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Where Did They All Go?

1step

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There are so many things in life that aren't obvious until you gain a specific type and amount of experience.

I remember people telling me that my views on money and success would change as I got older -- I thought they were nuts...until I got older.

I remember people telling me that my views on socioeconomics and wealth inequality would change as I spent more time traveling and meeting people -- I thought they were nuts...until I started traveling and meeting people.

I remember people telling me how my life would chang with kids -- I thought they were nuts...until I had kids.
Could you expand on these with what your previous views and current views on these topics? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts regarding these topics and further understanding the changes
 

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JScott

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Could you expand on these with what your previous views and current views on these topics? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts regarding these topics and further understanding the changes
Nope.

Because that would just lead to the very argument and debates that I'm trying to avoid. :)

Okay, here's one example of a personal belief that's controversial around here (and I'm not looking to expand on it or argue it, as there are plenty of other threads where I've discussed it in more detail):

I'm a big believer that formal education is often worthwhile, and that for many people, the "fastlane" is not an optimal financial path. Some people just don't have the motivation, the work ethic and/or the intellectual capacity. In fact, for many people, I could provide a slowlane plan that is much, much more likely to generate millions dollars than going the entrepreneur route. And even for those who prefer to go the entrepreneur route, I believe you're much more likely to be successful if you're willing to formalize your business education, at least to some extent.

These are very controversial statements around here that have gotten me a lot of hate in the past.

But, as someone who knows literally hundreds of people with 7-, 8- 9-, and 10-figure net worths (and as someone who alternatively knows literally hundreds of people who have have tried to achieve entrepreneurial success and have so-far failed), I've seen what tends to work and what doesn't work. I've seen the commonalities and divergences in the paths these people have taken. I see the differences between those have succeeded and failed. Both in terms of their process and their personalities.

Twenty years ago I could guess at the things that make great entrepreneurs. Today, I actually have some qualitative and empirical data. Based on my experiences and my network, I believe I'm a lot more qualified today to claim I know what leads certain people to entrepreneurial success.

I realize how naive I was 20 years ago, and I see some of that among younger aspiring entrepreneurs on this forum. When I state my views based on my experience, I get a lot of people who argue with me as I would likely have argued with me 20 years ago when I was a lot more naive... ;)
 
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JScott

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I think we're all talking about the same things when we refer to Fastlane. It's essentially living the lifestyle you want. The only difference is in the $ it costs.

Live where you want = $x
Drive what you want = $x
Eat where you want = $x
Do what you want = $x
Vacation where you want = $x
Work on what you want which brings in X dollars

All ideally detached from time.

Then it's fastlane. You're your own boss, on your on-time, at your own pace, while still earning enough to achieve all the above. Where X is whatever you define you want.

Maybe we all learned something in 5th-grade math after-all. Solve for X.
Most entrepreneurs will go years, or even decades, before they are making enough money from their businesses that they can live where they what, drive what they want, eat where they want, etc.

Based on your definition, someone who starts his own business but is not yet successful enough to afford these things is still slowlane.

Given that, I disagree with your definition. Which goes back to what @PizzaOnTheRoof was saying -- we all have a different definition.
 

csalvato

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Today, I actually have some qualitative and empirical data. Based on my experiences and my network, I believe I'm a lot more qualified today to claim I know what leads certain people to entrepreneurial success.
At the risk of derailing, this would be an interesting convo :hilarious:

I think there's a thread tha touches on that a little bit over here:


If you think there's a special combo of skills or a common denominator, I'd be interested in your take.
 

1step

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Nope.

Because that would just lead to the very argument and debates that I'm trying to avoid.
I personally have no interest in arguing but I am interested in your takes on the various topics you have outlined in the above posts. I think it would certainly be valued here but also understand if you don’t want to go down that route. Selfishly I wouldn’t mind a private message convo with more details but think the forum as a whole would benefit greatly to hear your insights even if some aren’t receptive to the message yet

Another idea would be a blog post or podcast episode, such as 5 things I’ve changed my mind on in the last 20 years or something similar.
 
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broswoodwork

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At the risk of derailing, this would be an interesting convo :hilarious:
^ yes please, especially this part
formalize your business education, at least to some extent
I'm an uneducated dummy, at least formally, and I'd actually be very interested in hearing more.
 

