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Apr 25 2014
"Make Like the Squirrels" - Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned
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Make like the squirrels. Don’t get upset with them because they are digging in your yard (especially after this ridiculously severe winter!). They are smart creatures who know what they are doing—Squirrels are “cash flow experts” in a funny sort of way. They put their resources in a safe place to carry them through the bumpy times that are inevitable…Winter!!!! Like any good entrepreneur they “anticipate”. They know from the past they could be in for rough times. Mom and Dad squirrels bury their nuts for their kids so very few squirrels die of hunger. Other animals are smart about survival techniques too: A wise man (not sure who) was asked about the cautious habits of deer before and during hunting season: His response was: “They read the newspaper!”…..Brilliant!

So what can business owners learn from these creatures? Here are a few recommendations….

Firstly, anticipate change and don’t take anything for granted. Never assume things will remain constant. Even though your company landed that first big order… remember that ”hay days” are very fickle. Celebrate wins and then get back to working on the revenue pipeline. Pivot your business model when necessary. Don’t start spending more unless it will drive “incremental” revenue. And always give spending decisions the 24 hour rule (or maybe the 24 month rule for larger capital investments) to avoid getting buried in more debt. Put a portion aside for the contingency plan. And utilize everyday common sense cash management practices: Look at your financials regularly and consider such things as equal payment plans for large utility bills that fluctuate with the season. Put money somewhere that it can earn interest. Maximize terms with vendors and suppliers. Follow up immediately when your customers are past due. Slow down payables if you can and accrue costs appropriately. Always expect for the unexpected and have your eye on the target.

I know it bugs you that those squirrels are making a mess of your yard. But give them a break… They are planning for the inevitable (especially in our lovely state of Michigan). Give them a break!


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