An Achievable 10-Step Plan for Winning Financial Success in Business

September 24, 2015

Roadmap_to_money

Financial success in business can transform your life and the life of everyone who is counting on you financially. But there’s no magic wand you can wave that will instantly create financial success.

Winning financially in business is a journey.

It’s about deciding what you are trying to create financially then creating a roadmap to get there safely and on time.

The problem today is too many entrepreneurs are feeling more like passengers than drivers in their business. Oftentimes their company is careening along on the highway of business as they wonder and worry about where their business might end up financially. But that’s not wise—nor fun.

What you need is a sensible plan—a roadmap—to guide you on your path to building a strong, wealth generating business. Here is an achievable, 10-step process to walk you through how to make your business strong financially—you can begin implementing today. I guarantee that you will be surprised and delighted at the speed with which you see and feel the benefits.

FInancially_Strong_Business

CONFRONT REALITY

Step 1: Build your cash balance to one month of expenses.

Your bank balance is a lot like the gas tank in your car. Consistently running it to close too empty creates stress and unnecessary hassles. You have to constantly consider if you have enough gas to get to where you are going. Same with your bank balance. Maintaining a very small bank balance in business turns otherwise simple decisions and processes into complicated and time consuming hassles. If you have less than one month of operating expenses in the bank, you are likely experiencing unnecessary stress, angering your vendors, irritating your employees, ignoring the financial reality of your business, and generally making your life harder than it needs to be.

Step 2: Put aside enough cash to pay your income taxes.

You need to set aside enough cash to pay your income taxes. If your business is a tax paying entity (as opposed to an LLC, S Corporation, partnership, etc.) make your estimated tax payments religiously and consistently. If you have a pass-through entity, then you should set the cash aside and distribute enough cash to shareholders for them to make their estimated tax payments. Taxes should be taken care of first. The government yields way too big a stick to make a mistake when it comes to paying your income taxes.

Step 3: Diagnose your profitability and cash flow weaknesses (then fix them).

This step is about defining the gap between your current level of profitability and what it could, or should, be. Then setting a dollar amount that represents your profitability improvement target (the gap between where you are and where you should be). Next you “peel the profitability onion” in order to identify the three to five specific areas of your business that need to change. Then create a plan to make the change happen. Your number one driver of financial performance (and cash flow) is profitability. Make sure your business is firing on all cylinders when it comes to profitability.

Step 4: Create a reliable financial forecast for the next 6 to 18 months.

One of the most powerful tools in business is a reliable financial forecast. It provides the view through the financial windshield of your business. It helps you define where your business is going financially. It shines a light on the dangers and opportunities that lie ahead of you on your journey to a bigger and brighter financial future. In my experience, it is impossible to run a business intelligently without a clear view through your financial windshield. A reliable financial forecast produces results surprisingly fast.

CREATE A SAFETY NET

Step 5: Pay your bank line down to zero (even if temporary).

A revolving line of credit is meant to, well, revolve. You borrow on the line in order to meet seasonal demands or address other short-term cash needs. Then the bank line should be paid back down to zero. The discipline of forcing yourself to pay off your line at least once a year (or more) will help ensure you are using the bank line the way it was intended.

Step 6: Reduce your personal guarantees (begin the process).

In the early days of building a business it can be difficult to avoid personal guarantees. But as you grow and become more successful, you have more leverage, and more reason, to purposefully begin reducing your personal guarantees. You can begin this process by making a list of your existing personal guarantees. List the lenders, suppliers and others down the left side. Then put the approximate dollar amount being guaranteed next to each one. You will be surprised how long the list is—and how big the guarantee amounts are. Next step is to stop signing new personal guarantees and develop a strategy to reduce the number of existing guarantees.

Step 7: Build your cash balance to three months of operating expenses.

Building your bank balance to three months of operating expenses creates a cash cushion against surprises. And it provides “dry powder” so you can quickly jump on unique business opportunities that might come your way. Not to mention the fact that there’s nothing like a healthy cash balance to help you sleep well at night.

GROW AND ENJOY

Step 8: Use existing cash flow for capital expenditures and growth capital.

Capital expenditures generally take two forms. The first is “maintenance capital expenditures”. These are expenditures, or investments, that maintain your existing fixed asset base. Generally speaking, they help prevent decline. The second is growth-related capital expenditures. These are meant to add new income producing assets. They are designed to add to your ability to serve more customers, drive revenues higher, and increase profitability and cash flow. You are wise to fund both with internally generated cash as you grow and become stronger financially.

Step 9: Pay down your remaining debt on an accelerated schedule.

Debt can be an important tool in helping you build your business. But with financial success comes the ability to pay your debt down on an accelerated schedule. Use a portion of your existing cash flow and allocate it to a more aggressive payment plan. It will feel weird at first. But you will come to love the feeling of strength and accomplishment watching your debt shrink.

Step 10: Reward the owners of the business with cash.

The ultimate financial reward for a business owner is receiving healthy distributions of the company’s excess cash. It’s your reward as an investor. It’s your reward for building a successful company. It’s cash you can invest in other assets or ventures as part of building a sizeable net worth for you and your family. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the fruits of financial success.

START SLOW

In my following posts, I will go into more detail about how to implement each step. I’ll show you that the roadmap I have set out for you is an achievable plan t for how to make your business strong financially with good cash management and business practices.

Start slow. No need to speed through the 10-step process.

Start by implementing step 1. Building a wealth generating business is fun. And today is the ideal time to get started.

 cash management guide

 

Topics: Business Best Practices, Accounting & Finance

Philip Campbell

Consultant, Author

Philip Campbell is a CPA, consultant, and author of the book A Quick Start Guide to Financial Forecasting: Discover the Secret to Driving Growth, Profitability, and Cash Flow Higher. This new book provides a straightforward, easy-to-understand guide to one of the most powerful financial tools in business: a reliable financial forecast. He is also the author of the book Never Run Out of Cash: The 10 Cash Flow Rules You Can’t Afford to Ignore. The book is a step-by-step guide for business owners and managers who want to better understand and manage their cash flow. Since 1990, Philip has served as a financial officer in a number of growing companies with revenues ranging from $5,000,000 million to over $1,000,000,000. He has been involved in the acquisition or sale of 33 companies (and counting) as well as an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Philip loves helping entrepreneurs and business owners think strategically about the financial side of their business. His consulting work is focused on providing the financial insights that leaders need to increase profits, improve cash flow, and enjoy the fruits of financial success in business. What really sets Philip apart from the average financial person you meet is his passion and excitement about helping entrepreneurs and CEOs take control of their cash flow. In fact, early on in his career, he focused and “preached” so much about the importance of cash flow that people now call him CASH. Philip is the founder of Financial Rhythm, a website devoted to people who are serious about creating financial health, wealth, and freedom in their business. If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, Financial Rhythm is a place to get simple, actionable strategies for creating a financial future that is bigger and brighter than your past. Philip lives in Austin, Texas. You can email Philip at pcampbell@pdq.net.
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