June 3, 2017
It’s always important to remember that cash flow is king in the startup world. Be sure to keep that in mind before you run out and make a big purchase after your first “big” sale, because you never know when an emergency might come knocking.
Clifford Beckles is the owner and director of Streamline Systems and Local Motion, responsible for corporate oversight and longevity. Check out our interview with Clifford below and get a little inspiration for your entrepreneurial journey.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My paternal grandfather. He worked multiple jobs after his father’s passing to help his mother support his seven siblings and still managed to start and successfully run his own business for 40 years.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
A friend and business associate of mine said one of the most important things in business is to build solid relationships with your customers. At the end of the day, Streamline is here to help our customers succeed and we cannot do that without understanding who they are and what they do.
I understood what he meant the moment he said it, but when my company passed through its first economic recession, it really resonated. The customers we had the greatest relationships with supported us and did not try to nickel and dime us. The ones we had borderline relationships with shopped around for the cheapest and not necessarily best solutions.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Working too much on my business. On most days, I was the first in and the last out of the office, working weekends, missing family events and not meeting up with friends with the intention that “when I’m successful, I’ll make up for lost time.” This began to define me. Many negatives came out of this. I would judge others by who could keep up with my pace and lost track of the reason I started a business in the first place: freedom. After reading The E-Myth Revisited on the advice of one of my best friends, I began to once again find proper direction, focus and most importantly, moderation.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Check my calendar and emails, followed by my action item list made the day before. This makes me aware of where I need to be and when so I can set the pace for the day. Checking emails allows me to respond in a timely fashion before getting on the road.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Do not overextend your business. I have seen many businesses get into trouble, and even fold in some cases, after the owners/operators ran out buying expensive cars and boats and having a great time after their first “big sale,” thinking that the first payment was the only one they needed to make. Cash flow is king! Analyze your cash flow and sales projections before making any large and especially recurrent purchases.
What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Take time for yourself. You may not have the money to fly to somewhere exotic on vacation, but take some time nonetheless. Go to the beach, hang out with friends and family, or read a book if that’s your pleasure. Burnout is real and switching off will, in most cases, give you the ability to keep going later on with renewed energy and vigor.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I was chief, cook and bottle washer for a long time, but one of the major things that keeps me going now is seeing my employees succeed in various facets of their lives, whether it be education, family, relationships or hobbies.
The end result is for my business to run without me while making sure that my employees and customers are taken care of and fulfilled.
Read more inspiring interviews here on Tech.Co
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