Running on Empty

I recently embarked on an 11-day tour of France with my husband on our motorbikes. As a business owner, this is the longest time I have taken off work in the last 11 years of Not Just Numbers (big thank-you to the team for taking the helm while I was off). 

Work was as busy as ever and I was done. I really needed a break. The first few days, my brain just needed to unscramble, and I looked forward to being able to think straight again. As we travelled each day from one destination to the other, I realised how similar running a business was to our journey.

There are two things in life that I know I need in plentiful supply – fuel and toilet roll!

Each day we planned our route, and we filled up the tank.

One day, we had 4 bars of fuel. As we passed the next service station, I said, “Shall we top up here?”. “No, we have plenty” was my husband’s response. We passed 2 more stations and each time I asked if we should fill up, to which I got the response, “No, we have 60km of fuel left and the next station should be 20km away.”  Only it wasn’t.

On that particular stretch of road, the next one was 56km away. The panic started to rise in me, and for the next few kilometres all I could think about was running out. What would we do? Where could we fill up? What if… What if …What if…

I stopped enjoying the journey. Instead, all I felt was overwhelming anxiety & stress. We were running on empty!!

I made Martin come off at the next junction. We stopped and I googled a station. Fortunately, the nearest one was 2km away. Phew, instant relief.

Now, isn’t that how we all feel in business when we don’t plan?! We allow ourselves to amble along, enjoying the journey, not paying attention to our resource and then, BOOM! We run out. That feeling of anxiousness and panic. The last-minute chase to collect debts overdue, the last-minute attempt to get an overpriced loan, or digging into personal savings to top-up.

Suddenly, we stop enjoying the journey and all we can focus on is running out!

But what if you planned for the dips and the points where cash gets tight? If you plan and work out what needs to happen, then this will help you feel calmer, more in control and able to make more rational decisions, in good time.

At Not just Numbers over 50% of our clients have a forecast. We support them in pricing decisions, funding, cost savings, and above all help alleviate the panic! Where’s the value…. Well peace of mind for one, and tips on where to “fill up”. 

Having a plan doesn’t always go to plan of course, but it sets you on the right path. If the plan changes, you are already best placed to anticipate the change and deal with it. You find a different way around, but still get to your destination.

In France, our Tom Tom didn’t know how to deal with a bridge that was shut! The route kept trying to take us back to the closed bridge. So, we stopped, input the destination on Waze and followed the directions on my phone for 10km until we were back on track. A little detour, but we still got there.

That’s the same with planning!

Remember, having a plan prevents you running on empty. It can take you another way, if necessary, but it gives you peace of mind so you can enjoy the journey. After all, it’s about the journey not the destination…



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Not Just Numbers Ltd
5 Carrwood Park
Selby Road
LS15 4LG