Bring in Enough Money to Keep Going Part II
We just talked about incremental degradation don't penny pinch your way to mediocrity and whatever it is that you are offering focus on providing more value instead focus on providing more value you can improve your business without cost saving the unique awesome parts about your offer uh so idea right now break even which we've already touched on a little bit earlier but let's define it now break even is the point where your businesses total revenue it seems that exceeds or equals or exceeds its total expenses since opening for trade so you can imagine when you hang out your shingle is officially being in business you start spending money and you keep spending money as long as that business exists right? So the point at which the total amount of revenue that you have brought in during the life of the business equals the total amount of money you have spent to get to the point of bringing in that money that is your break even point right and it's a little bit deceptive because you just...
think of break even revenue equals expense is great and it's it's easy to track that on a monthly basis right so let's say you're spending one hundred thousand dollars a month you bring in one hundred thousand dollars a month so yeah we broke even because you may have had a year of spending one hundred thousand dollars a month and you have one point two million dollars of expenses that you still need to recoup by bringing in more money, right? So it's total revenue, life of the business total expenses fly for the business that's the break even point so your break even point changes constantly, so if you're starting a business it's important to keep track of how much we're spending and how much you're making and really track, how much is it going to take to reach the break even point? Because the break even point is the magical point in the life of any business when you finally start making money that's a good thing you need to reach that at some point where the business is going is going to close right? Because you've been spending more than you've been making, so the more revenue you bring in, and unless you spend the easier it is to rate reach break, even if you don't spend a whole lot of money before you start bringing in money that's a really good thing, you don't have a payback period if you're investing really heavily in the hopes that your revenue will someday catch up, you need to pay attention to this very closely make sense amortisation is also something we talked about a little bit earlier, but let's define it formally now amortisation is the process of spreading the cost of a resource investment over its estimated useful life ok, so remember we were talking about the waste management company advertising their garbage trucks over a ten year period versus a five year period. Amortisation is just taking this really expensive units that you have to pay for usually all at once the garbage truck and matching the cost of that are attributing a percentage of the cost of that over a very long time period and amortization can really help you if you have to make huge resource investments in the expectation that that resource investment is going to pay out or give you capability of paying out over the longer term. So for him I think this is an example ahh I use in the book let's say you have the perfect invention it's a toy that looks like a dog acts like a dog feels like a dog but you never have to walk it. You never have to clean up after it takes care of itself. You just plug it in at night and it's like a dog in all respects without the downsides. All right, if you can deliver this thing, you will make trillions of dollars because everybody likes dogs, but but they could be very inconvenient, right? So let's assume that you have this perfect invention, but in order to make this thing, you have to build a factory to make them and factories and that type of equipment is extremely expensive let's say you have to spend one hundred million dollars giving this factory started how on earth do you figure out how to account for the one hundred million dollars upfront investment in getting this thing started? Will you do it in amortization? And you can figure out ok for this this production line that that that we are our tooling up to produce this awesome toy? How many toys do we expect to be able to produce with this and let's say you expected to be able to produce one hundred million units of this toy the advertised cost of the factory per unit one dollars, right? You're spreading the cost of the entire system across to the number of units of over the expected life of what it's going to get you and that allows you to figure out ok, let's say you sell these things for two thousand dollars and you're spending one dollars on the factories that a good trade? Yes, right so it's just it's a way of making decisions about what to invest in spreading the costs of some very expensive thing over its estimated useful life, just like we were talking about in the income statement matching revenue and expenses and how much judgment is required there this is something that requires judgment about how far what's the what's the use of the life of of what you're investing in that's an assumption it's also a prediction you don't know, right? So but it's a way of planning using the information at your disposal to make the best decision you can in the moment, right? So you're making a prediction those predictions may or may not be accurate it's just a useful tool when does it turn tio a point where you look at it and you say, ok, you're selling these dogs for five dollars each that's going to cost you a dollar each tio make it like, is there a bench mark where it as a rule of thumb is it stops being a good idea gotta invest and that's that is directly related to your sufficiency requirement so you can do it didn't do like a very simplified income statement, but on an individual unit sale, so we expect to get simplifying it ten dollars per dog. We're spending two dollars in overhead we're playing two dollars for the factory production line we're paying two dollars in salary, we're paying two dollars in marketing expenses and we're paying one dollars for miscellaneous that leaves us with a dollar left over in profit. Is that enough? If it is great if it's not or if you're spending twelve dollars for every ten dollars toy that you're selling that's where you need to change things right, so it's a judgment call but what this allows you to do is break down this massive hundred million dollar expense into something that you can track and do that math on a per unit basis cool very simple tool now purchasing power purchasing power is the idea or it's the sum total of all liquid assets a business has at its disposal so purchasing power quick definition is the amount of cash that you have in your bank account and given time plus the amount of money that people are willing to lend to you plus the amount of investment that people are willing to invest in you if, uh if you need it so um I think there's there's in an old program by jim rohn whose ah business teacher business coach that has been around for a long time and uh like it used to be in business that when your cash account reached zero that was game over for a business, right? No more money you're done these days you can whistle right on