As entrepreneurs, our greatest strengths often equal our greatest vulnerabilities. After 19 years and countless business started, invested in, a few exits and three painful failures, I have learned two very important facts.
1) I (like many of you) am a RAIN-MAKER (I bring the dollars and growth into our ventures as my superpower).
2) Rainmaker types should NEVER be in charge of managing or rationing the company's reservoir! (cash management/operating accounts).
For rainmakers, the strength is their ability to manifest rain (cash/growth) when the company is in the middle of a drought. They can perform under immense adversity, they can sell from their back. They can create miracle deals in the 11th hour and they are the engine of growth through the company's early middle and growth phase. They aren't salespeople. They are product, company, marketing, and business development wizards on par with Gandalf and Merlin.
But therein lies our weakness and it can make our company and personal financial status extremely vulnerable to failure. If you are crazy rich on paper or ever have been and yet haven't yet been able to hold on to much or all of the money and enterprise value you can create then you know what I am talking about.
Here are the 4 reasons why rainmakers should not be allowed to manage the company's reservoir (cash reserves).
1) Rain always comes but never quite when you think it will:
Rainmakers never fail to achieve the outcome, but it rarely rains exactly the way they say it will or when. Ultimately the water always comes, but sometimes it is days/weeks/months beyond when everyone else is parched and this can burn everyone out.
2) Rainmakers (especially experienced ones) always hedge, but never enough:
Part of why we are so magical and effective is because we thrive under the redline pressure that forces us to conjure up creative new ways to cast our spell. Again this is not a sustainable way to build an organization where the rest of your company can operate with certainty and resources to deliver the services or products in a way that meet expectations set by your marketing and front end promises.
3) Some rainmakers ultimately love the game more than money:
Many entrepreneurs that are rainmakers live on the creative process, the deal itself, the A.D.D. of it all, and the challenge of forging new relationships, new ways, and providing value to others. They aren't thinking about saving for dry days, because every day is an opportunity to make rain. When rain appears to be at your beck and call, you are horrible at planning for droughts.
4) Booked Rain is Great, But Rain Flow Pays the Daily Overhead
Enterprise Value is built on the steady and exponential growth in customers and booked revenue, but cash flow is the oxygen that keeps the organization moving day in and day out so that it can actually realize those gains. In every great organization, role players are needed. Just like music. Things are only truly great when you have Melody, Harmony, Rythm, and Score (Thank you, Freddie Ravel, for that analogy).
Rainmakers may be the lead singer of the metaphorical band, but in order for the band and tour to function and stay in business they need to stay out of the operations, logistics, financial management, and focus on making the people scream and smile in delight. Sales can ultimately save you from any scenario so rainmakers rejoice in your value, but don't burn out the machine you are scaling by getting out of your lane. Take it from someone who took a long time to learn and find those other band members.
While you are on your way to being crazy liquid (because you have let go of the keys to the reservoir) congrats on being crazy rich on paper. Get the tee here and I hope this lesson from my journey has helped you make yours more enjoyable!