✦ Ever get that nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right inside your otherwise flourishing business?
All the vital signs look good at first glance. After all, you have:
A healthy balance between your income vs expenses;
An enthusiastic team with a good culture;
Promising plans for the future; and
A diverse group of ‘experts’ helping you make big decisions.
So why this uneasy feeling in your gut?
In my experience as both an accountant and financial mentor to a myriad of businesses, the value of an entrepreneur’s intuition cannot be overstated.
If something feels wrong, that’s probably because it is.
Have You Fallen Victim To The Experts?
Perhaps that sinking feeling you have is not so much that your business is failing; it could be that it’s starting to feel less and less like YOURS.
As our businesses grow, we inevitably recruit other players to our team that offer complementary strengths and skills to ours. Some of these will work for us to ease the burden of doing, others alongside us to support our decision making and strategic direction.
However, the trap I see so many business owners fall into is that, rather than leading their newly formed team of supporters, they become overwhelmed by the voices in the room. Voices that can seem more confident and capable than yours, so yours in turn becomes quieter, taking up less space.
I first noticed this erosion of a business owner's confidence in my work as a chartered accountant. As the accounting world became more complicated, tax compliance more complex, bookkeeping more digitised – I saw smart, capable clients reduced to meek nods when sitting in front of their accountant.
Someone to whom they pay good money for answers, someone to whom they were meant to give instructions.
As I moved into business mentoring, I saw that this problem was more widespread as business owners sought answers from everywhere but within:
New business partners
CFOs and Operations Managers.
If this sounds familiar, somewhere along the way you got talked out of your own expertise. Whether this critical voice was internal or external, you were made to believe that there were people more qualified than you to be making decisions about your business.
When really, you are and always have been the expert in your enterprise.
Finding Answers In Your Finances.
When new business clients come to me, the root cause of their uneasy feeling is not always immediately clear. Our detective work often starts with their financial data. This is not because there’s inevitably something wrong financially. Rather, it’s because the numbers of your business tell the story of your enterprise in a way that is undeniably true.
Your numbers are also the first place where you lose what I refer to as your financial power.
Financial power is - in my mind - your level of confidence in your knowledge of your finances. Not only that, it’s also your confidence in applying that knowledge to making decisions in your business.
This is the confidence you feel in your financial know-how to be the one leading the money conversation in your business.
YOU choose when it’s time to invest in that upgrade.
YOU decide when you’ve outgrown your inventory software and it’s time to kick it up a notch.
YOU determine when you need to expand the team.
YOU know that sometimes a short-term loss is part of a long-term gain.
And YOU know what spending is premature, unnecessary or downright frivolous.
Financial power is about not immediately deferring to those advisors you’ve assembled whose confidence, experience or expertise seem to surpass yours.
There’s a difference between collaboration and abdication when it comes to decision making in business:
You can COLLABORATE with others who have complementary strengths to you to support YOUR decision making; OR
You can ABDICATE your decision making to others who take the wheel from you because you mistakenly believe you’re too incapable and too unqualified.
Question time: have you stepped back from your financial data and left yourself vulnerable? Can you see where you have abdicated responsibility, only to have others step in and start expecting things to be done their way?
Where to Next? It Starts With You.
Unfortunately, there is no easy resolution for this one. This issue is not an external one – it has everything to do with YOU.
Switching accountants won’t work if you don’t deal with your lack of financial confidence.
Restructuring your management team will lose you a sh*ttonne of money and time, which may only find you back in the same spot if you haven’t truly stepped into your power as a leader.
A new bookkeeper won’t work if you don’t know how your finances function well enough to give them guardrails to work within.
Cutting ties with a strong-willed business partner can be expensive and messy, when the situation might otherwise be saved if you took back rightful control of the reins.
When you realise it was YOU who ultimately got yourself into this state, you quickly learn that you are 100% capable of setting things right.
You let louder voices than yours drown you out.
You forgot how much intelligence, tenacity and grit you have.
You forgot what you were capable of.
So how do you get your power back? The best way is by tackling the biggest area of your business where it gets taken away – you gotta take your flag and stake it smack bang in the middle of your finances, declaring them ‘mine’.
Get curious about your financial data. My go-to places are your Profit & Loss Statement and your Balance Sheet. No two reports will give you greater clarity about your business as it stands today, as well as the confidence to speak intentionally about it.
And to the broader issue of getting your power back:
Don’t let subordinates and support services have a greater say in your business than you.
Don’t let the system send you to the cheap seats.
Rise above the noise.
Take back control.
Need A Hand Getting Started?
If you’ve spent years telling yourself you’re no good at numbers, you can’t expect to undo all that self-doubt in a day.
I love working with business owners just like you, giving them a guided tour of their financial data. I make a point of taking the time to explain things in real-word terms, applying it to your unique business (if you’re sitting there thinking ‘man, I thought that was what my accountant was for’ – that’s a rant for another day!)
I’m not here to replace your accountant or bookkeeper, but rather give you the education and guidance you need to better manage these relationships (and your tech stack). I want you to lead the conversation with these supporters to get the most out of them.
Keen to get going? Head over to my booking page to book a free ‘getting to know you’ session at a time that works for you: https://freestrategysessionwithliz.youcanbook.me
Liz Jarvis BEc CA
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd_7znD53DbzVfmLoFPVZWQ
Disclaimer: These are yuck and boring but unfortunately a legal requirement for professionals in my industry. So just a reminder, the information contained here is general in nature and you should seek financial and business advice tailored to your own personal circumstances. Which, by no small coincidence, I can help you out with. Head over to my website and book a free 30 minute chat with me: https://betterbusinessdecisions.com.au/
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