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As a young entrepreneur I quickly began to dread the coming of April each year. The closer this month got in my early years I knew that I would have to have my annual “awakening” of the financial status of my business for the previous year. Not only did I have all the other responsibilities of the business to handle but by April 1st I had to deal with the dreaded “brown box.”

My “brown box” held my receipts and what I perceived was the secrets as to whether I had actually made a profit in the year gone by. Cash flowed to be sure, however it was the question of was I spending it wisely or not, and was I actually creating a profitable business?

Learning by the seat of my pants in those early years I just thought I should innately know how to deal with the numbers. As I moved forward in my journey I discovered that it didn’t have to be so painful and systems began to get rooted as I learned it was okay (and actually quite necessary) to get help from financial professionals.

Now it hasn’t always been easy, some years have been financially better than others. The juggle for the best use of my time as I approach my 34th year of being an entrepreneur always comes back to the most important element in the business - paying attention to the numbers.

Ironically, I started my first business on April 1, 1985. Yes, April Fool’s Day! However, running a business is no joke. Without a doubt surprises and the unexpected have come and gone like the tide over the years. Some long forgotten and some have left financial scars or better said, a permanent reminder.

Here is what I know to be true when it comes to self control with money…

If you are not a “money person” you need to learn to be one. Some years will be better than others and doing your financials on a monthly basis is key to getting to greater profitability.

Expenses have a way of creeping up on you. Making sense of them can come too late if you are only looking at numbers on a quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis. Look monthly.

Charging the right price for your goods and services isn’t just about what others are charging – they have to make economic sense for the value that your business provides.

Do not, I repeat do not, continue to beat yourself up as you waste time in regret for past financial mistakes made. Learn from your mistakes, moving on smarter and money wiser.

Knowing your numbers helps you to make educated decisions in your business. Included in this is financial projections – you can’t hit a target when you don’t know what it is.

Finally repeat to yourself on a regular basis “Show me the money!” as the Jerry McGuire movie so infamously shouted it out. Say it loud and say it clear. Make April a time to fully enjoy the gifts of spring and watch all the growth around you.

And if that is not inspirational enough, how about these words from Benjamin Franklin (you know the guy on the $100 bill), “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

Have a month full of growth ahead.

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- Cheri

Cheri Ruskus, Founder of Business Victories • 303-652-1718 • @victorygirl

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