Welcome to The Dare to Scale Show

Episode 14

Cashflow & Systems with Rayhan Aleem

Diving deeper into our theme of the month, Finance, we chat with our guest Rayhan Aleem, Managing Partner of Alpha Pro Partners. Rayhan is based in Dubai and his company helps small to medium-sized businesses optimize their finance and operation functions. Rayhan has extensive experience across several industries, such as Technology, Financial Services, Media, F&B, Logistics and Marketing both in London and Dubai.
Rayhan Aleem takes us through his journey from working in the corporate world to starting his own business in the UK and Dubai. The tips he has for business owners and entrepreneurs regarding their financials are just some of the amazing things he shares in this week's episode. So, grab those headphones and join us.
Episode Highlights:
  • 10:48 Where most business owners get stuck with cash.
  • 11:37 Understanding basic business model, cash burn, and gross profit margins.
  • 17:54 How budgeting can help with cash in the business.
  • 21:15 Tips to manage your accounts receivable better.
  • 25:09 Creating in-depth payment terms with your clients.
  • 27:17 Where clients are weakest in their corporate governance.
  • 35:33 Rayhan's top advice for business owners on the topic of cash.
Delivering Happiness ~ Tony Hsieh
The Trillion Dollar Coach ~ Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle
If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a 5-star rating so that more entrepreneurs find this podcast, get the value, and get help scaling forward in their business.
Remember to check out our LinkedIn and Facebook pages to stay up to date on what's in store for you!
Episode Transcript
Warsha 00:01
Welcome to the Dare to Scale Show with me Warsha.

Evan 00:04
And me Evan.

Warsha 00:05
So, what is Dare to Scale, over the years that we've been coaching founders and business owners, much like yourselves. We've worked through a framework called Dare to Scale.

Evan 00:18
Dare to Scale indeed. That framework has helped loads of business owners. That is what this show is all about. So, put on your big picture thinking hat.

Warsha 00:28
Oh and your headphones, and come join us and enjoy the ride.

Evan 00:39
Hi and welcome to the show we've got a wonderful show lined up for you today. Warsha.

Warsha 00:43
Hello, indeed, and welcome to this episode where we are talking to our guest Rayhan Aleem, the Managing Partner of
Alpha Pro Partners, based here in Dubai, Rayhan, welcome to the show.

Evan 00:56
Welcome to the show Rayhan.

Rayhan 00:57
Thank you very much Evan, thank you very much Warsha it's a pleasure to be here.

Warsha 1:01
Pleasure is ours indeed.

Evan 1:03

Warsha 1:04

Rayhan tell us a little bit about yourself please about why your entry into entrepreneurship and how long have
you been doing this so tell us everything that we need to know, our listeners are eager to hear your story today.

Rayhan 1:17
Thank you very much. I mean I won't bore you with too much detail because obviously I run an accounting firm. For many people accounting is probably the most boring subject but what I would start off with is growing up, I grew up in
the UK. My dad was obviously an accountant as well. But he was the old school accountant and, you know, as you know me? I am all about apps so I will always tell you about a new app every week, when we meet so, my dad was an old school
accountant so he would literally do the books on pen and paper and a fountain pen.

Evan 1:47

Warsha 1:48
Very nice.

Rayhan 1:49
And he would have those massive ledgers where you would open it up on an A3 paper. And he does it for his invoices and his AP and his bank statement on there and I even used to help him at the age of 8 and 10.

Warsha 2:06
How amazing.

Rayhan 2:07
One pound an hour, but ya I use to do that, and that's what got me into accounting, by the way. So ya, I've always known accounting and my father was an accountant, I actually was more interested in science, when I was growing up.

Warsha 2:20
Oh really!

Rayhan 2:21
I did biology and chemistry for A levels, and then in university, I did biochemistry, which is completely different to.

Evan 2:29
A little bit.

Rayhan 2:30
Completely different to accounting. However, once I got to my final year of my degree. I got sick of science, because I like knowing how things work. What makes things you know happen and you know we got to a point where we talk about
molecules and you know electrons and how they interact with each other to do certain things and I was like okay, upon the obstacle into this anymore. So ya university I graduated, and my father obviously push me more into accounting so you know I worked in industry and I worked within financial services, and I became qualified accountant. But yeah I mean, when I used to work for my dad you know the one thing that frustrated me, especially was the fact that he would be very
resistant to change, because when I was at university and college in the UK HMRC bought in filing taxes, through the web. And my dad still used to do the paper returns. And even until he retired, he kept doing the paper returns, and
whenever we had clients that needed to do the electronic returns, we'll ask them to do it. So, I would do it for him and It will get away with it. So yeah, that's my kind of early experience of accounting. I worked in obviously financial services, I work for a number of hedge funds and brokers, and so I was quite in the thick of things when it comes to corporate life. Now, you know when you work in financial services is a very very cutthroat difficult industry to work in. However, you learn a hell of a lot. And one of the things that I go out of working in the industry I learned so many things, whether it's tax, M &
A corporate restructurings lots of different things I learned, and that's something that I really enjoyed from there. However, I never saw myself wanting to be, you know, a CFO, or wanting to be, you know wanted to go up the corporate ladder. I always want to do my own thing. I always want to start my own business and you know when you start your own business, you get to do what you want, you're free, you choose how you can direct you know your employees, how you help customers how you help clients. And that's something that I really, I really enjoyed. So, I started the firm around eight years ago in the UK.

