The Fear of Numbers: A Journey Through Financial Turmoil and TriumphJul 24, 2023
If we turn the clock back to before 2020, I can tell you that I didn't have much fear or anxiety around the bank balance of our businesses. It wasn't so much about the numbers in the bank; rather, it was my approach to money that kept me calm. The digits, be they plentiful or scarce, did not hold emotional power over me. Sure, a bad month or two would make me pause and reassess, but nothing, absolutely nothing, had prepared me for the financial rollercoaster that was about to hit us.
As many of you know, my wife Jilisa and I own a brick-and-mortar gym. Today, I feel ready to share with you some aspects of our journey that have been shrouded in silence thus far. The truth is, when the pandemic hit, we were faced with impossible decisions. Decisions that felt like we were picking the lesser of two evils, and no matter which path we chose, the business we put so much blood, sweat, and tears into seemed destined for hardship.
There's an age-old stereotype that business owners are always flush with cash, that we're "rolling in it." That stereotype is often reinforced by a quick, oversimplified calculation done on the back of a napkin. However, the reality of running a small business, especially during a crisis like the one we've just been through, is far more complex.
Every thriving business has its list of running costs: rent, utilities, employee salaries, debt servicing, and platform expenses, to name a few. When something like a global pandemic forces closures—five times, in our case—these expenses don't just disappear. Revenue may evaporate, but the bills keep coming. They're persistent, like the tide, rolling in month after month, regardless of whether your doors are open or shuttered.
Sure, we're back open now. Our gym members are returning. Still, the months of lost revenue and continuous expenses aren't something we can just wave away. It's not like our customers can come back and double their workouts or buy twice as many protein shakes to make up for the lost time. Most businesses, like ours, had to shoulder significant debt to keep the lights on, to ensure we could open our doors again once the green light was given.
As an analogy, consider restaurants—they can't expect patrons to come in and eat double the meals to make up for the months they were closed. The pandemic-induced financial abyss can't simply be filled by the normality that's now returning.
In the face of this stark reality, my fear of the bank account escalated. Yet, I found that my relationship with money needed to change. I had to stop viewing money as a terrifying, uncontrollable beast and instead see it as a tool—a tool to be used strategically for the benefit of ourselves, our business, and our community.
There will be seasons of abundance and seasons of scarcity. The trick is not to fight against these ebbs and flows, not to let the fear of money control your life. It's not about hoarding wealth to create a false sense of security or paralyzing your life because funds are tight. It's about developing a strategy, detaching your emotions from your finances, so you can make wise investments and smart business decisions.
We can't always control our circumstances, but we can control our actions. We can control how we use our money to impact others and how we let it impact us. In the end, it's not about the numbers on the bank statement—it's about how we use those numbers to make a positive difference.
Do you want help creating a financial game plan to thrive in business without risking your personal life or livelihood? To grow your business even in seasons of less? Click here to book a free discovery call. Let's overcome the fear of the bank account together. Let's strategically utilize money as the tool it is, for the betterment of our lives and those around us.