Do you see your business numbers as a friend or foe? If you are in business, what is your attitude towards your numbers? Do you like them, dislike them, or is it somewhere in between?
That is what we are going to cover in this blog. If you think that money is an icky subject, your business will remain a hobby instead of further developing and improving. Many business owners are good at what they do. They may have great skill and craftsmanship, they may excel in providing service to the customers, but they are not necessarily aware of the financial impact that affects their business.
Numbers are your best friend
Have you ever thought about who your best friend in business is? Spoiler alert, it is your business numbers. They are your best friend meaning they will not lie to you, nor let you down. Your numbers help you navigate your business through turbulent times as well as in times of prosperity.
Sometimes, a poke in the eye may seem better than dealing with your business numbers. For some people, the flashbacks of Maths classes with Mr Calculate and Miss Take Away are far from being pleasant. Consequently, numbers fall to the bottom of the in-tray, often disregarded. Nevertheless, ignoring your numbers can lead to nothing but bad results. These misunderstood actors give life to your business script, and should be treated as such. I completely understand that numbers can be scary. Not only that, but also confusing, and in addition boring – not what your business is meant to be about.
However, I don’t think I’d be dropping a bombshell with what I say next. If you are serious about your business, you need to grab hold of your numbers, and connect with them. Falling in love with your numbers may feel weird, but you should at least be on friendly terms with them if you want your business to survive and thrive.
Why are business numbers important?
Numbers play a big supporting role in your business survival and success. They make you accountable and they show you the financial impact your business deals with. They help you create a route map to your success and highlight those flip-ups. So, learning to love and use your numbers means you have a better chance of making money. What’s not to love?
Running a business is about making money. You start a business so it can give you the lifestyle that you want, and also to make the impact that you want. Making money must be in your crosshairs at some point, and by money we mean profit. How you reach this, and what you do with your money has to be discussed upfront.
It does not matter what sort of business you have, whether it’s a private company, a charity, or a social enterprise business. It doesn’t matter how big your business is, or how big your company’s numbers are. You can’t get away from numbers. So, getting closer to your numbers can only give you superpowers, not harm you.
Benefits of being good friends with your business numbers
All in all, it’s about making decisions regarding how you want your future to pan out. These numbers are the words to your business story – the path your business takes, how it develops, how that impact is measured in financial terms. Your numbers are an aid to your powerful business story.
Among the many benefits of managing your numbers are:
- knowing how much things are costing you and how much profit you are making
- getting in touch with the customers that support your business
- becoming aware of the customers that aren’t so lovely in terms of profitability terms
In addition, your business numbers will help you become more accountable. And they will help tremendously with choosing which direction you want your business to go in order to plan for the future.
Many people only look at their numbers when it comes to tax return time, or compliance activity like VAT returns, and other government requirements.
Your numbers shine a light on your business’s past, present and future. Due to the fact that your business is there to make you money, try and get rid of any phobia you have about numbers. Grab your numbers by the scruff. Get friendly with them, and navigate your business to prosperity.
As for my initial question, and title of this blog: Your Business Numbers – Friend or Foe?, let’s hope that by now you are saying friend. In the words of W.E.B. Dubois,
“When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings.”
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Plan it. Do it. Profit