I have always had poor hand-eye coordination – I blame poor eyesight aggravated by low physical fitness during my earlier years and thinking academic work much more important that sport- yes I know, I know I got that wrong…. When I discovered aerobics in my thirties, which was competing against myself, especially when accompanied by upbeat music, I started to take fitness seriously and subsequently went on to run in half marathons, 10k runs etc.
It wasn’t until my late thirties that I also started wearing varifocals when I played sport and it was like a miracle… I could actually see the ball… Or the shuttlecock. Instead of a blurred mess coming towards me and trying to judge the trajectory I could actually see the ball hitting the racket head, but perhaps even more importantly, for the first time in my life I could see the ball coming over the net which gave me an extra split second to attempt for the ball. I wish I had discovered this earlier when my knees and back didn’t ache and I could have been more capable and maybe I would have actually been chosen to play for a team rather than left on the sidelines.
So it is in business- you need to keep your eye on the ball and watch what is going on with your cash flow and your business and what your competitors are doing… If you can see the ball coming at you it is easier to position yourself to hit it back.
How closely have you been keeping your eye on the ball in business?
It is human nature to slack off a little when we think we have something “sussed” especially in business where there is always so much that needs attention.. We can easily turn our focus away from the basics -selling and delivering our products and services in a profitable way generating enough cash flow to cover our expenses, profit and growth.
How healthy is your business right now?
I’ve been coaching a business this week who have forgotten to keep their eye on the ball – they have a great business and have been growing but have had short term cash flow problems trying to fund that growth organically, to the extent that they have had to sacrifice some profit ( and growth) in order to balance their cash flow. we looked at what they could have done and found that they could have anticipated the problem coming… If they had been watching their cash-flow and comparing that against their cash flow forecast.
The decline was not particularly rapid… It wasn’t as if they had gone out and had a spending spree, but they had been tying up more cash in working capital ( stock and debtors) and hadn’t really noticed that it was slowly declining week by week – it is very easy when there is so much going on to forget about the basics. However we are looking at putting systems in place to flag up potential problems and having one person with a KPI ( key performance indicator) for managing cash. They also took the precaution of talking to the bank and discussed the overdraft facility and the need to extend it in the near term. Taking action and notifying them has averted being out on the bank watch list.
So looking at your own business
Where Have You taken Your Eye off the Ball?
And having worked that out ask yourself the supplementary question
What action do you need to do today to address the issue?