by zero right you could you could take out lots of loans you can take on lots of venture capital and take on investments so purchasing power is just all of those things examined at once, right? What is the total amount of your ability to pay your bills? Whatever the source of that cash comes from right just like in the in the in old school video games where it's, like some conditions, meant you get this like big flashing game over sign running out of purchasing power is the game over condition for a business right? The moment you can't pay your salaries the moment you can't keep your lights on that's the game over conditions, right? So tracking your available purchasing power is very, very, very important, because if you run out of cash, you can't borrow any money, and investors aren't willing to give you money to keep going. You were done so keeping track of it in a making sure purchasing power never equals zero is important in the day to day management of the business. This is particularly important if you are in a business that runs on a cruel accounting versus cash accounting, because it is perfectly possible in a cruel accounting to have ten million dollars of revenue on the books. People owe you ten million dollars, and you go out of business because I owe use do not keep the lights on right, it's important to actually be paid in money that you can use to t stay in business, right? So your job as a business owner as an entrepreneur is to make sure the business never, ever, ever runs out of purchasing power if you do game over. Now speaking of that the cash flow cycle is a related way of figuring out the cash moves through a business in predictable ways and if you understand how cash how cash moves through business, there are some things you can do to make it weigh less likely that you will run out of purchasing power and clothes and so to really important sub ideas here receivables our promises from other companies that they're going to pay you money at some point in the future payables our commitments that you've made to pay other businesses or or somebody else at some point in the future right? So it's not going back to the cash flow statement it's not, but you've actually cut a check to somebody it's that you've committed to cut a check at some point in the future it's not that somebody has actually paid you something that you can deposit in your bank account they've just given you an iou that says they will pay you in the future right? So this adds another layer on top of our very, very basic checking account, right? You have your cash going in and you're out in and out but he also have promises of people to pay you and promises that you've made to pay them now if you want to maximize the amount of purchasing power you have at your disposal and any given point uh here's how you do it you maximize the amount of cash you have in your bank account, right? If someone has promised to pay you, you make sure they pay you as quickly as he actually pay you as quickly as humanly possible, right? And if you have promised to pay somebody else, you wait as long as humanly possible to actually cut that check, right? And if you do those things, your purchasing power expands right? Because you're holding on to the cash that you have, you're getting paid really quickly and you're not paying until the absolute last moment they have so aa lot of big companies that have complex accounting finance procurement departments play the cash flow management game because the nice thing you can do with what's called the float so the money you've committed to pay but you're not paying yet until the very last minute you can invest that make a return on it it's a lot of insurance companies, lots of large companies manage that cash as a way of generating a little bit of an extra return uh, large companies do this all the time. In my opinion, it's better not to play the game because it adds another layer of complexity on top of all of these other things that are way more important for us to pay attention to, which is creating more value and happy customers in a way that's financially sustainable right. So, my general advice, if you are anything but one of the largest companies in the world, is you should work to be paid, actually paid as quickly as possible. You are not a bank, right your job, the way you create value for your customers, it's not extending them low. If they want alone, they can get a credit line or go toe back to get it right. So get paid as quickly as possible. When you make a commitment to pay someone pay the darn bill, because once you pay, you don't need to track it. There's less of a chance that that it's not going to be paid there's less of a chance of a dispute there's less of a chance of legal action which khun divert all of your time and energy away from your actual business under something that's. Not really important. If you say you're going to pay somebody pay the bill on right now, short term interest rates are functionally zero. Exactly there's there's no, really there's no benefit onto it? Yes. So it is helpful to understand how the cash flow cycle works because, for example, if a business is in a lot of trouble and is in danger of running out of purchasing power, managing the cash running through the business and playing the cash flow cycle management game may give them a couple of extra months of time to figure something out so you start to see business is that are doing this but then start doing it because they start getting in trouble. This could actually be a really useful warning indicator as an adviser or as an investor because it really is it's like the business equivalent of life support when a company starts doing this really aggressively because they have to, um so is useful to know what it is and how it works as an entrepreneur as a business owner cash in as quickly as possible and when you make a commitment to pay pay now it is really nice sometimes. So for example, if you're buying something like advertising and the company gives you terms of like you pay in ninety days after theat ver ties ing is placed if that advertising works in bringing you more business, if you can get a bunch of advertising which pays out and you don't have to pay for that for ninety days, you get three months of really effective advertising without any financial risk, right? And paying that on credit allows you to lever up, particularly if you increase the amount of advertising that you do that could be a really effective way to keep making initial investment and keep increasing it over time as long as it's working right so it's useful to know about it but there's ways of using it well and wisely and there are ways of abusing so it's worth knowing both of them sense ok opportunity cost opportunity costs is the value that you are giving up for making a choice so whenever you invest time or money or resource is in something you are simultaneously choosing not to invent to invest that time energy resource is money in something else and your next best alternative to what you would it otherwise invested time, energy, money that is your opportunity cost right? So for example, when you choose to invest in developing product a you're deciding not to develop a product to be with the same amount of time energy money when you choose to work for company a you are also choosing to work not to work for