Beat the cash crunch BEFORE COVID-19 blows the business away! ‘LIILMOOS’ Mantra bridges the cash-flow deficit!
Why should businesses be shockproof, leak-proof, and risk proof?
Every business has to be shockproof, leak-proof, and risk proof.
Small businesses have braced themselves through a series of shocks since 2008.
Stock market meltdown, bank crisis, demonetisation, tsunami, floods, GST, and now COVID.
Bit by bit, the complete ecosystem for business has gone through a tectonic change.
Every business loses business volumes, value, and velocity, when the Nations lose GDP.
When all the three come down to zero, the business comes to a standstill.
We eat into our reserves or borrow more to meet mounting expenses.
Lose control and fall into a debt trap.
Why do companies resort to a piecemeal solution to a wholesale problem?
Tragedy is that few companies know the seriousness of their own situation.
Keep themselves busy fixing problems on a piecemeal basis.
Unaware of the rot that lies within, stay clueless about the risk they may be in.
Businesses that have sound management control systems, manage to survive.
Those that have no system go down like the Great Roman Empire.
No longer remain great, roman, or an Empire.
Likewise, without a control system, companies have neither the money nor the management.
When the inmates rule the prison, do we know who is in charge?
How to set up a management controls system when there is no money?
Tight money management system, by itself, becomes the management control system.
Most businesses fail to distinguish between borrowed cash and their own cash.
Do not set the generation of Net cash surplus as their primary goal.
Fail to keep their cashbooks/bankbooks up to date.
Do not have a practice of forecasting their weekly or monthly cash flow need.
Keep spending away like a government on ‘Vote on account.’
What are the seven symptoms of an impending bankruptcy?
Cash crunch signals a slow and doubtful cash inflow and a fast and firm cash outflow. Persistent and cumulative effect of cash crunch saps the vitality of the business. Such companies ignore the seven symptoms of impending bankruptcy.
Why is quicker cash rotation the only doable option?
Cash crunch is the natural consequence of expenses riding ahead of accrued income.
Cash trickles in slow and small measures while cash flows out in large big buckets.
The gap between the rate of cash inflow and the rate of clash out flow widens.
The problem will persist until we reverse that situation.
How to get the rate of inflow to exceeds the rate of outflow?
We can achieve this mission-critical activity in three ways.
✘ Build more volume. It is difficult to build volumes when market size is shrinking?
✘ Add more value add. It is difficult to increase the price or reduce costs
✔︎ Increase velocity. Doable option is to increase the rate at which we earn our premiums
It is not the amount of cash we put in that is the differentiator.
It is the number of times we rotate the cash that is important.
For that, the company needs to institute the magic mantra of LIILMOOS.
LIILMOOS stands for Less Input- Input Later – More Output – Output Sooner.
Here is how it works
What is the LIILMOOS Mantra to resolve cash flow deficit!
Less Input (LI):
Engage fewer people at work for fear hours.
Complete the value addition in fewer workstations with fewer moves.
Feed just the right amount of resources; neither more nor less.
Input Later (IL):
Feed the inputs in a sequence just in time; neither too soon nor late.
More Output (MO)
Step up the volume, value, and the velocity of throughput to a higher level.
Output Sooner (OS)
Adopt the seven rules to realise more cash, quicker than ever before.
Deliver on priority to customers who pay cash advance. Next in line could be the ones who pay cash on delivery. Last could be the customers who enjoy credit but pay on time. Avoid dealing with customers who beat us down on price and take their own sweet time to pay back. Speed up the recovery of over dues and advances. Repay loans to avoid paying interest. Most important, auction the obsolete and non-moving inventory.
What are the 13 ways to generate additional net cash surplus every day?
Active market intelligence would reveal cash-rich customers switched off by the competition. Time to befriends them for lie as captive clients. Sell them annuity earning deals like Annual maintenance contract payable in advance. Consumer durable and pesticide companies are doing that already. Retail companies encourage auto-replenishment for items of regular and recurring consumption. Up-selling and cross-selling helps beef up the quality of the order book and improve the hit rates. Quality order book Attempt delivering more with reduced downtime and maintenance. Reduce the margin of error and improve the factor of safety. Borrow less and save on interest rates. Get more reliable and reduce investment in backups and standbys.
Seriously can I bankroll my own operations and say bye-bye to bankers?
Who needs a bank when we can fund our own cash flow needs?
Here are three distinct ways you can bankroll your own operations.
LIILMOOS is the magic mantra to beat the COVID 10 and become a self-funded enterprise!
