How Financial Awareness and Responsibility Are Key To New Paradigm Startup Success
For the purposes of this post I’m speaking to those of you who:
- Are choosing to enter into business partnership or commit to a group project;
- In devotion to a Vision that you really care about;
- With people who you really care about;
- Where you want decision-making and responsibility to be more evenly distributed (particularly around finances), rather than (defaulting to) top down; and
- Where each person is also maximally empowered in your individual and group development journey.
𝘕𝘖𝘛𝘌: 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘯𝘰𝘯-𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴, 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘵 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘺-𝘵𝘰-𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴.
In my recent article, “𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐓𝐨 𝐀𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐧 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞 𝐅𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐁𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐎𝐫𝐠𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐦” we talked about energetically aligning how resources flow in and through your organism, and how you can set things up such that resources are dynamically mirroring and flowing with real-time contribution.
In that article one of the pieces I mentioned was about how:
“𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘰-𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘧𝘦𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯-𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨.
𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘤𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘮 𝘵𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦, 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛-𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙥𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙞𝙨 𝙖 𝙠𝙚𝙮 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙘 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙚𝙢𝙗𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙖 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙪𝙥 𝙩𝙚𝙖𝙢 𝙞𝙣 𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙨𝙢 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙡𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙧𝙞𝙫𝙚.”
Because here’s the thing…..
If the members of your team AREN’T taking responsibility around the finances , then the experience of being in partnership with them can feel akin to raising a child with a parent who is irresponsible with money;
It can feel really heavy and destabilising for the rest of the team, making it hard to relax, or feel like they can lean out or let go.
But if the members of your team ARE taking responsibility around the finances, then the additional awareness, clarity and empowerment about your financial reality that this provides (because it’s actually connected to reality based on a clear assessment of real information) is like a supercharger that t̳u̳r̳b̳o̳ ̳b̳o̳o̳s̳t̳s̳ the Shared Vision that you’re actualizing together.
Because with each member of the team taking the steps to get your ducks in a row, you are effectively aligning with reality and opening the floodgates for resource to flow in.
And here’s why:
When it comes to startup money matters, founders often spend considerable time and energy thinking about and feeling into questions like:
Dᴏ ᴡᴇ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴇɴᴏᴜɢʜ?
Hᴏᴡ ʟᴏɴɢ ᴜɴᴛɪʟ ᴡᴇ ʀᴜɴ ᴏᴜᴛ?
Hᴏᴡ ᴅᴏ ᴡᴇ sᴘᴇɴᴅ ɪᴛ?
Wʜᴏ ᴄᴀɴ ᴀᴜᴛʜᴏʀɪᴢᴇ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴡᴇ sᴘᴇɴᴅ?
Hᴏᴡ ᴍᴜᴄʜ ᴄᴀɴ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴀᴜᴛʜᴏʀɪᴢᴇ?
Hᴏᴡ ᴍᴜᴄʜ ᴍᴏɴᴇʏ ғᴏʀ ᴛᴀx sʜᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴡᴇ ᴘᴜᴛ ᴀsɪᴅᴇ ᴇᴀᴄʜ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ?
Wʜᴇɴ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ᴅᴏᴇs ɪᴛ ᴍᴀᴋᴇ sᴇɴsᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴘᴀʏ ғᴏʀ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴡᴇ ɴᴇᴇᴅ?
Aʀᴇ ᴍʏ ᴘᴇʀsᴏɴᴀʟ ᴇxᴘᴇɴsᴇs ɢᴏɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴄᴏᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ ᴛʜɪs ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ?
Wʜᴀᴛ ᴅᴏ ᴡᴇ ᴅᴏ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ɪɴᴛᴇʀɴᴀᴛɪᴏɴᴀʟ ᴘᴀʏᴍᴇɴᴛs ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʀᴀɴsғᴇʀs?
And these are no small questions.
In fact they’re the sort of questions that take up considerable head space, emotional energy and attention both inside and outside of our conscious awareness.
Just take a moment to think about all the times you have drifted off into a daydream, been consumed by worry or been immersed in mental calculations and tallying around money, that’s taken you out of being truly present with someone or something in the moment.
And that’s not all that surprising given that, as we’ve already touched upon in previous articles, money goes to the root of our safety and security.
That’s why money questions are the sort of questions that can literally make or break a business and why it’s no great secret that one of the biggest stumbling blocks for any startup is how the founders handle the money.
Money matters such as how to handle budgeting, bills, debt and taxes are hands down some of the most scary, confusing, exasperating and contentious issues within any business endeavour.
And so how we choose to navigate them is 𝑣𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 to our success.
Let’s take a simple (and common startup) example:
Let’s say your team is beginning to run out of financial runway and everyone’s scrambling to try to get their basic needs met;
In those circumstances it’s not only hard to keep your energy focussed on the business tasks at hand, but it’s almost impossible to also maintain the openness of your body vessel while you’re doing it (which as we’ve already discussed is key to emanating out the frequency of your vision from your being and magnetizing people and opportunities into your field).
When funds are getting low, the risk of not having our basic needs met (or any kind of scarcity orientation or scarcity response in general) will likely put us into a fear state, scrambling for or clinging to any kind of security we can find; and as such, that fear state contracts our body systems.
If we’re coming from a closed body system, then we’re out of alignment with the energy of the vision or the new world we’re envisioning (which is free of “problems” like scarcity), and back to creating an experience for ourselves where we’re pushing the rock uphill 𝙩𝙧𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙨 𝙝𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙣, rather than surfing the wave of flow, taking inspired action and 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑛.
