Maybe it’s something to do with a recent surgery, but this theme has been bouncing around in my head asking to be fleshed out so to speak (excuse the pun).
So, we know in business or in life for the matter, to balance the books or the budget or be profitable we need our income to exceed our expenditure, this is true for governments, business, not for profits, community groups and families or individuals and yet it is very hard for us to get our heads around “How” we do this.
Income or revenue might be dependent on many things, the maintenance of a job, ongoing sales or contracts, charitable donations and strategies to grow new revenue streams or identify new opportunities as well as what risks might exist to current sources of revenue e.g. will they be there in the future?
Expenditure might be anything from cost of doing business, cost of living, schooling, overheads, rentals, insurances, mortgages, utilities and transport and I am sure many more.
Now what has this to do with the title you may ask? Well, this is what I am thinking, we all know that when revenue drops off and strategies to grow or replace this revenue are not in place or not working, it becomes necessary to tighten one’s belt and usually in the corporate world it means slashing jobs and services or products that are not performing. In a personal or family space this might mean tightening the family’s budget and reducing spend on entertainment or luxuries or even having to sell assets or move or borrow money to survive.
This is something I have thought about a little after a brush with cancer, and, facing the fact that we would have to live off one salary and deal with the medical costs while still having responsibilities for our dependants and keeping the wheels on. This was definitely time to cut the fat and we did take a good hard look at all our expenses and where we could trim the fat and do without. Did we decide that we would take our kids out of school or, sell our house in a slow market or scrimp on medical care to save costs – No this would have been cutting the muscle or our structure that strengthen our family framework and ability to thrive.
So yes, it is that time of year again, financial year end, Tax time – time to revisit and re-engineer your budget for the future – so here is a top 10 list to help you through, whether you are responsible for a corporate budget, a small business, a community initiative, your personal or family budget – the rules and advice applies and if you are thinking about a change and doing your own thing, even better:
Get yourself financially fit and in good shape to move forward in your chosen direction with confidence and knowledge that whatever happens you will be able to manage it.
- Review all your costs! are they fat or muscle? – Do you need them? Do you actually use them? How long have you used the same service without questioning whether there is a better deal?
- For ongoing services e.g. Utilities, Finance, Technology, Insurance, etc, work out what you need, who the suppliers are, and what they would offer you to move and negotiate with your current provider. It always amazes me that providers take loyalty for granted but incentivise new sign ups and retention once they know or think they will lose your business.
- Can you save by buying in bulk or as a group? Clunky I know but this is something close to my heart – think outside the box!
- Can you share resources? Car, Home, Office, Shop? Do you really utilise all your resources and assets 24/7? Could you reduce your costs by being flexible and letting others have use of them when you are not using them or by allocating space or time slots for others to utilise.
- Make conscious purchases! If you are bad with a credit card or PayPal and are a compulsive shopper – put some checks and measures in the way – Sometimes I get my husband to change the passwords and give him my credit card if I feel I need to make myself more accountable. It’s a bit like not buying chocolate when you are on a diet!! Can you get rid of items you have bought and never use?
- Look at your debt – is it good debt? A house that you are purchasing on a decent and competitive loan that is or will appreciate in value over time. Or, is it lazy credit card purchases and failure to pay off the balance monthly or a car loan that was not well considered – take the pain and cut the fat even if there is an exit cost.
- Leave no stone unturned, be mindful and track everything you do over the next month, how you spend your time, what gives you pleasure and why, and what you are aiming towards – Get to the core of what is important and what will help you build muscle to achieve this and cut all the residual fat that is draining energy away from what you would like to achieve.
- Set your goals – Be truthful and realistic and then create actions for how you will achieve them and how you will measure them and how you will review and hold yourself accountable for them.
- Build in rewards, think about how you will reward yourself or your family or your team for achieving your goals be it daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly or something massive at the end. Encourage buy in and reward the behaviour that achieves the result.
- Take Time out to enjoy the ride! This is my favourite and yes this is another list – but if you do it once a year and set your course, it will allow you to proceed in confidence and less stress on a path designed by you for you, and, will set you up for whatever life throws your way. Have a device free weekend and try to disconnect from the grid regularly, No, you do not need to respond to every email and check your messages or post what is going on in the minute. Take time out to be you and enjoy your family and your friends and the things in life that make you happy – pay it forward a little, do something together that will make a difference in the world whether it is a walk to fundraise or a clean-up day or a community initiative or even a get to know your neighbours street BBQ or just sharing the extra fruit from your tree in the backyard – being in the moment and being human is what we are all about and where we feel our most happiest and at peace with ourselves.
So I am going to take my own advice and do just that, ensuring I am not building any layers of fat but laying down muscle that will build the business, ethos and lifestyle that my heart and my head are telling me to do.
Namaste folks 🙂
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