Dealing with financial pressure

Dealing with financial pressure…

Financial pressure seems to be all around us at the moment from government to business to private individuals, nobody has been left untouched. If you are in the fortunate situation of having plenty, do one thing teach one other person what you have obviously learned somehow already.

Dealing with money has always been a great taboo in many companies but also in many households. In many families most children don’t find out what it takes to pay bills until they are well into their teens and when they very likely have already picked up the handout mentality of mum & dad will pay for it. If you were one of the lucky few that was taught to save a few euro’s everytime you received some, you possibly learned the best habit and if you kept it up throughout your working life you possibly are one of the few happy and unworried people in this crisis.

Most companies (and if we may say so governments too) spent everything they had and saved very little or invested very little. Very few companies did a lot of cost control in the good times and in fact that is possibly the best time to do it. In a harsh climate all of a sudden the excess will get stripped back and if you are wondering whether you should, just go ahead and work costs down to the bare essentials. It is amazing if you ask each and everyone of your staff members to come up with cost saving ideas, what will actually be saved, from trivia such as stationery to more expensive outgoings such as rent, etc.

Cutting costs has to work in tandem with increased sales efforts in order to ride out the storm. It may mean that what you are offering will need to be revised in order to suit a demand that is currently in the market and to suit a target audience that still has access to cash. In other words put the creative hats on and do some brainstorming around target markets and reworked services or products to suit a recession.

When it comes to dealing with money shortage, face up to reality as soon as you can. Talk to the people you owe money to, the banks, your staff, your family, etc. You very likely are not the only one in the market with this issue and in the end of the day honesty will stand for you in the long run. When you have no money to pay for something, come clean and say so. With the uncertainty that is around, making promises that you can’t keep isn’t helpful nor good for your reputation and whilst you may feel your pride get’s hurt when explaining that you have no money, it is worse when you have to face the stressful place of court cases and other orders against your name.

In order to function as a human being, you do have to compartmentalise your financial stress to one side. If it starts to consume each and every hour and every minute, you are in a downward stress spiral and unlikely to make good decisions for your business or yourself and that is if you are actually still making decisions. Compartmentalising financial pressure can be a challenge, but set aside an hour every day to deal with what you cand deal with in terms of money, whether that is credit chasing, invoicing or renegotiating bills payment or payment terms, just make it a finite amount of time. Then after that park the financials until the next day and focus on creating new business or looking after the business you still have. The clients you have now and that are consistently paying are the ones to keep for the long haul, so make sure you look after them.

If you find your mind wandering back to money worries consistently then it’s time to retrain it in parking the item for the hour that you have set aside. Pick a point in the office, preferably a walk away from your desk and any time your mind starts to worry about money again, write tthe worry out on a piece of paper and go put in it’s dedicated place. After a number of times your mind will catch on to continue on with the other business your were supposed to be doing instead. It is a matter of playing mind games as well as tackling the problems head on.

When you have staff or a partner if the financial stress is palying out at home, then explain your system and agree that only once a day will you discuss the money issues and look at potential solutions. Harping on about them consistently has never made them go away. If you really do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, go look for advice as soon as you can. Whatever you do don’t ignore it.

If the worst comes to the worst and we hope it doesn’t happen to any of you, but if you were stripped of all your posessions, your assets, etc. what is still left is you. It may be a dented and less proud version of the previous you, but your core, your mind, your values and what you stand for cannot be taken from you. Possessions can be but your inner self you have to keep and nobody outside of you can touch that. If this is your reality, then have a good look and maybe now is the time to re-decide and re-think what you want to do with the remainder of your life. If for a short time you need to lie low or take it easier in order to get back on your feet, then be gentle on you and go with it.

Whatever happens, know that bad times are always followed by good times, it is the law of economics.

We wish all of you struggling out there a bit of a boost both mentally as well as financially and we hope that you have the courage and calmness of mind to keep on working towards your goals even if they may take a little longer or a new route.

Have a prosperous final quarter of 2011.

The art of letting go of what you love and newness overwhelm

The art of letting go of what you love and newness overwhelm

It’s taken me a while to finally come to a place where I can write about the last 6 to 8 weeks, which have been full of change and challenges of every kind. Hindsight knowledge is a great teacher, but useless when you are in the middle of exactly what will prove to be futile later.

Deciding to move away from a city I love (Cork), all the friends and contacts I got to know so well over the years as well as my favourite nature spots, coffee places, etc. has been the hardest thing to do. On good days I can now think about it with joy and happy memories, on a bad day it still brings tears and heartache. The last 2 weeks in Ireland were full of high emotions; it is no mean feat to leave behind the business that has been your life and reason for getting up in the morning for close to 10 years. Harder again I found saying goodbye to my close friends and people I did business with regularly. In some cases I know it is the final goodbye and for others I know it is only a temporary until we meet again. A lot of people promised to come along to goodbye parties and for whatever reason their life got in the way, which for me was a little disappointing to learn I only meant very little to them on the other hand those that did show made my day and there were a few surprises there too. So bittersweet is the term, I guess.

