"Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves."
I'm not sure this is true. In fact, I'm pretty sure that if you watch the dollars, you don't have to worry so much about pennies.
Big brands don't sweat the small expenses. They don't hassle about a return, or a little coupon fraud or the last penny per square foot on the rent in a prime location. In fact, they understand that there's a powerful honest signal sent when you don't worry about the tiny expenses. It shows confidence.
My first business was running a ski club from my high school to a nearby ski area. Most of the other clubs rented expensive coach buses. I rented school buses. That one shift saved thousands of dollars. As a result, I had plenty of money to spend on snacks for the bus, no hassles about refunds if you broke your leg… it was easy to be generous because I'd saved so much on the bus.
So many small businesspeople are crippled by their relationship with money. I know… I used to window shop at restaurants and then go home and eat Spaghetti-Os. The thing is, if you run out of money you lose the game. That's a given. But what's the best strategy for not running out of money?
I don't think the answer is to worry insanely about little expenses (saving $20 on your blogging expenses in exchange for distracting ads, for example.) In fact, too much worrying about cash is the work of the lizard brain, it's a symptom of someone self-sabotaging the work.
The thing to do is invest in scary innovations, large leaps, significant savings. Instead of renting a skimpy booth at the big trade show and scrimping on all the extras, why not rent a limo and drive the key buyers around town, or sponsor the awards luncheon? When you skimp all the time, you signal that you're struggling.