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What Budgeting & Sex Have in Common

What Budgeting & Sex Have in Common

By Jonathan Raymond

Let’s face it, we’re all hung up about money. It might be the only topic we have more confusion and discomfort about than sex. It’s also one of the subjects that many parents don’t feel comfortable talking about with their children. Let’s open up about it. If you’re like most business owners or managers, your financial training is about as relevant to the actual running of your business as your parents’ advice on sex was as a teenager.

At the end of the day, budgeting is where the rubber of your optimism meets the road of your numbers. And these numbers don’t lie (unless you lie to yourself about them). It’s where you can’t hide your performance issues. False bravery won’t get you through it, but choosing to face the fear and not let it stop you from getting help will.

From the fabulously wealthy to the barely getting by, how we are with money – usually too tight or too loose – can undermine our business in profound ways. Dealing with money – especially when it comes to dealing with money with others – evokes powerful memories and emotions from the past. It tests our ability to hold healthy boundaries. And of course, it ties into powerful images and conditioning we get from our culture about what our net worth says about our self worth.

And it’s not just dealing with money day to day. You’re also tasked with quantifying the past and forecasting the future – it’s easy to get overwhelmed and default to old patterns. A business coach can help, getting support from other professionals working on changing their business can help, but it all starts with self-honesty, and tough questions from a trusted advisor, especially the questions a part of you says you “should” already know the answer to.

Our clients will tell you one of the most valuable things in having a coach is that they finally had the safe space to open up about their discomfort and ask questions. What does it really mean to create and manage to a budget? What are my financial statements really telling me? This is true even for some of our most successful clients. How can this be?

The reason is that most business training – and almost all of our cultural conditioning – is focused on the sale, and on the sexy top line revenue numbers. The operational and analytical aspects (expense management and budgeting, for example) are rarely given the same import – and yet, those aspects are critical elements if you are going to navigate your business through the inevitable ups and downs.

The work can be slow and sometimes tedious. But without digging in here, you end up too dependent on closing the next deal even if you know inside it’s not the right deal, and you go after convenient customers even though you know they’re not the right customers, the ones who will spread the word about your brand to the markets you really want to reach.

At the end of the day, budgeting is where the rubber of your optimism meets the road of your numbers. And these numbers don’t lie (unless you lie to yourself about them). It’s where you can’t hide your performance issues. False bravery won’t get you through it, but choosing to face the fear and not let it stop you from getting help will.

 

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