company b or serve this client or or not if you decide so for example, in the book I talk about the pros and cons of going to graduate business school and there are some benefits to it but the opportunity cost is a large sum of money to pay your tuition and two years of your life that could otherwise be spent building a business or working at a job and being paid a salary and when you look at the total cost of that decision it's a really expensive one to make so being clear about by acting in this way, what am I giving up? And I'm making a good trade here you can train yourself to make much better decisions than if you never thought about it now there's also a way to take this way too far right? Don't take this all the way to the point of neurosis because the fact is you are potentially giving up infinite things, some of which may be better for every single decision that you make during the day, right? So if you really want to drive yourself crazy tried to imagine all the things that you could be doing today, that may be awesome thing you have actually happened to be going, so don't obsess over it, it's just a check step whenever you choose to do something there's a very real tradeoff, very real cost, so just understand what it is and if the other thing is better than the thing you're doing right now do the other thing right that's opportunity cost time value of money is a financial concept that makes its way into a lot of financial analysis books and the best way of understanding time, value of money we're not going to go into the formulas, we're not going to do equations and all of that stuff the best way to understand it is a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow, how muchmore it's worth depends on the opportunity cost of that dollar. What would you do with the dollar if you didn't do this thing that you're doing now? Right? There are lots of ways to financially put an accurate dollar value on that based on the situation you're currently in, but that's the basic idea, the more profitable options you have to invest the longer the period of time you're looking at the mohr that dollar is worth today. Okay, it's a way of evaluating one financial decision versus another in examining the options and choosing the best one. Does that make sense? If you're really interested in the formula? Uh, look on wikipedia, it's pretty straightforward it's built into a lot of calculators. Now you can see it's pretty straightforward to use it based on your own data. That's general idea. Dollar today is worth more than a dollar from our tomorrow. How muchmore. It depends on what else you could do that now. Calm, pounding, it's a really fun idea com pounding is the accumulation of gains over time. So what's what's interesting is, uh, the classic example of how calm pounding works in finance is let's say you invest a dollar in something that gives you a ten percent return, how much do you have? Ft at the end of the period dollar intense sense, right now let's say you take this the result of that and you invested in the same thing that gets you a ten percent return what do you get? One twenty one well you get one twenty one on top of her yeah one twenty one right so why is it or actually it's one twenty two yeah ok now that you're not going to do the math right you get more because in the second period you are investing you're on investing a dollar anymore right? You're investing a dollar and ten cents and I get to that extra little penny on the end one twenty one right do that over and over and over every time you invest you have a larger sum of money to invest and it at the early stages it feels really small do that for fifty years and all of a sudden that tiny difference at the beginning compounds into hundreds of thousands of dollars per period where the cycle keeps continuing right there's there's an old story um about a peasant that ended up doing a favor for a king and the king asked the president what they wanted as a reward and the president said I would like uh one grain of rice the first day and then the next day I would like a double the amount of grains as the previous day right? So one double it double it double it thirty days calculate that up and it was all of the grains of rice that the entire kingdom had this at its disposal by the end of thirty days doubling and doubling and doubling and doubling adds two very very large numbers extremely quickly so if you can double your business every single year or more, your business can grow really, really big really, really fast, which is why so we've been talking a little bit about venture capital right? Why what how does it work and why do folks do it the way that they do it? A lot of it is investing in things that make a company grow really, really fast because if you can double yourself for five to ten years you can go from nothing to absolutely huge in a very short period of time right that's compound investing and accumulating gains over and over and over again over a long period of time if you could find something that compounds you are golden because every dollar you invest produces that return over and over and over again make sense leverage leverage is fun too leverage is the practice of using borrowed money to magnify potential gains and the best way of thinking about this is let's say ok let's say that there you are you are interested in investing in residential real estate for example and you are interested in purchasing house and you have a choice you can put a it's like let's say the house is two hundred thousand dollars. You could put forty thousand dollars down twenty percent on a single house. Or you can put five percent down ten thousand dollars apiece on four houses that are all two hundred thousand dollars, right? So that's the choice. One property versus four properties. If the house of doubles in value from two hundred thousand dollars to four hundred thousand dollars in situation one, you've made how much? Uh, double your money, right? If you purchased four houses and that happens, all of the house doubles and price would you be made right? That's leverage right. The same amount of initial investment capital by borrowing more money, right? Investing less of your own but borrowing more from other people you have magnified your gains it x right that's why leverage works ok, so leverage is a form of financial amplification. You borrow more money, you invest, you are amplifying the number of investments that you're making, which increases your potential return that's why people do it. However, there is a really mondo big copy out here which is leverage multiplies your opportunity for gain. It also multiplies your opportunity for all of us it goes the other way too, and it goes justus fast the other way okay, so when when the residential real estate market imploded in a lot of cities in two thousand eight and people found themselves bankrupt overnight this is what happened to the other way right? So these properties let's say you have four properties that you think are worth two hundred thousand dollars and all of a sudden they're worth fifty thousand dollars overnight times four and you owe all of this money you can't get it back out this is why because people were leveraged way too much the market didn't move in their favor and the leverage magnified that loss okay the same fact thing actually happens to in the