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piggybankMoney is a part of our culture that can be highly sensitive. For instance, it’s impolite to ask someone how much they make in their job or the size of their retirement savings.

And yes, I know that the biblical reference is that the love of money is the root of all evil, but it seems we’ve decided that money itself is a demonic force.

Here’s the truth:  money, in whatever form, is just a tool. It doesn’t matter if it’s cash in your wallet, or digits in a bank account, or access to others’ capital.

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InvoiceI was having a nice chat recently with a lady from FreshBooks. If you haven’t heard of them, they have a nice system for creating and sending invoices.

We got to talking about invoicing disasters, because it seems EVERYBODY has a story.  Including me.

Just last month, in fact.

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dierschow-1024x730Robert Kaplan and David Norton developed a powerful concept back in the 1980s and ‘90s for monitoring business performance.  Dubbed the Balanced ScoreCard, it has spread rapidly through large organizations around the world.

Despite this popularity, I’m continually surprised by its lack of visibility among smaller companies.

Perhaps some fear that it’s too complex and requires too much overhead to support. Well, yes, it’s possible to go crazy and create a behemoth which then crumbles under its own weight.  But that’s true of any tool of significant power.

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YikesSometimes it feels like passwords are the bane of my existence.

Some years ago, I realized that keeping track of passwords in a text file was probably not real bright.  If someone stole my PC, it would be a simple matter to bypass the Windows login and find all the keys to my identity.  So I switched over to a free password manager (KeePass) and have been tracking things in there ever since.

As of today, I have 383 passwords stored in there.  It’s out of control!

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Keep_Calm_and_Carry_On_Poster.svgI’m basically a one-person coaching business – I work with my partners in Small Fish, but ultimately I’m the one responsible for everything that happens.

I have lots of conversations with others who are in a similar situation – consultants, coaches, entrepreneurs, and other tiny businesses.  A common issue is getting off track – especially with the less-than-favorite tasks:

  • Marketing
  • Sales conversations
  • Billing and financial management
  • Keeping track of notes and information

Most coaches get into this kind of business because they love coaching itself – the rest of this stuff is necessary, but not usually as gratifying.

Here’s how I keep on track myself:

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I wanted to continue the discussion from my last post about the One Page Business Plan, because I often get questions about whether business plans are even necessary.

There’s a meme running through the business world that many great companies have been started without a written business plan.  In fact, I talked with Brian Schwartz (of 50 Interviews fame) and it’s pretty clear that many businesses started without one.  Many great, successful businesses.

So clearly the answer is that a written business plan is NOT required.  But that’s not the whole answer.

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I saw a mention yesterday of a tool called The One-Page Business Plan, from a book and website called The $100 Startup.  “Cool!”, I thought, “I wonder how it compares to our own Small Fish One Page Business Plan?”

As I suspected, they’re both great tools, but with different purposes.

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