“Auz Imtiaz Khan is the founder and CEO of Green Team Energy that was acquired by the largest energy efficiency programs administrator, CLEAResult in 2017.”
“In order to transition from an idea to a successful startup, an entrepreneur must not only have the impressive technology but also a structured and focused plan that can constantly evolve and be refined with time.”
Here are five effective cash flow management strategies that enabled me to build a sustainable startup that was eventually acquired in early 2017.
1. Adopt A Routine
I made it a habit of running through the numbers and books daily. Whether I was sitting at an airport waiting to take off or just before signing off for the day, running through the books always kept me grounded. It was important to keep track of payables and receivables and be continually aware of potential stopgaps. It also helped to invest time in mastering QuickBooks, which is what I did in my early days. This enabled me to analyze cash flow information in greater detail to figure out what was working and where I needed to focus more of my skills and attention.
2. Forecast Stopgaps
One of the hardest tasks I encountered was to anticipate unforeseen expenses and situations. Through the eyes of an entrepreneur, I viewed the world as a place of unlimited opportunity, but as a businessman, I was acutely aware of the importance of preparing for the unforeseen. Anticipating and forecasting stopgaps helped build a more predictable cash-flow cycle, ultimately improving the company’s stability.
3. Unconventional Credit Lines
Another key strategy to your success could be to leverage your customers and vendors as creditors. During contract negotiations, we offered pricing incentives to our customers that enabled us to collect on balloon payments, ultimately boosting our cash reserves. At the same time, we worked with our vendors to create credit lines and favorable payment terms on just about anything possible, making it a key aspect of doing business while ensuring our quality was never jeopardized. This strategy greatly improved our chances of success.
4. Maintain Liquid Assets And A Cash Reserve
Every entrepreneur will encounter a period (or two) of financial challenges. This ultimately makes us better entrepreneurs. During these times, having a portion of your assets that can be quickly liquidated as well as maintaining a cash reserve can act as an insurance policy for your success. To do this, we would incentivize certain customers to make balloon payments for our products and services. This, in turn, would help us boost our cash position while strengthening our financials and presenting us as a viable candidate for outside investments and acquisition.
5. Find A Good Accountant/CFO
If your strengths lie in being a true salesman and you love being out in the field, then it will benefit you to bring in an experienced CFO or accountant to manage your cash flow and finances. Having a strong financial advisor early in the process will enable you to better manage your funds and avoid costly mistakes.
If you aim to be a successful technology entrepreneur who’s ready to bring disruption to your industry, the most important step you can take is to establish a simple daily routine and take a focused approach watching your cash flow. Disciplined cash flow management may not only potentially boost your personal confidence while managing growth, it could also improve investor confidence (and employee retention), further strengthening your position as a successful leader in the tech world.
For the full article visit here: Forbes
Sun. September 23, 2018
Today was going to be a busy but fun day.
I started my day off by waking up early at 7:45am. I knew I only had a few hours to get things done and I had to make the best of it. To begin I threw a load of clothes in the washing machine. I have to work tomorrow but have no clothes. I had been meaning to wash them for a few days now but either never got around to it or was plain lazy.
While my clothes were swimming in a spinning pool of soapy water I left to the bank. I have not put money in my account for about a month being very diligent with my spending. Unfortunately, it is now time for the bills to start rolling in so payment will be required.
Being a Sunday, my bank trip was a breeze. Went in, let the machine eat up my cash and walked out. I must say, deposits by ATM machine are very convenient. No paperwork needed unless a receipt is requested. Simple.
I got back home within the hour. I believe before my clothes were even done washing. Waiting for them to finish up I jumped on the computer to do some light work. I set up post for tomorrow along with contacting the guys who have been working on the business logo. Once that was done I went into the basement to get my clothes so they could be hung up to dry.
The time had come.
My personal activities for the day had come to an end. I hopped I could do more but it came time to shave my face and shower. The main event for the day was in 2 hours. We were invited to attend a wedding for a friend/coworker of my girlfriend. She were to be married to the love of her life in a mere few hours. Keeping that in mind I prepared myself for the celebration.
