Hi there, Barb Easter here. I'm the Director of Client Success at Dryrun, the world's foremost cash flow modeling and management tool based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
What follows is a neatened transcript of the above video.
Cash Flow is a Deep Concept
So, from time to time I have these ideas that I'm pondering and this one was sparked by a piece of corporate art that I saw that I'll show you in a few minutes. The pictures were the catalyst for my question and talking to you today.
If cash flow management is so easy and fun, why isn't everyone doing it? Why aren’t YOU doing it?
Finding the right tool
High-value barrier-free cash flow management means finding the correct tool that builds a bridge for communication between the strategic and operational, having the right mindset
I was cruising my LinkedIn and I saw these two pictures side by side, the clouds and the dirt. That actually sparked a synaptic event in my brain because Dryrun perfectly embodies this concept.
The clouds are your vision. Your goals. What you believe in and your reason(s) why.
Also a noun and an analogy for living in the trenches while enduring the sacrifices with humility that it takes to grind toward your vision in the clouds.
Both Clouds and Dirt for Cash Flow Success
In order to be successful in your business, you actually have to have a lot of both elements and those two elements can be found throughout your business - they don’t just apply to cash flow, which gives this set of pictures a universality that would be appealing to entrepreneurs. However, we'll stick to cash flow for this article.
Clouds are your strategy. So your strategic component cash flow.
Dirt is your operations. Your daily cash in- and outflows.
In Dryrun you can flip between both of these perspectives and communicate flexibly and easily - without barriers - about both the clouds and the dirt in your business. If you’re not communicating from strategy to ops and back again with ease, then your business is fundamentally broken - cash flow is merely a symptom of a far greater problem.
Back to my question
Back to my question, why aren't you doing cash flow management, modelling and forecasting? If cash flow is so easy and fun, why aren't we all doing it all the time? Why don’t we innately know how to do this? Why weren’t we born knowing how?
Why do we find cash flow management boring, scary and almost valueless?
Because it’s not actually about finance and this cheeses us off for a number of reasons. More than anything else, it’s a communication issue, where we need strategic to communicate clearly to talented, intuitive ops personnel and we need ops to communicate back to strategic in a way that continues to drive that vision. It has to be a really tight cycle with regular rewards so that we get into a positive dopamine drip - luckily good communication does this for us.
The Military has a Built the Bridge Between Clouds and Dirt
Let's talk about another system completely outside of cash flow that has effectively used the clouds+dirt or strategy+operations for thousands of years. The military.
If I had to pick my ideal troop of soldiers and generals - my ops and strategy specialists, this is what I'd look for:
I need a team of men and women that can take vision and turn it into reality, quickly and effectively - they’re specialists at working between the clouds and the dirt - taking clouds and making it dirt and vice versa.
I would pick individuals who are error tolerant. They would be flexible and adaptable and they would have strong, secure systems of communication and thinking. They will be strongly trained in both the theory and practice of warfare, they would be agile, not just physically agile, but also mentally agile, with the ability to know that maybe a particular battle will become critical is the theater of war pivots. Or maybe they'd be sidelined as the theatre pivots away - tkaing the battle front further. They would have the ability to communicate about strategic ideals without getting bogged down in all that's bad about strategy. So the policy and the politics. Okay, so there would be a clear shining plan that they would be able to break down into operative maneuvers and vice versa - they would be able to communicate ups without getting so far into the weeds that strategic is impossible to discuss. Finally, they’d also be able to conduct a rapid post mortem and discard stupid or failed ideas quickly with little time, or ego, or monetary investment.
If I wanted to marry strategy to operations, that’s who I’d swipe right on for my ideal team. As far as cash flow goes, I would look for a software tool that could accomplish much of the same for my business or for my client.
Here’s a more concise list of my look fors:
- Error tolerance
- Secure communication systems
- Trained in theory and practice
- Logistically/mentally agile
- Ability to shift their perspective to the others’ view point
- Ability to communicate from strategy <> operations
- Ability to post-mortem and iterate with little loss of ego/time/other resources*
Dryrun = Strategy + Ops
...wherein the right hand always knows what the left hand is doing
Circling back to the main point of cash flow...if it were so easy and fun, why isn't everybody doing it? Why do we have trouble getting our clients to see the value? Why aren’t you singing the praises of cash flow management from the rooftops? Your framework, your rubric for evaluating tools has focused either too far in terms of the strategic or too far in terms of the operational based on your own comfort level and what you perceive clients need (without asking them).
What you should be seeking is a tool that does both well to build the bridge and make it easy for you to achieve cash flow management.