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Why Do Small Businesses Struggle to Understand their Finances?

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By Shane Bender

I have been reading a book called “A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger. The author argues that good and innovative questions can solve problems, improve our products and services, and add significant value to society. We are taught to have all the answers, and to question less and less as we get older. At the Right Question Institute, using data from the 2009 Nation’s Report Card, 75% of nine-year-olds use questioning as a skill for learning but only 25% of 18-year-olds use this skill. Why do we stop asking questions? Some of it is our upbringing and some the education system. We all want to be an expert and have all the information.

Do you question your business? Your finances? Your processes? Why do so many businesses fail or struggle to grow? Why do small businesses struggle to understand their finances? If you have any of these questions, check out the Forecast Your Future Course.” Get the first 5 lessons free.

I am not going to say I have all the answers, but I believe that businesses struggle financially due to the following reasons.

1. Lack of Time

We all have the same amount of time in the day, so this really isn’t an excuse. The problem is that we are heavily distracted and it can be difficult to accomplish anything worthwhile with our focus and control over your time. Now, I am probably not telling you something you didn’t know. Now you are wondering what the magic answer to time management and productivity is. This should lead you to another question.

Why am I struggling with my time management?

Why can’t I get everything done?

Am I the best person to do this task? Is there a faster way to do this?

What is the best way I can use my time in the next hour?

How can I add more value to more people in less time?

These are questions that will help you get to the bottom of your struggle.

2. Misplaced Priorities

How can we best aligned and organize our priorities?  We all have important things to do, and sometimes it seems like everything is a priority. We can’t work on everything at once so how do we know what to do next? The best way to organize priorities is to align them with key goals in your business. What are key revenue generating or time-saving ideas that you want to work on? This means you have to ask yourself a question. What is one thing you have to do to grow your business? You might answer that you need more revenue, but that leads you to a question of how best and cost-effective can you manage the revenue and customer growth?

Questions can lead to more questions. But this is not a bad thing at all. Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota Industries, taught to ask why five times to get to the root of a manufacturing problem.

3. Lack of Education 

Most business owners do not have a Master of Business Administration. Even if you did, it would get outdated soon as technology, products, and services advance. We have to keep reading and educating ourselves. The best way is to ask what is the best way to educate yourself. Just a little time each day can pay huge dividends. I recently started reading two business books a month by reading 30 minutes a day five days a week. I do this usually while exercising. This small amount of investment in time results in me reading 24 books in a year or 5,000 pages. How many ideas can I get out this?

4. Lack of Interest 

Of course, business owners desire the success of their business. I just think many of them are not interested in looking at financial reports and understanding their numbers.

Why are they not interested?

Why does it have to be boring?

How can we make finances more interesting?

Do you think spending time each month to understand your current financial situation could increase profits and cash flow?

If good cash flow is the key to hiring, growing, and making a more significant impact, then doesn’t that make finances exciting?

5. Poor Financial Mindset

Finally, many people have a poor financial mindset. They might believe they aren’t good at numbers or they will delegate this all away to someone else. They might think technology is too difficult or accounting is too difficult. In the “Forecast Your Future Course,” the first module is devoted to improving your financial mindset. You can get the first module for free by signing up here.  How we think of money has a significant impact on our growth in our business.

Do you have an abundance mindset regarding business or do you think there is a limited number of resources available and it is up to us to scrap to get our piece of the pie?

If so, why do you have this mindset?

How can you reframe and change your mindset?

It is tough owning a business. I heard recently that entrepreneurship is the best form of personal development and I agree. You learn so much about your current reasoning. You learn to question the status quo, to educate yourself, and add value. So, take control of your business, be productive, sett priorities (goals), continue to learn, be interested in your finances, and develop an abundant financial mindset.

Forecast Your Future Course

Do you desire to gain a better understanding of where you are today financial and where you are headed in your business? Would you like to reach your financial destination quickly? Do you desire to grow revenue, spend wisely, and manage cash flow? Check out the Forecast Your Future Course for more information.   Also, check out my book Forecast your Future: How Small Businesses Exchange Stress and Chaos for Cash and Clarity.