Now you may be wondering just what the picture of a red-tailed hawk has to do with an article about quarter-end and success, so let me tell you a little story before I dive into the nuts and bolts of this article.
For several years I had the great pleasure of studying shamanic medicine and during that time, I learned a lot about the animals and birds (among other things) that grace our beautiful planet.
I learned about their habitat, their food of choice, and about their “ways” of being.
The red-tailed hawk (referred to as the red eagle by the Hopi people because it flies so high, like an eagle) has the habit of watching everything very intently all at once, of seeing the “big picture” just as it is about to swoop down and expertly pick its relatively tiny prey off the ground.
The red-tailed hawk happens to also be my totem animal…and that gift of being able to see the big picture of a business and then zoom down into the finite details and the swoop back up to see the whole again is what thrills me about my life and my own “way of being…”
And it serves me awfully well in business…and my clients love me for it, too!
But what’s that got to do with you and quarter-end?
Quarter-end is a time to reflect back on how things have truly gone in your business to date: to take a good look at the entire picture of what’s happened so far.
And then, after seeing the Big Picture, it’s time to swoop down into the finer details to really look closely a the individual components of your business, one of which I want to focus on today: MONEY.
While I recommend looking at your numbers and knowing your income and expenses on a weekly basis, reviewing your profit-loss statements and cash flow statements each quarter allows you to see a trend in terms of how things are unfolding. It’s an entire three months of data from which you can draw some pretty powerful conclusions, the most important of which is: are you making a profit?
I have found that many entrepreneurs like to focus on how much money they bring in (their gross income).
This is a big number, so it’s exciting to look at – I like looking at mine, too! But it is negligent to focus solely on gross income.
One must look at expenses, too, and determine your net income or profit. Who cares how much you bring into the business if your expenses are so high that you are incurring debt each month? It doesn’t matter if you bring in a million dollars a year. If it costs you a million dollars plus five cents to bring that million dollars in, you’re not profiting and thus you are working at a deficit. And that, my friends, is not the goal of the successful entrepreneur!
The second most important reason to look closely at your quarter-end statements is to determine if you are on track to meet your 2015 revenue or income goals. There are, after all, only 4 quarters in the year. If, after the first three, you are not on a clear trajectory towards your year-end goal, then you need to course-correct!
The great news is that a course-correct after the end of any quarter is a very simple thing to do.
One of the challenges to working with clients solely on a project-by-project base is that I don’t have the opportunity to dive deeply into the entire business to really get a sense of how things are going overall (that all-important Big Picture), which means that the support that I provide and the numbers we review together are only those that apply to that particular project.
And that has it’s benefits, too, don’t get me wrong! It’s critical to know that the website we have over-hauled together is bringing in the leads, and it’s imperative that we’ve worked towards hiring the right team members to get that project launched and swimming along perfectly. The numbers in that case lend their support to our decisions as act as proof that we’ve “done well.”
One of the key benefits, however, of working with my long-term clients is that it gives us the opportunity to look at the hard numbers (the small and ever-so-important details) and evaluate how the business is doing overall (swooping back out to that Big Picture again).
And then we get to ask that all-important question: how do we keep this amazing momentum flowing forward?
And that’s the real sweet spot for any business owner…to know that what they’re doing is working, and now it’s just a question of keeping that momentum high!
Whether you’ve a staff of a million people or you’re a team of one…whether you’re working with a coach or going it alone…whether you’re grossed five bucks or six hundred thousand…you simply cannot afford to stick your head in the sand when it comes to your money.
So I invite you to take the time to create a new habit at this quarter-end (if you don’t do this already) and really take a hard look at your numbers. Make the time to peer closely at the details!
If you like what you see, then celebrate!
And if you’re not so sure what you’re looking at or aren’t certain what to do about the problems that your money picture clearly indicates are going on behind the scenes, then reach out and get the support you need. I’m here for you! Together we can get things on track…for this quarter and all the rest to come!
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Rebecca Liston helps her clients predict, pivot, and compete in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Her clients quickly uncover the root of their challenges and know the actions to take to overcome them. A six-time nominee for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, Rebecca combines business strategy with intuition, giving her clients the edge on forward-thinking, elegant answers to their most complicated problems. Her clients are entrepreneurs with CEO-mindsets and executives with entrepreneurial instincts. She is based in London, Ontario. What if you could get the answer to your biggest business challenge, in one sitting? Visit rebeccaliston.com to find out more.