James Carville, Bill Clinton's campaign strategist famously wrote on the campaign trail: "it’s the economy, stupid."
Three years ago, I failed to make rent. We’re talking of 700m² rent, in the center of Beirut: BIG rent. I was to face the landlord and ask for his leniency because the economy was bad. That seemed like a routinely accepted excuse for all cash shortcomings here, in Lebanon.
I thought I could blame it on the economy.
I expected he would be understanding. In my defense, this was a really difficult period in Lebanon post PM Hariri assassination.
I expected wrong.
The landlord was a successful businessman. He was not your typical-asshole landlord. He liked me and later told me I reminded him of himself, some 40 years earlier.
He told me that our inability to pay him was because I had failed at managing my own cashflow. And that I were the only one to blame. Not the economy. Not the climate. ME... FAILED.
I was shattered. No one had called me a failure, before.
He was right. As a founder-CFO, my job is to make sure people get paid on time. All people. All the time.
Have plans B, C, D drafted somewhere. A savings account, an uncle you can borrow money from, someone who will employ you no matter what. Do not get overexposed.
Your job as a leader of your company is to aim for the upside, WHILE protecting the downside.
In every single decision you make. Period.
And remember. It’s not the economy; it’s you.