My girlfriend picked me up at 1:30pm. The ceremony was being held in a church 25 minutes from where I live. Being close we were 5 minutes late. I chose to drove and in doing so I made us late. I missed the exit to the town we needed to be in making the trip longer.
Walking towards the church I was amazed at how beautiful my girlfriend looked in her lovely blue elegant dress. I had seen her in it once before when she tried it on at the store but it did not compare. Today she was dolled up looking exceptionally magnificent.
They said ‘I do.’
After the ceremony my girlfriend and I stopped at Wendy’s for a snack. We had 2 hours to wait for dinner but could not make that happen. From there we went to Target in hopes of finding myself a phone charger. My phone was on 10% because I forgot to charge it overnight. The Target I chose was like a mall. I never expected it to be so huge and confusing. It was nothing like I have seen before and I liked it. If we were not pressed for time I would have loved to browse.
At the reception we first made our way over to the open bar. We did not want to find our seats with empty hands. That’s just an excuse. It was more of a lazy thing so we would not have to walk back to get them. We made it a one-way trip.
Walking through the place I admired the décor and appreciated how spacious the hall was. Shortly after finding our seats things started off as normal. Cocktail hour, salads to pick at and then the main event. The bridesmaids and groomsmen we called out and then the bride and groom themselves.
Sadly, the newlyweds had their first dance interrupted by a technical difficulty. They seemed upset but made due with it. After a few minutes of dancing to a completely random song their choice for the evening was finally played.
It was a nice night.
Dinner was amazing. I chose to get a medium well-done filet mignon. The steak was cooked to perfection. Desert was incredibly filling. There were a lot of options for to choose form, some good but most bad. The taste was off a bit from what I knew it to be. But I still enjoyed myself.
The dance floor was fun. The DJ was not good but we were able to make the best of what he played. The songs were fan favorites so A+ for that. If his transitions were better between songs he would have been the highlight of the night. Instead he chose to play merengue to get the party going and then followed it up with a love song from someone I cannot remember, to hip hop, to the Cha Cha Slide. It really was awful.
We partied enough.
By 10:15 we had left and headed back to my place. She was going to spend the night since we both had to be up early in the morning. Her for automotive maintenance and me for work.
At my house there was no parking. We must have driven around for 20 minutes trying to figure out a solution. I tried my best to fit her in the driveway but it was no good. She was not happy with how her car looked, 80% in the driveway, 15% on the sidewalk and 5% in the street. Luckily someone left as soon as I was about give in and have her go home. Thankfully they left because I would have been in trouble if she had gone home because I was frustrated.
Not long after getting inside we were asleep. It was already past 12am and we both had early days in the morning.
I was able to get one logo finalized and another revised. Tomorrow might be the last day working on it and be completed.
“Life is the moment we are living right now.”
– Paulo Coelho
“DUSTIN MATHEWS is a direct response marketer known for his unique ability to transform businesses and brands and the co-author of No B.S. Guide to Powerful Presentations with Dan S. Kennedy (Entrepreneur Press 2017). He runs Speaking Empire, a disruptive company in the leadership training and education space.”
“What’s your problem? Why are you doing that?”
We ask these questions thinking or hesitation. But, when you take a second to think about it, these types of questions don’t add value — they only express your annoyance or impatience.
Even questions like “How are you?” are empty, asked to confirm your pre-existing assumptions.
Let’s break this down.
By asking if someone had a good weekend, you’re assuming that they did have a decent weekend. Most likely, they will confirm that they did. But, you don’t actually care about the response.
So, how do you take it up a level?
According to Hugh O. Stewart, co-author of The Magic of High-Quality Questions, questions should serve two purposes:
- To instill confidence in the individual to whom the question is asked. You want the person you are directing the question towards to feel like their answer will make a difference or provide some valuable input.
- To cause creativity, so the individual can use their imagination and problem-solving skills when answering the question.
In order to create confidence and creativity in the person receiving the question, the questioner must recognize their intentions. Why is this question necessary? Why is it being asked? Just as importantly, how are you framing the question?
Many times, the way a question is phrased limits the kinds of answers that can be given. For example, if you are considering taking some classes to learn some new skills, you might ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
You start thinking about all the time the classes and homework is going to consume. By asking this kind of question, you aren’t left with many options to be creative or come up with new ideas.