Warsha 4:38

Rayhan 4:39

And we focus mainly on, you know, bookkeeping tax all other things in the UK. But I always had ties in Dubai so I've had friends and family who live out here. And recently, obviously, back in 2017, you know it was announced that you know VAT was would be implemented.

Warsha 4:56
That's right.

Evan 4:57
In GCC yeah.

Rayhan 4:58
Yeah. So, for me, that was an opportunity, you know, why not live and run a business from another part of the world. And so, you know, we took the step and we jumped out here, and I still have my office, I still have clients in the UK.
The UAE is our biggest office now and just like everyone else in the UAE, Saudi is a big market and you know we're looking to expand out there as well.

Evan 5:22

Rayhan 5:23
And for me, I believe I should have done this earlier. Because when you're working in corporate yes you have a regular income. However, you're restricted. Right.

Warsha 5:34

Rayhan 5:35
However, once you run your own business, you don't have a regular income, but you're free, and you can do what you want. And so, for me the opportunity to work for myself was more appealing than having a regular paycheck, you know, I
know that's quite scary for a lot of people, but I truly believe look you know if you work hard, you know you've got good product, you know, you're doing everything you can to make your business work, it will work. And I've got plenty of clients who have done the same thing. A lot of them, live you know, month to month on their cash flow. They keep it they slowly grow. I know definitely encourage anyone out there. If you think about running a business on your own, while you're sitting in a corporate job. Yes, there's a lot of things you got to think about.

Warsha 6:20

Rayhan 6:21
You know, things like lowering your monthly outgoings but I would definitely encourage it because when you're running your own ship. You will definitely one way or the other, want to make it work, and it will work.

Evan 6:32
Love it!

Warsha 6:33
Spoken like a true entrepreneur, I love it.

Evan 6:36
Absolutely, Rayhan can I ask you a question? So, your dad was very much a corporate kind of person or did he have his own practice.

Rayhan 6:42
So, we both worked in Mayfair in the UK. So, when he was working, he actually worked in the same area in London, I worked in. By then yes, he did start his own practice afterwards.

Evan 6:53

Rayhan 6:54
It was a very old school practice.

Evan 6:56
And that's why, I guess what I was looking for is where was your inspiration to go out on your own to actually run your own business. If it wasn't sort of in the family. Like, my parents ran businesses so did Warsha so you know it's very close to the hand, and just wondering where your inspiration was.

Rayhan 7:09
I've always from a young age, I've always wanted to run my own business, like when I was at school, for example, a group of us would always have these little, you know, side little businesses that we would do so you know would buy chocolates from one shop and sell it in a playground to other kids.

Evan 7:25
Get your hassle on.

Rayhan 7:26
Yeah, so we'd always do these kinds of things. And, you know, going to corporate life you know you have to act a certain way, you have to be a certain way, and you're not allowed to make mistakes. If you make mistakes, then your chances of success of the mistakes, and sometimes you're encouraged not to help people. No, because, helping another department may be to your detriment. And I'm a believer of helping you know one of the things I hope that I've done. One of the now as much of the entrepreneurs, for my clients as possible. And I like to think that, you know, hopefully we've made some sort of difference for them to help them in their business you know whether it is COVID where I would literally call as many of them as possible, and tell them, look, you need to look at your operating costs and, you know, look out what you need to do to be prepared, just in case. So yeah, I like to think, and I hope that I've done something for some of my clients.

Evan 8:21

Warsha 8:22
Oh! how wonderful, and that grounding in old school accounting while today for a lot of people, they may not even be able to visualise what that means sitting with big ledger books and handwritten vouchers and receipts. I don't know if
you know if I don't know if I ever talked about this. My grandfather used to run a private bank. So, I grew up but my dad took over. I was very young, as the youngest child and as a family we were all encouraged to go spend a couple
of hours in the shop as it was call then and help. So, we were all trained at a very young age, on how to complete the day's ledgers. So, everything that you were talking about Rayhan and it really took me back to my childhood and I thought, oh yes, I know exactly what you're talking about fountain pens and everything all of it.