BizyDad

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I personally have no interest in arguing but am interested in your takes on the various topics you have outlined in the above posts. I think it would certainly be valued here but also understand if you don’t want to go down that route. Selfishly I wouldn’t mind a private message convo with more details but think the forum as a whole would benefit greatly to hear your insights even if some aren’t receptive to the message yet

Another idea would be a blog post or podcast episode, such as 5 things I’ve changed my mind on in the last 20 years or something similar.
Maybe this is exactly why "the experts" don't want to share too often.

Do you see the expectation here? You're talking about what's good for you. You admit to the selfishness, but that doesn't excuse said selfishness.

Are you guilting him? Being passive aggressive?

Whatever you are doing it certainly isn't respecting the boundary he so clearly stated.

You've been on this forum for much longer than I, maybe you two even know each other already. But what you are doing is rubbing me the wrong way. Back off.

^ yes please, especially this part


I'm an uneducated dummy, at least formally, and I'd actually be very interested in hearing more.
@broswoodwork learn the "inside outs" of income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets.

If someday you plan to raise capital or sell the business, it'll help you be prepared and speak the language.

Start there.

From there, look at the curriculum of business schools and you will probably find videos for free that cover similar topics in general terms.

Personally, I don't know how valuable a use of your time it is to go deeper, I don't know your biz, etc.
 

broswoodwork

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learn the "inside outs" of income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets.
I bought a bunch of business text books once upon a time. Read the general biz and marketing books cover to cover. The principles of accounting sort of melted my brain at the time. I'll revisit it. :)

Thanks for the tip!
 

csalvato

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Maybe this is exactly why "the experts" don't want to share too often.
hm I read this situation differently, I think...

Seems like it’s a compliment to say that an opinion is valued highly and to show a willingness to listen without judgement.

This is the opposite to what I see a lot of people do, which is dismiss and argue an opinion before it’s even been fleshed out.
 

BizyDad

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Then maybe you two weren't paying attention closely enough.

Perhaps because you are only thinking for yourselves and are likely incredibly reasoned and reasonable human beings. If only everyone who reads this thread acts so enlightened...

But the man who has walked the walk said it always leads to arguments.

The people talking the talk are saying this time it will be different...

Newbies don't take the word of experience because they lack the perspective of having been there.

Which was his original point!

Did the fact that I complimented you make it any easier to hear the rest of this by the way?
 
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Vadim26

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Agree with all the reasons @MJ DeMarco mentioned.

To add, I believe some stay here just for the sake of making $$$ and leave the forum to enjoy it.

“Who needs that Fastlane forum if I made it?”

Nope.

Because that would just lead to the very argument and debates that I'm trying to avoid. :)

Okay, here's one example of a personal belief that's controversial around here (and I'm not looking to expand on it or argue it, as there are plenty of other threads where I've discussed it in more detail):

I'm a big believer that formal education is often worthwhile, and that for many people, the "fastlane" is not an optimal financial path. Some people just don't have the motivation, the work ethic and/or the intellectual capacity. In fact, for many people, I could provide a slowlane plan that is much, much more likely to generate millions dollars than going the entrepreneur route. And even for those who prefer to go the entrepreneur route, I believe you're much more likely to be successful if you're willing to formalize your business education, at least to some extent.

These are very controversial statements around here that have gotten me a lot of hate in the past.

But, as someone who knows literally hundreds of people with 7-, 8- 9-, and 10-figure net worths (and as someone who alternatively knows literally hundreds of people who have have tried to achieve entrepreneurial success and have so-far failed), I've seen what tends to work and what doesn't work. I've seen the commonalities and divergences in the paths these people have taken. I see the differences between those have succeeded and failed. Both in terms of their process and their personalities.

Twenty years ago I could guess at the things that make great entrepreneurs. Today, I actually have some qualitative and empirical data. Based on my experiences and my network, I believe I'm a lot more qualified today to claim I know what leads certain people to entrepreneurial success.

