“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5
As we journey through 2024, riding the waves toward spiritual and personal well-being, we must anchor our New Year’s resolutions in sound financial management. Before January ends, let’s commit to mastering the art of balancing our books monthly, both personally and professionally. Given the gift of 24 hours every day, balancing our books is intrinsically tied to optimal time management.
Managing finances is a universal challenge. The principles remain the same, whether balancing the family budget or ensuring business profitability. Income from salaries, loans or investments must eclipse our expenses. These expenses range from basic needs like food and housing to future-oriented expenditures like education, health care, and retirement planning.
For entrepreneurs, the challenge amplifies. Running a business demands personal financial acumen and a deep understanding of business finance. Profitability isn’t merely a goal; it’s the lifeline of your venture.
The cornerstone of efficient financial management lies within the pillars of management itself: planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and monitoring performance against plans.
Planning: Start with a clear financial goal. What do you aspire to achieve, either personally or professionally, this year? Set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
Organizing: Once your goals are set, assemble your resources and ensure you have the right technological tools and systems. This process involves income and expense budgeting and funds allocation. Specific systems must be adhered to for businesses, such as financial security, marketing, operational efficiency, and human resource development.
Staffing: In most families, one person accepts the responsibility of financial management. However, in a business, owing to its diverse systems, a financial management committee should be established. It is wise to seek advice in both personal and business finance, particularly from independent and experienced financial investment advisors. Indeed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Leading: Whether leading a household or a company, your attitude toward money sets the tone. Foster a culture of savings.
I fondly recall my mother, the late Rita Springer, who captured her story in her memoirs. At the tender age of 15, she left school and began working in her father’s hardware store, earning a princely 16 cents per week during the late 1920s. Yet, she managed to save half of that each week.
She recalled her first visit to England in the summer of 1937. She was informed of a Guide Camp to be held in England, coinciding with the Coronation of King George VI. The camp invited Overseas Guides and Guiders, and she immediately resolved to be part of this significant event.
With her healthy savings account as collateral, she approached her father about her desire to travel to England. She proposed taking a loan from him, promising to repay it from her earnings when she returned. Initially, he advised her to give up her daydream. However, after considering the advantages of travel and discussing it with her mother – who was supportive – he finally agreed.
The takeaway here for leaders is the indispensable power of savings. It is crucial to understand the potential of both short-term and long-term investment markets, both domestically and internationally.
Monitoring: Regularly evaluate your financial status against your plans. Are you on track with your savings? Is your business meeting its financial targets? Adjust your strategies throughout the year as needed.
As we embrace this journey, it’s important to remember that financial management is not just about numbers. It’s about making informed decisions that impact our quality of life and the sustainability of our businesses. It’s a journey of discipline, learning and growth.
Let’s ensure that our financial resolutions don’t just stay on paper this year. Let’s make them a living reality.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is email@example.com. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com).