Business, at any level, can be likened to running around constantly putting out fires, trying to keep a metaphorical ball rolling.
This analogy can be tied to the act of financial awareness and pro-activeness; often the biggest fire of all for most businesses but the one most businesses way under-priortize and have the least time for.
When running your businesses, there are the vital fires and the “oh, hey there” constantly occurring mini-fires. The latter will take up most of your energy and time as you try to put them out. The former are key to your business running smoothly, but can often go forgotten as the business focuses on the constantly occurring mini-fires.
- Manufacturing issues
- Customer complaints
- New business/department development
- Staff management
While these things are important, in that they come together to form the cogs and pulleys powering a business forward, it is common for entrepreneurs to fall into a constant trap of busyness, not really progressing but working their proverbial butts off to just keep everything running.
I have personally fallen prey to this trap both in and outside my work for MergePay, and I still do. It was a poster that proudly hangs on our walls at MergePay HQ, made by the fine folks over at StartupVitamins, that made me reconsider this “headless chicken” approach to operating a business.
In it, Jack Dersey, co-founder of Twitter states:
“You have to make every single detail perfect and you have to limit the number of details”
It’s the 80/20 approach to business operations: establish what the vital fires are in your business and become an expert at extinguishing those bad boys.
Vital fires include:
- Financial management
- Listening to customers
It is extremely easy to let the day-to-day operations of a business cloud the reality that all businesses are built on simple principles: providing value, selling and not going broke.
A panel we carried out at MergePay, where we asked entrepreneurs what separates businesses that fail from businesses that succeed, confirmed this; successful business owners told us that if you can just provide enough value to a market, get your product in front of people who will buy and survive long enough as a company/entrepreneur… you just might succeed!
Perfecting The Fire Extinguishing Process
At MergePay, our goal is to make the process of financial management and awareness as frictionless as possible. If we could, we’d arrange for a personal minion to follow you around, record every transaction, bill and expense you received and whisper key metrics in your ear whenever the question of “how is my business doing” even crossed your mind. But personal minions are expensive, and arranging suitable living conditions is a messy process, so we decided to offer the next best thing.
We make everything from recording the expense of your business dinner and setting up upcoming payment notices for monthly bills, through to viewing all your key financial numbers, as simple as possible.
As Jack Dorsey says, “limit the number of details”
This is the secret to becoming an expert fire extinguisher. You have to do whatever you can to make the processes as simple, easy and seamless as possible.