Are you having another one of those months where you can’t seem to pay the bills?
It’s easy to bury your head in the sand, borrow money, have a clearance sale, or slap together a spreadsheet to tackle the cash flow crunch on a purely technical and financial level. These knee-jerk, reactionary measures can often make things worse and perpetuate the pressure on your bank account.
Here’s the problem…
The human element cannot and should not be ignored – emotions, mindset, self sabotage, worry and fear have a tendency to creep in and permeate every aspect of your businesses because your business is just a natural extension of YOU. And if you have negative thoughts such as “being terrible with money” or “bad with numbers”, fear around not being able to pay your bills, or an unhealthy obsession with minimizing tax… all of these thoughts, emotions, mindsets and bad habits will have a direct and negative impact on your results.
Cash flow and working capital issues are by far the #1 pain point for most of you but fixing these problems and preventing them from recurring again next month is going to take a hell of a lot more than just a couple of spreadsheets, graphs and forecasts.
Your need for a quick hit of cash to make payroll (or cover a tax bill) is the equivalent of a drug user who has just dropped to the ground, presumably due to an overdose. Calling an ambulance may get her back on her feet in a relatively short period of time, but it is a poor substitute for treating the underlying emotional reasons that caused her addiction and putting a plan in place to help her stay clean.
These “chronic issues” are not easily treated with bandaid solutions. We need to dig deeper and uncover the limiting beliefs, bad habits, and self-sabotage they stem from. And unfortunately, these are often difficult to overcome.
If you’re constantly struggling with cash related issues, you probably have a “chronic poverty” mindset – and unless you are prepared to fix the problem from the inside out (dealing with both the financial literacy AND the emotional and mindset elements), you will never have a successful business.
In order to move beyond these roadblocks that keep you poor, you must first identify the underlying reasons and then address them at the source. I want to share with you the Top 5 Symptoms of a Poverty Mindset and then reveal my best tips to help you banish toxic thinking around money so that you can put strategies in place to keep cash flowing in freely.
5 Symptoms of a Poverty Mindset
#1 Profit, Money and Tax Are Bad
Have you ever caught yourself saying “I hate paying tax”? What about statements or beliefs like “money is the root of all evil” or “a good name is better than riches”?
Money, profit and tax are not inherently good or bad. They’re just words and they have no meaning other than the ones that you choose to give to them.
Money is a piece of paper that you use to pay for things. Profit is merely an accounting term used to describe what is left over after all expenses are deducted from the revenue you generated. It’s not even a real or tangible thing that you can take to the bank and deposit. And tax is something that you pay the government when you have made sales and profit. Yes, it’s an obligation, but it’s one that should want to pay because it signifies that your business is making sales.
When you attribute a negative or evil connotation to these words, you inadvertently set yourself up for a world of pain and struggle. Your brain is a survival focused mechanism – it wants to keep you out of harm’s way. If you believe that money, profit and tax are bad, your brain will always try to protect you from them – which essentially means that at a deeply subconscious level, you will sabotage yourself in order to avoid them.
When you let go of the negative meanings that you have given, you free yourself up to attract more of them into your life, which is a good thing.
#2 Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish
Have you ever driven kilometres out of your way to buy milk, gasoline, or printer cartridges because they are a few cents or dollars cheaper? Have you ever purchased things you don’t need (or bought in bulk) just because you were offered “a good deal”? Even though it seems like you are saving money, these bad habits invariably end up biting you in the bank account because you waste more time, money, and energy than it’s worth chasing them.
I’ve seen clients focus all their attention on saving $100, yet waste $100,000 by entering into a contract to purchase where the return on investment is bad and they didn’t bother asking their lawyer to review the contract before they signed it.
If you suffer from this, it’s going to take more than just sheer will power to break free. It takes 21 days to break or form a new habit and you’re going to need support from someone that you can trust to ensure that you prioritize your financial decisions and evaluate them properly.
#3 Scarcity Mentality
I had a client with a reasonably successful business who constantly lamented about her lack of money. One day when I arrived, I noticed a brand new Prada handbag on her desk. And since I know that she didn’t steal it, she was obviously able to find the money somewhere even though she regularly told herself that she didn’t have enough.
If you have scarcity mentality, you see life as if there were only one pie and if someone else gets a piece of it, that means there is less (or not enough left) for you.
Scarcity is particularly dangerous because it affects you and everyone else that you deal with. It means you are less likely to want to share (and that includes power, profit and recognition), plus you will also have a hard time being genuinely happy for the success of others. It focuses you on the extreme short term of every decision and causes you to ignore the long term consequence. Scarcity directly impacts your cash flow because it causes you to use up resources you have right now so that they can’t be taken away from you later. It leads to impulsive and bad decisions.
Abundance on the other hand, flows from a belief that there is plenty enough for everyone. Choosing to focus on abundance and gratitude for what you already have, results in sharing of prestige, profit, and decision making. And it opens up possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.
#4 Entrepreneurship is Hard
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that in order to create a successful business, they need to work themselves to death and plough all their cash back in. They choose to pay themselves very little, despite the fact that the business is actually quite successful.
Case in point, most owners pay everyone else first (including employees, the tax man, the bank, and all suppliers) and often overlook and undervalue the role they play in their own company. In order to value yourself, you must also practice putting funds aside for your own pay and retirement, as well as paying bills and earning a profit.
Creating an intentional system – regular salary for you and vacations to help you rest and rejuvenate – means you’re putting in place the building blocks to overcome this poverty mindset and create a healthy and sustainable company.
#5 Not Feeling Worthy
Small business owners rarely charge what they are worth. Whether it’s due to a lack of self-worth or just a fear of losing sales, it never pays to undercharge. Your price directly impacts your margins and your margin is one of the key determinants of cash flow. While it is possible (and common) to have a high net profit margin and low cash flow due to mismanagement, it is actually rare to have low margin and high cash flow. Unless you are raising funds or selling assets, it is impossible to have high cash flow unless you first start with decent profit.
That is why it is imperative for you to narrow the focus of what you do so that you can command a premium price. If you let others drive your price down, then you will be doomed to continually deal with cash flow issues.
It is your job to demonstrate the value of your unique solution. Until you believe that you are worth it, no amount of financial literacy training or forecasting will fix your cash flow problems.
Financial Foreplay® Highlights:
- As long as you continue to focus reactively on merely the technical and financial aspects of cash flow, you will struggle each month.
- To put an end to cash flow drama, you must strengthen your mindset, tools and resources.
- Take some time today to identify which of the 5 Poverty Mindsets is holding you back from having the business of your dreams.
- Make a plan to shift or re-frame that mindset or belief to the positive and remember to put your hand up and ask for help if you are unsure or just need support. These emotional blockers, fears, limiting beliefs and self sabotage are deeply ingrained and are going to require more than positive thinking and quick fixes to overcome. But they can be overcome.
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