Today’s episode is a requested reading of a previously published post on Productive Flourishing. The article shows how using the lens of cash flow, opportunity, and visibility is useful for sorting through complex business decisions to determine your most relevant next step. In this reading, Charlie talks about how working through each of the lenses can help enhance the other two in turn.
[0:52] - How do we assess the values of potential business activities? There is a quick framework to help, but we need to think about the goals of our business activities: to generate cash flow, to generate opportunities, or to generate visibility.
[2:20] - Cash flow: It is always important to think about positive cash flow. This keeps us looking at how to get our working capital, rather than “I owe you’s” and unresolved potential payments. While cash flow generating activities are important, they aren’t the only thing we should be doing - a growing business also needs opportunity and visibility.
[3:38] - Opportunities: An effective entrepreneurial executive succeeds in creating opportunities where it seems like there are none, rather than waiting for one to happen. We should ask ourselves what new realities or consequences might result from doing a specific activity, like an opportunity chain. An opportunity chain is a set of cascading opportunities that are synergistic. Your momentum depends on cumulative growth and opportunities.
[5:17] - Visibility: To grow our business, we have to get what we’re doing in front of people. It is a balance between being seen by our ideal customers, and at least being seen by someone. As our visibility grows, we can be more selective about target audiences. It is also important to have our “home base” in order - there needs to be a reason for bringing people back to our sites.
[6:37] - Trade-offs and sweet spots: In business, it may be necessary to trade one goal of business for another. Sometimes, we may need to pull back on cash flow generation to build opportunities and visibility. In these cases, we need to assess consequences from all three aspects to determine the value of participating in a certain activity at the expense of another. It is ideal to do activities that achieve two or more of the goals at once. The more of these sweet spots activities we do, the faster our businesses will grow.
[8:22] - Planning strategically versus operating strategically: When we align both, we can get some powerful results. Thinking about these three goals can help align things more quickly. Take stock of your current state of business - which of the goals are most important right now? How can you combine the goals to get further faster?
Mentioned in This Episode: