Money Comes In, Money Goes Out

by Mike O'Reilly

Mike specializes in helping highly-driven, type A business owners and professionals (who usually describe themselves as ADHD). Together, they clarify the growth strategy and outline what's necessary to achieve their objectives in the quickest way possible. As a successful business owner in his own right, he continues to help other business owners and professionals make sense of the challenges in their world. He understands that competing priorities, short deadlines, customer demands, and the need to meet a payroll will all come together at once. Most of his privately-held clients are interested in one of three things; implementing sales and business development strategies that will double their business, strengthening their internal systems and controls so that accountability is increased and more things can happen without them needing to be involved, or being recognized as a professionally run firm so that they get easier access to capital and can grow the top line. Most of his publicly-held and multinational clients are interested in growing the skills of the middle management team and leadership competency of the supervisory level staff or are focused on getting increases in sales and revenues.

As a business owner, have you found more money going out the door than coming in the door? Is there too much month at the end of the money? Payroll, rent, insurance, taxes, and electric are fixed costs, that are not really fixed, because they simply just go up.

Clients request new payment terms and then even better terms. We can only stretch the pizza dough so far. What is in your control, is planning. Planning is also your greatest competitive advantage. It is your greatest competitive advantage, because so few firms actually have a well thought out strategy to achieve their goals. The reasons firms don't plan:

  • It is important but not urgent.
  • We will get to it soon.
  • It's complicated and often a exercise in frustration.
  • We don't follow up so why bother.
  • We did it a few years ago and there is the book sitting prominently on our shelf, which no one has looked at in the last few years.

This isn't a discussion I had with the owner of a taco truck. This is a dialogue I have with presidents of successful firms with revenues of $7 to $110 million. Owners are frustrated because they recognize that staying stagnant is like a squirrel resting in the middle of the road. It will become road kill.

This article is never meant to be "do as I say, not as I do." I can't ask you to do sit-ups, while I'm on the couch eating Bon-Bons. Planning is one of my unique, competitive advantages as well.

I reached out to some of our most successful clients to discuss what worked well for them. Here was their advice to you. Keep it simple and motivating.

What is really important to accomplish this year? If you knew you would not fail, what would you set out to accomplish? Whether your goal is $1 million or $100 million in sales for 2013, this equates to $250.000 or $25 million per quarter, or approximately $20,000 or $2 million in revenue per week. Peter Drucker said, "What get's measured, gets managed." I will add to this with "what gets managed and focused on, get's done."

If each sales person makes 10 new business calls per day, they should get 2 promising opportunities. If not, let's revisit. What are they saying? What questions are they asking? Are we calling on the right people?

If your firm displays at two trade shows this year, your goal might be 100 potential leads, from which you will meet with 50 prospects, resulting in 5 immediate clients, and 10 more potential clients, and 5 more referrals from current and prior clients attending the show before 2014. This can be measured and managed, as opposed to going to Chicago and doing your best to get new customers, having fun, and may the force be with you. The difference is hundreds of thousands of dollars .

What is essential to measure day in and day out?

  • Meetings set
  • Meetings held
  • Number of referrals received from satisfied clients
  • Invoices sent out
  • Money collected

Establish a Point system. Every day you want 4 points.

  • One point for setting a meeting
  • Two points for having a meeting
  • Three points for getting a commitment
  • Four points when a check arrives
If you get four points each day, you will be successful in reaching your goal.

This is a good time to ask -

  • Do we have the right people?
  • Are we doing the right things?
  • Are we doing these things right?

What will happen?

  • You will start doing the things you need to do.
  • You will stop doing the things you know you should not do.
  • You and your team will make monumental performance gains.
Accountability is a wonderful tool.