Best at everything, No less.
It is all about being best in class and award-winning for a thriving creative agency. This is what we strive for and what we achieve. We are constantly innovating and pushing boundaries to be the best we can be. Our clients know they can rely on us to deliver top-notch work to help them achieve their goals. We are a loud, proud, and mighty team making our mark.
Yet behind closed doors, we are terrified about the unknown and how we will keep this show on the road. We worry that our clients will discover that we're not as perfect as they think we are. We fear we'll never be able to live up to our high standards.
Where does this fear come from? Well, for most creative agency owners, this fear extends from the same three reasons all business struggle.
Ignorance is a word that has a very negative connotation; it is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Few, if any, creative industry business owners invest the time to go to business school and learn how to run a business. Most started on their journey in the creative field because they had a passion for it, not because they wanted to be business moguls.
This is not to say that there is anything wrong with being a creative business owner, but it does mean there is much room for ignorance. For example, many business owners don’t know the first thing about marketing or financial planning. As a result, they may not be reaching their full potential.
The good news is that ignorance is not permanent. It can be cured through education and experience. If you’re a creative business owner, try to learn more about the business side.
As a long-time student of business who went to business school and studied all the disciplines, such as sales/marketing, finance, accounting, management, and business analysis, and then working with thousands of businesses over the last 13 years, the #1 absolute most crucial subject you should dive into as a business owner is finance: and the importance of good bookkeeping for cash management and forecasting.
Don’t waste your money going to business school. The schools need to do a better job on the subject. So I would recommend going to the industry and checking out a great book called “Pandemic Cash Flow,” written back in 2017 by Blaine Bertsch, CEO of the software company called Dryrun, Which is a Cash Management and financial modeling tool that gives non-finance professionals the data they need to to make significant business decisions.
This book was the catalyst for my learning about the importance of cash flow. I was so impressed and saw the need for the business world to pay attention to this subject, I left my six-figure, 10-year career at Intuit to join Dryrun and its mission: Keeping business in business.
Here is a link to download a PDF of the book for free.
Anyway, back to you, the design business owner. You can learn as I did and overcome your ignorance as I did.
The first thing you need to understand is.
Get yourself an excellent cloud-based accounting system like Quickbooks Online. Learn to enter your invoices, bills, and expenses. Connect your bank and credit card accounts to the system. The goal is to be consistently current. Having access to your data, all the data, and it is timely.
Once you know where you stand today, you can start understanding your forward direction for the short-term, near-term, and long-term. The Pandemic Cash flow book covers this information in detail, and the Dryrun team can show you how to automate much of this process.
After all, you want to spend time creating, not doing tedious finance work.
So you are no longer ignorant but do you have good habits?
Good habits are the key to success in any field. If you want to be successful, you need to develop good habits that will help you get ahead.
Great news, you are already great at these three things in your creative life, and you can transfer them to the finance side of your business.
This is one of the most important habits you can develop. In accounting and finance, everything needs to be in its proper place. If you're not organized, it will be tough to keep track of everything. Hence the usage of Quickbooks online. It’s simple to use and keeps your information accurate and up to date.
Another essential habit to develop is attention to detail. In accounting and finance, even the slightest mistake can have significant consequences.
Don’t sweat this too much; I’d get in the habit of attaching documents to the transactions I enter into Quickbooks online by taking pictures of the paper.
Just pick a time early in the week, put it on the calendar and commit to it religiously. Review your reports, update your transactions and consider the activities you need to achieve. Write them out and put them into your calendar for the later part of the week to address the corresponding time required to complete them.
I have learned how badly we communicate with one another in business. It is incredible how often miscommunication occurs and how it can lead to problems. It is essential to have clear and concise communication to avoid misunderstandings.
Here is a big secret that will probably upset a few people but needs to be said. “Finance experts,” in particular Accountants (CPAs), “your trusted advisors,” more often than not suck at business. Don’t assume, trust, or believe that your accountant is helping you stay in business.
A CPA is a fantastic person for recording and reporting what has already happened to ensure the government gets its dues. (taxes & Compliance). It takes work to become a CPA. It is a lot of work and effort, and the jobs can be high-stress due to stringent timelines. Besides the above, once they get settled in, it can be a well-paying job with low risk and decent security.
The Key fact is that most are employees, never owned a business, and have never faced your problems. You should not take at face value that these three letters make this person qualified to give business advice.
I have worked with thousands, and my team has engaged over 25K more in conversation in the last three years on business survivability, growth, and success. It is scary how many so poorly run their businesses and how little they understand and engage their clients in helpful conversations. They, too, suffer from ignorance, poor habituation, and poor communication skills as well.
So, where does one go? I’d strongly recommend investing in reading some books and exercising your business brain as the best long-term strategy.
Some of my favorite books:
Pandemic Cash Flow by Blaine Bertsch
Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson.
I also recommend checking out the 7 Best Business Books for Creative Entrepreneurs.
#3 is my favorite on this list, Everything is figureoutable as it is overcoming ignorance.
If you're looking for a finance expert to help with your business, we’ve got you covered. We've built relationships with over 100 finance professionals at firms of all sizes, and they're experts in all stages of the business cycle and industries. I'm confident in their abilities and would gladly recommend them to you.
Working with a finance expert can be a great asset to your business. They can help you navigate the often complicated world of business finances, and they can offer valuable insights and advice. I'm confident that the finance experts we've built relationships with can provide that assistance, and we are happy to recommend them to you.
If you're interested in working with a finance expert, don't hesitate to reach out. I'll be happy to put you in touch with someone who can help you reach your business goals.
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