Small Biz Advice: Keeping Creativity and Cash Flowing


holly-photo-280x290Dear Holly,

I’m a designer who recently started manufacturing and selling my own furniture. I’ve spent years engaged in the creative side of things working at other studios. This past year, I finally launched my own business. The biggest problem I have is that I have a seriously poor relationship with money.

I’ve shunned money most of my career never wanting to “sell out” or be “greedy.” I’ve always felt it was more important to focus on creating. Now, I’m starting to realize that my attitude is completely handicapping my business. I never want to feel like I’m driven by money, yet I realize I need to get a grip on my finances or else I’m not going to make it as a designer or build my business.

Is there a way to turn this around and see things in a different light?

Any advice will help.


Money Matters

Dear Money Matters,

You’re right. A poor attitude towards money will completely undermine your business no matter how talented or well-intentioned you are. Money is the life blood of any business. Without it, you won’t exist.

I work with a lot of small business owners who face a similar obstacle, and they have seen a similar collapse in their business. Here’s what I’ve told them to help change their attitude towards money.

Focus on what making money allows you to do. You cannot employ people, provide benefits, support vendors, please customers, pursue your passion or provide for yourself or family without a substantial flow of money. Making money always starts with the right attitude towards money.

As the owner of the business, you should see earning money as the way to support all of your good intentions. Don’t think that focusing on finances means you’re being driven by money. Think of it as being a responsible provider to a community of people who depend on your cash flow—employees, vendors, customers, yourself.

We often start businesses with good intentions, not realizing that at the end of the day, it is cash that determines whether or not we can actually fulfill those intentions. You must make the connection that cash is just another tool that facilitates the growth of your business. Being focused on it isn’t greedy; it’s part of being a responsible business owner.



Holly Howard runs Ask Holly How, a small business consulting company based out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn that works with a wide variety of businesses from restaurants to retail to art studios and pretty much everything in between. Her clients report increased income and profit, decreased expenses and a significantly better quality of life. Holly heads up the Small Business Book Club at McNally Jackson Books.

Want valuable insight into how to grow your business?  Holly hosts free 30 minute strategy sessions at The Yard in Williamsburg.  Email her to set up a time or to ask a question for the next Ask Holly How.

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