latest financial crisis uh the large banks right we who are selling insurance to each other form of reinsurance right? I'm gonna take a massive risk but I'm going to buy insurance from another company two of them to find me against that risk and they were all buying insurance against each other and leveraging up thirty to forty dollars toe so for every dollar that something went up so ah particular stocker or thing could go up just a couple dollars and that could translate into hundreds of millions of dollars because it's magnified by the leverage but it goes the other way too when the market went down they lost enormous sums of money very quickly okay so leverage you can kind of think of it like the business equivalent of rocket fuel if things go well for you, it can propel you to amazing heights extremely quickly, right? If it does not go in favor, it can blow up in your face really severely all right, so it's just like anything it's a tool if you know what you're doing if you're willing and able to take on the risk it could be a really good decision but it's it's playing with fire and you need to be clear about the risks before you do it. Ok roll the dice yes and sometimes you can afford to roll the dice and sometimes it works and sometimes it does now the hierarchy of funding is a general principle that I found in businesses that take on outside forms of funding whatever that happens to be whether that's alone or whether that is investment capital of some kind and the general principle is that if you are in a position where you need funding, you need to hire employees need to buy equipment whatever. If you do that out of your own personal funds that's great because you get to keep full control over the business, the more funds you need to make the business work, the more you need to borrow or the more you need in terms of investment you can get that money if it's a sound business idea but there is a tradeoff there is a cost and that trade off for the cost is the amount of control you have to give up over the business in exchange for that money, right? And in general there's a pattern the maur money you more outside funding you need from whatever the source, the more control over the operations of the business you need to give up in order to make those investors or lenders feel comfortable about loaning you that that amount of money all right, so I think of funding and I call this idea the hierarchy of funding you can think of it as a as a ladder, so when you start at the bottom with your own personal cash, your own checkbook, your own credit cards it's the lowest part of the hierarchy, right? You're not getting a whole lot of money unless you're independently wealthy already and you're just doing this for fun so you don't start with a whole lot of money but you keep full control over the business, you climb a little bit higher on the ladder and you get into things like bank loans, right? If you just want a loan based on on the strength of your personal credit, you can get an unsecured loan for a couple thousand dollars usually not a big deal from a bank you want a little bit more money in the bank is going to say you need to put up your car as collateral or you need to put up your house in the case of the second mortgage or you need to have some sort of assets. So if you if you go out of business, we're going to take this that's a form of getting giving up control, right? If you need a little bit more money, banks will say, we'll give you millions of dollars, but here's, the catch we get to control your receivables is called receivables financing, so you no longer manage your bank account. We manage your bank account, your customer, send their checks to us, and we make sure that we're paid back before you get paid back anything, right? So you can get millions of dollars in financing if you're willing to give up control of your receivables if you need more than about a million or two, all of a sudden you're in the realm ofthe financing or or investment capital, right? So angel investors will give you sometimes up to a million dollars, depending on this on the size of the master, just a personal individual looking at your business, saying I would like to own a part of that they give you some money, but in exchange you sell part percentage ownership of the business in exchange for that it's a loss of control. You know, you are now not the only person who is involved in this business, right? If you want even more money, let's sit let's say the tens of millions of dollars, uh, you start dealing with venture capital funds, it gets what they want for tens of millions of dollars a seat on your board of directors, right? They want to be responsible for making some of the final decisions of your company because they have a lot of money at stake. So you start hearing stories about venture backed funds that have seats on the board and control the company and don't feel things are going well, and so they decide to make changes like firing the founders of the company. I happened to see if jobs right, steve jobs, one running apple for a really long period of time company got in trouble. All of the investors that we're back in the company said, you know what, steve? Sorry, we know you started this company, but you're not performing your out, you're fired. The reason that was able to happen was because apple is a company needed so much financing to keep going, but in exchange for that financing they had to give up, steve personally had to give up control over the business. Okay, so the mork control you have to give up this is a negotiation process by the way, right? How much money are you getting? You can negotiate we need to pay for that and sometimes that's in terms of uh money and sometimes that's in terms of flexibility right in the form of control ok, so it's important to understand based on this business that you're building how much money do you really need and understand them or you need the less control you're ultimately going to have over the operations of the benches right it's a classic trade off like any other. So before you sign alone document before you take on investment be very, very clear just for your own peace of mind understand exactly what you are agreeing to and understand what the trade offs of accepting this financing are ok you mentioned also veces have a different a success outcome than perhaps exactly did so for example if you have a non controversy or like this is a business you want to run for the foreseeable sealable future um and you never ever want to sell it taking on investment from a large silicon valley in that investing the firm or fund is a direct conflict of interest because those investors get paid. The only time that they get to take their money back out again is if the firm is sold and if they have control of the company and they want to sell and you don't want to sell guess who's going to win that conversation right it's going to happen so it's important to understand before you take on loans or before you take on investment make sure that your interests are aligned with the lender or the investor that you're dealing with if they're not it's it could be a recipe for a lot of unnecessary arctic isn't that the whole premise of the tv show the shark tank actually or that that type of investment will only so the businesses that are invested in on that particular