Living on the financial edge isn’t living … It’s surviving!

Put your seatbelt on because this Monday Morning Wake-Up is a wake-up every leader needs to digest and take action on. OK, here goes…

Many years ago, I coined a phrase called “owner’s nights.” (Yeah, it was one of my first Neilisms.) An owner’s night occurs around 2:30 in the morning. Urgent thoughts are spinning around your brain – meeting payroll, the rent or mortgage payment, those looming invoices and credit card balances. You feel as though you’re a hamster running at high speed chasing cash flow and getting nowhere. Tossing and turning, you finally wake up in a cold sweat and wish the business gods would save you from this madness.

Hey guys, when you regard surviving a pay period as a major victory, you’re in serious survival mode. OK, maybe for your business it’s not payroll, instead it’s that big lease you got yourself into … or that big build-out loan … or that huge bail-out loan … or that list of credit card debt on your balance. Maybe it’s just you living a lifestyle that your business can no longer afford to finance. It doesn’t matter what the source of your financial pain is – it hurts. It’s stressful. It interferes with the joy of life. It keeps you up at night. I know because I’ve been there.

I’m trying to ruin your appetite for breakfast because I am concerned about the current state of entrepreneurial business. Being in the training and coaching business, the Strategies team of coaches and I are up to our eyeballs leading business owners out of the fiery pits of hell. We see the good, the bad and the seriously ugly. In the very worst cases, there are no words to express how it feels to see an owner lose it all in a real life nightmare.

Here’s the good news: Owner’s nights and living on the financial edge is a choice. That’s right, it’s a choice. I’m not suggesting that a business leader wakes up one day and says, “Today I will lead my company into the fiery pits of hell.” What I’m saying is that leaders take their businesses down dangerous paths due to failure to plan, emotional and/or impromptu decision making, failure to engage in sound cash-flow management, failure to keep the vision shining bright, failure to keep information flowing to staff, failure to make tough decisions … you get the picture. It’s a choice – and you can make that leadership choice to take the path to daylight now – but only if you commit to work through the tough stuff so you can go the distance. It’s time to step off the hamster wheel.

Here’s what I’m going to do to help you and your business get out of survival mode: I’m in the office all this week and my schedule is pretty light. I will do as many coaching calls as I can through Friday, July 16, to listen, to understand your issues and to coach you. I will make recommendations for next steps. I will not charge anything for my time. The only condition is that you are committed to go “no compromise” and engage in the tough stuff that success and profitability demands.

To schedule your call with me, please call Bruce Hourigan at 800.417.4848 ext. 203. If I’m not on a call, he’ll put you through to me. Otherwise, he’ll schedule a time for you. You will need to e-mail or fax me your most recent Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Statement. (These reports will tell me about your financial decision-making and behavior.) The calls will last 30 to 60 minutes. You know, as I write this, I’m wondering how many of you will call and what this week is going to look like for me.

Let’s get to work.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click the Comment button above.

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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