Money talk is pure murder

M is for murder? Well, it might be for the more homicidal amongst you, but in my book, M actually stands for the great unmentionable of small business…MONEY.

Moolah, spondooliks, readies, wonga – whatever your chosen vernacular for filthy lucre, if like me, you’re running your own small business, I’d bet my last remaining fiver that the M word is never far from your thoughts.

Is there a single one amongst us enterprise activists who hasn’t tossed and turned while wondering how the hell to make the next mortgage payment? Thoughts of money, and how to make it, sometimes even wend their way into my non-waking hours – and they sure as shit don’t make for a good night’s shut-eye.

Even in a good month, lining up the income column against the long list of lucre that’s heading out of the door can result in some serious fiscal foreboding.

And it’s not like I’m some greedy, grasping high roller who’s very high maintenance materially. On a personal level, I don’t even care all that much about money and the shiny baubles and trinkets it can buy. I know fine well that it can’t buy me happiness, but I also know that I really, really need it to keep the wolf, and the bank, from the door.

So yes, I want to make a living from my business, god knows I’ve invested a lot in it, and I don’t mean just financially. On a good day I feel confident that cash will start to come, enough cash to lead a comfortable life, with a curry and the odd trip to the cinema thrown in. But at other (all too frequent) moments, the black cloud of financial foreboding descends big time, and it’s hard to forecast a fiscally secure future.

It would be good to know that others in the same business boat feel the fear too, but the taboo surrounding actual discussion of the M word is right up there with female facial hair as a great big no-no.

I can easily understand that fellow business owners might not feel much like breaking down and blurting out that business is bust, or as good as. And I get it that for most of us, money talk is as private as what goes on behind closed bedroom doors. But the odd confession amongst colleagues in commerce can’t be that bad, can it? Surely I’m not the only sole-trader who has had several spells of supreme skintedness, and fully expects many more.

So it was a huge relief to have a frank and forthright fiscal face-to-face with a fellow adventurer in self-employment this week. This friend spoke fearlessly about entire months with no work at all, and he’s got three children and a mortgage the size of Mount Eiger to worry about.

There’s not much we can do to help each other’s bottom line, but we can share cash concerns over coffee, and that my friends, is worth its weight in gold.