A Dragon’s View of Cashflow

Everybody needs a mentor, because we don’t know what we don’t know. We all need an up-line: someone who is not responsible for us (like a parent), who is independent (so they can speak honestly) and strong minded.

People are like lakes and rivers – inflow and outflow creates life.

I have four mentors, people are at least 10-30 years older than me and come from four fields of endeavour: business, education, directorship and faith…

In order to protect their identity, and quote them shamelessly, I will call them my Dragon (business), Lion (educator), Eagle (director) and Owl (faith). Rather than just keep their wisdom to myself, I thought I’d share it. From time to time I’ll also share other gems I glean from others. Pass it on 🙂

A Dragon’s View of Cash Flow

Spending time with my business Dragon is… elevating. I borrow this term from Dragon’s den – an investment show from the BBC. My Dragon thinks about things very differently to me. He is an independently wealthy serial entrepreneur and franchise developer with 26 years of merger and acquisition experience.

We talked about cash flow. He had read the business plan, web site, financials… Many people say cash flow is king. He agrees, but in a not so conventional way.


Cash flow comes in four kinds:

Choppy – immediate, lots of tiny individual purchases, unpredictable. Daily, weekly turnover.
Seasonal – big when it comes and barren when it doesn’t. Sometimes predictable.
Short term – contracts, less than a year, reliable but often unrepeatable.
Long term – contracts, 1-2 years, reliable and consistent.

He took one look at our cash flow statement and asked, “What’s it made of?” Not, “Are you cash flow positive or negative,” or even, “More in the black than the red”.

What constitutes the actual stream of cash? This one insight immediately helped me see that a lot of our cash flow is choppy – which, when pushed week after week, looks consistent but it is not reliable.

His advice is to make your cash flow up from all four kinds.

First analyse what you have – we have choppy – and work to gain the others whilst maintaining what you have. My take away is to continue on strategic partnerships, long term contracts and repeatable short term contracts.