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Are Your Finances Falling Apart?

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

When we first meet with prospective new clients, the driver for the meeting is almost always finances falling apart and, not surprisingly, these issues have been percolating for a while. Most small business owners are problem solvers, so the inability to resolve problems with their books is distressing. As you can imagine, these small business owners are often cycling through a series of negative emotions and thoughts over a prolonged period of time. Understanding this dynamic, is important for us to address early in the conversation.

Woman with head in her hands - Frustration

Frustration – Understandably, this is perhaps the most common behavior we encounter. In our experience, frustration stems from negative or unpredictable cash flow with no clear answer as to why. Secondly, we encounter negativity concerning quality of back-office staffing or accounting and/or processes. There are often other ancillary issues, but these two are the primaries.

Ultimately, frustration is the result of unmet expectations, particularly when we find ourselves unable to fix things ourselves. There should be no shame in this. The reality is we can’t all be experts at everything. We are not designed that way. So, the first step in getting past frustration is to recognize the need for outside help.

Woman holding coffee cup in one hand and long receipt in the other with a look of surprise on face - Panic

Panic – This behavior is tethered to the intensifying nature of a prolonged problem exacerbated by unexpected, negative surprise(s). Typically, the driving issue is worsening cash flow coupled with recent knowledge of previously unexpected late bills or tax payments. The pressure of figuring out how to come up with additional cash mixed with the uncertainty of what to fix is overwhelming.

While cash flow is the driver for action, it is always a lagging symptom of one or more problems, which almost always concerns the bookkeeping systems, people and process. The good news is most businesses can recover with some outside help to identify and resolve the underlying issues, provided they don’t wait too long. So don’t wait too long for help!

Man in suit holding up one finger - Denial

Denial – Most small business owners are optimistic by nature; it seems hardwired into their DNA enabling them to weather difficult situations well. When the finances are compromised or in chaos, the flipside of this optimism manifests itself, denial. Frankly, it is highly unusual for us to meet with a potential client who is in denial. People in denial don’t ask for help. On the rare occasions we do, denial often represents itself as a devaluing of good accounting systems, processes and people. These are often short calls with no resolution.

Man with head in hand sitting in a chair - Embarrassment

Embarrassment – No one wants their problems aired to the public; particularly small business owners. Understanding they are self-starters, problem-solving mavericks, it is beyond humbling to ask for help – to let someone else look under the hood. We get it; we really do! It doesn’t matter how bad “it” is; it should be comforting to know we have most likely seen “it” and dealt with “it” before. We find our role centered around identifying and solving issues; not to judge our clients. Getting past embarrassment grows our emotional intelligence and allows for greater growth in the future.

Calculator leaning up against a stack of paper and binders - Paralysis

Paralysis – Recently, we met a prospective client for the second time. We’d spoken to him six months prior and in the time since our first meeting and second, his business’s financial situation had deteriorated significantly. He had been frozen in place, watching a train wreck in slow motion. “You can’t take your eyes off of it. You don’t know what to do, so you just keep watching it unravel.”

Often we think inaction will yield better information, but the reality is inaction really allows problems to multiply to often devastating effect. It’s important to acknowledge when things don’t make sense and you don’t know what to do (especially with finances) – ask for help – as soon as you can.

In conclusion, if your finances are falling apart, we would like to encourage you with this. If you are struggling with your finances where cash flow is unpredictable and things don’t add up; you are not alone. In fact, you are in great company! Digging past frustration, panic, denial, embarrassment and/or paralysis to get help allows you and your business the opportunity to grow and thrive into the future.

If this post resonates with you and you haven’t asked for help just yet, please click here to request a free 45 minute meeting. Check out our website for more information.

We’d love to help!

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