We just celebrated 10 years in business at my clubs. I didn’t realize that only 4 percent of businesses make the 10 year mark. In honor of our 10 year milestone I figured I’d share 10 financial lessons I learned in the 10 years (in no particular order).
1. Having a solid book keeper is one of the first investments you should make – First I tried to save money by doing it ourselves and then I hired someone who really didn’t know what they were doing. Once my business started having more moving parts, working with qualified financial pros was one of the biggest game changers for me.
2. Avoid debt – A lot of people will tell you to use debt as a tool to grow your business. It’s interesting that these same people often agree that personal debt should be avoided. They will give all types of justifications why it’s different. I’ve build a very rewarding business without any debt and have helped others do the same.
3. The storm is coming – None of us are immune to downturns in business. Even the most successful business owners have experienced dips along the way. The importance of being prepared for times like this can’t be underestimated.
4. Get your personal financial house in order – When your personal finances are in order you will be much more likely to succeed with your business finances.
5. Pay yourself first – Paying yourself first is more of a habit than anything else. You’re building muscle memory by paying yourself first and using what’s left for your expenses. One of my long-term personal training clients, a very successful lawyer says, “There is always money left for the devil. “ What he means is that there will always be other people to pay.
6. Be long-term minded – It’s so important to have a big picture view of things. Being an entrepreneur is like being on a roller coaster. There will be ups and downs but as long as you stay faithful and consistent with the little things you will end up happy you took the ride.
7. Stay within your financial lane – As with anything else, you need to make a plan and execute on it. If you plan out your spending but then neglect the discipline to follow it, you’ll end up in trouble. Don’t worry about hiring extra staff, purchasing fancy equipment, etc. until you have the cash and can plan for it.
8. Take responsibility – Regardless of what happens in your business, own it. Many fitness pros blame the economy, competition, their lazy clients, etc. for their lack of financial success. As long as they continue doing this, they’ll never get ahead. Even though there are things outside of your control, take full responsibility in how you handle it.
9. Do the accounting – If you go back to my first lesson, I recommend hiring qualified financial pros. That doesn’t mean that you completely ignore what’s going on. Nobody is going to care about your numbers like you do. It is your responsibility to understand your financials and the story they tell.
10. Set financial goals – We know that what we pay attention to grows. It’s amazing how many fit pros work so hard in their business but don’t have specific financial goals. Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. You need to have financial goals. They may include paying down debt, saving for retirement, or paying off your house.
Which of my 10 lessons stood out to you most and why?