What To Do When You Are Uncertain
I am going through a personal issue right now. My landscaping business is growing at a rate faster than my capital can suffice. In my business and in my industry we are normally paid 30 days after work has been completed (net 30). Prior to me starting my business I wanted to grow as fast as I possibly could. I wanted to add as many contracts each month as I possibly could take on. I didn’t take into account the who financial responsibility that goes along with that. I only envisioned in checks coming in. I didn’t think about the cost I would have to carry inbetween work completed and payment received. I went through a period this summer in Jul — Oct. where I was adding 2/3 properties each month back to back. It sounds great yet what I didn’t envision was how the finances were going to pay out. Let me explain in detail:
Start Property A in July which pays — $1200/month. We complete July and I invoice at the end of July for the work that was completed.
Start Property B,C and continue A in Aug which adds up to about $3k/month. Through Aug, I have payroll (twice a month). I have to have finances for my payroll (which has increased due to the addition of the (3) properties). Payment for property A can come into the office anytime from Aug. 1–30.
Start Property D,E and continue A,B,C in Sept which adds up to about $5k/month. I have now gotten use to property A because labor is going to stay consistent (for this property in particular, I am not comfortable with D & E) & payment has been made. However now I am paying for the increase in payroll for B,C,D,E and depending on when payment is received for B & C I could possibly carry that cost through all of Sept. I will again invoice for all properties at the end of the month and have to carry properties D & E through Oct until those payments come in.
So why do I share this. What does this have to do with you. Following Oct. I had become uncertain with what I was doing. My sales team (me) was able to go out and close deal yet my production (really the cash the company had) was not able to supply the growth and so the question is what do you do when you are uncertain about a situation? When you become uncertain with your current situation how do you not get stuck in the mud and lose your momentum. My answer to that is you build up areas that you are weak. You take that momentum into another part of your life, business or situation and work on that part until things catch up. I took time off from marketing and went back into the company and strengthen our operations, installed systems that run more efficient, put in spending controls. Gained more knowledge from those who are doing better than myself. I continued to gain momentum in other areas that I was in control of. I did not want to sit back and wait until finances caught up and then get the train moving all over again.
I read a book a long time ago called Ready, Fire, Aim ( I did write that correctly). There was one message that is 4hrs into the book that said when you are starting a business it is like starting a locomotive train. At first it is going to take a lot of energy to get it moving, however once that train is moving downt the track it is going to be much easier to increase speed and maintain the momemtum. You do whatever you can to maintain momentum you never want to slow your train down when things are going in the right direction. As I write I thought of another book that I will share momentarly and so I did not want to slow my train down. I knew I had to let my finances catch up but I didn’t want to not do anything. So I went into the “backoffice” and worked on things behind the scenes that the customer does not see in order to make us more efficient, and ensure quailty. The other book that I thought of as I was writing was “The Intelligent Entrepreneur” (a great book that follows three entreprenuers). One student got a mentorship or was able to work under a significant leader in her industry. The mentor coached her on the ins and outs and how to run the company. His top lesson that he told her was, always remember “DROOM”. He said no matter if you remember anything I teach you remember “DROOM” which stands for “Don’t Run Out of Money” I will let you read the book because I am paraphrasing and don’t remember the details specifically, but I remember “Droom”. In your business and even in your personal life remember “Droom”.
With all of that being said. It takes a lot to get your locomotive moving. When obstacles come up and you begin to feel uncertain about a situation you must not get stuck in the mud. You must keep moving, funnel your energy into another portion of your business or life. It is much easier to shift the direction of your locomotive then it is to stop it and then start all over again and who knows you might realize that what you was uncertain on was not as bad as you thought and you can continue as planned.
It’s always great…