A Number You Don't Know

A professional remodeler, one who is financially successful and whose business is stable, “knows his numbers.” That means the company’s financial health can be determined by examining the profit and loss statement, general ledger and other reports.

June 30, 2000

A professional remodeler, one who is financially successful and whose business is stable, "knows his numbers." That means the company’s financial health can be determined by examining the profit and loss statement, general ledger and other reports.

There’s another number that even the most successful, time-proven remodeler doesn’t know, though. Psalm 139 says, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Our days are numbered, it seems, and the exact number we’re given is not revealed.

For more than 15 years, our neighbor has worked hard so he can pursue his passion for the outdoors. This year, however, his tone changed. Instead of complaining about the extra Saturdays at work, the never-ending list of work that had to be done around the house and the traffic -- all delaying his hunting and fishing plans -- he started talking about the past. He has grandchildren now, and his other son just became engaged. He has hunted and fished with his two sons over the years; now he talks about how quickly they grew up and left home.

Many remodelers are experiencing similar stages in their lives. Parents have died, businesses have struggled, and marital problems have culminated in serious re-examination. For these remodelers, private problems have business consequences. This is even truer in an entrepreneurial industry such as this.

Many entrepreneurs believe they can separate personal and business lives. A Fast Co. magazine survey reported that 83% of respondents said the way to balance personal issues and business was to focus on them "at different periods in my life." Most of us know that won't work in the long run, though. If we don’t know the number of our days, how do we know when to focus on the personal issues?

Personal and business goals must dovetail. Remodelers serious about long-term success define business goals and then figure out how to invest time, talent and assets to achieve those goals. The same process must be applied to the personal side. As remodelers evaluate the time needed to reach financial goals, they must realize that that time is unavailable to attain personal goals. No one else can evaluate the importance of each goal, and only the individual can determine how much to spend on each. But the remodeler who recognizes the limited nature of his resources is far more able to balance those choices than one whose choices are forced upon him later.

Your financial numbers are key indicators of profitability and sustainability. None of us, however, knows with certainty if we’ll be around to spend all 365 days in the year. Have a plan to spend yours wisely.

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