Being a startup business it is easy to get bogged down thinking about how you can make your first million, and forget that there is so much more that goes into making a great business than just its turnover  - and success isn’t only measured by millions.

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Lucy Cohen, Co-founder of Mazuma Money joined us in the latest StartUp Academy webinar, in collaboration with BT, to discuss how founders can detox their approach to finances and focus on building a better business. 

With over 19 years of experience in the financial industry and first-hand experience of running her own business, Lucy joined our founder Professor Dylan Jones-Evans to discuss her entrepreneurial journey, why she’s supporting startups and how you can build a successful business beyond the money. 

Dylan began by highlighting the fact that most businesses that fail usually do so because of the way finance is managed - not because of a lack of money within the business, but the poor management of it.

“The big thing we often get when clients come to us is that there are major discrepancies between their cash and profit. Growth is expensive and if you’re growing and making a profit it is likely that you will be burning through some cash to do it - and that’s fine!!

“When you’re on a salary you never really think about your tax because it automatically gets taken and if anything goes wrong you speak to your payroll department who sorts it out. Suddenly, you’re running your own business and you’re thrown into this new area where you pay no tax for a year or so then you’re hit with multiple bills at once and you have to figure out how to handle it all.”

The entrepreneurial space can be lonely and finances can be scary - but you’re not the only one facing these problems. There are millions of businesses across the world and most if not all will have faced problems with their finances before. 

“Take comfort in the fact that you’re not the only person in the situation you’re in, and there is nothing that can’t be solved. There are very few tax-based emergencies that don’t have a solution,” said Lucy.  

So, how can you have a calmer approach to your finances, and focus on the future? 

Lucy explained that having a rough plan for the future of your business could be the key. 

“Don’t write a gigantic business plan - don’t report for the sake of reporting, it has to be meaningful.

“I like a slide deck, you know six of seven slides explaining your vision, where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and the difference between where you are now and where you want to be. These are really useful for financially tracking those drivers. So you’re at 10,000 turnover this year and you want to be at x amount in 5 years - so what actions are you going to proactively take to get there.” 

Founders can often lose sight of their goals and the long term when it comes to their financial struggles or uncertainty, but it is vital that founders stay focused on their own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of the businesses. 

“As a founder, it’s hard to let go of jobs and responsibilities, especially if you’ve bootstrapped your way there. So you’re wearing all of the hats, like marketing, HR, Payroll etc. You’re putting everyone else first and then you’re holding all of this stuff and there’s only so much you can take - offloading some of this will be a great help and you’ll actually progress more.”

Ready to learn more? Watch the full conversation here. 

The StartUp Academy Series has more to come, with a number of different topics covered by experienced entrepreneurs, in conversations set to inspire. Find out more and sign up for the next webinars here.