show the investors are not going to see a dividend they want the company to sell for some multiple and they get whatever percentage of the business that they at that point some businesses um will invest in companies that they expect to throw off a lot of cash over the long term and the expectation will be you just keep right on the business and making a ton of money and you just send a certain percentage of that us warren buffett operates in that way so it's don't change anything about what you're doing it's working I'm just going to buy the company from you and you send the checks here also everybody's happy can be very clear about what you're doing now my personal preference here and this is this is an idea called bootstrapping when I build a business, the way I generally tend to like to go about it is was called boot, strapping the art of building and operating a business without funding no big loans, no investment capital, just the cash you have in the bank account and whatever revenue that you can raise by herself. The nice part about running a business is raising, raising venture capital raising investment is a full time job in and of itself. It's tremendously draining takes a lot of time, right? Going out and getting loans requires a ton of work, and you're giving up control over the business a za result of doing that. If you fund the business yourself, you can run however you want, and that is really, really free in a lot of ways. So in general, the best thing that you can do as a person who wants to start a business at some point or is in the process of starting a business, bootstrap the business as far as you could possibly condone by yourself. And if there's something that you really want to do and you think is really important, then look into loans and venture capital if you need to, but you would be really, really surprised at how far you can get by just investing in the business, putting your own time on your money you have your customers help with your innovation investment exactly talk about exactly a few more ideas here return on investment so return on investment is the value created from an investment of time or resource is it's how much you received from what you invested in first is how much we invested in it. Like so many things we're talking about financial ratios this is a really important one and a lot of times sometimes it's expresses a ratio sometimes it's expressed by percentage but it talks about the same thing. Now tracking return on investment can help you make decisions between competing alternatives, right? If you have data about I get a ten x return from this versus a point five return from this I'm going to do more of this and less of this right it's a very useful comparison tool it's also feel useful att comparing offers and entire businesses against each other sometimes in extremely different industries right this particular market or industry is doing really well producing a huge return without a whole lot of investment. This is very capital intensive, very expensive, not a huge return right? So you can start making decisions about what markets are industries to operate in based on return on investment now here's one of my favorite ways to use return on investment and it's not super obvious remember the three universal currencies time money or resource is time flexibility you can calculate a return on investment for all of the currencies rights not just money so you can say if I invest in hour of my time what is that the return that I am getting for our and can I invest that our in something else that provides a better return super useful line of thought when you're trying to improve the productivity of your company what is the best way that we can invest this limited resource if I'm giving up certain controller flexibility over my company what am I getting in return for that right you can think about return on an investment in all of these factors and that can help you make better decisions on how you allocate your limited resources whatever they might be it's a really good question just for yourself help you improve your productivity what is the best where do I get the best return on the money time and flexibility that I am investing glad you brought in the other variables cause I always think about just financial not the time flexibility resource is yeah okay now it's also important to know that every future every return on investment if you're if you are investing in something with the expectation that it's going to do well you're making a prediction two semi educated guess right so you can calculate a past tense return on investment with a very good degree of accuracy right it's based on a real data future, our ally projections are an entirely different beast of james you deal with this every single day, you won't talk about it well, um I think that what we talked about in terms of forecasts, the only thing that you know about a forecast is that it's going to be wrong it's either going to be high or going to be low very seldom is it going to be right on as expected, especially if you're doing them over time? I mean you might you might hit it right on one time and then the next quarter of the next year it's different and so the flexibility is what's really important? So why do you do it? Why you do a forecast of it's guaranteed to be wrong because it's a useful exercise that's a useful tool in order to plan around it helps you plan it wasn't to investigate your options exactly and by investigating the options and also improving your ability to forecast over time so paying attention with what what gets you a semi accurate forecast it helps you make better estimates that help you make better decisions and I'm curious where would you say the balance is? There isn't with planning and forecasting the year lot nowadays some people make a business plan some people say don't and one of the books for giving out rework jason frieda's breeze like you can't plan for the future so where do you stand on that? Like investing some time into it but not betting the whole house on it? Yes so? So the value and planning is not creating a particular or is not creating a super accurate plan the value and planning is the process of sitting down and thinking through the critical issues that's where the value is and so what percentage of your clients have you found have not thought about some of these critical yeah I mean that's that's the entire and that's almost the entire point writes bringing up something that they have not thought about there's a great quote I think was by by dwight eisenhower our former president went back back when he was ah general during the great wars and hit the quote was plans are useless but planning is indispensable because planning is the process of thinking through all of the relevant issues that need to be he thought about and that's just a way of making sure you're covering everything and being prepared for things that are always going to change. It also makes me think about the kind of polar opposite side and mike tyson's quote, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face we do that which is business which is business it is and so a lot of this planet is not like you're trying to build the future, the perfect future forecast if you're trying to prepare yourself for all of the important things that are always going to