As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, February 2008.
How does the word “money” make you feel? Do you feel that you have enough money? If not, how much would it take to make you feel that way?
Perhaps you’re not really sure how to estimate what you need or want. Here are a few tips for doing just that.
First, visualize yourself as a pond. Money flows into your pond as income and profits, and money flows out of your pond as expenses. As a mortgage broker, it’s important to manage the flow of this pond carefully. Failure to do so could result in financial rough water. On the other hand, a stagnant pond does you no good either.
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To keep your pond flowing properly -- and to take in more than you let out -- let’s take this metaphor a step further.
When you think about your current situation, ask yourself this question: How does money flow into and out of my pond? One of the best ways to answer this question is to track every cent you spend or take in for two weeks. Identify all the sources of money that flow into your pond and how other money flows out of your pond.
Decide how the money going out of your pond helps you create the money coming in. Is the money flowing out being used efficiently to achieve top performance? Or is the money wasted on things that don’t positively impact the bottom line?
As you start to understand your cash flow, you can begin to engineer a system that is better-aligned with your overall goals and ambitions.
Next, do some visualization. Many people have said that you can’t achieve what you can’t dream. Take this statement to heart. Visualizing what you want is the first step toward making it a reality. It creates a goal, and it establishes motivation.
Far too often, mortgage brokers and other professionals get caught up in the minutiae of day-to-day chores and business operations. This can often distract from your goals. To keep focused on that end result, write down your feelings about your business and your cash flow. In other words, track the changes to the waters of your pond.
As you get in the habit of keeping tabs on your pond, create a budget of how you want your cash flow to look. And don’t be shy. Write out your ideal cash flow and how it will look when you achieve the goal you have envisioned. Beyond this, begin to establish steps that you will take to achieve that perfect pond.
In addition, realize that your cash flow might not always be where you’d like it to be. Plan for that contingency and the impact it could have on your future. Write down action steps that can help you avoid having too little flowing into your pond or too much going out.
Ask yourself if you must change your niche in the mortgage industry or expand your business to achieve your goals. If the answer is yes, get ahead of yourself and learn the steps required to accomplish the necessary alterations. A change in approach will often require additional education, approval, licensing, etc. These things take time, and it’s important to get things moving as soon as possible. Remember, a stagnant pond does no one any good.
Ultimately, the amount of care and planning you put into your pond will determine how pleasant it becomes and how you answer the next time someone asks you how you feel about the word “money.”
Michelle LaBrosse is the founder of Cheetah Learning and author of Cheetah Negotiations and Cheetah Project Management. She has been running Cheetah Learning and managing 100 employees, contractors and licensees worldwide for the past 20 years. Her monthly column, “Know How Network,” is carried by more than 400 publications, and her weekly radio program, “Your World Your Way,” looks at how project management fuels success.
Learn more at www.cheetahlearning.com. E-mail LaBrosse at email@example.com.