Evan 9:10
Fountain pens & mental arithmetic.

Warsha 9:13
Mental arithmetic yes.

Evan 9:14
Its amazing. I remember my mom ran a general trading store and when she was doing stock take barcodes there were no fancy pants, sort of systems out there you know was really adding machine, how many of these times whatever the cost
of it was because you'd always go back to from retail worker what the margin was and all that sort of stuff. It was amazing just absolutely amazing.

Warsha 9:36
Oh wonderful.

Evan 9:37
So be hearing that you're the tech guy now. It's so different, so different and more interesting I suppose.

Warsha 9:41
It is and for me what was the biggest takeaway from so far what you've shared is its adaptability.

Evan 9:47

Warsha 9:48
While you have a solid grounding in old school accounting. The fact is you have adapted to what today requires from a company like yours a service like yours. That is, that truly is the key to success. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Rayhan 10:05
Thank you very much for the compliments I mean look, I would look at the way my dad would do things and I'll be like, there's got to be a better way. And I guess, every month I'm always trying a different app, just trying to see what
is out there that can help entrepreneurs that can help business owners, and I think that's, you know, I'm not a developer, I am an accountant through and through. I appreciate what technology can offer for a lot of people. Yes technology. You don't need to embrace it entirely. But there's a lot you can do to help you.

Evan 10:40
No no, Totally totally.

Warsha 10:41
It is.

Evan 10:42
So Rayhan when you were like when COVID hit. I mean it was all sort of poignant time I suppose, where do you find that your clients get most stuck with cash.

Rayhan 10:51
That's a very good question. I think you have to take a step back.

Evan 10:55

Rayhan 10:56
Right and you have to understand some of the basic things about your business. Now, cash is very very well under estimated by many entrepreneurs even entrepreneurs who are quite financially savvy under estimate it as well. So,
for example, there may be people out there who start a business, but not figure out what their gross profit margin is. So, for example, if you're selling you know a laptop for 100 dirhams, but it's costing you 90, you know you have a low
profit margin, whereas if it's costing you ten, you got a higher profit margin. So, you know that if you have a high profit margin. When you receive the cash, you're more likely to have more of a buffer going forward. So, it goes back to
your basic business model. If your basic business model, isn't you don't have the high margins and you're going to need a lot of cash in the business to help the business churn through the months, and then that goes down to another
concept called a cash burn. So many entrepreneurs, many business owners, they don't really understand or track the cash burn and cash burn is very to understand it conceptually, you look at your cash balance, and you may have a
bank balance of say 100,000 dirhams. But let's say your monthly outgoings is 10,000 dirhams, a month. That means your cash burn is 10 months to right. So, we have to know that from the onset before you start a business. Before you
introduce a new product in your business. You need to know how profitable is and how much cash you've got. If you know those two basic things, then it helps you make decisions a lot, helps you make better decisions. I would say those are
the two basic things that, you know, a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with launch you're running a business and you're guilty of that, then you know there's lots of other things that can help entrepreneurs, you know, when it comes to cash
flow, you want to, when you send invoices out for example you want to have a process in place to ensure that you get paid on time. Wherever you are in the world, I have got clients in the UK everyone's struggling to get the receivables paid on time. And having a good process in place is very important to help your business keep going. You know, and the longer you have the longer you give yourself the more chance you have to succeed if you don't give yourself enough time. It's very difficult to succeed in very limited time constraints.

Evan 13:35
Yeah. Wow amazing.

Warsha 13:37
I had a question, you said earlier, that to run a business you don't necessarily always have to be finance savvy. You need to know a little bit about what's happening in your business. So, for new entrepreneurs, or even business owners who have been doing this for a while. And yet, shy away from digging into their finance department to say what is actually happening, what are some other reports that you say would advise these business owners to keep an eye on every single week, if not every month.

Rayhan 14:09
That's a great question. I mean, for business owners who you know if you give them a set of reports and it's got everything you want. You know, balance sheet P & L profit and loss, accounts receivable, accounts payable, you know cash flow statement that's great, but then sometimes you may get too much information from your accountant or your CFO, and you just need to focus on things which are as simple as possible. One of the things that I would say is your gross profit margin is very important. You know, if you're not making enough profit.

Warsha 14:40

Rayhan 14:41
On what you sell.

