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Money Solutions: Find Cash Before Borrowing

Money Solutions: Find Cash Before Borrowing
Employee Emeritus Employee Emeritus ‎11-15-2011 03:58 PM

TanyaB.pngGuest post from Tanya Brockett this month’s featured author from the Verizon Author Series. Tanya is a former adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship and Book Publishing at the University of Virginia; 15-year advocate of and consultant to entrepreneurs; and author of The Loan Solution.

 

 

When a small business falls into financial trouble nowadays, what does it do? Loral Langemeier, author of the national bestseller The Millionaire Maker, says we think small and retract. Additionally, because the credit markets have been so adept at increasing our reliance on them, we look to who we can borrow from to get out of the hole. Do you see the flaw?  We don’t say, “How can I create more cash to change things?” We ask instead, “where can I borrow from to turn things around?”

 

We need to shift our money consciousness to start thinking creation rather than just borrowing or trading. We are trading time for money, trading interest fees for money, or trading our first born for money. Though there are times when leveraging ourselves with debt capital makes strategic sense, small businesses should also be thinking of creating cash in multiple ways.

 

Changing the money mindset

 

In order to shift our small business mindset from indebtedness to cash creation, it requires a shift in perspective. Many success teachers tell us that if we cannot see our business thriving instead of just surviving, it probably won’t. If we cannot see ourselves being successful and working with great clients/customers who see our value and are willing to pay for it, we won’t.

 

So the first step in creating Money Solutions for your business starts with you. You have to believe that you have something of value to offer and that you have every likelihood of being successful offering it, or there is no point in continuing to struggle!

 

In my entrepreneurship classes, I have my students visualize their ideal business and its success. They literally close their eyes and see the clients, the employees, the money flowing in, the products shipping out, and the positive impact that they are having on the community and their customers. I want them to feel what it would feel like to be successful doing what they are passionate about doing. If they can’t see it or feel it now, how will they recognize it when it happens? How will they continue to strive for it when the going gets tough? If they can’t see success now, what is the chance that they will ever make it a reality?

 

 

Get on the right path                     

 

For those of us in the line of business that makes a difference in the lives of our clients and for whom working is a pleasure, getting in alignment with our true intentions of providing service is a necessary first step. Whether you are a plumber or an accountant or a consultant or a professional speaker, your customer’s needs must be met by the service you provide, or you are wasting your time and your customer’s money. And yours too.

 

Knowing that we are doing what we set out to do, and recognizing that we must “be in business to make money” in order to continue providing that great product or service for our clients, we should then open our minds to a variety of streams of income, not just those tied to the sales of our primary products or services.

 

 

First, review your results

 

Sometimes we continue to operate under the status quo just because it is the way we have always done it. In this economy, that is simply not good enough. In Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles, he shares an equation that states that E + R = O. Simply put, events and our responses to those events, create our results or our outcomes. So, from a business/money perspective, if business is slow and we spend $1,000 on an ad in a news periodical, that only generates $200 worth of business, our outcome is a loss of $800. Yet, because we don’t often measure the results of our business decisions and we figure running ads is what businesses do when they want clients, we run that add four more times, yielding similar results, and lose more than $4,000. We keep responding the same way and get the same or worse results.

 

If, instead, we recognized that the E (slow sales) was still there, and our original approach (the news print ad) caused us to lose more money, we can change our response for a different outcome. So we change our R (our approach) by choosing to sponsor an event that directly impacts our target customer, and our outcome (O) changes. We pay $5,000 to sponsor an event that leads to $20,000 in additional sales, and our outcome is much improved simply by thinking out of the box and responding to the results. If we look at where we have spent our money and evaluate the return on that investment, we can choose a different path that will lead to different results. If we don’t change our response (R), we have no right to complain about how much money we wasted (or how bad the economy is, etc.).

                                                                                                         

Know what you want

 

If you have specific business/financial goals that you want to achieve and you write those goals down and revisit them each day, you are much more likely to achieve those goals. Brian Tracy talks about this very specifically in the book Eat that Frog. Jack Canfield takes that a step further, and offers several success principles for achieving your goals, like applying the “Rule of 5s.” The Rule of 5s means to take five steps or actions towards your goals each day. To do so, you have to know what you want, and have it written down so you can refer to it each day to have a target to shoot for. This includes money for your business.

 

Knowing what you want is also essential for receiving it. One example I have often given my entrepreneurship students: I can’t write a check to you for “somewhere between $20,000 and $50,000.” I have to know a specific number to write on a check before I can give it to you, so you need to know what that number is so you can tell me!

 

So after you have analyzed your business results and have established goals for the upcoming fiscal year, be clear on what it is you need to make those goals happen.

 

 

Visualize its attainment

 

As mentioned earlier, if you cannot see yourself achieving a goal, financial or otherwise, you are not as likely to bring it to fruition. So, once you have set a business financial target, you should see yourself successfully achieving it each day until it comes to pass. You’ll be amazed at the actionable ideas that come to mind as you do so.

 

If you think that visualizing is silly, ask the top Olympic athletes if they see themselves crossing the finish line before they run their races. Ask pro golfers if they see themselves hitting that long putt and winning the match before they play. As Secrets of the Millionaire Mind author T. Harv Eker might say, if you feel stupid doing this, ask yourself: would I rather feel normal/smart and be poor, or would I rather feel stupid and be rich? You decide.

