“I DON’T NEED MONEY – I NEED A BETTER STRATEGY”
The second master skill we teach at Sage Business School is Financial Creativity. (The first is Personal Mastery – or mindset – which you can read all about [here])
The reason we teach Financial Creativity is because this is an area where most entrepreneurs are stopped dead in their tracks. The whole issue concerning lack of finance, not being able to access money, or thinking they don’t have enough cash flow, is actually a real issue for many business owners.
Look at it from the point of view of an investor. If you had money available, would you give it to someone who hasn’t learned how to master it yet? To the point where they’ve mismanaged their own, and don’t have any left?
No, of course not.
But once you’ve mastered money (and shown you can be responsible with it) you’re a safer bet. If you’ve got the skill of financial creativity, lack of money won’t stop you. If anything, it’s an opportunity. It allows you to become more resourceful.
There’s a method to this.
Master it, and you can still get the things done that you need to as a business, even if you don’t have money.
The big problem
We’re conditioned to think “If we don’t have the money, then we need to go and get the money.”
But…for a lot of people, as soon as they get access to more money (or a credit line, or an overdraft, or capital from an investor) their first question is…
(Wait for it!)
“How can we spend it?”
That should be the last question you ask yourself. Money should be what you turn to when you have no other options remaining. In short, it is a conditioned response, and one you can and should unlearn.
Money should be the resource you access only when you have run out of resourcefulness.
Using money as a second option, rather than a first, is not a skill that is widely taught. And yet, once you’ve mastered this skill, a whole new world of possibilities opens up to you.
This is a big mindshift. Indeed, it’s something that’s new to almost every entrepreneur that visits the business school.
In short, it’s not about getting access to money. It’s about being resourceful enough and creative enough that you can put the right deal together. Meaning you can still get done what you need to get done, without having to rely on a bank balance.
So what do you need to do instead?
You need to learn to:
Ask better questions
Think more effectively
All so that money becomes a SECOND option instead of a FIRST. After all, the money will still be there if you really need it.
What is money?
Let’s stop for a moment and consider what money is.
Money is an arbitrary medium of exchange. In the days of bartering, someone might have a goat, and the other person might have chickens. If they both want what the other has, then they can barter. But if they don’t then they can’t.
Money was created as a universal medium of exchange to solve this problem.
But let’s be clear about this. There’s only one place in the entire universe where money has value, and that is…
In the mind of a human.
Money itself has no inherent value. It’s nothing more than pieces of paper with dead people printed on, or bits of shiny metal. If you had a million pounds in cash, and there was no banking system, and you were cold… its main value would come from setting fire to it.
Many people think money is a way to measure value.
Money is a way to measure PERCEIVED value.
How much is a house worth? Indeed, how much is anything worth? The answer, of course, is simple. It’s worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.
If you can internalise one phrase around this subject, it should be this. It should be your default – what you remind yourself of every time you think you need money.
Are you ready?
Here it is…
“I DON’T NEED MONEY – I NEED A BETTER STRATEGY”
I drill this into attendees at my business school, and share many examples, so they can see how it works in practice.
The question you need to ask yourself
All good so far. But how can you find this better strategy? Well, questions determine focus, and the question you should be asking yourself is this:
“How can I add value?”
After all, money is nothing more than a byproduct of adding value. So you need to stop focusing on getting money, and instead focus on how to add value.
Imagine you’re a tennis player, and you want to win more matches. Instead of thinking about winning more matches, here’s what you should focus on instead:
Increasing your stamina
Improving your reflexes
Developing your hand-eye coordination
Do that, and in a few months you’ll notice you’re starting to win more. Because winning is a byproduct of taking those actions.
In a similar vein…
Losing weight is a byproduct or consequence of finding the right diet, exercise plan, habits and so on.
Being more knowledgeable is a byproduct or consequence of studying, getting curious and so on.
A real world example
But how does this apply to the business world? I have many examples which I go into in more detail at Sage Business School. But let me give you an example of one now.
My friend Matt, who owned a flower stall in my home town of Leicester, came to me asking to borrow £20,000. Another flower stall holder on the other side of town was retiring and had offered to sell Matt his pitch. Matt came to me asking if he could borrow the money.
But as we know, Matt didn’t need money – he needed A BETTER STRATEGY.
So instead I suggest he tell the owner that he wouldn’t give him £20,000. Instead he would give him… £25,000. But paid over twelve months. The extra £5,000 came from agreeing an exclusivity deal with the wholesalers, who would get great value from such a deal, as they would be doubling the value of flowers they were selling. To around £250,000.
It was a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The 3 Rules
There are 3 rules to bear in mind when making a creative deal like this:
1) Make sure what you’re offering is of use to the other person
It’s no good offering goats if they want chickens.
2) Make sure the perceived value is higher than what they would normally get in cash
Cash is king. If the deals are the same then most people would rather take the cash because there’s more certainty than with a creative deal.
3) Deal with the people who can deal
This means the business owner.
A salesperson is looking for commission, so they’re the wrong person. And if another person represents that deal on your behalf, then what they deliver to the business owner will be a weak, photocopied version. They may well be looking to protect themselves from a stupid deal, or have a hidden agenda.
Over to you
I hope I’ve helped to illuminate the subject of financial mastery a little further for you. (Let me say it one last time, so you don’t forget: YOU DON’T NEED MONEY. YOU NEED A BETTER STRATEGY).
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