c16 JWBT144/Gordon September 25, 2009 17:46 Printer Name: Courier Westford, Westford, MA
Figure 16.1 Grandma’s Cigar Box
All money flowing out
All money flowing
into shoe repair
business from any
and all sources
Lithuania in hopes of a better life in America. They literally had nothing
but a few hundred dollars (sewn into his cuffs) and the clothes they wore
on the ship. Saul decided that he would continue to make his livelihood as
a cobbler in the United States because shoe repair was the only business he
knew. Borrowing money from a few acquaintances, he set up a small work area
inside a friend’s tailor shop and began to build his business. So, how did Anna
come to understand cash flow, when many MBA students have trouble with
this concept? Simple: her cigar box! Money from any and all sources from and
for Saul’s shoe repair business went into the cigar box; all of the expenditures
came out of the cigar box. Anna watched that cigar box like a hawk. Figure
16.1 shows the simplicity of cash flow.
At the end of each day, week, month, and year Anna would count the
remaining money in the cigar box. Because she collected all the money and
paid all the bills, she always knew precisely what was coming in, what was
going out, and what was left in the cigar box. In those months when more
went out than came in, she understood the consequences of negative cash flow
on a real gut level: “Saul, can’t you repair more shoes? How about repairing
leather coats?”
There are many ways that cash can come into and go out of your business,
as shown in Exhibit 16.1. The important point to note is that your cigar box
only accounts for money that was actually received and spent. It does not
account for money owed to you or for bills yet to be paid. Cash flow is the
single most important financial tool to let you know the amount of life fluid
there is in your company at any one moment in time.
The Balance Sheet and Grandfather’s Banker
My grandfather’s business grew. In addition to shoe repair, he began to
offer other services (leather coat refurbishing, leather handbag repair) and
some products (belts, polishes, shoelaces). He rented a little more space
c16 JWBT144/Gordon September 25, 2009 17:46 Printer Name: Courier Westford, Westford, MA
Project Your Growth and Profitability
Downloadable Exhibit 16.1 Cash Flow Analysis of Saul’s Business
January ($) February ($) etc.
Beginning of monthly cash
0 160
Cash Inflows
Cash Outflows
Cash actually received from
customers for sale of products
or services
80 95
Cash received from sale of assets 0 0
Cash received from loans 100 0
Cash received from other
financing: personal savings;
money received from family,
friends, other investors
100 0
Cash received from interest on
Cash received from sale of stock 0 0
Cash received from all other
Payments for all operating
expenses (rent, salaries,
insurance, marketing materials,
supplies, electricity, etc.)
20 40
Payments for actual purchases
of inventory
50 30
Payments for acquisition of
assets (table, anvil, tools)
50 0
Repayment of loans (including
interest and principle)
Payments for bonuses, life
insurance, auto

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