And the Banker Said, “WOW!”

CelebrationThe life of a Cash Flow Wizard is fraught with peril. When I first start working with a business in serious financial trouble, for the first few months, no one knows if the business will survive. Even I’m not sure sometimes. I look for signs and indicators and data to tell me if there is a viable business under all that mess of trouble. Once I answer that question, I know we can pull through. And I say “we” because “I” don’t save businesses. It takes a team. Business owners, employees, vendors, bankers, accountants, and the Cash Flow Wizard all play a vital role in a business turnaround.

One business I was working with had a terrible relationship with the bank that held all their loans. The business was regularly late on loan payments, bouncing numerous checks, and had financial statements that were nonsensical. It was enough to make a banker toss and turn all night. In fact, the banking relationship was so strained the loan committee was considering cancelling the company’s loans and demanding payment in full.

These were bleak, hungry times for the business owners who, as business owners do, had everything invested in the business. A business failure meant not only bankruptcy for the business but very likely personal bankruptcy for the owners. Small business ownership is a high-stakes game.

The very air within the walls of this beleaguered business reeked of stress sweat and desperation. The business owners were standing at the edge with one foot already dangling over the precipice. One business consultant had already recommended bankruptcy. Bleakness. Hopelessness. Despair.

Flash forward three years.

I’m climbing a mountain with my iPhone in my backpack keeping track of my time and miles. I hear the little “ding” signifying a new email. Then, another little “ding.” When I get to the top of the mountain, I pull the phone out and check my messages. My client’s bankers have sent emails in response to the third quarter results I emailed earlier in the day. One read, “Congratulations! Keep it up!” The other said, “WOW!” I confess to doing a little Cash Flow Wizard jig on the top of that mountain. We’d come a long way to get there.

So, what made the difference, you ask? For my part, it was providing that steady hand on the financial tiller that every business needs. They call it Wizardry but it’s really just solid financial practices. The rest of the story of the turnaround belongs to the business owners who never said “Uncle,” the employees who did the magic they do every day, the bankers who hung in there, the vendors who valued their relationships and worked hard to help their customers, the tax accountant who went the extra mile to help, and the loyal band of customers that every business needs. You can call it magic, but its just good business.

Looking for your own Cash Flow miracle? How about a conversation with the Cash Flow Wizard? Let’s build a Dream Team!

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