Do you know your business......
I have run businesses for 20 years. My husband’s gym and my own Interior Design Business which I started 10 years ago.
So.....you would think I had a good idea of knowing how to run a business however one can always learn more!!
There were two major incidences that happened over the past few years which were a huge "light bulb" moment. This showed me I was not in control of the money side of my business.
Do you know the back end of your business?
About a year ago I went to a seminar and the main thing I learnt was “did I know the back end of my business."
It was a Roxy Jacenko “Tips and Tricks” seminar on social media and PR. What I went for was to learn more about social media however I learnt more about business. One of Roxy’s main points about business and biggest mistakes she made when starting her PR Company was she didn’t keep an eye on the back end of her business.
I am now going to share two personal stories with you as I really want to make a point!!! No matter how busy you are you should always know the back end of your business. Be the one to oversee the accounts, money, books etc never leave it up to someone else like I did.
Three years ago I was sitting at home on a Monday night watching X Factor with Frankie and the kids. I heard a very loud truck noise and said to Frankie what is that. To cut a long story short our car was being re-possessed because we had missed two car payments!!
I have never been so embarrassed in all my life. The guy taking the car said to save embarrassment give him the keys so he could drive the car onto the truck and he didn’t have to drag it as all the neighbours were watching. I told the kids the car had broken down.
Here was my black Audi that I had worked so hard for being taken away, Frankie and I could not believe what was happening. I felt embarrassed, humiliated and was so angry I picked up my Italian white fruit bowl with all the fruit still in it and smashed it on the kitchen floor.
The next day after a very big argument with the finance people we did get our car back and the confusion was sorted. I had left the payments up to the office to pay each month. The person who did this for me went overseas for 6 weeks and had put the payments on an automatic payment system. There was a glitch in the system and the payments didn’t go through. Normally you are notified of this however for some reason we weren’t which was another issue. The finance company were very apologetic.
At the time I was so humiliated and embarrassed I didn’t want to ever talk about it again however I did tell my family and eventually my friends. My family did see the funny side as I made Frankie ride his bike to the gym the next day. I wouldn’t let him get a cab because I told him if we couldn’t afford to pay for our car we couldn't afford a cab. Poor Frankie it was 4am in the morning and he had to ride for about one and a half hours. We hadn’t spoken to the finance company yet so of course I had blamed him.
The second wakeup call was only last year. I am very trusting and being an Interior Designer I don’t love the number side of my business and find it all a little boring.
After my yearly accounts were finalised I ended up with a massive tax bill. This freaked me out as I knew enough about my books that this could not be right. I contacted my sister and asked her to help me sort it out as she understands accounting and gets things done. We quickly changed accountants who worked through my business figures and realised I didn’t actually owe any tax and found mistakes had been made.
Once again I was given a very big wakeup call!! My sister got so angry with me and said “stop and make time for your accounting and the back end of your business." This is the most important part and if that is not correct the rest is not worth doing".
I am so busy seeing clients, in appointments, playing with fabric and doing the things I love I have always left the accounting up to others and that was a BIG mistake.
Even when I had to meet the accountants with my sister (Marita) to sort out my accounting mess, at times my brain would wander off and think about the next job I was going to or the sofa I was going to recommend. Marita would get so mad with me and start clicking her fingers in my face and say “focus”!!
So...... I can say over the past three years I have learnt the hard way but it has been a valuable lesson. Always know what is going on in your business never leave it up to someone else. Sign off on everything and know about the back end, the accounting side even if you trust your staff.
At the end of the day it is your business and your responsibility no one else’s.