For many Chicago business owners, the Memorial Day weekend is sometimes one that can feel a little lonely.
While many of those around you are floating on a boat with a fishing pole in the water, or firing up the backyard grill, there you are in the office or in the store, moving things forward while others play.
Yes, this is the life for many business owners. While owning your own business certainly comes with many rewards, these “holiday” weekends can sometimes feel like you’re swimming against the stream.
My advice is to embrace the reality of your difference. While others look to someone else to provide for the needs of their family (whether through salary or other means), you are one of those who has chosen the path of self-determination.
Taking time off, and setting clear boundaries, are an important aspect of any good work life — but often those times can be even MORE sweet when they are taken while others are in their regular work rhythm.
And that can be a much sweeter kind of “loneliness” … the kind that gives you the freedom to do what others can’t.
But sometimes we embrace too many freedoms as business owners. And it can lead to our downfall if we’re not careful.
That’s why last week I started to write about the financial behaviors of Chicago business owners who might be headed towards a fall. I thought I’d round out my thoughts this week.
Financial Behaviors For Chicago Business Owners (Part 2)
“It is better to be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington
As I mentioned last week, through the course of our work with many successful clients, I’ve made an unintentional — but close — study, over the years, of how money “works”, and just what it is that propels certain businesses into seasons of great plenty … and also what brings them down.
I hate to see small businesses who come into more resources go on to squander them, simply because they fell prey to wrong thinking.
Watch out for it in your own business, and in your key employees — and avoid these behaviors of financially-strapped businesses in Chicago…
Using credit habitually for purchases that don’t drive revenue.
Delayed gratification isn’t something they’ve heard of, and if they want something for their business, they just put it on credit. After all — it’s at a 0% interest rate for the first three months!
One purchase leads to another, and before they know it they’re buried in revolving debt. Debt loads in larger businesses can look different, but the principles remain the same. Avoid leverage these days; keep your powder dry. Making your business “look successful” (and not driving more revenue) isn’t worth expensive interest.
Always paying more than you have to.
Often businesses that have failed have gotten there because they don’t know how to negotiate, or look for better vendors. You can negotiate just about anything — from software to employee healthcare. Never pay more than you have to.
Why is it that some business owners take perverse pride in paying full rack rates? It goes before the fall, as they say … so don’t become penny-wise/pound-foolish — but neither should you eschew effective negotiation in multiple categories.
Falling prey to lifestyle inflation and “keeping up with the Joneses”.
This is a biggie for more established businesses. Even businesses with bigger cash flows can have problems staying in the black if they pay too much attention to certain kinds of “competition”. Instead of banking and retaining earnings, they raise their standard of living — buying a bigger, better office, a new car (because of the write-off) and fancy equipment for their staff. They feel like they have to keep up appearances with everyone in their marketplace.
Take a good hard look at what motivates your purchasing, and clean out the dust bunnies of comparison, lest they fill your brain with poverty-thinking.
Forfeiting future gains for celebrations today.
These businesses dwell on small, immediate victories, and don’t make an actual financial plan for longevity. They don’t realize how saving towards future initiatives or capital improvements can make a difference in their long-term growth and success.
Don’t sacrifice your retirement (or your business) on the altar of small victories.
Obviously, I’d like to help you move past these behaviors, if any apply. You may not carry every one of these traits, but just one or two can get you or your business into financial hot water.
So if this sparked something in your thinking, shoot me back an email to this strategy note through the ’email us’ button at the top of the page. Let’s make a real plan for long-term financial health for your business.
Feel very free to forward this article to a Chicago business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Chicago families and business owners.?
A.L. Taylor and Associates, PC