In the last month, I’ve started journaling. I’ve dabbled with it occasionally but never made it a habit.
This time, my approach is different, and it’s because my motivations are different (I’ll tell you why that is at the end of the email).
Every morning, I’ve been managing to write a free-hand entry into a physical journal, and every night, I review my day in an app called Notion.
It’s only 10 minutes each time, but it’s crystallised my perspectives in a way that just thinking never has.
This is what part of today’s entry said:
After yesterday’s chat with Chris (one of my mentees), it’s now clear to me that most of us are passengers on an aircraft who, with no prior flying experience, are then asked to fly the plane.
The moments leading up to starting a business are like sitting on an economy row seat in an aircraft. As an employee, it’s cramped, but ultimately, you’re not responsible for the safety of the aircraft.
But as you try and settle in, a flight attendant grabs your arm, rushes you into the cockpit, and screams at you:
“You need to fly the plane. Otherwise, we’ll crash.”
Beside you is the pilot, slumped in his chair, completely unconscious.
In front of you are hundreds of dials, numbers and metrics. The only thing that looks remotely familiar is the steering wheel.
But we have never had any flight training. You, just like me, have yet to do thousands of hours in a simulator. You have yet to be told how to interpret all the dials, needles and numbers staring back at you. You have yet to learn how to interpret what you see in front of you and what you see below you…
And because of all that, you’re flying blind.
Being a business owner demands us to learn how to fly a plane (figuratively speaking), which I’ve since learned you can do in two ways:
– VFR (visual flight rules), or
– IFR (instrument flight rules).
Pilots who use VFR can fly a plane on sunny days. They can navigate the journey while the path is clear and conditions are ideal.
The last two and a half years have been ideal conditions for business owners.
The cash stimulus from the el’ Rona debacle had cleared the clouds and brought the sun out, so any half-decent gym had conditions conducive to growth.
But now, the clouds are rolling in, and a storm is brewing.
Pilots who can only rely on great visual conditions will have a hard time… and this will be the season where Pilots who are masters of data interpretation will be the ones you want in the cockpit.
Most business owners are like VFR pilots, trying to fly a plane in an environment that requires IFR. And until recently, I’d even put myself in the same category.
But, I’d argue it’s not our fault — because we’re thrown into situations like this with good intentions, thinking our accountants are there to tell us how to interpret the numbers in front of us.
But it doesn’t work like that, and that’s not their job.
Ultimately, all the responsibility rests on the pilot’s shoulders, and expecting anyone else to know how to fly the plane is a fool’s errand.
This is why this month’s Alley-Oop will tell you how to read the dials so you can get through the storm, land the plane safely, and achieve your objectives.
We’ll all need to know how to operate our business in a set of conditions that most of us are unfamiliar with (huge wage pressures, costs of living increases, banks not throwing money at us anymore, no free money etc.).
This really will be the most important Alley-Oop you could ever read.
And while it ain’t pretty or sexy like last month on advanced prospect bonding…
It’s absolutely necessary for our survival.
But before you consider signing up…
There are a couple of reasons why you wouldn’t need this
1. If you already know how to read the instruments and the dashboard or take accounting numbers like profit, revenue, expenses and EBIDTA and turn them into insights that allow you to act.
2. You don’t need this if you know how to maximise cash flow, the five levers you can pull to do it (the first two relate to the interesting relationship between accounts payable and receivable), and how cash flow impacts the balance sheet.
3. And if you’re not feeling wage pressures, shrinking margins, or if you’re bottom line is so fat you’ve got stockpiles of cash you don’t know what to deal with, then yeah, you probably don’t need to subscribe.
But if you do, here is the link:
And for those wondering why I’m journaling every day, I’ll be going deep into it in the Alley-Oop, but it has something to do with recall. More on that later.
– Karl Goodman