 

 

Stay open for something new

 

We have entered both challenging and exciting times. It is from the depth of recessions that millionaires are born. Necessity is the mother of invention. When challenged with obstacles, view them as opportunities to create new ways of doing things, new ways of making money, and new ways of creating meaningful business relationships. Open your mind to new thought processes and possibilities. Learn to collaborate with others in your industry for the good of all concerned, instead of operating purely on the competitive plane. It is my belief that doing so will offer up to you new opportunities for Money Solutions that you would never have thought of on your own.

 

I’ll review these and offer more insights during my webinar tomorrow, November 16 at 2 p.m. ET. Click here to sign up for this live free webinar or go http://bit.ly/rU6ATO.

 

 

[Editor’s note: To win your free copy of The Loan Solution be one of the first 15 people to send an email to vzsmallbiz@verizon.net telling us you’d like a copy of Tanya’s book.  Of course, in the email, do share with us how you handle your company’s cash flow.]

 

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Employee Emeritus

Tanya Brockett shares alternative sources of money:

 

Once you know where you have been, you know what you want, and you can see yourself achieving it, open your mind to the opportunities that are all around you. There are a variety of ways to create cash in your business. Below are just a few thoughts to get you started (find more details in the upcoming Money Solutions book).

 

Your pockets—This may sound obvious, but many of us forget to look in our own pockets when looking for new cash resources. Places to look include the cookie jar, the mattress, the savings accounts, the online trading accounts, the long-term investment accounts, Paypal/online business transaction accounts, and the like. Equity that you have in other investments or properties might also create leverage for you. You might even sell equity in your business entity to angel investors or venture capitalists, if appropriate.

 

Creating new money from underutilized assets or activities could be another opportunity for you. You might also look at the assets you own that no longer serve you, that can be sold to generate new cash. Craigslist and eBay have made it much easier to turn tangible items into cash. Be aware that you may also need some of your own money to leverage the credit markets for greater cash (discussed next).

 

Credit markets—Credit may be a bad word these days, but there are still opportunities in the credit markets that can be tapped, if the situation is right for you and your business. The Loan Solution addresses many of the issues that small business owners need to evaluate when looking at using credit as an option. Here, I’ll just highlight a few things to consider. Note that several large banks have gone on record saying they will make more loans available for small businesses in an effort to boost the economy. The number of hoops you will have to jump through to get the money will still likely be significant.

 

Traditional: These sources may include business credit cards, small business loans, US Small Business Administration guaranteed loans, factoring, asset-based lending, real estate loans, equipment leases, lines of credit, and more. Note that you should be very clear about your intentions for the use of funds when leveraging your money with debt. You should also have a very clear repayment plan set up so that you stay on top of the accounts created in this manner. Use a spreadsheet tool to assist you (contact the author for options) as discussed in Step Six of The Loan Solution. This is an important business decision and shouldn’t be entered into lightly.

 

 

Non-traditional: These sources include the growing prevalence of peer-to-peer lending networks and crowdfunding that is made possible through the Internet. As with any source of money, you should be careful who you choose, but consider evaluating sites like Prosper.com, Lending Club, Virgin Money, Kiva.com, and others. Note that not everyone gets funded, and some sites are very particular about what they fund, but when a project works, it can be at reasonable terms that you might not get elsewhere.

 

 

Crowdfunding sites pool resources to potentially fund projects posted to an online database of opportunities. One example for creative projects is Kickstarter.com. Unlike the online lenders, “investors” or those who donate don’t get a direct monetary return on investment, but rather a reward like product samples. It allows the community to get involved in other people’s success.

 

Business plan competitions and small business advocate sites—These include local business plan competitions at business incubators or small business centers, as well as online groups like IdeaCafe. Many of these offer cash awards for specific submission requirements and are not likely to finance an entire business project, but they can add value and validity to your business.

 

Personal Leverage Circles— Share the wealth within your own Personal Leverage Circle. Brockett’s upcoming book Money Solutions addresses this concept for a collaborative approach to making projects happen. This approach can add significant value to family legacy as well.

 

Your industry: Suppliers, sponsors, and procurement—Often times, you can negotiate terms with suppliers to secure inventory, effectively financing the purchase of materials. See what you can do to stretch out your cash outflows to be longer than your cash inflows.

 

You can also consider increasing revenue for programs and events through corporate sponsorships. My company helps its clients to generate revenue this way. It is seen as a triple win for everyone involved: the corporate sponsor gets a direct connection and relationship with its primary target, the sponsored event/organization gains the resources necessary to tap that market and share its message, and the targets gain access to both the sponsor and the information/event. It is a great way to do business.

 

Procurement is another revenue stream for businesses to consider. If your business provides a product or service that municipalities, federal governments, the military, and corporations can use, you can submit proposals to sell to them. Many of these entities have procurement offices that solicit proposals from service/product providers for supplies that they need to buy on a regular basis. My clients have won many projects with our help in this area, and though it means more work, you can also make more money without having to sell individually to end users.

 

Partnerships, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and affiliate marketing—Collaborating with others can make a positive difference to your cash balance. These are relationship-based revenue streams. If you regularly use and recommend a product or service to your clients, perhaps you can establish a relationship with that service provider whereby you make a percentage of revenue with each sale for them. You can either market their products/services on your online media sites, or simply use word-of-mouth to create supplemental income by helping others.

 

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Contact the editor: tumara.r.jordan@verizon.com

About the Authors

Tumara Jordan

Senior Manager: Verizon Business Markets

Photo of Tumara Jordan

Tumara is a contributor to the Business Markets Marketing team and she currently manages Social Media marketing campaigns.


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