Warsha 14:42

Rayhan 14:43
You're gonna be able to pay your bills your are not gonna be able to pay yourself. That's one of the most important things that you want to keep an eye on. The other thing is, you know, if you've done some sort of analysis on your
cash burn. Then you want to look at your you know your bank account or just make sure that if you have an accountant, make sure it's reconciled. Because if it's unreconciled, your bank balance may not be the true reflection of what it
is, because for example you may have cheques, which are going to be paid a few days later and you think you know I have got 100,000 from your bank account balance is going to be 50 tomorrow because I don't have cash on the market so
make sure your bank is fully reconciled and I would say the third one will probably be your accounts receivable.

Evan 15:22

Rayhan 15:23
So, in this day and age accounts receivable.

Warsha 15:26
Very nice.

Rayhan 15:27
Is basically all of the invoices that you have issued to your customers, your clients, and what hasn't been paid. And for many businesses, it's almost a daily task to go through to understand, you know, who's paying, who's not
paying you know which ones are likely to be problematic. So, you can take actions, every day or every other day so you can either send an email, you can call up your customer. You know you can decide not to do business with them,
for example, because maybe you have a customer who's not going to pay you for six months but yet you continue to provide them services and, in the end, they probably won't pay you. So, accounts receivable cash and your gross profit
margin are probably three things for the entrepreneur who just needs to know the basics for now. And then once you get comfortable and most of my clients, you know, once they get comfortable with those three basic settings to go
deeper within look at the accounts payable, and then go deeper they could look at the operating expenses. But I would say start simple first, and then slowly build on your slowly build on the report so you get more comfortable you have
more visibility, you're not going to be able to become a finance guru, in one week or one month.

Warsha 16:42
No, no

Evan 16:43
When you say finance guru that's like, it's more than management accounting from somebody who's actually running the business it's got nothing to do with backward look it's always forward looking.

Rayhan 16:51

Evan 16:52
I like that.

Warsha 16:53
That's not the aim is it for a founder or for a business owner. The eye needs to be on the ball and cash is one of those key areas where as a founder, you've got to know what's happening within your business. So, while it's easy for a professional like I always talk about this architect proverbial architect builds great buildings that doesn't know a great deal about what else happens in that business. So, it's important that this is even during some of our coaching sessions as well with so many of our coaching clients. This is the one area that a lot of people actually shy away from, and sometimes it really is, I
don't even want to know what if, which is not very good. And then, the simple answer is well you won't know until you actually look at it. So, the reports as you very rightly said, sometimes it's so overwhelming for them to look at it in
the first place so this was very very useful on what are the first three things that they need to keep an eye on. Thank you for that.

Evan 17:50
Totally love it and so allied with that how does budgeting help with cash and do you find clients that come to you when
they when they first come to you do they have budgets.

Rayhan 18:00
That's a very interesting and very relevant question because last month, literally everyone came to us and said can we have a budget for 2021.

Evan 18:09

Rayhan 18:10
And we didn't have the bandwidth to do that. So, we tried to help who we could budgeting is very important. Everyone's got a plan of where they want to get to. Next year, right or they should have a plan. You don't need to double
your revenues year on year, you may want to just have a good you know a good solid business and budgeting helps you, because you can then plan, how much money you need to spend on a monthly basis, you know, what do you expect cash
to come in on a monthly basis. And then what you can do with your budget is to then track it against your actual results. So, for example, if we did a budget for 2021 January is finished now. Now we can see the performance of January,
against what we budgeted and then you can make adjustments as you go along. So budgeting is very important when it comes to cash flow but also, you know, running a business in general, things change, you know, this time last year. If
we need to do a budget. In December, all budgets would have changed by March April, because of COVID.

Evan 19:09
Of course, of course. Do you help your clients across both the cash base of accounting system, but with budgeting, do you recommend? Is, it better to do a cash flow budget rather than a cost-based budget.

Rayhan 19:23
So, and that's a great question. It depends on the business type and the business owner. If you're not a financially savvy person. And you don't need to be a financially savvy person to run a business. And it's best to use something
that you understand and know. And in that situation is cash flow. Right. You know how much money is coming in, you know how much money is coming out. The approved based is for a type of business which, not necessarily is more financially savvy, but it's the type of business style, a little bit more ahead in terms of the accounting processes. So, for example, why do we do a cause based. If we buy a piece of capital and buy a piece of machinery, we would depreciate it
over 10 years for example, if we're paying rent for example, we wouldn't just incur the costs of the rent in the first month we'll spread it over the life of the lease for example. But with cash flow you don't care which month that expense relates to you're going to recognise it straight away. And I guess for entrepreneurs who are starting new for entrepreneurs, you know that, you know, finances have the strongest, you know the strongest skill the cash is important. And I look, I know entrepreneurs who are excellent in selling, excellent in marketing, excellent at making connections. That doesn't mean they can't run a good business, but if you know your limitations then stick to what you know and just make sure you're consistent. And then later on you can get help from other people who can help you with the budgeting over crawlspaces accounting.

