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a blog by Chris Barrow

The Perfect Imperfectionist – Step 10 of 11

I recently posted a blog about my daily routine for “cranking up the work engine” – the first 30 minutes of my working day are a ritual of checking my various social media networks, emails, calendar and “to do” list. CLICK HERE to review that post. There is a further routine that takes place every 48 hours (except when I’m on holiday and out of range):

  1. open my internet banking at HSBC (see above screen shot) and check on all account balances

  2. download transactions to iBank (personal financial management software)

  3. reconcile and categorise all transactions

  4. update monthly income and expenditure reports

Followers may note that I recently discovered iBank after a long search for software that was going to suit me, replace MS Money (I’m determined not to use Windows based applications) and work in UK currency and with UK banks. I’ve been using iBank for a month now and I’m very happy with the results so far. And then there is my weekly routine:

  1. update personal income & expenditure spreadsheet for the year to date

Followed by Phillippa’s weekly routine:

  1. update professional income and expenditure spreadsheets for the year to date

  2. check internet banking for the business finances and report to me

Once a month, this all comes together into an overview of how the business is doing financially, a 90-day cash flow forecast for the business and an overview of my expected personal expenses for the next month and three months. Why all of this effort?

  1. in 1993 I lost a business and my family home because I was caught out by a recession and in control of a business that was expanding too rapidly

  2. we could not generate cash quickly enough to stay airborne – we crash landed and there were no survivors

  3. the bank happily took my home in exchange for the personal guarantee I had given them for a small overdraft a few years earlier

  4. looking back, I now realise that I did not OBSESS about financial management. I was too busy out there selling stuff and thinking I was a master of the universe

  5. since then I have, of course, bounced-back and more – but the legacy is a healthy FEAR of ever repeating that episode of my life

In addition, I coach clients every day who don’t take enough notice of the money and do not analyse what is happening in their business closely enough. Watching the key ratios to make sure you are not overspending on materials, lab, staff and other important categories. Keeping a close eye on associates, therapists and hygienists to make sure they are sufficiently productive and profitable (the NUMBER ONE cause of dental financial distress in my experience). Watching the average daily productivity of all fee earners (including yourself). Thinking deeply about WHO is buying WHAT and for WHICH reason. And then, at the end of your working day, making sure that you can invest time in becoming just as FANATICAL about your personal finances. Never more than 48 hours away from knowing the numbers. Note, please, the 20% rule – that there is a time for just going out there and “treating yourself” to lovely clothes, a holiday, gadgets or whatever floats that boat. More fun, I have learned from bitter experience, when you have planned the event, rather than waking the next morning with the cold sweat of “buyers remorse”. Its my fanatical obsession with “knowing the numbers” that reduces the stress levels in my life by an order of magnitude and increases my self-esteem and self-confidence. You can do the same with simple maths, good spreadsheet skills and a small investment of time.

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