When I read about the wet market in China and heard about the Coronavirus last year, I thought this must be a China thing.
We Indians eat green vegetables and need nothing to fear.
Anyway, we are too far away and have the Himalayas to protect us.
When Singapore shut itself down, I complimented them for being cautious.
With so many Chinese there, precaution makes sense.
When it came closer to Kerala, my minefield to make the connection.
And finally, when it happened the World over including India, I realise that this is for real.
Reality bites when the far fetched gets closer and our worst fears come true.
Unable to wish them away any longer we contend with the stranger in the room.
Bubble kept bursting with alarming regularity until life came to a standstill.
That is when I felt the receding waves erode the sand beneath the sole of my foot.
Shook up and swayed in disbelief wondering how long would I last before I got through.
It is over 125 days since we declared it official.
Never knew that I was so good at helping the others beat the COVID 19 blues!
Refresh Reality - Virtual Coaching
Pre COVID mindset: ‘Virtual coaching must be ineffective.’
The analog World went digital in 1990.
Thanks to COVID 19, the digital went viral in 2020.
When I felt the game was up, I found a new game on the horizon.
Many of my clients refused virtual coaching online.
They felt they felt coaching had to be face to face.
Post-COVID mindset: 100% of my coaching has gone digital!
And more Indians are coaching the World today than ever before.
COVID has opened up the World for Indian professionals.
The World is the same in a relative way,’ as Pink Floyd would say!
Digital ‘Nani’ locates the bug within - Change when the push comes to shove
Pre COVID mindset: It is not OK to be imperfect and vulnerable.
Pushing past 70, the ‘Nani’ is the butt of ridicule because she is a digital dinosaur.
She felt isolated when everyone else had a digital device to play with.
Stayed committed to Graham Bell and refused to switch to mobile.
Sprang a surprise connecting with her ‘friends’ conferencing on ‘face time!’
Post-COVID mindset: Why be an ignoramus when quick learning can be so much fun.
‘Nani’ discovered a new digital assistant.
That does all her reading, writing, speaking, hearing, viewing, and learning online.
Do much less leg work and more brain works as she shops and buys more gifts.
That was her way of getting even with those who left her home and went shopping!
Eliminate fear, uncertainty, and doubt - Break the glass ceiling
Pre COVID mindset: It is safe to pay this way?
Having grown up in a menu-driven picture-perfect World, she was at a loss.
ATM’s ran out of cash and shopkeepers refused to touch the soiled notes.
She had been avoiding the digital Payment gateways like a plague.
Post-COVID mindset: What to do when there is no other way?
The biggest risk is the fear of taking risks!
She pinched herself and shook her head in disbelief.
Phew! Felt alive and kicking without kicking herself out of the World!
Thereafter she felt no loss of intimacy.
If anything, with accessibility, she felt closer to the World than ever before.
Managed to clear the cobwebs in her mind and broke the glass ceiling.
Get hands-on - Overcome helplessness
Pre COVID mindset: Offer a lame excuse saying ‘I am no good at this’ and cut loose.
Conveniences of soft life had crept into our psyche to warp our lifestyle.
No infrastructural support. No housemaid. No ironman. Do it all by yourself.
Felt unlike ourselves waking early and doing menial jobs.
We prefer to be helpless when it comes to doing a job we take to infra dig and beneath dignity.
Spouses today take turns sharing the housed chores.
Discoed that there is no loss of prestige in doing it all by ourselves for ourselves.
Take pride in our labour of love.
Post-COVID mindset: It pays to do it ourselves because there is no one else to do it.
A shift attitude has helped us banish the taboos to bring ourselves to do what we must.
Stop malingering and discoed the virtues of self-help.
Shake off the spell
Pre COVID mindset: Let things be
With so much time to spare, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
Having to face up to oneself, we focus on aspects of ourselves we may have neglected.
Recognising that beauty is more than skin deep, restore the work-life balance.
Post-COVID mindset: Make it better
Cut loose from the routines to be virtuous.
Fend for ourselves, making the best of what is there.
End up getting a lore more done with a lot less and feel good about it.
Rewrite your destiny - Open up more options
Pre COVID mindset: Don’t fix it until broken. Stick to limited options.
Hold on to a dated hand me down script. Conditions change.
Know that one may be out of place, out of form and out of ken.
At wit’s end find it difficult to break free from captivity.
Worry about becoming unwanted, jobless, and penniless.
Post-COVID mindset: Fix it for good before it gets worse.
Change the meaning of the day job! Open a new income stream.