Evan 20:58
I mean, you mentioned cash burn before so as my guess it makes sense that a cash flow budget would help with the cash burn because you know exactly when you're expecting money to go out and you know exactly how long you have and that's assuming no money's coming in. You know and so that's where it gets interesting. Yeah. Warsha and in terms of, like, managing your accounts receivable. Are there any specific tips there, because I mean the sooner you get the money in the better? Are there any ways that you can recommend to to actually manage that better?

Rayhan 21:26
This is quite a good top of mind question so just recently I had a meeting with a client. And we were going through the accounts receivable and moved on to through the forecast for the next three to four months. And he said, you know, we've won a really big climb. And I think we're gonna make you know, a large amount of revenue next month let's say 50,000 dirhams for example. And I said to him. Are we going to collect the cash in February, he goes yeah of course we are. So, then I asked him Okay. Have you signed a contract he said, No. Have you even started the work, said no. Have you invoice them he said no. Have you got PL from them? He said no. So, I said to him, when you invoice, or when you win business doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get that cash within a few weeks, or next month. You may get that cash and after four months, three months, six months it's a new client we don't know how they operate from a, you know, cash flow point
of view. So, we agreed on pushing that piece of cash, that's gonna come in not next month but, you know, three or four months down the line, because. Realistically speaking, he may sign next month. He then may start work the following month we then need to raise an invoice, we need to get authorization we need to get PL, someone in their finance department needs to process that invoice, get it authorised, and then you obviously, even get paid and so before
we even look at the accounts receivable, we want to look at the life cycle of the client. Now in terms of accounts receivable. There's lots of tips out there that anyone can Google and find out, I would say, in my experience, communication is very important. Always be communicating to your clients, your customers, you know, make sure you're keeping an eye on your accounts receivable. You can't have an accurate accounts receivable, if you're not always reconciling the bank.

Evan 23:30

Rayhan 23:31
So, if the cash that come in make sure that is up to date. So that's very important, invoice on time, make sure you are if there is an P L 's you get in the P L's and sometimes, being the loudest actually works.

Evan 23:48
Love it.

Rayhan 23:49
And I mentioned it. Again, you know, the book that I'm reading is called Delivering Happiness, and the company is about Zappos.

Warsha 23:59
Brilliant book and brilliant company.

Rayhan 24:01

Yeah, in that book, the owner, Tony has shown his CFO would literally review the accounts payable every day, because
they knew how much cash they had. And one of the things that they will do is, whoever what they'll obviously pay the suppliers who are important, but they would also want to pay the suppliers who would shout the loudest because they
just want to get them off their backs. Sometimes, making sure that you have those lines of communication and making sure that you're always you know you're always talking to them and not necessarily shouting at them by at least you
know, they feel your presence.

Warsha 24:39

Rayhan 24:40
That can also help as well.

Warsha 24:41
Persistence pays.

Evan 24:42

Rayhan 24:43
Exactly, yeah.

Warsha 24:44
Persistence pays and I like what you said Rayhan earlier, it really is about communication. Be in touch be in constant contact so building that relationship also goes a long way in making sure that you stay on top of mind and your customers are very, very good points over there. Rayhan I'd like to take you a couple of steps before that invoicing even happens, as you were telling us in the story earlier. What would you recommend should go in right in the proposal? In terms of payment in terms of how, in depth should those payment terms be in your proposal, so you're setting the tone right from the beginning.

Rayhan 25:23
So, I can give you examples of what my clients do but I'll give you an example what we do. Now as you know, we're quite tech savvy. So, as soon as we have a lead, and they are interested in our services. We don't waste time. So, we use an app to send off an electronic engagement letter.

Warsha 25:44

Rayhan 25:45
And it has electronic signatures, and on that engagement letter. It's clearly got the terms and conditions; it's got all of the information that they need to know in terms of if you want additional services. If you want to cancel or all of those things are there, and we'll tell them that beforehand so they are aware of that. As soon as they are able to sign straightaway, we just invoice them. We don't waste time we just invoice them straightaway so they know that it's them, and then we start the work. So, in my experience, speed is important, but that may not be the case in every industry. For example, you know, you may work in a larger corporation, and you have to go through the process, the long processes of sending a proposal, you know, making sure that it's been agreed it's got the permissions from the relevant people and it's been signed off.

