If you’re out of cash, you’re not the first leader to have the experience. In 2010, the New York Metropolitan Opera ran out of cash. They were surprised. They had a balance sheet which was filled with rich things. They had a budget of $291 million.

Here they were, humiliated and humbly asking singers to take a 10% pay cut.Cash is King

There is no substitute for cash. Your employees can’t be paid in dog food, bedding, free haircuts, or whatever your business produces.

Most leaders who don’t have a financial background love the profit and loss statement. It’s an unfaithful lover. Make a date with your balance sheet.

In the left-hand corner of the balance sheet, the first thing you see is Current Assets. The arrangement is that these highly liquid items are the most important because you can pay bills with them.

  • Line One is Cash followed by other lines in order of how quickly they can turn into cash. Cash is good.
  • Line Two is Petty Cash. It’s small. It’s hard to make payroll with Petty Cash if you pay minimum wage or more  😊
  • Line Three is Temporary Investments. These are great things but risky. I invested my parents’ life savings and it was $54,000 in 2008. I cashed out when it hit $26,000. I can’t even write this without saying a prayer of forgiveness to my parents in heaven. Are you big enough to watch this daily?
  • Line Four is usually Accounts Receivable. Is that money from a deadbeat government contract that plans to pay 4 months late? They won’t speed up just because you’re desperate.
  • Line Five is inventory. Is this stuff that’s going to sell next week?

The balance sheet holds a truth of your company on line 1. How much cash do you have?

How did the Metropolitan Opera survive? They have some world-famous murals by Chagall and they took out a special mortgage (Chattel mortgage) to get enough money to keep payroll going. Most of us don’t have the Chagalls and Rubens hanging around the factory so don’t get excited.

What about the income statement? The problem of the income statement is that you can’t tell the difference between real cash and other things like Accounts Receivable and Depreciation. Haven’t you had times where you are running a profit and counting the pennies to make payroll? The income statement is important but it’s a dangerous tool in the hands of a non-financial leader.

The Cash tools are part of the 4 key decisions because cash shortage will put you out of business faster than any other decision you make. Cash surplus gives you time to recover from a problem in any other area of business.

Dust off your balance sheet! Then plan to build your cash with TurnAround Business Coaching.

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