change on you, so when something changes, as it inevitably will, you are pre prepared and have a response that will help you deal with that situation. That's the value, one of the things I've run into, because I worked at the lot of proposals, a lot of businesses, even in my own planning, where I've seen the difference between the forecasts and using the planning where it's worked, where it's failed is when people make a forecast, and it all looks good, and then they depend on that needing to be correct, meeting, to be accurate, for everything to work out, we have all anybody that's been in business, or will be in business knows it always takes longer, it always costs more so, and you, depending on it, is where they really get in trouble. You she's here, here, a lot of businesses building these really complex five year plans, and you look at the numbers, and you realize that everything has to go absolutely perfectly for five years in order for this thing to make sense, like what's not gonna happen it's ari has ever got for, but it, but it is the process of thinking through these issues in a systematic manner and using things like return on investment projections in using financial ratios and all of the data that you have collected that helps you make the trade offs as best as you possibly can, we're not on mission, we never will be if we were life would be completely boring because we would know exactly what's going to happen all the time, right? So the best that you can do is collect the data and try to anticipate what's going to happen and build in some flexibility from the beginning for things that change and that's why things like having a really healthy profit margin is so important, right? Because if things change and sometimes things change really drastically right? If you have a lot of wiggle room, if you have a lot of margin, you have a lot of flexibility and your business could be resilient regardless of what happened. A few more ideas, some cost some costs. Our investments of time, energy and resource is that cannot be recovered once they're made love, quote eso eso there's a quote by w c fields, who is ah, a really old school time comedian says if at first you don't succeed, try try again, then quit there's, no point in being a damn fool about it. That's a perfect definition of some caught some cost they're going to be times you invest in a new product or a new offer something you think is going to work really really well and you try and try and try and try and try and you send a whole bunch of time and money and it's just not working okay remember our conversations of loss aversion behavior lose we hate to feel like we've wasted our time makes us feel stupid we hate it and so we try not to have that situation some cost is where our natural tendency to loss aversion can really come back to bite us because the mohr time and energy and money you've invested in something the less you want to stop okay but if it's not gonna work the very best thing that you can do is stop stop wasting all of the time and energy and money and start doing something else um this is one of those things that is really easy to talk about in theory and extremely difficult you're right I told a story in the book um about my my grandpa grandpa kaufman who lived in akron, ohio he's a a residential commercial real estate developer and he was building this apartment building and you know about a lot demolished the old houses on there was going to build this really nice nice building and they started digging out the foundation for the building and they found that the entire plot of land was blue clay, extremely unstable. You can't build a foundation, but he had already purchased the land and they were already digging and spending so much money, but they didn't know how much further they had to go in order to get a solid surface to build on. So I got we've already invested so much, keep going the dog and the dog and the dog, they had to dig all the way down to bedrock, really a really long way down. They had to move all of this clay to someplace right, which was expensive, and then you've dug this hole. They had to buy a whole lot of more concrete to fill up the hole, back to the ground level, to be able to build on it, right? So my dad growing up remembers, was market street in akron, just lines of concrete trucks, one right after the other, pouring concrete down this almost literally bottomless pit of a whole, because grandpa was not willing to walk away from a project that he had invested so much time and energy and money into. So by the time the apartment building was bill that cost somewhere between four and five times, the amount of money that they originally projected for the project was a disaster, and the reason it was a disaster was because gribble was not willing to look at a uncertain situation and be willing to walk away from the investment that was already made right so this is one of those things like it's a really emotional thing you've invested so much you don't want to call it a loss sometimes the very best thing you can do is call the loss so if you've been it if you're currently working in a job that you hate, I've already gone to school spent so much money and I've spent so much time and I don't want to retrain myself to do something else recognized that is a sunk cost decision, right? You can decide tomorrow that the investment wasn't worth it you're going to walk away and start doing something else right if you've been serving customers and it's really not working out but you've been trying really hard recognize that that could be a some cost decision to you khun stop serving starts serving somebody else right easy to say hard to destroy all right? So you're gonna make myself some mistakes some of the investments you're going to make are going to be bad ones that's okay just recognize when something's not working it is perfectly acceptable in rational to say you know what not worth it we're done moving on our there's some good tools that can be used in words identify when enough is enough yes game theory yes it went well the shelling point yeah, shelling points you can say that beyond a certain point it is no longer worth it for me to do x right? So you can say you khun set criteria like if I need to do x or if we reach this point so for example um one of the things that grandpa could have done they said, ok, we're sitting on a deposit of blue clay we know that I'm going to have the excavators out here for two more days if they keep digging and they don't find a solid spot, we're going to cover up this whole and we're going to pretend this project it never existed right? So adding some criteria of here's when we stop really helps you're making a pre decision to not go all the way right? There are lots of things like, so if for example you can think like like in a career decision if you didn't spend ten years training for this job that you hate would you want to do it? Would you do it again? If the answer is no, you're probably in a sunk cost type of decision. So there's there's a lot of really nice psychological checks steps questions that you can ask yourself to identify when you're in the situation and if you get the inkling that you are talking to somebody else talking them through the decision really helps you realize that something because it's really clear from the outside looking