Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Leslie Hassler. Leslie Hassler is a dynamic author, speaker, and business strategist guiding women-owned, service-based businesses into more profits, cash flow, and success using her unique Scaling Rich Method. Learn more at https://yourbizrules.com/
SmallBizLady: What is the #1 mistake small business owners are making with money in their business?
Leslie Hassler: Easy. They reactively manage it. It’s always a surprise or putting out fires. There seems to be some unspoken belief that if you ‘work harder’ the money will follow. There’s no magical money fairy waiting to bless your bank account. You have to be strategic in how you cultivate, manage and flow the money in your business.
SmallBizLady: Do I really need to be aware of the numbers coming through my business?
Leslie Hassler: Yes. Yes. Yes. It’s the single largest indicator of what is going on in your business. Not paying attention to the numbers in your business is like getting driving your car on the freeway, setting the cruise control to 80 and then blindfolding yourself. This is one of the best indicators of how well your business is performing and what areas need focus. It can even tell you what you need to stop doing.
SmallBizLady: How do I increase the cash flow in my business without overloading myself with work?
Leslie Hassler: First make sure that your business model will actually produce cash at a reasonable work level. I know that sounds obvious, but often times business owners guess at things like pricing and just ‘hope’ that it works. Good Business is Good Math—if the math doesn’t work, the business won’t work either.
SmallBizLady: What do most business owners not realize about growing their businesses?
Leslie Hassler: It’s part art, it’s part science – but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You make things complicated by focusing on the ‘bigness’ of it and trying to hustle and grind your way to the top. Gone are the days of being successful in a silo. Your quickest path to cash and growth will always involve people. Mastering that point of leverage is the key to getting growth reliably and sustainably.
SmallBizLady: What’s the difference between growing and scaling your business?
Leslie Hassler: Growth is where you should start; it is just where most businesses get trapped. Growth is about getting stability, proof of concept, knowing that you can market and sell your services. The trap of it is that for every dollar of revenue you earn while ‘growing’; you typically have a 75 cent investment to service that revenue, think of it as a 1 to .75 ratio. Scaling is about being able to produce a disproportionately higher amount of revenue for the required investment or expense. For service businesses, we are looking for an increase in revenue that can pass through to the bottom line.
SmallBizLady: How do business owners identify what the next step in their business is?
Leslie Hassler: Get clear on your 5 W’s – WHERE do you want to grow to, by WHEN, and WHAT means, so that you can do WHAT, and WHY does that matter? Clarity is power, but it requires discernment, focus, and discipline.
SmallBizLady: What would most business owners be surprised to know in regards to scaling their business?
Leslie Hassler: That scaling is about the power of tiny gains, the power of 1. It means doing less to a greater impact. That’s why your numbers matter—you will be amazed at what your business is telling you. It’s amazingly freeing when you realize that the secret to exponential growth is about doing less, not more.
SmallBizLady: What would business owners be surprised to know about getting out of a financial crunch?
Leslie Hassler: Every business goes through the belly of the beast. A financial crunch demands that you first go through triage then rehab and then training. Most small business owners operate their business on 2-4 weeks of cash. It’s like living paycheck to paycheck in your personal life. There are no resources to weather the storms or choppy waters that cyclically hit every business. If a business at least has money coming into the door, triage can last up to 3 months, but once we get through that, we can turn the corner. My clients learn the value of building financial resources and implementing tools that give us a heads ups when their businesses are heading into dangerous waters.
SmallBizLady: Is there a way for business owners to find more cash in their business?
Leslie Hassler: Almost always, even when I think that I’m not going to find cash in a business, I find it. Crazily, we find more cash in a business when things are going well, and they are very busy. When we do a business audit, that is one thing that we are looking for—where is the cash hiding, where has the cash been left on the table, where is the opportunity being lost to leverage cash to its full power.
SmallBizLady: What is the most powerful practice business owners should start using today to scale their business?
Leslie Hassler: Get the cash right! Look, one of the universal truths is that growth and scaling need cash in order to flourish. The kicker is that you can put yourself into a negative cash position fast when you are scaling because you always invest before success. The key is to be financially stable first so that you can invest and allow that growth to mature.
SmallBizLady: Is there anything else you want business owners to know?
Leslie Hassler: Don’t judge the numbers. We find that most business owners always judge the numbers as being ‘not enough.’ We don’t judge the zeros, that’s not my job. It’s my job to understand what the numbers are saying and help guide my clients to understand how to bring them into alignment with what their goals are for their business.
SmallBizLady: How can business owners get ahold of you so they can get help finding cash in their business (so they can finally scale!)?
Leslie Hassler: If you are ready to find that cash, I’d love to help you with a business audit. The easiest first step is to chat with one of my team members to make sure it is a good fit for you and your business. You can easily schedule some time for that at www.yourbizrules.com/chat
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