50 Cash flow vs. Profit… What’s the difference?

Have you ever looked at your financial statements and wondered, “If I made a profit, where is the cash?” or “How come I have cash in the bank, if I didn’t make a profit?”  The reason is very simple, profit is not the same thing as cash!

Many business owners look at their financial reports and see a profit and go out and celebrate, or see a loss and go out and drown their sorrows. Hmmm, seems to always generate the same result in one sense…  Well, it probably should.

Have you ever tried to buy that drink with profit?  Try it some time, go to the bar with your profit and loss statement, show the bartender the profit at the bottom and ask for a drink.  I can pretty much guarantee that the bartender will then ask you for cash!  Profit is a theory! Cash is King!

Don’t go off the deep end in the other direction either, though.  You can’t effectively run your business from your bank account.  In the end, you need to have both. You need to understand what your profit and loss statement is actually telling you and you have to understand the cash flow in your business.  Invest time in learning how to read your financial statements and use them to manage your business, and learn to understand the ways that cash flows through you business and how you can manage it in the most effective and efficient manner.

To Dream or Not To Dream

I know it’s a bit goofy and clique, but it got your attention… And, it’s relevant to what I want to talk about.

Especially in challenging times, we (and I mean human beings in general) tend to get caught up in the day to day and loose sight of our dreams. Often this results in our feeling that the dreams are never going to happen, or that they are so far off that there is no point in focusing on them. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

When we are in challenging time, or even when we are just discouraged about our dreams, we MUST stay focused on our dreams, our aspirations and our goals. This is how we can stay motivated to succeed. A measure of a person’s metal is how well they can stay focused on the prize, even when the going gets rough!

3 Managing Challenging Times

It’s 80% Mindset:

1. Are you looking for opportunities? Or, are you complaining and giving in to panic?
2. What are your goals? Are they really clear.
3. Who is around you? Are they focused and positive?
4. Do you have “Think time” for new ideas?
5. Planning is the key. Drill down to the details. What do I need to learn? Whose help do I need to recruit?

And 20% Business Skills:

1. Trim the fat – reference your plan, never cut just to cut. Do you need to cut people, costs, etc.?
2. Look at your product line, what’s selling? How and where can you add value and keep good margins?
3. Examine your sales and marketing. Are you getting a return on your investment?
4. Are you managing your cash flow and budget, it’s critical?
5. What do you need to do to keep your existing customers happy?

Back to the Basics… Delivery Mastery

Returning once again to the foundation of your business, here is the final pilar to create a strong and stable foundation for growing your business…

Delivery Mastery – How you deliver your product or service is the fourth pilar in your foundation. How consistent are you in delivering? Can you deliver the same level of quality time in and time out? Does every customer get the same level of service every time they interact with your company? Delivery mastery is about predictability and consistency. Consistency is key to your business succeeding. Do you return to a restaurant if the food or service is not consistent? Have you ever gone to a store and gotten really bad customer service, and did you go back? You don’t have to be the best, you have to be consistent. You need to know where the bottlenecks are in delivering your product or service. Where are the “holes in your bucket?” Does it make any sense to turn up the faucet, if there is a hole in the bucket? No, you’re just going to lose water faster! If you cannot handle more customers, because a bottleneck in your delivery mechanism, getting more customers will only cause you to lose more customers! And, it’s hard to get them back once you’ve lost them!

So, there you go, those are the pilars of your foundation! How strong are yours? Are you ready to build your skyscraper?

Back to the Basics… Financial Mastery

Building your business requires a firm foundation. In my last couple of posts, I have been discussion what the 4 pilars of your foundation look like.  Here is the 3rd pilar…

Financial Mastery – Financial Mastery is about understanding the numbers in your business. Not just the finances, like your profit and loss statement, your balance sheet, your cash flows, and your bank statement, but also the numbers that influence all of those. This pilar is about profitability. Understanding your numbers is critical to running a business. Numbers are the language of business, they are the scoreboard. Numbers tell you who’s winning and who’s losing. Too many business owners that I meet only look at their profit and loss statement once a year when their accountant gives it to them, and even then they only look at the “bottom line.” They figure that as long as they have money in the bank, they are fine. Would you be able to play the game of baseball if you didn’t know how to read the scoreboard? Do you think that the players on the field don’t understand what their batting average was saying about them, or any of the dozens of other statistics.

6 Back to the Basics… Self Mastery

Continuing my discussion from a while back on the basic pilars of business, the next pilar is…

Self Mastery – This pilar is all about productivity. Using time wisely, for yourself and your team, allows your business to run smoothly. There are many different techniques and systems for managing productivity, in the end you have to choose the one that works best for your style and business. The most important aspect of any “time management” system that you use, is that it allows you to insure that the most important things in your life get done. I have my favorites, and just about everyone I know has theirs, you need to find yours. One of my favorites, and one of the most popular, is Steven Covey’s “First Things First”. In a nut shell, this says that you have to use importance to decide how you schedule, not urgency. The more important a task is, the more you need to make sure that it is in your schedule. Handling the important tasks with priority allows you to have fewer urgent tasks to deal with.

23 Back to the Basics… Destination Mastery

I’ve been talking about building a strong foundation for your business.  If you are going to build a skyscraper of a business, you need to have a very sturdy foundation.

So, what is necessary in the foundation of your business?

The first of the basic pillars of your business is:

Destination Mastery – Where is your business going? What is it’s purpose? What is it’s legacy. Vision, Mission, Culture, Goals and Milestones all make up this pillar. Having a clearly defined destination that is enrolling and inspiring, that allows you to be clear about choices, that calls you and your team forth, makes running your business simple. Simple does not mean easy, it means that the choices are clear, the motivation is strong, and there is an inherent momentum.

125 Back to the Basics

When building a business, putting in a good foundation is essential. It’s just like building a building. If you are going to build a house, you need a certain type of foundation. If you are going to build a skyscraper, you need to have a much sturdier foundation. The same is true in business, the only difference is that in business, you can go back and build a deeper, sturdier foundation without tairing down the whole business.

So, what is necessary in the foudation of your business?

There are four basic pilars that your business stands on:
Money Master, Self Master, Destination Mastery and Delivery Master…

I will be covering each of these in another entry…

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