Frameworks & Finance

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Belief sabotages results

decision making financial mindset Sep 07, 2023

Last week I was on vacation.

Have you ever noticed you do really good thinking on flights?

Well, that's the source of this post. I kicked another post down the road and wrote on the fly.

I hope you enjoy!

But before we do, our sponsor this week.

A message from Olly Richards


Today's issue is brought to you by Olly Richards, who writes a newsletter about scaling 7+ figure online education businesses.

He’s written a free 117-page case study about how he grew a $10MM course business from scratch — essential reading if you’re an educator, creator, coach or expert.

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 I spent the last 7 days away to recharge and reload. We have baby number 2 coming in December, so we did a combo “baby moon” and “Kurtis quit his job” vacation. O yes, I quit my job and have gone 100% all-in on building my fractional CFO business (reply if interested in learning more).

And as we spent some of this time looking back on my year, one word sums it up: CHANGE.

A little over 2 years ago, I got a harebrained idea to start a podcast. At the time, this podcast was personal finance focused and married my love of books with numbers.

Within the first six months, my energy waned. I realized personal finance wasn’t what energized me. I looked around and saw others in the space who were truly enraptured by it while I languished and lost my motivation to write.

When I reflected on what gave me energy, I realized it was 2 things:

  1. Solving business problems
  2. Learning and processing frameworks

That realization led to me launching this newsletter.

So, in the spring of 2022 I started posting about my experience as a small business CFO. To my surprise, there was a true hunger for finance explainers that helped people grow their businesses.

So, I continued sharing. Over time, opportunities to consult and coach started to present themselves. As I took on consulting clients, I slowly saw “building a business” as inevitable.

But, as we talked about the last 2/5/10 years on the trip, it became clear entrepreneurship had been inevitable for longer than I realized.

When in college, I saw the traditional accounting path of going to a CPA firm and turned up my nose.

After joining a large business, I realized I wanted the small business atmosphere.

After I joined a small business, I saw I was more and more energized by financials and cash flow than accounting treatments.

After integrating my first acquisition as a CFO, I realized loved building systems that helped grow the business.

As I joined my last business, I was intrigued by the owners and their desire to sell the business to the next generation.

As my newsletter list and Twitter profile grew, the opportunities HERE started to outweigh the opportunities in my job.

As I reflected, it became clear the entrepreneurial bug had gone all the way back to my rejection of the traditional path and had been reinforced in small businesses. It was now clear… I had no choice. I had to “take my shot.”

That brings us to today.

Last week I worked my last day as a W2 employee and am embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship.

What that also means is that for 5+ years (and possibly my whole career?), I denied that desire. I denied what I knew I wanted.

As I looked back, I wondered: why did it take so long?

I’m not exactly sure all the reasons, but I do know at least one: I didn’t feel I was good enough.

But as I’ve consulted more and more, I’ve seen business owner after business owner with these same doubts.

They want to chase the new opportunity but don’t think they can. “Just give me 2-3 more years and I’ll be there.”

But the 2-3 more years never come. It’s always that speck in the distance that never gets closer.

Here is what most miss: Financial results in a business are a direct response to the business owner’s mindset.

When belief cripples a business

A business I worked with a few years back was a growth machine… until they weren’t. One year they broke a revenue record, then the next year the growth stopped. It’s fine they said… we’ll grow again next year… until they didn’t. The next year they actually went backwards.

There was dissatisfaction with the backward march, but the actions necessary to turn the tide weren’t there.

And now the reason is so much clearer: their plateau was caused by a lack of belief. The owner struggled to believe he deserved that much money… so he passed on profits.

Their competitors lived rent-free in their heads, which meant the proposals just weren’t there.

The staff followed the lead and dropped balls, believing they just couldn’t cut it.

If you think you don’t deserve the success, you’ll “unintentionally” sabotage it.

If you think your competitors are smarter, you’ll come up short on your proposal.

If you think your staff will drop the ball, you’ll act in a way that will make that more likely.

Belief (or lack of it) impacts the resulting actions you take, thus the outcome you get.

Belief to Dollars Framework

I developed a “Belief to Dollars” Framework to illustrate this:

  1. Belief clarifies your vision
  2. A vision highlights a path
  3. The path informs the plan
  4. The plan highlights the goals
  5. Goals outline KPIs/measurables
  6. Tracked measurables impact action
  7. Action creates financial results

Every business has plateaus. They reach a level where they bump up against roadblocks.

The business I referenced hit theirs. But despite the dissatisfaction, they couldn’t get through the ceiling.

So what was missing? I attribute it to 2 things:

  1. Limiting beliefs around what they were capable of
  2. An unwillingness to change their current state

Your belief stops your action, but you have to reach a level of dissatisfaction to overcome the action/belief crisis. Until your current state of pain is high enough to force action, the unwillingness to change will stop you from addressing your limiting belief.

A lack of discomfort blocks your ability to persevere enough to attack the belief.

3 Questions to Clarity

So, when I see plateaus, I ask 3 questions:

  1. What will it take to get to the next level?
  2. Am I willing to make the sacrifices needed for it?
  3. What limiting belief will that force me to address?

These questions are only answered through reflection and experimentation.

But when you align belief, vision, path, plan, goal, measurements, and actions needed for a specific result, the result is basically inevitable.

What about you?

So, since I teased it… you may ask: what’s coming for you?

For now, I’m focused on a few things:

  1. Growing a fractional CFO business
  2. Finding ways to provide more value with this newsletter

For the fractional CFO business, the goal is this: help small to medium businesses ($3-50 million in revenue) level up their finances to help them grow and make more money.

On the newsletter business, the goal is to provide as much value for free and go deeper for those who want it. That looks like:

  1. Leveling up the newsletter format (in the next few weeks)
  2. Once a month case study/deep dive (in the next 30-60 days)
  3. Paid courses to help you apply financial concepts to your business

Stay tuned as more details come, but also know that what you’ve been getting you will continue to get for FREE.

I appreciate the opportunities you have provided by choosing to trust me in your inbox each week.

I’m going to do my best to make this an email you look forward to and wait to receive each and every week.

I love getting to create this content each week, but I only get this opportunity because I changed my belief because of external feedback (and some would say it took an extraordinary amount to get there).

My hope in sharing this framework is that it doesn’t take you as long to revisit those beliefs that are stopping your business from breaking through those plateaus.

If you think this is you, reply to this email and I’d love to chat!


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