Monthly Cash Flow Template
A cash flow is the most important management tool a business can have, especially when the cash isn’t flowing the way you’d like. This template is typical of those I have used. It’s kind of generic, and can be modified for use by either a retailer or brand. There’s no magic to the line items I’ve chosen to use. You have to figure out what works for your business and style of management.
The more you use it, the more valuable and easier to use it gets. You learn to internalize it and develop almost a sixth sense for changes. As your business grows, it becomes ever more important because you’re ability to keep everything in your head declines.
I’ve written about cash flow several times. Go to the article archive and check out, for example, the article called “A Living Breathing Thing.”
In the simplest things in our lives, we decide what we want to accomplish before we start doing. We do this unconsciously and instinctively because it’s the approach that works best.
With larger issues, like building a business, we often don’t take this approach. We start to work without deciding specifically what we want to have accomplished. The business draws us in. There’s so much to do that there’s no time to think.
How can you decide what to do if you don’t know where you want to be after you’ve done it? Begin with the end in mind.
A company’s owners need to share a common vision that will meet their goals. They need to specify what they want out of the company. All owners’ visions need not be combined into one statement, but it is important that they not conflict significantly.
The process of writing the vision forces you to think rigorously about your goals. In the process, you can expect some surprises, and to learn about yourself. Its hard work, but it will expand your perspective and help identify what is really important.
Writing a vision is a very individual activity. It can’t be rushed or done by a strict schedule. Come back to it as your thoughts evolve. Both your emotions and your intellect are important to the process.
The vision is the first step in the strategic planning process. It is the basis for establishing the company’s mission statement and goals. This clarifies how the company operates for the management team and is critical to developing a flexible, responsive organization.
The outline on the following pages will give you some ideas about what a vision statement might contain, but don’t be constrained by it. There are no right answers about what should be included.
It’s common for me to get requests for industry information. Sometimes it requires a simple answer I’m happy to provide. More often it’s along the lines of, “Can you please send me a breakdown of sales for surf, skate, snow by brand and country worldwide along with an analysis of all the retail channels they use?”
I politely explain that if I had that compiled in an easily accessible form, I’d be selling it for a whole lot of money and go on to provide them with some links that might help them do their own research. An expanded version of that list is below. If you’re in the industry, there may not be much you haven’t seen before. If you’re just learning about it, this could be a good place to start.
I’ve listed them in alphabetical order
Australian Surf Business
Board Retailers Association
International Association of Skateboard Companies
Mountain Weekly News
National Ski Areas Association
NDP Group (Leisure Trends)
Ski Area Management
Snowsports Industries of America
Surf Industry Manufacturers Association
Here are links to the investor relations part of the web sites of public companies in the industry. Their public filings, press releases and occasional presentations can be good sources of information.
Abercrombie & Fitch (Hollister)
Amer Sports (Atomic, Salomon, Arcteryx, others)
Big 5 Sporting Goods
Kathmandu (Rip Curl, Oboz, Kathmandu)
VF Industries (Vans, The North Face Timberland, other)