My rotary club in Cork pulled out all the stops to give me a proper send-off and they helped in so many ways in getting things to storage and other practical help with moving and transport. My close friends were exceptional, each and every one took their time and I miss them the most. Just the freedom to go and meet for coffee, a drive, a dinner or just a chat it really makes the difference between feeling loved and lonely.

I don’t know if there is such a thing as an easy way of letting go of what you love and the people you love? The only way through those weeks for me was to keep looking forward, if I stood still I was in danger of making a complete u-turn or fall to pieces neither which was really much of an option. It has been a big leap into the unknown, not knowing anyone here, no local language skills nor knowledge of how anything works. I have to say the newness overwhelm had me in more twists than the letting go side even though I would safely say I am still processing that one too.

It is amazing how tensed I got when every day one or several new challenges arose. After 4 weeks I had lived in four different places and none of them near to the standard I had hoped to be able to rent, but for now moving is off my list of objectives partly because I despise it with passion and secondly I want the next move to be to somewhere I really want to be. The bureaucracy is baffling and somewhat unsettling at times, but for now I only deal with one official instance a week and that policy seems to be working. Trying to get it all sorted as soon as possible turned out to be a stressful illusion. The language I haven’t got to grips with and the fairy tale that everyone speaks good English here until you ask a question then the truth comes out.

On the positive work is great and has been a positive move, having won a rookie award after 3 weeks was a little stunning. But I guess in true form I did hit the ground running, because it probably also was the only thing I knew how to do over here so my attention has been pretty much on the job. Transport works like a dream and you can even claim a taxi back from the public transport company when they run more than 20 minutes late, which I think is rather cool (still have to figure out how, but knowing you can is a great start). In all living costs seem to be similar to Ireland. Rent and bills are lower, food the same, drinking out is mega-expensive but drinking in is do-able.

For now dealing with change will remain the order of the day for quite some time to come. And for those who have gone down this road you know there are good days and bad days and hopefully over time the bad ones will become less frequent. As for the language, I am sometimes enjoying not understanding even if the majority of the time I would rather understand. As for friends the true friends are there for me and they have been special with daily messages, phone calls, e-mails, skype etc. they in my view deserve true thanks because without them I would probably have packed up by now. Thank you and stay with me.

If someone has mastered the art of letting go of the things and people you truly love, then do fill me in on the process…I am still wondering if there is a process for it. Much as a I like a new challenge, dealing with all things new lead to a whole new experience of newness overwhelm, where when the level of new became too much I would rather not do anything. Having had a weekend back on familiar territory with friends and things I knew how to do and everyone understanding me, was an absolutel gift my inner self needed to calm down again.

Thank you to all my friends, without you the last few weeks would have been impossible.

Fine line between entrepreneurial vision and illusion or even delusion

Fine line between entrepreneurial vision and illusion or even delusion

In dealing with entrepreneurs we often find the enthusiasm to live their vision absolutely infectuous and even in times of adversity some entrepreneurs manage to live their vision and believe in it’s positive outcome no matter what, some at the risk of being delusional and living an illusion.

Now if you are the employee or the private partner, you may be thinking ‘I always said that’ and ‘see I am right, didn’t I tell you’. Before you start your gloating conclusion, we would have seen a lot of very successful entrepreneurs over the years and they all talk of having to hold onto their vision despite the naysayers and despite challenging economic or business times. So to be clear we don’t want to promote for any entrepreneur to give up on their vision, but we do want them to check whether they are creating it or just living on the edge of delusion without a practical plan.

A delusional person equally has total belief their ideas will become reality, the only problem being they have no backbone or basis to back up these ideas. The visionaries of the entrepreneurial world do have a map even if at times it may be a rough map and the route may change, they have done their research and have valid information to indicate that they are on track. It would be considered irresponsible for an architect to build a house without plans, but entrepreneurs with delusional natures think it’s perfectly fine to build a business without a plan.

In tough economic times it is even more important to believe in your vision, because now the negative people will be out in force telling you that you will not survive and we are sure from talkign to our clients that even the most succesful at times contemplate whether they should keep going. In order to keep your vision real, the key is to establish some ground rules and basics you work towards. It includes having an end game plan or cut-off point where you decide it has been enough or time to sell up or close. We believe some minimum basics to ensure business viability need to be covered, so that your company can still pay bills and then an active sales plan on how you will be growing and what the targets are, after that a case of focusing on selling as much as possible with minimal resources.

Expenditure of great companies is minimal and well managed. Their key resource is always it’s people and they make the turnaround effort to keep the entrepreneurial vision alive. Great companies invest in people and have a strong culture all geared towards the vision and the key role of the entrepreneur is to keep the dream alive and motivate those around him to feel the same. This may mean stepping out and leading from the frontline when those on the front line are losing faith, or spending time in the back office to make sure all runs smoothly there.

In stormy times, the boats that make it through have usually put reefs in the sails, tighten the ropes and sailed a conservative course only to pick up the pace once safety has been found again, their focus is on the telltales and the compass to help the skipper stay on course.

The question is: are you living the entrepreneurial vision or delusion? No matter what the answer is right now, make a plan and then implement it as if your life depended on it.

We wish you a profitable vision