THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Magic numbers and the MOAS

Every Monday my business manager, Bonnie, sends me two important emails – wherever I am in the world:

  1. The Magic Number email – that’s actually an Excel spreadsheet that looks at the current calendar month and tells me how much money we have in the bank, how much is on it’s way in to the bank, how much we owe to creditors before the month end and how much will be left. That provides me with an instant financial temperature reading and as soon as that number falls below agreed levels I know we have to do something about accelerating cash flow;

  2. The MOAS (that’s “mother of all spreadsheets” in our internal language) which I prepare at my own annual retreat every August and which is updated by Bonnie (actual replaces budget) monthly in arrear. That’s a 12-month personal and professional cash flow forecast that tells me how the whole calendar year is shaping up – sales and expenses.

The strategic and tactical development of the business is the brain of The Dental Business School but the Magic Number and MOAS are the heart and the blood supply. Our financial data is updated in real time – and there isn’t an accountant or any double-entry book-keeping to be seen. Without this (if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphors) we would drift onto the rocks very quickly. Tuesday was my second day at the desk this week – invested primarily in answering emails during the morning – and then a meeting with Bonnie in the afternoon (our first in 4 weeks) to catch up and prepare for a more formal marketing meeting on Friday. I admire the fact that Bonnie can run my business for me whilst I travel – it takes a particular strength of character, not only to manage ME – but also to do that during such long periods of absence on my part. Later in the afternoon and early evening I enjoyed some interesting phone conversations:

  1. with an old colleague from my financial services days, Martin Banbury, who is helping me with me personal income tax planning for this year – a fascinating look at legitimate tax breaks on environmental investments;

  2. with Kim Black on the development of an on-line presence for The Dental Business School and

  3. with a potential new client, helping him decide whether to sell his practice to a corporate, to his associate or to carry on himself

After a 6.00am start, I didn’t put the phone down or take much of a break until 7.30pm last night – and have to admit that I was too tired to do much other then eat some dinner and stare at rubbish on the TV for 15 minutes, before I got bored with that and read some dental magazines. Truly a business development day – but in bed early and here we go again. Another desk day today – no client calls and just head down into project work.

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