Suck it Up Buttercup! A Lack of Education Can Hurt You

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I would rather eat worms than read about accounting, finance, or taxes. I'd rather scrub toilets than deal with these topics. I would rather hide under the covers and pretend they don't exist.

But they do.  And even if you hate these topics as much as me, if you're a self-employed micro business owner, you should have a basic understanding of these topics.

So suck it up Buttercup!

I survived it and so can you!

Here are two interesting quote's I've come across lately. It is in regard to making wise financial decisions when choosing projects or investments.

“50% of all small business owners surveyed do not have a college degree” (Danielson & Scott, p. 46, para. 3).

 

“Small firms most often cite ‘gut feel’ and the payback period as their primary project evaluation tool” (Danielson & Scott, p. 46, para. 2, 2006). (as opposed to more accurate capital budgeting methods that only financial managers understand)

What Does This Have to Do With Me?

All self-employed micro business owners have to make decisions. You can invest in marketing, new products or services, or choose a new location. Do you know how to calculate whether or not this investment is a good idea?

If we take out a loan, we can use a simple payback period calculation. How long will it take you to payback the loan and will the investment still have value after it's paid off? But how do we calculate more complex decisions?

Smart But Not Wise

I believe we are all intelligent, smart people. But should we make decisions based on our “gut instinct” or should we learn how to make decisions based on sound data?

I've never been drawn to math, accounting or financial management. And I know I'm not alone in my fervent avoidance of these subjects. However, if we don't have a basic understanding of accounting and financial management methods, we will be forced to make all our business decisions based on our “gut feel” alone.

We can be very smart at our business, but can make unwise choices because of our lack of education.

Losing Everything

This is a time when the lack of education can truly hurt your business. If you make the wrong decision, based on your gut, it could ruin you. You could invest in the wrong project and lose your entire business. Plus, as micro businesses, we generally don't have huge cash reserves to save us from a poor investment.

Do you really want to gamble your future on a “gut feel” when you could learn how to make smarter decisions based on facts?

Trust Your Business Instincts – But Get the Facts

I'm a firm believe that your business instincts shouldn't be ignored. But they should not be the ONLY factor in your decision making process. And I'm certainly not advocating that you need a college degree to own a micro business. Rather, you should get educated in key areas that can aid in the success of your business.

You're the Chief Financial Offer (CFO) of your business, whether you knew that or not. Making decisions based on instinct alone increases your failure risk. Get educated in the areas that will help you make sound business decisions based on fact, not assumptions.

You Have No Excuses

Stop wasting time tweeting or reading useless status updates from high school friends you didn't like in the first place. If your like me, there is no real reason you can't learn basic accounting/finance principles. You just don't like it. But as a business owner, you have no valid excuse for avoiding this incredibly important aspect of your business.

So suck it up and get it over with.

There are free or very cheap resources that can help you understand these issues right now:

Khan Academy – Finances and Capital Markets

Check for accounting classes at edX and Coursera

Learn about certain financial formulas and use free calculators at Finance Formulas

The Price of Bad Financial Decisions for Small Businesses

The Basics of Finance and How it Determines Success

Free Management Library (has info on a wide variety of subjects including finances and accounting)

Liesha Petrovich is passionate about micro business education. Doesn’t sound sexy does it? But teaching micro business owners how to create success and freedom is. Learn more at Micro Business Essentials