Become a self-funded economic entity.
How about learning new vocational skills that have a trading potential.
Break the mould. Take your passion. Learn a new trick of the trade. Make it happen.
Make a business proposition: Your hobby plus social media becomes a new business proposition.
Punch above your weight
Pre COVID mindset: Consume the benefits.
During times of change, jobs get scarce. Everyone is looking for safer and better options.
What kind of a job change are we looking for: Like to like or like to unlike?
Like to like change is comfortable but may not be available.
Like to unlike change may be available but not comfortable.
Would we be ready to punch above our weights? Bite into something bigger and stretch?
Post-COVID mindset: Compound the benefits.
Increase the bite-size every day and keep growing up for life!
Explore the unfamiliar: Make my way!
Pre COVID mindset: No way: I am too busy to learn a new trick of the trade.
We limit our options by what we know and feel comfortable with.
Our choice lies in what we know nothing about and we may be uncomfortable with it.
What if we were to walk away from the path we know for sure gets us nowhere.
Why not be a jungle guide and explore the road less traveled?
Post-COVID mindset: I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I am on my toes and raring to go!
Keep going on and on!
Pre COVID mindset: I took to the air only when I felt safe. Waited for fair weather.
Post-COVID mindset: I am an all season player because I carry the weather with me.
I have my own pet recipe that takes care of me!
I have learned to take the adversity in my stride.
I roll with the punches and negotiate the tides.
Shift gears and change the orbit to get on to a faster and safer lane.
I know how to deal with show stoppers and deal breakers now.
It may be COVID 19 today and something else tomorrow.
COVID 19, is no longer a bugbear but a blessing in disguise for me.
A mere ‘Presence of mind’ is all it takes to cultivate a ‘Make it happen’ mindset.
Get more time to smell the coffee. Watch the sunrise.
Life, after all, is what we make of it!
The popular image of a consultant is one who borrows the client’s watch to tell the time and send a bill. Give unsolicited advice and walk away leaving the client poorer. This may be true but not the profound truth.
Any industry that has low entry barriers offers a level playing field to everyone.
Anyone who may have nothing else to do can claim to be a consultant.
Clients place their trust in whomever they are comfortable with and get in with life.
That puts the onus on the professional management consultant to distinguish their presence.
Here are a few management consultants I had a chance to observe from close quarters.
They chose to be different. Distinguished themselves as a profession of a management consultant.
Unmindful of being challenged the entrenched prejudices and showed the difference.
Developed the features, advantages, and benefits that signified an irrevocable value proposition.
Lent respect, stature, and credibility to the industry.
Took on a role that benefited the client the most.
How do we measure the advantages accruing from any consulting engagement?
Four unmistakable outcomes for the client company could be:
Earn recurring returns from a one-time investment.
If you are looking for a consultant, think twice. Decide what you want the consultant to do for you and go with them. Take a long term bet. Go with a consultant who is intellectually honest. Has the executive bandwidth to translate your intent into shareholder value. Be imaginative and demanding.
After all, every company is known by the consultants they keep!
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Which image of yours do you like the most?
If you voted for your reflection on the mirror you are with the majority.
Which of the two are images do you believe is a fair and true representation of yourself?
Chances are you may still go with your mirror image.
And therein lies the flaw.
The mirror image suffers lateral inversion.
What is on the right goes left and vice versa.
A selfie suffers no such deficiency.
Why then do we prefer the mirror image?
Because we prefer to go with the familiar even if it were untrue.
Hallmark # 1: Great business mentors help us own up to self-deception.
Next time you ask, “mirror, mirror on the wall…”, you know what to expect!
Inner games we play
Have you ever lost to a weaker opponent?
Paid more for an inferior product?
Bitten off more than you can chew?
Rushed in haste and repented at leisure?
The fault dear Brutus quoth Shakespeare lies not in the stars but right within us.
Yes, we are oblivious to the negative self-talk that interferes with our sanity.
Upsets our mental state and sets us up to suffer a needless disadvantage.
Hallmark # 2: Great business mentors help us tune into the inner games we play!
Remember, the state of mind dictates the styles of play!
Most of us are seasonal players.
We let two conditions influence our motives, choices, and outcomes.
The external conditions of weather and safety.
The internal condition of our moods.
Play into situations we are anxious about and stay vulnerable. Feel victimised.
Let the World take advantage of our naïveté, nervousness, ignorance, and dependence.
Stay stressed out, absent-minded, accident-prone, mind blocked, and helpless.
The solution lies in managing our moods.
