Gaining clarity around money as a tool

In April 11, 2017

Women and financial literacy

Exploring Women & Money: Part Two of Four

(Read Part One Here)

April is Financial Literacy Month, and there’s no better time to take a close look at the psychology of money and how it impacts women in business.

What is financial literacy? It’s  understanding how to earn, manage and grow income (or revenue) by making thoughtful, informed decisions. It’s about controlling money, rather than allowing emotions to dictate how it’s earned and spent.  This applies to personal AND business finance, and similar strategies apply to both.

As we’ve talked to different “women and money” experts this month, a single dominant message has emerged. Money is a symbol connected to our own deeply personal emotions and anxieties. To be successful, they say it’s essential to let go of these triggers and view money as a tool.

Smart financial decisions come from a place of rational thinking and planning, not impulsive spending. Thinking of money as a tool helps someone focus on what it can help them accomplish, rather than today’s checkbook balance.

Tools are functional, existing only to help you accomplish something

Just like a business is most successful when a well-thought-out strategy provides insight and fuels action, helping business owners align smaller decisions with future goals and the bigger picture – financial success also requires a strategy to remain on track.

There is a direct correlation between financial success and planning.

Most successful businesses have a written business plan documenting their strategy, which includes market research to gain insight, and mapping actions to outcomes in a way that can be tracked and measured.

The business plan is a physical symbol of the planning, expertise and research invested into the business to help it be more successful.

Financial success requires a similar approach. Winging it just doesn’t work. It needs a plan, education, and measurable outcomes, which provide intention, focus and nurturing.

Create a financial plan of intention and purpose

According to Business Coach Dena Patton, women must transform their idea of money to conquer their fear and resistance to it. “Communication and clarity about money goals help with any big decision. Women should not be afraid of money because it’s one of our three biggest assets we can use to change the world: our power, our money and our voices.”

“When women learn to use their personal power and money to change the world, their life and businesses change. It’s that empowerment that most women don’t have around money.”

The very process of gaining financial clarity around a business and planning its financial future brings the empowerment that might be missing… the very thing that can propel a business into much bigger levels of success. It can also surface emotions and childhood experiences we don’t even realize impact our lives every day.

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“I grew up with a single, struggling mother who had very poor mindset around money (scarcity all the time). In my mid-twenties, I realized that I had to shift that same thinking, or be broke the rest of my life,” Dena shares. “Having a good relationship with money and having a positive money mindset completely changed how I run my business, how I sell and how much more I earn.”

So how can you gain financial clarity around your business? It’s often resources close at hand: your banker, a financial coach or financial planner or, depending on the size of a business, perhaps adding a CFO to your team. You can also lean on other successful women you know, talking about what has worked for them and asking for referrals. You might be surprised at how the right financial team can propel your business forward!

Like part one of this series, we’ll close with a thought-provoking quote, then pick this topic up next week by sharing some insight from money expert Lois Carrier on money personalities, and how spending patterns can have a powerful impact on business. Stay tuned!

“Women look at money as a lake, perceiving it as a finite resource. Men look at it as a river, constantly renewing. ” Liz Perle, author of Money, A Memoir: Women, Emotions and Cash.

(This is part two of a four part series exploring women’s attitudes around money and how this impacts business, including insight from several local experts. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next segment!)

The opinions in this article are those of its author and people interviewed, and do not reflect the opinions of Horizon Community Bank or any employees thereof unless directly stated.  

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