at somebody else it's really clear like dude this is not it's not a good idea right? So getting that feedback from a friend or an adviser or an associate community really helpful you know, wing man exactly exactly unusual very useful in particular point now this is the last idea and science believe it or not it's almost over internal controls internal controls are a set of specific standard operating procedures of business uses to collect the data that keeps the business running smoothly and help to spot trouble. So these are all of the things that help you the numbers that help you figure out is the business running well is something going wrong or something breaking? Is there something we need to pay attention to and just like financial ratios have a bunch of different types or or categories of ratios that are useful? There are a bunch of different types of internal controls that a useful so the five types are the four types are budgeting supervision compliance and theft and fraud prevention. So budgeting is estimating future costs making a prediction about what you're going to spend in the future and taking ships steps to ensure that those estimates our exceeded without some good reason. So for example, you may say we expect to spend approximately ten percent of our revenue for marketing and sales support reasons and you contract that, right? What is that number? What is that? In dollar terms? If one month you look at the numbers and marketing and sales support is forty percent of your revenue, there better be a darn good reason for that. Or something is really wrong, right? So, it's, just the basic what do we expect to spend what we actually expend? And is there a discrepancy there that we need to look at? Right? That's budgeting supervision is important, and businesses that rely on employees or outside firms for important parts of its business process. So if you hire employees, contractors, you have a complex process that you're trying to manage doing so, like a factory production line, you may measure something like an error rate. Write the number of products that come off that line that aren't acceptable for sale within a certain threshold, a certain amount of yours okay, use budget for it. If that spikes you have a super visionary, you know, something needs to change in that process because something's going wrong compliance is necessary. One of business operates in an industry affected by government regulations, so there are some things, particularly if you're a publicly traded company, there are some things you absolutely have to track in terms of your cash. In terms of how you do your your financial statements, you need to make sure that you are operating within certain parameters. A good example of this is health and safety, right? The number of, uh, injuries you have in your particular facility that's an internal control, you track it to make sure it is within a certain acceptable threshold. If it's not going to change that and fraud prevention important to protect against the risk of financial loss by some unscrupulous party, you want to know as quickly as possible. If somebody is stealing money from you, you liketo tell a story. You have some experience with this? Yeah, yeah, the financial controls, particularly when you bring on a secondary like a ten, ninety nine subcontractor, if you don't pay attention, how the money flows through your business and how goes out, they can easily snipe money out with you without you knowing. I have had personal experience with it at an employee for about five years, and I came to came to know that he was snagging money and the unfortunate part is I don't know how much money he took over that court that period of time. And so now when I heard two more people back on, I put in control so I could financially watch every dollar that goes in and every dollar that goes out because you never you never know me even if you trust somebody or you're in a good relationship with him, you think everything's going forward smoothly, and it might it might be going really smoothly for the person that's taking a bunch of money on the side. But for you, the employee employer may not now and that's why a lot of business bank accounts have a dual signer requirement, so every check that the business right above a certain dollar amount needs to be signed by two parties in the company instead of just one. So it prevents an employee who has check writing capability from writing a big fat check to themselves and then disappearing. But stepped in front of prevention is really important. You hope you never have to deal with a situation like that. But having some basic internal controls makes it far more likely that you are. If you're ever in that situation, you're going to notice it quickly and be able to stop it or change it makes sense. Okay, so before we go into the closing thoughts for the entire course, any questions about finance, what it is, how we do it, how it works, why it's beneficial? No question from the studio audience right now we'll look online but a quick question I have for years would you recommend everyone kind of having a finance mentor someone they can work with on a regular basis versions tranny just looking at a book or doing things have someone that's in your corner on a regular basis yeah I definitely recommend the best primer to this iron you mentioned his financial intelligence for entrepreneurs read that book first because it's it's all of the things that we covered this afternoon are covered and then some it's a really great way of understanding what's going on then talk to your bookkeeper talk to your accountant make sure you have qualified advisers that can help you with a lot of the day to day questions beyond this kind of stuff the actual the theory is pretty basic the how you apply it to a specific business in a specific industry can get very very particular so it's helpful to have an accountant or a financial adviser that you could talk to awesome lennox story from the chat rooms is asking what is the best way to get funding and still keep control if you need a couple hundred thousand but don't have the funds the best way is tio for a couple hundred thousand dollars um depending on the industry you are um it's a tough question answer because it depends on the number of assets that they already have right? If they have assets that they can put up for collateral, they may be able to get that amount with just a security bank loan. The other thing to do is potentially find, uh, angel investors who are willing to purchase a certain percentage of the company in exchange for four hundred thousand dollars or a couple hundred thousand dollars. You would need to be very particular about who that angel or angels are, and make sure their expectations for what's going to happen to the company and how they're going to get their money back, and then some match your expectations as an entrepreneur. Uh, but those are the two things that I would investigate first, another quick question from online coming in from colorado, sam cox eyes the control you give up when you borrow explicitly stated, is a contractual or implied, usually it's contractual, because, you know, for example, if if a venture capital fund is giving you tens hundreds of millions of dollars, they're going tohave a legal agreement that is enforceable in court that makes it very