The 6-Month Rule: Making Financial Decisions That Drive Growth

, | April 17, 2024 | By
The 6-Month Rule: Making Financial Decisions That Drive Growth

As entrepreneurs, especially those of us who navigate the tumultuous seas of business development with a do-it-yourself ethos, making decisions that impact our financial health can seem daunting. Yet, the mastery of this aspect—particularly the financial and accounting decisions—is what separates thriving businesses from those that merely survive. The key is not in avoiding decisions but in making informed, strategic choices with a clear understanding of their long-term consequences. Here's how you can set up criteria for making good financial decisions, ensuring that you won't find yourself in a dire situation even if things don't go as planned.


The 6-Month Affordability Rule


First and foremost, any financial decision you're considering should pass the 6-month affordability rule. Simply put, if the decision were to go south, could your business afford to 'burn' cash for six months without going under? This is a critical safety net that protects your business's longevity. It's about acknowledging that not every investment will yield immediate returns and preparing for that reality. This approach allows you to take calculated risks without jeopardizing your business’s survival.


Setting Measurable Criteria for Success


Once you've ensured that you can weather a six-month storm, the next step is to define what success looks like. This isn't just about setting goals but establishing clear, measurable criteria that you can evaluate six months down the line. For instance, if you're launching a new marketing campaign, decide what metrics will indicate its success. Is it an increase in sales, more website traffic, or a higher conversion rate? By setting these benchmarks upfront, you give yourself a tangible way to assess the decision's impact on your business and make informed choices about its future direction.


Reviewing and Communicating Decision Performance


Six months have passed, and it's time to review your decision's performance. This is a critical phase where you assess whether your investment has met, exceeded, or fallen short of the benchmarks you set. It involves a thorough analysis of the metrics you identified, looking at the raw numbers and the story they tell about your business's growth and financial health.


But equally important is how you communicate these findings to your team. Whether the decision was a resounding success or a learning opportunity, sharing the outcomes fosters a culture of transparency and collective learning. It shows that you value data-driven decision-making and are committed to involving your team in the business's financial health.


Real-World Applications


Consider a scenario where you decide to hire a new team member. Applying the principles outlined, you'd first ensure that the salary and associated costs are not going to strain your finances if the new hire doesn't lead to immediate business growth. You'd set specific performance indicators—perhaps new clients brought in or efficiency improvements. After six months, you'd review their contribution against these indicators and decide whether this addition to your team has been beneficial enough to continue.




Making informed financial decisions is not about avoiding risk altogether but managing it in a way that aligns with your business's capacity for endurance and growth. By applying the 6-month rule, setting measurable success criteria, and reviewing decision performance with transparency, you empower your business to navigate through uncertainties with confidence. Remember, in the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, the ability to make calculated financial decisions is what ultimately builds lasting wealth and success.


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