One of my clients, a sole proprietor, is leaving on a long-planned vacation next week. She called me because she is worried about her finances and was thinking of canceling. She’s in the middle of a divorce, and her business has been down significantly this past year. She’s panicking at the thought of leaving her clients for 10 days to go to Italy. It just doesn’t make business or financial sense for her to go.
Here’s what I told her: Do it anyway.
Sometimes we need to do things like a painting retreat in Italy — which is going to relieve stress and stimulate creativity (which will have a positive impact on our business, just sayin’) even when it may be contrary to what your numbers say.
During another client’s review call, we were looking for cost savings as sales had fallen off. They had planned a Q4 holiday event for their staff and were debating on whether or not to cancel it. Now if we’re looking at only numbers, the answer is obviously no. But there are other factors to consider, like employee morale, which doesn’t show up on any financial statement. So we discussed how much it would really cost and whether or not those dollars were really going to move the dial on their year. In the end they decided to go ahead with it, but it wasn’t a purely financial decision.
Don’t tell people I said this, but there are other things to consider besides finance. The numbers can’t tell you everything, but they provide a good framework and give you a roadmap for what-ifs and scenario planning. Sometimes we have to make decisions beyond the numbers. Shhhh… it can be our little secret, but what the numbers tell you may not always be the right thing to do. You also have to think about important intangibles.
To be clear, I’m not telling people to spend into debt. I’m just saying the numbers aren’t the only measurement of your business — or your life – sometimes you have to invest in your people and in yourself.
Stress, freedom, happiness. Those are measures, too, that are just as important as financials.. If you’re not sure how to consider your business’ intangible measurements, call me and we’ll figure them out together.