Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
Let’s be honest. Life is hard. We leave school or university, or finish an apprenticeship, and we step off the safe platform of early years and plunge into a big world.
We are called Adults. No real training has been given us. Just a friendly nod of encouragement, if we are lucky, and we’re off.
How jolly scary.
It’s no surprise that we make mistakes and find life stressful. We’ve spent all our lives being put through our schooling only to be pushed into the world without much in the way of support, knowledge, or experience.
Being in business might seem like an easy option. We can choose our hours and there’s no boss to boss us about. We can design our own business card and there’s no annual appraisal to sweat through. Lovely!
Of course the reality is much more sobering. We work all day, every day, to find and keep clients, stay on top of emails and sort our finances.
This requires us to have a properly grounded approach. To act in awareness. To check out our assumptions and for us to make rational data-driven decisions.
We have to be in our Adult Ego State a lot of the time, which is a stressful place to be. Adult means grounded. Rational. Objective. Asking good questions. All very helpful skills.
Our Parent Ego State can be helpful, as it contains all the messages we’ve taken in from the big people in our childhood. However, they may also have given us doubts, reduced our ability to take risks and have never worked in business. Their words might be well meaning, but may not be useful. We need to sift what’s in our head, in order to choose the cherries and chuck out the chaff.
Our Child Ego State is interesting. It’s us! All the things we decided as a child, our creativity and problem solving and playfulness all rolled into one. And it contains our reckless, self serving and sulky side too. Quite a bundle! We can access our creativity and rein in our impetuosity. We need to be self aware, so that we do not trip ourselves up.
So, now we have a framework to help us, we can move into a grounded place and think. Here’s my top tips on How Not To Not Grow Up:
1. Get a mentor and listen to them. We are so full of assumptions, it really pays to have someone on tap to critique our ideas.
2. Never make a business decision without knowing the numbers. Even if we ‘know’ it’s the right thing to do, we must reference any decisions back to our Profit and Loss forecast and our Cashflow forecast.
3. Get a Cashflow forecast. Keep it up to date.
4. Have a clear strategy. For example, is the business a low volume and high quality operation? If so, do we really want that tempting high volume order?
5. Review all the numbers every month. I really can’t stress this enough and am always surprised how many good people run a small business and employ staff and don’t know what their cash position is. Or if they can afford more staff? Or the impact of taking that ‘well earned’ two week holiday?
6. Beware of fantasy! Signing a 5 year lease may be a big step, but does the business history support the decision? Or has the decision been taken on a ‘if we build it he will come’ mindset? Deadly. (See the film Field of Dreams. Sadly Hollywood is often a poor version of real life).
7. Be ignorant! Often we convince ourselves we know what we are doing. In reality we are a slave to our subconscious, who decides out of our awareness, before our conscious mind ‘makes’ the final decision. Being ignorant gives us permission to explore, practice and ask questions.
Being in business means being a grown up. It doesn’t mean we can’t have fun along the way. That’s why cake was invented!
Have fun this week not being a child in an adults’ world. Have fun being an adult and challenging the beliefs of our parents. (And carers).
Next week: The C Word!
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