THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Sometimes you just have to take action

I’ve called an extraordinary management meeting today – pulled Team CB off the road and we are all going to meet at Bonnie’s house. Why? Because I monitor my cash flow like a hawk, using an Excel spreadsheet that we call the “MOAS” (mother of all spreadsheets). The MOAS is created during my annual retreat in August each year – and then updated and monitored on a weekly basis throughout the year. As income exceeds or falls short of budget, as expenses rise or arrive unexpectedly, we alter the numbers. This year I am reinvesting heavily in the Team and the business – and I’m also seeing some unexpected expenses both professionally and personally. Bonnie and I looked at the numbers last week and saw that we are shooting almost £45,000 over budget by 31st December. That’s cash that I don’t have in the business and do not want to introduce from outside the business – we have to take action NOW. Options:

  1. Increase prices – I don’t want to do that because I don’t believe the market is ready;

  2. Increase targets for client acquisition in our core programme at The Dental Business School – I don’t want to do that because I feel that all of my Team would lose their belief that the targets are realistic and achievable;

  3. Increase variety of product and service offerings – more payable steps in the marketing funnel – that’s a good idea;

  4. Reduce costs – we have already decided to shelve some big reinvestment projects for the balance of the year and I am also consolidating some short term debt to reduce our repayments;

So the focus for today’s meeting will be “how do we increase our product and service offerings in a way that:

  1. will be of great value to the clients

  2. will generate an additional £45,000 of revenue before the year end and

  3. will NOT exhaust me – we have to look carefully at ways of leveraging my time and energy – just adding more “gigging” days to my calendar is not a workable solution.”

Should be a good meeting – my head was already spinning with ideas on this morning’s run. I consider the MOAS to be my most important business management system – at least we can identify a cash flow problem 5 months in advance and do something about it. I also pride myself on being a great customer – we have no long-term trade creditors in the business – we pay our bills on time, every time. Strong and well-monitored cash flow is the single most important source of professional peace of mind.

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