Release the sources of pressure and stay fired up.
Hallmark # 3: Great business mentors help us pressure cook our genius!
Locate the bad stress and get rid of them.
Cultivate good stress!
Life is a blind date.
By the time we get to know what lies in store, it is either sold out or time out!
Have you ever sat for an exam where all the questions were out of syllabus?
Worked for bosses and clients who believed in demanding the impossible?
Went down a journey without a map or a guide?
Suffered a nasty surprise when you expected it the least?
How do we make prompt and accurate decisions when the conditions are imperfect?
Vacate the ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Develop Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
Hallmark # 4: Great business mentors help us develop counter-intuitive wisdom
When surprises are a way of life, an agile mind helps develop sound business acumen!
Lost in space
How often do you make an ethical compromise and suffer a moral dilemma?
We live in a world with a mixed-up value system.
We may wonder why should we be honest when honesty does not pay?
Why speak the truth, when true lies and half-truth are valued the most?
Why be prompt in our payment when it is easier to be a defaulter and get away with it.
How to stay value-driven, principle centred and blow the whistle when we need to?
Hallmark # 5: Great business mentors help us find our moorings and bearings!
Sanitise the World we live in.
Level the playing field.
Restore fair play!
Juvenile minds masquerade as ‘Puss in boots’ or ‘superman’ to appear larger than life.
Many of us fail to outgrow our childhood fantasies as we enter adulthood.
Live beyond our means and lead an inflated lifestyle on borrowed time and money.
Flaunt our power, privileges, possessions, and connections to act big, high, and mighty.
Cozy up to celebrities on Page 3 and drop names to feel arrived in life.
Enact a hand me down script. Suffer an identity crisis, serving time as a duplicate.
Hallmark # 6: Great business mentors help us stay primed up and future-focused!
What makes a person great is when she takes pride in who she is and dares to be!
Stay power neutral!
‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go,’ said Oscar Wilde!
Likewise, a few empower us when we are weak. Weak minds, take us for a ride.
The wise know that power differential is stressful and unsustainable.
While the weak take on the strong and fail, the wise match their might.
Stay power neutral.
Neutralise their source of strength and stay empowered.
Hallmark # 7: Great business mentors help us take advantage of adversity!
Compete with our weaker self to get stronger.
Translate our fortitude into fortunes.
Result - Extend the zone of comfort
Addicted to the comfort of soft life, we are reluctant to vacate the zone of comfort.
Physical and psychological comfort helps us recover from tiresomeness and stay charged up.
Overwork burns us out. Passivity saps our vitality. Lets the rot set in.
Unable to carry our body weight, we become dependent. Begin to decay within.
When we learn to tease our intellect and flex our muscles, we enjoy stretching ourselves.
Hallmark # 8: Great business mentors help us find comfort in the zone of discomfort!
Prevent peaking out at the prime time.
Be a peak performer.
Celebrate the triumph of human spirit!
Smart to wise
Richard J Machowickz, a Navy seal, relies upon one simple principle to survive in warfare.
The targets dictate the weapon. Weapons dictate the movement.
To my belief, personal and professional eminence operates on a similar principle.
Our motives dictate our choices. Our choices dictate the outcomes.
A conscious mind is alive to the motive.
Exercises integrity at the moment of choice.
Generates the outcomes desired, both within and without.
Elect to live each moment of life by design or default.
Hallmark # 9: Great business mentors help us become all that we aspire to be!
Most of us wish to make our dreams come true.
Very few live up to their dreams to be a leader and leave behind a legacy for posterity.
A business strategy consultant aims to promote business acumen.
Help the business owners and organisational leaders become astute businessmen.
Consider this: Most businesses borrow from the same sources. Offer similar products and services.
Cater to the same customer segments.
Yet a few stand out while most others go under.
What makes the difference?
The winners stay clued on to what matters the most.
The others operate on false notions and make erroneous assumptions.
Sound business leaders pause often enough to question the assumptions underlying their operations.
The unsuccessful ones avoid business strategy consultants for fear of standing exposed.
Do not relish anyone challenging their assumptions about business and make them uncomfortable.
Enlightened business leaders tease their intellect to stay ahead of the game.
Great minds find it difficult to grasp simple truisms of life.
Theodore Levitt coined the word marketing myopia to signify shortsightedness in business. Lose perspective and spend an enormous amount of time addressing the wrong problem. The handicaps extend to the area of general management as well.
Care to put your business acumen to test?