I realize how naive I was 20 years ago, and I see some of that among younger aspiring entrepreneurs on this forum. When I state my views based on my experience, I get a lot of people who argue with me as I would likely have argued with me 20 years ago when I was a lot more naive... ;)
Don’t know about you guys, but I’m personally going to get mentored by @JScott by reading all the messages he left on the forum for the next 50-100 days. That would be reading around 40 to 80 messages a day (average newspaper page).

I’d like to find out what’s his opinion on formal education, why it might the better path than “Fastlane” for some people (despite the sea of information out there). And also what is the criteria that he mentions to figure out if you’ve got the potential OR if you don’t ... how to make it work.


Got me very intrigued there.
 

BizyDad

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Just to point out the obvious, he said he's had these arguments on the forum before...

So a simple Google search


Led me to this discussion...


Where I began to see an argument about education like he mentioned.

Also, did you know JScott is a Wharton professor? And author? I didn't. (First comment in this thread)


Anyways, instead of asking someone else to go through all the trouble of reeducating me as he had stated he had done several times before on this forum, I decided to start researching for myself out of respect for his time.

That Google search can be modified all kinds of ways to learn a Wharton professor's thoughts on a variety of topics.

So before you humbly and respectfully request somebody to add more value to the forum, especially someone you want to receive value from, I urge you to consider finding the value they've already created on here. Maybe that's how noobs can stop annoying the experts.

Love the memes btw...
 

Runum

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Just to point out the obvious, he said he's had these arguments on the forum before...

So a simple Google search


Led me to this discussion...


Where I began to see an argument about education like he mentioned.

Also, did you know JScott is a Wharton professor? And author? I didn't. (First comment in this thread)


Anyways, instead of asking someone else to go through all the trouble of reeducating me as he had stated he had done several times before on this forum, I decided to start researching for myself out of respect for his time.

That Google search can be modified all kinds of ways to learn a Wharton professor's thoughts on a variety of topics.

So before you humbly and respectfully request somebody to add more value to the forum, especially someone you want to receive value from, I urge you to consider finding the value they've already created on here. Maybe that's how noobs can stop annoying the experts.

Love the memes btw...
Impressive initiative!
 

BizyDad

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Impressive initiative!
Thanks. I appreciate the compliment.

But I don't see it as impressive.

"Just figure it out" should be a basic ethic of all entrepreneurs, right? Maybe when you get to business owner level it's "pay someone to figure it out" :rofl:

But I'm not special, @Vadim26 had the same thought. And he was much less of an a$$ about it too. He deserves more credit.
 

csalvato

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This situation is beyond ironic.

The exact situation being described is exactly what's happening:

People who are, by definition, less experienced posters (i.e. new to the forum – @BizyDad, you joined the forum 2 months ago) coming in and creating an annoying argument where there was none before.

For what reason? To be right about something?

Imagine how this scene would have played out if we were all in a bar (something I actually do with people from this forum):
...
JS: I sometimes don't come to this bar because when I come here, it's inevitable that I get into a debate or argument that annoys me. It's because my views don't line up with some people here.
1S: Oh? What views are those? I'd be interested to hear them.
JS: Nah. I don't want to because it always causes an argument.
CS: For what it's worth, I'm also interested in your opinion.
1S: Your opinion is really valuable.
BD: What you are doing is rubbing me the wrong way. Back off!
...

If this happened in person, there'd be a lot of side eye going around...




So the topic of this thread is "Where did they all go?" That is, "Why do people not stick around?"

As someone who has been here for 5 years, attended 4 in-person meetups, and gave 2 presentations at the Summit, this is a reason I often need to step away.

PS - @JScott, now I get it. This thread is a case-in-point. No need to expand further. :) I'm still interested in your opinions, but I'll find another way to have this discussion one day.
 
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AnneC

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I think @csalvato already summed it up.

This is why I’m not on the forum. I'm only here to get Summit details, and I follow a handful of friends here.

It’s too easy for people to be anonymous jerks behind a screen. And we lose all those non-verbal communication cues that Arrabista talks about. Plus, I think that the demographic here definitely skews young, male, and naive... but think they know it all.

I always question @biophase why he takes the time to post. To me, it looks like a waste of time. You're helping dudes who don't think they need it, who won't follow through anyways, and who probably will not even be on the forum a few months later.

