Saturday, July 04, 2009

When You Think: Think Big!!!

Former football announcer John Madden was also a great coach in his day. One of his most dramatic pre-grame pep talks came during a Super Bowl when he simply told his team: "Don't worry if the horse is blind; let's load up the wagon anyway."

It's a philosophy most businesses should embrace, especially now as companies start planning for 2010. Don't worry is your ideas or plans have some holes in them (or maybe seem like they won't work), think them through anyway. Think through ways they CAN work, instead of ways they can fail.

You might be surprised at the outcome.

Years ago, 1947 in fact, a competition was held in St. Louis for an architect that could design a monument on the Riverfront. Architect Aero Saarinen actually won the competition with a unique Arch. Although Saarinen had no idea if the Arch could stand without falling into the River (many engineers told him it would never work), he and the City pushed on with the project. Design began in 1963 (some engineers still thought it would never work). In fact, until the final piece of the Arch was put in place in 1965, some engineers still didn't think it would work.

However, thinking big paid big dividends. Even though it was once thought impossible to construct, engineers figured out a way to make it happen.

The Gateway Arch has been the crown jewel of St. Louis. It is the landmark the City is known for around the globe.

As you make future plans for your business, don't let the naysayers derail your dreams. Think big. There is plenty of time to figure out logistics and whether or not your ideas will work.

--Ron Ameln, SBM

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Budget: An Important Part Of Any Firm's Success

When we talk about running a business and the numbers, everyone first thinks about the Big Three (Profit-Loss, Cash Flow and Balance Sheet). Unfortunately, no one talks about the budget.

In talking with business owners throughout the month, I'm shocked at how many owners don't have a budget.

If you don't have a budget, start one today. Break everything down from your "Cost of Goods," "Salaries," "Income," and "Expenses." Then, as the year goes on, re-check your budget. Put percentages next to items each month and make sure the company is staying on target. It's the only way you'll know if (and what) things are going wrong. The sooner you realize these things, the sooner you can take action and correct them.

The budget is really your guide to help you through each month, quarter and year. I know our budget has helped us stay on track, and it has helped us understand all of our numbers better.

Planning for 2010 is just starting. If you don't already have a budget, create one today.
--Ron Ameln, SBM