Business acumen is about finding ways to keep the business simple, easy, value-adding, and fun. Here are a few posers for the owner promoters and the board of directors. Stimulate your mind and test your readiness to be an industry or market leader.
What should be our #1 business priority: Revenue, profit, cash, or market capitalisation?
Most people would go with a preference in the order.
I beg to differ because the time value of money is the cardinal principle for any business.
Insurance companies, doctors, lawyers, educational institutions insist on payment in advance.
Most retail businesses and online marketing relies on cash and carry mode.
Ever wondered why?
Because the sooner we collect the money, the less risky we are as a business.
Advance payments reduce the risk of late payments, goods return, bad credit, and write off.
Preference for cash should thus have been the priority.
Profit is not cash but a promise of deferred payment. We know what election promises are!
Revenue includes the cost of all inputs, overhead costs, premiums, and risk of non-payment.
Market capitalisation is arbitrage and opportunistic.
If it is your own money and reputation at stake what would you go for?
How much should we borrow and for how long?
Somehow most businesses believe that unless they borrow, they can’t be in business.
Worse yet, quite a few business icons prefer to go for an IPO and raise a lot of capital.
Believe that the more the money they have at the command, the more powerful they are.
Yet, every day we come across companies that learn to borrow less and deliver more.
Don’t believe in borrowing from banks or public because it costs money to service the debt.
Bankers take collateral before lending. Companies like Asian paints, Eagle flask and Pidilite industries rotate their cash. Operate as their own bank. Let’s us to collect full payment in advance before delivery. Gain a competitive advantage. Bankroll your operations the way Toyota or GE Capital used to.
How much inventory should we carry and for how long?
Surprise me! The World’s largest retailers hold no inventory but effect guaranteed delivery.
Every businessman knows that a slow-moving inventory slows down cash rotation. Diminishes cash profits. Business acumen lies in collecting a premium for prompt delivery from impatient customers. A guaranteed delivery system attracts more customers. Ensures faster stock movement and command a higher premium. Uses up less real estate. Accelerates value realisation and released the pressure on precious working capital. The answer is to carry as little inventory for as short a period as possible.
Treat every market as if it has a seasonal demand and every product as if it were perishable. How much extra would we stand to make if we operated as a florist? A smart florist would know in advance the events and dates their clients love to celebrate. Dial them up a day in advance, book the order, collect the cash, and then buy the flowers of their choice. Enjoy infinite returns on zero investment!
How much credit should we offer and for how long?
Are we in the business to make our customers poorer or richer?
Imagine the consequences of parenting an adolescent child with unlimited pocket money.
Would they ever value the dignity of labour and learn to make money on their own? No way!
Since pocket money comes with no obligation payback, why would they let go of that privilege?
We handicap ourselves by extending them a line of credit they cannot honour.
Forfeit our right to recover the amount advanced. The inability to pay back is bad enough. Encouraging them to celebrate their delinquency is avoidable. Unless we are good at assessing risk, we should elect not to extend credit. Why not let the customers earn the privilege to patronise our products? Qualify themselves to enjoy the credit we extend?
What risks are we exposed to and unaware of?
One of the ironies of life is that when the going is good, we take goodness for granted.
It never occurs to us to explore opportunities for going from goodness to greatness.
Too busy counting the pennies, we lose sight of the riches we leave unclaimed on the table. Here are ten inconvenient truths that can be a goldmine for the ones who care.
Most of us would love to brush them aside because they are a nuisance to deal with.
We know that
Do we ever sit down to take notice of how much these things cost?
How much more we could save, if we paid attention to them?
What untapped opportunities are we overlooking?
Consumers expect their suppliers to back their sales with post-sale maintenance.
Invest in extending the shelf life of their product even if it means paying a small premium for it.
Yet, very few business leaders care to cash in on this opportunity.
Forego an opportunity to earn recurring revenues in advance.
An inability to compound the short-term wins into long term advantage is a cardinal sin!
Everyone knows it is bound to happen but elect to do nothing about it.
In Teaching Smart People How to Learn, Chris Argyris highlights an anomaly. The smartest and most successful professionals have an aversion to learning and change. Turn a blind eye and stay indifferent to disasters waiting to happen. Avoid departing from conventions and forego opportunities of a lifetime.
Don’t we all know that:
Do you need a business strategy consultant?
This is a lot of food for thought.
You become the company you keep.
The decisions are yours to make.
Would you not be better off making an informed choice?
How would it feel to know where you will end up to be?
We have all the potential to become, whoever we may wish to be.
Make sure you go with a business strategy consultant that is your ally and a long-term bet for you.