@BizyDad - Congratulations on being the oblivious forum newbie everyone's complaining about. The people you called out for not "walking the walk" have built multi-million dollar businesses. What have you accomplished? I find your "Know Thyself" tagline incredibly ironic.

I think this highlights the importance of attending the in-person meetups. I'm happily forum-agnostic, because I personally think you can judge a person's character better in real life. I'll see you guys in February (or sooner). Peace out.
 

BizyDad

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When someone says they don't want to talk about something, and others selfishly push, I am the type of guy who says back off.

At a bar I could see reaction, so the analogy is a poor one.

Still, I didn't think doing the right thing would cause an argument. I was surprised at csavulto's reaction. I especially didn't get why he was giving us his credentials, that seemed out of place and out of character for him.

Thank you @AnneC for helping me figure it out. Boy am I glad you showed up!

Ok, so early in the thread I spoke of the two of you @csalvato and @1step as reasonable men, and that others aren't. That was a genuine compliment, based on your word choice and past interaction with csalvuto. I was drawing a distinction between you and noobs. I checked your profiles; I'm aware how long you are both members, which is why I said maybe you know JScott.

Well that distinction was still in my mind later, I was trying to make a point for noobs, but I responded to you. In my head I didn't mean to include you both as "talking the talk", but rereading it that's exactly what I called you. Super insulting.

I apologize for trivializing your accomplishments. That was not my intention, and I should have been clearer in making my point.

I almost want to edit it, but then what follows won't make sense, so I'll leave it.

Sorry to everyone else for the unnecessary tangent this took us down as well. And thank you again @AnneC .
 

Stargazer

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So a simple Google search

Also, did you know JScott is a Wharton professor? And author? I didn't. (First comment in this thread)


Anyways, instead of asking someone else to go through all the trouble of reeducating me as he had stated he had done several times before on this forum, I decided to start researching for myself out of respect for his time.

That Google search can be modified all kinds of ways to learn a Wharton professor's thoughts on a variety of topics.
He might be surprised at your conclusion as to who he is too.

Dan
 

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JScott

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Also, did you know JScott is a Wharton professor? And author? I didn't. (First comment in this thread)
Just a correction... I'm most certainly not a Wharton professor...though if I were smart enough to teach business classes, that's one of the few schools I'd love to be associated with (they provide a very hands-on, tactical program that churns out a lot of great business-people)...

My LinkedIn profile is in my sig...
 

BizyDad

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He might be surprised at your conclusion as to who he is too.

Dan
Just a correction... I'm most certainly not a Wharton professor...though if I were smart enough to teach business classes, that's one of the few schools I'd love to be associated with (they provide a very hands-on, tactical program that churns out a lot of great business-people)...

My LinkedIn profile is in my sig...
Hahahaha. Ah well, I stand corrected a second time. :)
 

JScott

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I’d like to find out what’s his opinion on formal education, why it might the better path than “Fastlane” for some people (despite the sea of information out there). And also what is the criteria that he mentions to figure out if you’ve got the potential OR if you don’t ... how to make it work.

Got me very intrigued there.
Here are two posts to get you started (see the whole threads for more context):

Some of the traits that indicate an aspiring entrepreneur has potential (in my opinion):


How a really smart person can make 7- or 8-figures pretty reliably in the "slowlane":

 

AnneC

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This is the inherent problem with communicating via a text-based forum. Intention gets lost in translation. Genuine praise is misinterpreted as scathing sarcasm. Helpful advice gets misconstrued for criticism. Mistaken identities are created from Google.

@BizyDad - We all make mistakes. Sometimes, our tunnel vision is so strong, that it takes someone else to point out our blind spots. I hope I wasn't too harsh. As all these other guys know, I'm not one to sugar coat anything. If we're ever at the same meetup, BizyDad, I'll buy you a beer (or I'll get you addicted to sparkling water).

The forum takes on an entirely new meaning after these names and avatars you see posting become your real life friends. I would guess that it's the reason why people still come back to check in on occasion.
 

SteveO

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I think @csalvato already summed it up.

This is why I’m not on the forum. I'm only here to get Summit details, and I follow a handful of friends here.