explicit what they are getting in exchange for this money, right, same thing with a bank loan, same thing. So you know, if you're doing it out of your own personal funds, or if it's, friends and family type of financing you know your mom is giving you a sum of money to start a business or you're raising money from a friend that could be a little trickier it's in your best interest as a business person to make the agreement explicit because the fuzzier it is if the expectations aren't met it can actually blow up and be a very not good thing a couple of closing thoughts three closing thoughts to be exact is I've noticed ah pattern and this is kind of anticipating some of the systems stuff that that remains to be discussed in the in the rest of the the personal mba but I've noticed a pattern in the types of businesses that can continue to grow and grow and grow and grow over a long period of time and the way that you might expect that to work like business starts and grows and it keeps growing in a very linear fashion until it's really, really, really, really huge is not actually accurate business is not that clean there's lots of ups and downs that happen along the way and so a more accurate picture about businesses that grow and continue to do well over time is there's a cycle that happens when I call this the sustainable growth cycle so systems tends to have a natural size and in order to grow they have to go through a process and that process looks like this the first part of the cycle is expansion that's the growth looking at new opportunities, investigating what's out there in the world and really aggressively expending resources into getting bigger okay that's the part that kind of feels accurate, right? Any certain size the growth starts actually straining the company because as you grow where if you're focused on growing, you may not be focused on the systems or the processes or the things that make sure the quality isn't as added acceptable state, right? And if you continue to push on the growing things start breaking all right, so the second part of the sustainable growth cycle is maintenance, making sure you are adequately executing upon all of the opportunities you have in front of you and fixing some of the things that are starting to break at this new threshold. Right? Then after a certain point, you get to the third base, which is called consolidation and that's where you've done a lot of the analysis and you start to see that there are some things that we're doing that it's kind of dumb and we should stop doing that now so consolidation is is getting rid of things that aren't working, getting rid of the waste, getting rid of the efficiency right? So there's a it's almost like you could use ah gardening analogy here at the beginning, you let the plants grow right lots of fertilizer lots of water they reach a certain size and you want to maintain him keep the bugs off him all of those things then after a while some of the plants do really well in some of them dealt so you prune those stuff that's not working to give more space for the things that are right and the cycle and companies that do really well over an extended period of time you see the cycle repeat over and over and over again expansions, maintenance, consolidation and the consolidation creates room for further expansion to take place right? Does that make sense just a more accurate picture of how business has become really successful? The trick is to not have the expectation that you were going to be expanding to the farthest reaches of the universe without going through a maintenance or consolidation cycle, right? So when you get there don't fight it, go through the cycle, the business is going to be better for it. Ok? Is there a timeframe associated with something right dependant on watch industry or in yeah, but is there any other criteria you have besides that to know which stage room no you will actually pretty naturally if if you know the cycles and you know what look for you will automatically transition from one to the next when you finally compete completed that process so when there's no more to prove and you're feeling pretty efficient you're going to start seeing some opportunities the looker really interesting and then you go into the expansions like like when you're expanding and things start breaking is like, oh, crap, I need to fix something you'll you'll transition into him me and cycle just happens make sense okay? The trick is not to fight it ok now the middle path is an idea that is extremely old. The first literary reference that I know of of this idea comes from aristotle fall people thousands and thousands of years ago and he put it this way the master in any art avoids what is too much and what is too little they search for the mean for the average and choose it so a lot of the things that we have been talking about over the past two days it's possible to do too much of it right goto one extreme and that's not functional to do too little of it and that extreme is not functional either there's some happy middle ground that you have to find and the middle path balancing between too much and not enough that's what makes business and art as much as it is a science right there's an incredible amount of judgment that has to take place between what is too much and what is not enough and finding that good happy media and the thing is nobody can tell you what this is, you have to find it it's an experiment, so you just pay attention to what you're doing. You embrace the uncertainty that is inherent in running a business, and you're just trying to find that happy medium between too little and too much last idea, just the experimental mindset, the experimental mindset basically says, treat everything you do in business as an experiment, because the fact is, you don't know whether or not it's going to work, so instead of getting really off caught up in it has to work, it has to work, I need to predict if this is going to work before I do anything, I don't know I was gonna work when I want to try it, and I'm going to try it in some small way that doesn't put the entire company at risk. That doesn't bet the farm, I'm just gonna do lots of small experiments, and if it works great to keep doing it, and if it does work, I'll stop doing it and start doing something else, and the more experiments you do, the more you learn, the more you learn, the more you improve the maury improve, the better the business becomes and everybody's happy you're serving more customers, you're making more money, and you're having more fun, so there's. A really wonderful quote now and the official part of the course with this there's. A wonderful quote by julia child, the famous tv chef. And she was on a show doing a demonstration about flipping potato pancakes and, like world renowned chef she's slipping these pancakes. And she just flops one like really bad on the floor, and she just laughs. And and and she says, the only way you learn how to flip things is just to flip them and that's exactly how you learn business, right? You have an idea of what you're trying to dio, and you do lots of small experiments and see how it goes and keep doing the things that work and stop doing the things that don't exist. Any questions? All right, thank you so much. That was the official, the official content portion of the course, thanks so much.