Warsha 26:33

Rayhan 26:34
The key thing here is making sure that you're communicating every step of the way, and you're very clear on what the pricing is, and what their expectations are. This topic is about cash flow, one of the things that, kind of delays payments, is the expectation of what was supposed to be delivered. And what is actually delivered. And those expectations can vary between the vendor and the client. So, making sure that you have those expectations set from the onset would save a lot of headaches when it comes to collecting cash. Once you start invoicing and later on down the line.

Evan 27:11
So, in the service industry, is there merits. Maybe you got some experience on this. Is there any merit, you know, using credit card as in billing credit cards and collected the cash upfront?

Rayhan 27:22
Yeah, so that's definitely something that I advise clients so if I give the example of my firm. So, in the UK we have direct debits of all of our clients. So literally, we don't even chase anyone. As soon as the invoice is out within five days the money comes into the bank account yes, we pay a small fee. I see that small fee as something that is, yes, it reduces the margin so let's say that credit card merchant takes 2%, 2% or worse off. However, the fact that I got my cash flow means that I can utilise my cash flow for whatever I need to I can invest in marketing for example and utilise it that way. In my UAE business we are in the process of setting up credit card payments for example, to ensure that to do the same process as soon as you know an invoice goes out because we have retainers, we kept the cash now practically speaking, if you are marketing
agency in your invoicing 50,000 dirhams, a month for marketing services or your law firm. It's not feasible, because you're stuck in the process of going through the whole, you know, the grind of, you know, getting the work done getting the P L sending an invoice getting paid. So sometimes you don't have a way you can definitely its important and you know, ecommerce, for example, all ecommerce businesses they live on credit cards and cash on delivery so.

Evan 28:46
So where you have a prepaid service, if you will, so you can bill at the beginning of the month and collect the cash at the beginning of month that that's obviously the ideal, but if you're billing in arrears like is that the lawyers. It's still probably worthwhile for them to actually have the credit card facilities anyway.

Rayhan 29:01
No, of course, and let's say you're doing project work. And it goes back to my gross profit margin, advice, let's say your cost is 20% of your business and your payment terms are 50% on the front and 50% later. If you was to bill 50% and you don't start your project, until you get back 50%, you know that you've already banked some of your profit already, so you can pay for the project and the rest of the payment will come in and there will be an additional profit that is factored into your into a deal.

Evan 29:35
Exactly, yeah.

Rayhan 29:36

Not everyone can work with and can price about in those terms, but you know where you do have kind of one-off type
services, it's always important to make sure you get something upfront for you to even start the work to ensure that you have the cash flow to pay for your costs because you may have consultants so who are working on this project. And if you
haven't been paid. It's a double whammy for you.

Evan 30:00
Exactly wow! Well, the one question which is not cash but I suppose more systems and more generally, sort of business wise like a big picture. Is there any sort of area where you find your clients are weakest in their corporate governance instead of what they do outside of cash?

Rayhan 30:17
That's an interesting question. When it comes to corporate governance. There is, you no small businesses, it's usually a one-man band, right, so it's usually the owner, and the owner is effectively the CEO, the Board, Chairman, the operator, everything. And it's important for business owners to have a secondary person to look into. And to confined it confined with in their business. So, a few, a year ago I read a book. It was about a Bill Winters, I think, a trillion-dollar coach. And he was a coach of Steve Jobs. he was a coach of the Google Founders, he was a coach of Jeff Bezos as well. And the
fact that Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and, you know, the Google founders required a coach, if they need a coach we can do the coach as well. And that helps a corporate governance because what is corporate governance, corporate governance is
effectively making sure that the way your business is run, is run in the correct way, in an ethical way and, yes, you may be able to do things yourself, but you can always have a secondary perspective from someone else as well.

Evan 31:35
Ya I know, I love it.

Warsha 31:36
Rayhan thank you for talking about Bill Campbell, the Silicon Valley coach. Importantly, because, to me, he is the guru, the star in the, in the whole galaxy of business coaches out there, particularly for me because he coached on not just business to turn it into a profit but it was very much about how do you address the full spectrum of what running a business is and especially your people, there is something that he said the titles make your manager your people make you a leader. So, it really is about empowering your people growing your people with you. So, for me, absolute star of the show. Thank you for
mentioning Bill Campbell, and there is a book that was written on him and it's a wonderful little read and yes, it is on audible, I will post the link to the book in the show notes so anybody who is interested, do go and read it, whether
you're a coach or a founder, or a corporate employee. There are some brilliant tips on how to run a business how to lead your people in that, including great tips on problem solving, so I will post that link in the show notes for everybody, thank you Rayhan, for talking about Bill Campbell.

Rayhan 32:48
I look forward to listening to the book.

Warsha 32:51

Rayhan 32:52
as long as that it is audible though.