It’s too easy for people to be anonymous jerks behind a screen. And we lose all those non-verbal communication cues that Arrabista talks about. Plus, I think that the demographic here definitely skews young, male, and naive... but think they know it all.

I always question @biophase why he takes the time to post. To me, it looks like a waste of time. You're helping dudes who don't think they need it, who won't follow through anyways, and who probably will not even be on the forum a few months later.

@BizyDad - Congratulations on being the oblivious forum newbie everyone's complaining about. The people you called out for not "walking the walk" have built multi-million dollar businesses. What have you accomplished? I find your "Know Thyself" tagline incredibly ironic.

I think this highlights the importance of attending the in-person meetups. I'm happily forum-agnostic, because I personally think you can judge a person's character better in real life. I'll see you guys in February (or sooner). Peace out.
And it's too bad. You have a lot that you could share if you were so inclined. The forum is missing out.... See you soon!
 

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One of the big reasons I don't post as much is that I'm finding that -- as I get older -- my views are tending to diverge from a lot of the younger and less experienced posters. I'm not saying that either side is "right" or "wrong," just that as I get more experience (business and life), I see the world differently than I used to, and differently than a lot of people here.

My views on education, what leads to success, what defines success, the value of money, the value of time, the role of family and personal life, obligations to society, etc., is different than it was when I was younger and is different than a lot of people here. When it comes to political and social discussions, it's easy or me to get annoyed (and to annoy others).

I know a couple other "old timers" from the site who have the same issue... But, as long as I feel like I can provide some value, I'll continue coming back...
I'm going to jump in here with my opinion. So I am now 48, and I think about what my thoughts were back when I was 25, 35 and even 45. And my views have drastically changed every 5-7 years. As you grow older, what you value changes.

For example, at 25 you may value a nice car, at 35 you may value a nice house, at 45 you may value your health, at 55 you may value your time. Imagine 4 different people with the above values trying to agree on how to spend $100k. It will never happen.

This change comes with age and no amount of data or debating is going to convince anyone that is in a different mindset or situation that your viewpoint is better. So I've basically stopped trying to do so, like Jscott. And like Jscott, I've said to myself, why am I even bothering with this argument.

I was literally thinking this while talking to that MLM kid in the bookstore a few months ago. It was a no win situation, not worth my time.

So where have the old timers gone? I bet some hang around, but they feel it's not worth the keystrokes to reply to many of the messages here.
 

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I bought a bunch of business text books once upon a time. Read the general biz and marketing books cover to cover. The principles of accounting sort of melted my brain at the time. I'll revisit it. :)

Thanks for the tip!
Here is the absolute minimum I would recommend in terms of accounting and financial education for any business owner (or aspiring business owner):

- Learn to read a Balance Sheet. This is the best long-term measure of your business health and success. Once you learn the basics, I would recommend picking a dozen or so medium and large public companies, and looking at their balance sheets. That will give you a decent idea of what's on them, how they vary, what they tell you about how the company operates and where it's value comes from, etc.

- Learn to create your own Net Worth Statement (Personal Financial Statement). This is basically your personal Balance Sheet. And like the Balance Sheet, it is the best long-term measure of your personal financial health and success. Create yours and update it at least once a quarter (I update mine weekly).

- Learn to read a Profit and Loss Statement (P&L). This is the best indication of the profitability of your company, and will give you an indication of how efficiently your company is being run (and where it's not as efficient as it should be).

- Get your business in QuickBooks. You don't have to be a QB guru -- just hire a decent bookkeeper to set up your books and teach you how to enter the most common transactions you'll encounter in your business (you can "memorize" those transactions to make them very easy to enter). Worst case, spend $100-200/month to get your bookkeeper to enter the tough transactions for you. But, having all your books in QB will allow you to easily see your own Balance Sheet and P&L.

- Learn how to calculate Gross Margins. This is an indication of how efficiently you're creating your product or providing your service. Once your business is in QB, it's easy to calculate your gross margins. Then, figure out what the gross margins are for your leading competitors (or big companies in your space), and compare yours to theirs. If yours are much lower, figure out what you can do to increase your margins (it may just require scale, but this is important to know). If your gross margins are much higher than your competitors, it's worthwhile to ask yourself whether your product/service is meeting the standards your customers will expect.

