The days are getting shorter and colder, but we still have time left in this year. For many businesses, this year has been incredibly tough and there is a temptation to want to wish away the rest of 2020 to get to the new year. But Q4 is a crucial period. In keeping with our monthly theme of “In the Flow,” I encourage you to dedicate some time to evaluate your cash flow before the yearend, both as a measure of the present state of your business and as a starting point for future growth.
When faced with challenges, some of us may obsess and ruminate while others ignore and avoid. Whether you’ve been poring over your business numbers or peeking at them only when necessary, now’s the time to take an honest look. It’s time to face the numbers head on because, with this knowledge, we can take action with confidence.
If we have learned anything this year, it’s that life—and business—is unpredictable. Some things are out of our control so I invite you to take control of what you can. Start by connecting with your accountant to review the books and do a temperature check of your business’s financial health (forgive the COVID pun). Call in your trusted support team and enlist expert advisors to assist in building a plan—and perhaps a back-up plan, too. Where can you limit your liability? Where can you find stable ground? Check into resources such as small business loans, corporate programs, grants or even crowdfunding or pre-sales, to seek capital if you need it.
It’s in times of challenge that we have the greatest potential for growth. This brings to mind a quote from Carol S. Dweck, a psychologist known for her research on mindset: “In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.”While it’s important to look at where your cash flow is today, also be sure to acknowledge the bigger picture: See how far you’ve come. This year has required perseverance, creativity and an endless amount of passion. Recognize the flexibility you’ve shown, the resilience you’ve demonstrated, the challenges overcome. No matter what the numbers say, you have grown. The volatility of 2020 will only reach so far, so in examining your books this month, gather up the lessons learned and use those experiences to plan—as best you can—for 2021.
Depending on where your cash flow stands, consider hiring a financial advisor to start some investing while also keeping liquidity in mind in case things take a turn. [If you’re seeing a profit for 2020, think about making a donation to a nonprofit. We are a community, stronger together, and there are so many organizations that need support as we move into the winter season.]
We at NAWBO support each other, too. As business owners, we’ve weathered this year together, facing many common challenges and some unique ones too. In the face of so much uncertainty, you must review those numbers and take note of the facts. Lean into what’s real. And build from there. Let’s step forward arm in arm, resilient and confident and hopeful for what’s to come.