Warsha 32:54
It is, I think it is on audible yes.

Rayhan 32:56
Okay that's great.

Warsha 32:57
Following on from the question that Evan asked about the corporate governance and something that you mentioned Rayhan. In most small businesses new businesses, it's just usually a one man band, specifically in one man band, whatever and I like to say is, are you really self-employed, is it actually a business. But aside from that, until such time that there are
people in the company, until such time that it really turns into a business where the founder actually is able to take that one step back, more often than not, what we see is the founder operates out of the same bank account as either
their personal bank account, or the business bank account, it is just one bank account, and it's very difficult at that stage to bring that separation in their minds, what would you say to them. For our listeners if there is somebody out there who is still operating like that, what would you say to them?

Rayhan 33:53
I would say, have a separate bank account, between your personal and your business for a start I would say, if you do not treat and I learned this from you Evan you know, be a friend of your business.

Evan 34:05
And I learned that from Warsha.

Rayhan 34:06
Okay so we learned it and I mentioned, my clients you know be a friend of your business. And, you know, if you've got a friend and you have access to their bank account. And you're spending money. What however you want, not being
accountable. How would your friend feel and so, your business if you ask a lawyer business usually is his own legal person as it is anyway. You need to treat it like that. Give your business the opportunity to flourish, without you having to take the resources, without any accountability yes you should pay yourself a salary or profits or dividends or you sell the business and you get the value from it, but be a friend to your business and respect the cash, that's what I will say goes back to you so what I've learned from you guys.

Warsha 34:57
Thank you. Thank you very much because it's in the initial stages, most business owners don't even think of it, especially people who have come out of corporate environment, and start their own practice because in those initial days is really a practice isn't it is really not a, not an actual business if you're running a consultancy or a practice, and they are the business, they are the consultancy they are the practice that they're running so that separation doesn't naturally come to a lot of those people so that's why I asked this question so thank you for that clarification. So, Evan over to you.

Evan 35:29
Great question, so we more or less wrapping up now Rayhan. Is there any top advice that you would give to listeners on the topic of cash that something that you may not have already said?

Rayhan 35:39
My advice to business owners in general and I practice this myself is make one change a month just one small change a month whether its making sure you are invoicing on time or whether its setting up a credit card payment gateway,
or whether its making sure you know you have the correct employment contracts for your employees if you just focus on one thing every month at the end of theyear you would have achieved four projects which would have strengthen your
business. I happened to play around and test with a different app every month and I am able to share my experience to my clients and I enjoy doing that but from a cash flow point of view just make one change a month you know invoice on
time, set up a process where you are reviewing the accounts receivables balance every week for example or every month use tools out there, there is plenty of tools out there that can help you. You know you have got accounting softwares
that can automatically send reminders on your behalf.

Evan 36:41

Rayhan 36:42
We use another software that goes beyond that it will send the statement of account automatically every month it would send reminders and tailor it to each different types of client because not all clients you want to send the same reminder every month maybe they pay on time and you're annoying them by sending in 15 emails a day to pay you. And then, you know, it also allows you to then send the receipt and on the receipt you can put a really nice thank you note to say thank you for making payment. We appreciate your business. These little things is what helps. So yeah, make small changes every month. You don't need to go for every single app that's out there, but, so long as you're making progress and you're, you're moving forward every entrepreneur, time is always against them, and you're not going to fix everything in one week one month, one year. It takes time.

Evan 37:31
Yeah love it!

Warsha 37:32
Okay, Rayhan what would your top tip be for our listeners. I know you've already given us so many incredible nuggets of information. If there was one top tip that you would select what would it be?

Rayhan 37:46
I would say make a difference, make a difference for others and be selfless, I have been talking about you know cash flow get on top of your customers, call them up every day, set up email reminders where you are sending emails every 5 seconds but cash will flow at the end of the day, if we are all selfless and cash flows to everyone who receives cash and everyone will be able to prosper as a result. When I pay my supplier, my supplier pays their employee, their employee will buy goods on any commerce business that e-commerce merchant will receive cash to then be able to pay for the goods that they received that based sold them on the online platform and it will keep flowing and flowing and flowing, if we just continue just to say okay, I'm not gonna, I'm gonna hoard my cash I'm not gonna pay my creditors, it's not going to work. We need to be more selfless and we need to be more self-aware of our surroundings environment you know we need to be there for each other.

Evan 38:45
Which works on confidence.

Warsha 38:47
Absolutely brilliant. That was a great, great tip and more than a tip I think that was more life advice because it transcends just your business, it really is about abundance it take care of everybody else and that's how everybody else rises with you. It's not just about building your own riches it's about growing everyone with you. So, thank you. That was amazing.