But ask instead, “How can I make taking these classes worthwhile?” Then, you will start thinking of all the new skills and knowledge you will gain and how they will help you be better at your job leading to a promotion or raise, or how these skills will help you launch your own business.
Ask yourself how this process of question-asking can benefit you in your workspace. If you have people working under you, then you probably know and understand the importance of being a good leader. Presenting questions in a way that promotes confidence and creativity will also promote an environment of collaboration and respect. You’ll empower others to use their problem-solving skills to come up with a solution to problems.
Entrepreneur Editor-in-Chief Jason Feifer tells the story of a man who needed to ask himself some high-quality questions when his daughter was diagnosed with an unfortunate illness. These questions gave him the courage and creativity he needed to transform his life and care for his daughter while running his company and taking care of his own mental and physical health.
You can also utilize these skills when speaking to your children.
Rather than asking, “Why haven’t you done your homework yet?” which will put them on the defensive, you can ask, “What will help you finish your homework on time?”
They may tell you that they’re hungry and they want a snack, or that they don’t know how to do the homework. No matter what their answer is, the question has them thinking about how to finish their assignment by the due date rather than feeling accused for not having it done.
Always strive for high-quality questions. Always consider your intentions and how your questions will make others react.
For the full article visit here: Entrepreneur
“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Sat. September 22, 2018
Woke up a bit later than normal. I was tired to the point that I thought about calling out. Then I remembered that I started a business a few weeks ago and a bit of money to get it going on the right track – LLC, copyright, trademark, product samples – would be helpful. With this new motivation in mind I rolled out of bed with eagerness. The more I can get done today the closer to our opening date we will be.
The moment I got to the café I went straight to work. I had a lot to do today that involved a variety of tasks. From my personal business to keeping the café active. I started off by cutting up a slew of items from sweet peppers to tofu. If everything is chopped up before I cook it makes the transition from dish to dish a lot easier.
After having my fun on the cutting board I cleaned up my mess and prepared to cook.
As my first two dishes cooked I decided grab myself some breakfast. Normally I would have gone with a bowl of yogurt and fruit but I was offered to try something new from Politi’s Cheeses & Meats. Not knowing what it was I said ‘yes.’ Frankly because I have yet to be disappointed by them.
Receiving the sandwich was a shocker. It was an egg-wich. If there is one breakfast item that I could avoid it would be eggs. The taste, no matter how it is cooked, never agrees with my palate. With that being said I tried it anyway. I am always open to the new.
Describing the sandwich would be easy. Chorizo, over medium egg, some kind of white cheese, maybe a bit of jam, paired with a delicious bun. It was incredibly good. For someone like me, who would not normally eat anything with an egg, to actually enjoy it, says enough.
Getting back to business.
My day at the café consisted of servicing and cooking. I must have cooked 15 pounds of rib-eye, 10 pounds of pork, 8 pounds of chicken and a small tray of tofu. This might sound like a dinner for 5 but for this café it was a lot. I was busy all day. No stopping for more than 45 minutes. I had my best day yet being in the market. It felt great!
The upsetting part. I could not make time, or fit in, working on my business or blog. There was no room in the day to pull out my laptop and iPad. But I was okay with it. Money spoke volumes.
Ending the night took hours.
In the middle of cleaning I had to leave so I could meet the lady I work with. She was 5 minutes away in the neighboring town parked outside of a deli because it was the only place she could find big enough to fit her trailer. I needed to pick up supplies for the next few days if I wanted to make money.
I was back at the café within a few minutes to finish cleaning. While washing the dishes a fire unit arrived. Then another along with police and a crowd of nosy people. Apparently a few stores over there was a gas leak. Not sure if that was true but they took a while figuring it out.
I was finished with everything by 9:30pm. With the fire trucks still parked out front taking up the entire street, my car was blocked in the parking lot with no way out. While I waited I sought the opportunity to tour the town.
One of the stops I made was to an ice cream parlor. I wanted to get ice cream while I waited but they had closed minutes before I arrived at their door. I would have made it if I did not stop to speak to a gentleman waiting to leave the same lot I was parked in. He had tried his best to go around one of the trucks but was denied exit.