- Learn how to calculate Operating Margins. This is an indication of how efficiently your business is being run overall. Once your business is in QB, it's easy to calculate your operating margins. Then, figure out what the operating margins are for your leading competitors (or big companies in your space), and compare yours to theirs. If yours are much lower, figure out what your competitors are doing differently in terms of managing their business.

- Understand Cash Flow Management techniques. By far the biggest reason I see entrepreneurs struggle is due to short-term cash flow issues. Understanding how to forecast and manage cash flow will keep your business from hitting situations where it can't grow inventory and it can't grow revenue...or worse yet, where it can't meet its financial obligations.

- (Optional) Read the book Profit First, by Michael Michalowicz. If money and financial management of your business isn't something you're comfortable with, this book will give you a formula for ensuring that you generate profit in your business from day one. More experienced entrepreneurs may not be a fan of some of these techniques, but for new business owners, this book can be a game changer. Btw, Michalowicz is one of my favorite business authors (he has 5 books), and he was on my podcast a couple weeks ago...I think the episode is most definitely worth listening to.

In terms of getting your head around the financial aspects of your business, I would say that the above is the very minimum every entrepreneur or business owner should understand before (or while) jumping into business.
 
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broswoodwork

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Here is the absolute minimum I would recommend in terms of accounting and financial education for any business owner (or aspiring business owner):

- Learn to read a Balance Sheet. This is the best long-term measure of your business health and success. I would recommend picking a dozen or so medium and large public companies, and looking at their balance sheets. That will give you a decent idea of what's on them, how they vary, what they tell you about how the company operates and where it's value comes from, etc.

- Learn to create your own Net Worth Statement (Personal Financial Statement). This is basically your personal Balance Sheet. And like the Balance Sheet, it is the best long-term measure of your personal financial health and success. Create yours and update it at least once a quarter (I update mine weekly).

- Learn to read a Profit and Loss Statement (P&L). This is the best indication of the profitability of your company, and will give you an indication of how efficiently your company is being run (and where it's not as efficient as it should be).

- Get your business in QuickBooks. You don't have to be a QB guru -- just hire a decent bookkeeper to set up your books and teach you how to enter the most common transactions you'll encounter in your business (you can "memorize" those transactions to make them very easy to enter). Worst case, spend $100-200/month to get your bookkeeper to enter the tough transactions for you. But, having all your books in QB will allow you to easily see your own Balance Sheet and P&L.

- Learn how to calculate Gross Margins. This is an indication of how efficiently you're creating your product or providing your service. Once your business is in QB, it's easy to calculate your gross margins. Then, figure out what the gross margins are for your leading competitors (or big companies in your space), and compare yours to theirs. If yours are much lower, figure out what you can do to increase your margins (it may just require scale, but this is important to know). If your gross margins are much higher than your competitors, it's worthwhile to ask yourself whether your product/service is meeting the standards your customers will expect.

- Learn how to calculate Operating Margins. This is an indication of how efficiently your business is being run overall. Once your business is in QB, it's easy to calculate your operating margins. Then, figure out what the operating margins are for your leading competitors (or big companies in your space), and compare yours to theirs. If yours are much lower, figure out what your competitors are doing differently in terms of managing their business.

- Understand Cash Flow Management techniques. By far the biggest reason I see entrepreneurs struggle is due to short-term cash flow issues. Understanding how to forecast and manage cash flow will keep your business from hitting situations where it can't grow inventory and it can't grow revenue...or worse yet, where it can't meet its financial obligations.

- (Optional) Read the book Profit First, by Michael Michalowicz. If money and financial management of your business isn't something you're comfortable with, this book will give you a formula for ensuring that you generate profit in your business from day one. More experienced entrepreneurs may not be a fan of some of these techniques, but for new business owners, this book can be a game changer. Btw, Michalowicz is one of my favorite business authors (he has 5 books), and he was on my podcast a couple weeks ago...I think the episode is most definitely worth listening to.

In terms of getting your head around the financial aspects of your business, I would say that the above is the very minimum every entrepreneur or business owner should understand before (or while) jumping into business.
Into Evernote this post goes! Thank you so much. :)
 

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