Evan 39:11
Rayhan we talked a little bit about this earlier. What is your I Dare to statement?

Rayhan 39:16
My, I Dare to statement is an inspiration from Steve Jobs. So, in one of the speeches that he did in I think it was for Stanford, he mentioned a quote saying stay hungry, stay foolish. So, my I Dare to statement of the back of that is you know stay hungry stay learning, you know for me I want to learn all the time I don't think I have made it and as long as we continue to learn as individuals, we will continue to grow that would be my I Dare to statement.

Evan 39:51
Love it. Brilliant.

Warsha 39:52
Very nice, I love how you changed that and amended that it just got me thinking that's very good.

Rayhan 39:58
I don't normally think that before because I am on the spot so, I normally think in the shower or when I am going for a walk or going for a run.

Evan 40:08
Absolutely brilliant love it.

Warsha 40:09
That is actually very, very good. Rayhan, thank you very much what a brilliant conversation, not just our listeners I think Evan and I are going to be taking away so many tips.

Evan 40:20

Warsha 40:21
And I don't know, taking notes furious notes. So, lots of notes taken over here there's going to be a lot of nice quotes that are going to be coming out of this so thank you so much. We really appreciate the time that you have taken to come and talk to us today, you run a high growth, business, and I know you're a very very busy man. So, we appreciate the time. Thank you.

Rayhan 40:46
Thank you very much for having me. You know I always got time for you guys have learned so much from you Warsha from you Evan there are so many things that you know you have helped me develop and you know I can't thank you enough so if you need to come again, I am more than happy to come and we can still talk about accounting if you want it's my pleasure really its my pleasure.

Warsha 41:07
We're gonna hold you to that we're gonna have another conversation because we absolutely enjoyed today's chat. And
I want to take you all the way back to the beginning of the episode where, when we asked you to tell us a little bit about yourself you started by saying, oh, accounting is so boring. And I completely dispute that, because I think this was a very enjoyable conversation then you actually make accounting interesting so I would actually totally dispute that. So, it's not boring at all, conversations like this make it interesting.

Rayhan 41:40
No no thank you very much and I hope I haven't made it interesting in the wrong way but in a good way.

Evan 41:46
It been it's been very very interesting and if you the entrepreneur themselves they like you said it there are key
things to look for, it's not black hat magic or anything like that it's some clear fundamentals. Look, I don't know marketing all that well. But the thing is, the more you look at it, the easier it becomes and the more sort of pieces you can work with. We just love that by happen no finance that's great. On the HR side of things, again, it's not black hat, the more you do it, the easier it becomes, same as anything. So, you've communicated exactly how interesting the finance area actually is that you have a good handle on and is really going to hold you in good stead.

Warsha 42:23
True that so Rayhan where can our listeners find you, because I know straight after this episode, they're gonna
be looking for you. Where is the best place to get in touch with you?

Rayhan 42:33
So I'm usually quite active on LinkedIn, so you can find me my name is Rayhan Aleem and website is Alphapartners.co,
so you can get in touch details over there and if you have any questions, in terms of finance in terms of accounting, in terms of tax. We're more than happy to sit down with you and give you whatever advice you need. So, our YouTube
channel it comes under the Alpha Pro Partners companies so we have a number of webinars that we have done more accounting tech focused webinars and we also have training on there on how to use zero as well. Yeah, thank you.

Warsha 43:10
We will be putting all these links in the show notes. So, thank you for sharing that. Rayhan we really appreciate it.
And we will see you very very soon.

Evan 43:19

Rayhan 43:20
Thank you very much.

Evan 43:21
Thanks Rayhan take care.

Warsha 43:24
Hey hey hey, thanks for joining us and listening, right till the end.

Evan 43:29
Get on over to daretoscale.fm to subscribe and access show notes and transcriptions.

Warsha 43:35
Oh also, did you know that we have a Facebook page for our podcast listeners. Come join the conversations at daretoscale.fm/facebook.

Evan 43:45
Absolutely, oh and also remember to give us a five-star review so other entrepreneurs can find this podcast like you, and get value to scale forward their business.

Warsha 43:55
Fabulous, we will see you at our next show. Bye for now.

Evan 43:59

Meet your hosts:
Warsha Joshi and Evan Le Clus
We are business mentors and business owners operating out of the vibrant city of Dubai, UAE.
We love helping dreams become a reality by bringing about the transformation from Founder to Leader, Consultant to Business Owner.
Come join us and subscribe to the show. The latest episode will arrive in your inbox shortly.
Get podcast and blog updates direct to your inbox. Subscribe below!