Walking next door was a nick nack store. Since I had time to spare I figured I check out their merchandise. I always walked passed it but never actually entered. Going in I could see that a lot of the items were probably handcrafted. Very nice items. I even thought about getting something for my girlfriend but she was not interested.
Was it time?
By 10:20pm a few fire trucks had left leaving enough space to get by. After seeing two cars squeeze by, I was ready to attempt the same. Slowly making my way up the driveway I squeezed myself through. It was so glad to be on my way.
On the road I almost ran into a deer. The road I take is as dark as a black hole. Luckily I spotted them before they made their way across the road.
Home an hour later to work on my post for tomorrow. By 1am I was in bed only to wake up a few hours later to get ready for a big day.
Fri. September 21, 2018
This morning I felt above the world.
I woke up earlier than normal at 7:30am ready to get my day started. For me to wake up at this time should have been a challenge but I actually felt really good about it. I even jump on the morning conference call that the financial company I work for has. [Speaking of said company, I have not done any business with them for a while. Being on the call made me realize how much I miss it and how little time I have had since the café has been open. Something to consider.]
Being up early I left ahead of schedule. With plenty of time on the clock I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. Waiting in line I scanned the menu for anything new that caught my eye. What I chose was not new but something I have never had so I decided to give it shot. The oddest breakfast Dunkin’ could possibly have, waffle tenders. I also ordered hash browns and a pumpkin spice latte with it.
Making it to the café I got right to it. The lady I work with was going to swing by for a bit to drop off a few things I needed for the weekend. I wanted to make sure the place was ready for business before she arrived.
Not too long, 20 minutes, she was pulling into the lot. Since I knew she had things to carry I met her at her truck so I could be a gentleman and carry it in. After talking for a bit, basically catching up since we do not see each other as often, she was on her merry way. Later on in the day, she will be attending an event in which she needed to shop for so staying to keep me company was a pleasure I could only dream of.
Since business does not typically start until after 12:30pm I had time to enjoy my small breakfast. During this moment I realized that the ‘oddest breakfast Dunkin’ could possibly have’ was actually genius. The crust actually tasted like syrup making the whole tender sweet. It was really a delightful surprise to eat.
My work day.
Throughout the day I researched the company Printful and its website. My Texas buddy and I are planning to use them as our products handler and distributor. The service they provide seems to be excellent according to many video and written reviews. Their products also seem to be some of the best quality compared to other companies that offer similar services. I took many notes for when we are ready to sample a few things.
In between research I did not serve as many people as I thought I would. It was a fairly slow day in the Market for everyone. Some vendors even decided to pack up early and leave. Friday is usually a really busy day but for some reason today was different.
But I was able to watch an episode of “Blacklist” and I must say the show has taken a turn I never expected. I cannot believe Kean has become more of a bad-a** than she already was. I am not a big TV watcher but this show is truly amazing and always throws me for a loop. I love it.
Mentally I was done at 6pm. After seeing vendors leave all I thought about was doing the same. But I had to stay open just in case there was an extra $50 laying around in someone’s pocket. It was my obligation to help them spend it.
Unfortunately, there was no one. I did make a few more dollars but not enough to have stayed open until 8pm. By the time I was done cleaning it was 9. Normally I would go straight home but I needed to run a very important errand. I had very little rice for the next couple of days so I needed to make a stop on the way to get a bag. That added an extra 40 minutes to my drive.
To get the rice I went to an Asian market, H–Mart. I must have been lucky because the moment I walked through the door someone on the loud speaker had just announced that they were closing. I had 10 minutes to get what I needed and leave. But I could not make it that easy. After getting the rice I went to snacks aisle. After rushing my scan of the foods, I picked up three things. Snacks that looked really good and that I have never had before.
Driving home I tasted 2 of the 3. Let’s just say I need to get more of them next time.
I was finally home by 11pm. As I logged into my computer I could see the finished product of the logo across it. I had left Messenger open with the conversation between my Texas buddy and I open. He had sent it to me to review and it looks great. Hopefully this will be the last revision and we can start to advertise it.
After talking about it for a bit I showered and went straight to bed.