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Business Lesson Taught By An Ostrich

February 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 228

By the time we're all old enough to attend Kindergarten, we have all heard stories about how ostriches stick their head in the sand to hide from their enemies. At that young age, we sense something is wrong with the strategy, but can't quite express the reason why. The sight of a spindly legged bird sticking its head in a hole sure is funny though.

I've come across a modern day ostrich in the form of a business owner. Once, I had a CEO tell me he no longer wanted to receive weekly sales and cash flow forecasts because they were all so gloomy. If he didn't have to look at them, he reasoned, he and his team would not be affected by their negative energy. They would be free to work toward positive changes in the business.

Hiding from the facts does not change them. Depriving yourself of critical information like future sales and cash flow, no matter how bad, makes it harder to climb out of the hole. How do you know, for example, if you're making progress? How do you know if your sales team is doing its job? How do you plan for a cash deficit if you don't know its extent?

I've found that successful business owners keep their eye on the ball no matter how tough things get. They are focused on the key numbers that drive their business. They cheer when the needle moves in the right direction. They buckle down and re-tool when it doesn't.

What I would have like to have said to the CEO (but I couldn't because he was not open to hearing it) is that the answer to your sales and cash flow problems lay in the numbers. We instituted processes to track these indicators so you always have a finger on your business's pulse and always have the information needed to make the right decisions. The numbers will tell you what has worked and what has not. Their conclusions are not always what you expect or what you want to hear, but they are true nonetheless. Instead of discarding them, let's use them to our advantage. Let's use them to chart a course out of the hole and to track our progress.

Keep your head above the sand. Make sure you know your most important numbers and what they mean. Most importantly, make sure you know how to use them to your competitive advantage.

Steve Breitman CFO with a CEO Perspective 303.359.1964

Source: EzineArticles
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