Over the years, I’ve had people tell me they are embarrassed by their finances, scared of money, or allergic to financial statements. Most of the time, these feelings are due to a history with money. It may be due to growing up in a house that fought over money all of the time or feeling insecure because of people on social media looking like they have it all together and all the money they want. For many entrepreneurs that I deal with, the big issue is they feel like they should know how to control their finances but have no idea how to do so. No one taught them how to read financial statements, make a budget, or even manage income and expenses daily.
If you struggle with money and finances, where do you start to fix the problem? There are a few steps that can help:
- Get Help! The biggest thing you can do is get some help. You may turn online to find classes, blogs, articles, and podcasts. Or you may want to search for more custom help and turn to a personal coach or advisor. If you’re not sure where to start, look to others for advice on what they did and how they can help.
- Start With The Basics. I see many people who try to start with the most complex issues or biggest money problems, but they need to take a few steps back. Make sure you have sound systems in place to pay your bills, get your bookkeeping done, and pay taxes. If you are not doing these basic things, you will not have accurate financial statements, up-to-date information, and cannot plan for the future. Set up a time each week to sit down and pay bills, update bookkeeping, and check the status of your finances. If you have someone who does these tasks for you, check in with them weekly or at least monthly. Double-check the accuracy and make sure you are getting all of the information to them on time.
- Create Goals. If you have specific goals for your money, that may help you decide where to start and figure out what you need to do. For example, if your goal is to save money for expansion, you know you first need to figure out how much money you make each month. You need to understand your financial statements to do this, so taking a class on that may be your first step. Then you would want to create a budget. Again, you may need to find a class or a coach that can help you with this.
- You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. Sometimes it’s best to find at least one-time help to see what it is that you should be doing that you are not. Entrepreneurs may look at friends and colleagues for advice, but they may not own businesses, or be in a very different position. Find a professional that can look specifically at your business and see what you may be missing and help you create a plan to get your money under control.
I hope if you don’t get anything else from this post, you at least start thinking about getting help. You can’t do it all yourself, so if you’re feeling stressed about any part of your business, see if you can find someone to help you de-stress.