10 Aug The 13 immutable laws of financial success for business owners
After working with thousands of business owners to grow their personal net worth over the past 20+ years, my team and I have discovered there are some fairly immutable laws when it comes to business owners achieving and maintaining financial success.
My experience is that financial success comes easier and much faster the more an entrepreneur recognizes and abides by these principles.
Here are the 13 immutable laws of financial success for business owners…
1.Businesses need time and money to survive.
Much like we need food, shelter, and water (coffee) to survive, your business needs time and money to survive. Whether that’s your time or your employees’ time, your money or an outside benefactor’s money, time and money are the oxygen of any business. Bootstrapping is a short-term strategy to get more time and money.
If you don’t have strong boundaries about how you allocate your time, your business will take every minute you have to give.
If cash is your scarce resource, you’ll struggle to pay bills and make payroll. This is a sign it’s time to raise your prices and/or learn how to sell better.
2. You are better situated to pay lower taxes as a business owner than as an employee.
Owning a business opens up a significantly larger portion of the IRS tax code for legally and morally lowering your tax liability. You will be well-served to know the tax code well, and have great advisors helping you maximize your tax savings every year.
3. You will be better off separating your business finances from personal finances.
The easiest way to track business expenses, cash flow, and profit numbers is to have separate accounts for your business finances. Mixing your personal finances and business finances is the fast track to both confusion and tax trouble with Uncle Sam.
4. Businesses that scale well have experts in place empowered to do what they do best.
Maturing businesses have financial experts (advisors, CPAs, bookkeepers, etc.), sales trainers, marketing directors, and other experts in key positions for growth. DIY-ing your business operations are necessary for many fledgling businesses, but if you want to scale well, hire experts and empower them to do great work.
5. Investing in the stock market is a proven pathway toward financial success beyond your business valuation.
Investing is a professional service, not an arena for the inspired amateur. While many business owners do buy rental properties and other investment-aspiring opportunities, index funds remain one of the most reliable sources of financial success beyond your business exit.
6. Money in your business account belongs to your business, not you.
It’s tempting to believe money you worked hard to generate in your business accounts belongs to you. That is simply not true. Money in business accounts is not your money. It belongs to your business. To build your net worth, you must take money out of your business, pay the associated taxes, and put it into personal accounts in your name.
7. You are the best advocate for your business’ longevity.
No one will care as much about your business as you do. If you want your business to last beyond the here and now, you must fight for its survival. Ask for what you want. Set firm boundaries. Have a strong voice advocating for your business because no one but you can do it.
8. Staying in business means facing your deepest fears.
If you want to stay in business for longer than five years, you will have to face every one of your deepest fears. How you respond is a sign of how much you’ve grown – or may still need to grow. I believe you will win if you keep facing your fears with courage.
9. Financial choices made strategically and philosophically have better potential for success.
What you don’t know about financial decisions can hurt you. If you find an investment paying higher yields, it’s typically because the underlying investments are riskier. Take the time to understand your investment options before you make a decision. The headache of unwinding or recovering from poor financial decisions is an effective teacher, but it’s better to avoid these lessons with sound financial advice.
10. Financial institutions will disappoint you over time.
SVB, Signature Bank, First Republic – all banks who failed just this year. Keeping more than $250,000 at only one bank is simply bad financial policy because you are over the FDIC insured amount and eventually the piper comes calling.
11. Profit First is a lifesaver for your cash flow.
When done right, the Profit First accounting method is one of the greatest financial wonders I have ever seen. Paying yourself first and systematically moving your money into savings accounts is a massive advantage.
12. Your company’s 401k is one of the most tax-savvy business decisions you can make.
Open a company 401k as soon as you are able. Investing $15,000 per year for 20 years earning 8% average per year adds up to $756,344. Of course, that rate isn’t guaranteed, but you can also save far more than $15,000 per year if you are able. Not sure how? Ask my team.
13. Major financial news media is almost always wrong.
CNN Money, CNBC, and other financial news outlets have one job: scare you into consuming their content so they generate more ad revenue. Their advice is not personalized to your unique financial situation. With the exception of seeking the specifics of current laws and maybe where to find the lowest interest rates, you’d often be better off guessing at what to do with your money than following their financial advice.
There are more immutable laws of financial success for business owners, but these 13 laws are more consistent in my everyday conversations. This begs the question…
Which of these 13 laws have you learned (maybe even the hard way), and which ones are you most focused on following with your business this year?
These laws will be true the entire lifetime of your business. Let’s make sure your business is leveraging these laws to grow your profitability, improve your cash flow, and create an amazing life of significance beyond your business.