sooner or later, I know I have to tackle. I have been working on keeping my finances for my business separate from my personal finances and although I have filed for my business for years, this will be the first year I’ve made more than a few hundred bucks, so I really need to step up my financial game. I love the way you break it down into what the bookkeeper does, what the accountant does … this is exactly where a lot of us are in our business finance development … just getting going, lacking some of the basic know-how to proceed with setting up systems, checks, and balances. Glad to know I can come here when I’m ready for the next steps.
Things are usually scary because we don’t know enough about it. Once we familiarize ourselves with the topic that scares us it becomes less scary. One step at the time or you could call it baby steps, is the best approach.
Definitely getting out of the comfort zone for a lot of us, looking at the numbers, that is! It doesn’t always feel like the most exciting part of being in business, and sometimes, if you fear that you won’t like what you see, it can be a very intimidating thing. But really, I guess that it’s no different than any kind of feedback about what you’re doing, and when you look at it that way, maybe it might be a little bit less scary.
Always a good thing to remember, thanks for sharing this!
I agree, feedback about what we are doing can be intimidating, and I assume you mean mainly negative feedback can be intimidating. The thing is, the feedback your numbers give you might not even be negative. Even if they are not as good as you had hoped for, there is a lot of potential for improvement in it. Looking at the numbers will help you go where you want to be. But if you don’t look at them they can’t serve you.
As a fellow introvert, I admire your courage, and I love your approach to attending the event. It all really does come down to mindset.
And I agree with what you’re saying about doing the books: having a professional to review what I’m doing is so useful. I have an accountant who does my taxes every year, but I could probably use some additional support. I just moved my invoicing to an automated platform, and it’s taking me a while to learn the system’s nuances. If I paid someone to do that for me, it would likely be MUCH easier!
Doing it yourself over paying somebody to do it has the advantage that you know it inside out which helps you later to make sure it runs smoothly. Having a professional to support you or review what you do has a lot of advantages. First it gives you assurance, 4 eyes see more than 2, and somebody that is doing it for a living has lots of tips and tricks that you might not be aware of.