Which is uncomfortable, unpleasant, unsustainable and likely to prevent any resource from actually flowing into the system because our body systems are closed to receiving it anyway.
Here’s another example of where some startups run aground without a distribution of financial awareness and responsibility…..
Let’s say everyone in the business is authorised to spend money and make financial decisions.
A participating partner in the tech department sees a huge opportunity to invest in some computer hardware, and seeing money in the bank account goes ahead and pays for it, not realising that the money that’s in the bank account actually needs to go towards certain bills or repayments that come out on particular dates later in the month.
Bill payment time comes and the account is now dry of funds.
So as you can see, it’s obviously important for each person to have their awareness on the up-to-date financial position/status and any material financial obligations so that resources and cash flow can be allocated responsibly and accordingly.
Without this awareness of the company cash flows, it’s all too easy for the baby organism to inadvertently be left starving.
Ultimately, what’s being illuminated here is that money management, both at an individual and collective level, is no small consideration and can often represent a significant cognitive and emotional load.
If that load is:
(a) distributed so that there’s awareness, responsibility and clarity amongst the team; and
(b) ideally systematized as much as possible so even the group doesn’t have to think about it;
you can effectively free up most of the energy and attention that normally gets consumed by the typical thoughts and feelings relating to finances and resource allocation.
The group then has more energy to put behind aligned and empowered choices that serve to t̳u̳r̳b̳o̳ ̳b̳o̳o̳s̳t̳ the Shared Vision that you’re actualizing together.
And if you’re intending on creating the kind of business and team where you can maintain your freedom, and ideally, access to your creativity…..
- meaning you’re not consumed with management and tied to the day-to-day operations for an organism that’s totally reliant on you and your decision-making -
….then you’ll want to be able to relax in the knowledge that your teammates are financially responsible, you’ve got some robust systems in place and you’re all showing up in a way that serves the financial health of the organism.
But 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 this stuff often represents a significant cognitive and emotional load, it can be valuable to be aware of the fact that it can also easily be one of the things that many business owners, whether consciously or unconsciously, avoid looking at.
- They don’t feel confident in their ability to manage finances;
- It all feels too overwhelming or they can’t keep up;
- They’re accustomed to receiving a paycheck and their former employer(s) took care of the taxes and deductions;
- Their family/parents have always handled their finances;
- They’ve never been taught financial management;
- They have inherited a fearful and avoidant relationship with money from their family; and/or
- They’ve been conditioned in a hierarchical system that taught them to give their power away to authorities and perceived “superiors”;
If there are members of the team avoiding looking at or taking responsibility for the finances (whether that’s the bank accounts or the accountancy books) then the resulting imbalance can create a kind of 𝒅𝒆𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒚 or 𝒄𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒚 that can all too easily end up feeling like an uncomfortable parent-child dynamic or a codependent partner dynamic.
Which is totally fine if you are going down the employer and employee route;
Or the owner and contractor route;
But if your intention is to maintain a level of power equality and distributed decision-making (particularly around finances) between you and your teammates (irrespective of equity interest because the relationships matter to you), then you’ll want to watch out for these kinds of disempowering and hierarchical dynamics sneaking into the mix;
Because perpetuating 𝒅𝒆𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒚 and/or 𝒄𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒚 isn’t going to maximally support your individual or collective development, nor will it allow you to birth an adaptable and responsive organism that doesn’t rely on your presence to thrive.
[𝘍𝘠𝘐 — 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢 𝘥𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘥𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘥𝘺𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘤 𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘴, 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘢 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘹𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘐𝘚 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘐𝘚𝘕’𝘛 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦].
So, with all this in mind, if you’re entering into the kind of business partnership with other members of your team where you’re choosing for some or all of your teammates to be equity holders, meaning they are opting into joint parenthood or stewardship of your organism with you, I invite you to ask yourselves:
(1) Hᴏᴡ ᴡɪʟʟɪɴɢ ᴀʀᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀʟʟ ᴛᴏ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴇᴠᴇʟ ᴏғ ʀᴇsᴘᴏɴsɪʙɪʟɪᴛʏ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜɪs ʙᴜsɪɴᴇss ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀ ᴘᴀʀᴇɴᴛ ᴛᴀᴋᴇs ғᴏʀ ᴀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ?;
(2) Hᴏᴡ ᴄᴏɴғɪᴅᴇɴᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛʜᴀᴛ, ɪɴ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴀʙsᴇɴᴄᴇ, ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ ᴇʟsᴇ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴇᴀᴍ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʙᴇ ᴀʙʟᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴍᴀᴋᴇ ᴄʟᴇᴀʀ ғɪɴᴀɴᴄɪᴀʟ ᴅᴇᴄɪsɪᴏɴs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴇsᴛ ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴇsᴛs ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏʀɢᴀɴɪsᴍ ᴀɴᴅ ɪᴛs ᴄᴏɴᴛɪɴᴜᴇᴅ ɢʀᴏᴡᴛʜ ᴀɴᴅ ᴅᴇᴠᴇʟᴏᴘᴍᴇɴᴛ?; ᴀɴᴅ
(3) Iғ ʏᴏᴜ’ʀᴇ ɴᴏᴛ ᴄᴏɴғɪᴅᴇɴᴛ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʏᴇᴛ, ᴡʜʏ ɴᴏᴛ? Wʜᴀᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ʏᴏᴜ sᴇɴsɪɴɢ ɪs ɢᴇᴛᴛɪɴɢ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴀʏ?
So if you’re navigating this terrain right now and wondering how to engender more financial responsibility in your team, comment below or DM me to explore how I can support you.