Arithmophobia is defined as a fear of numbers. Like a lot of other phobias, it can stem from a traumatic past life experience. Such as, not being good at math in school, or failing that very important exam that was the difference between moving on, or staying back. There could have been a punishment or ridicule because of the results that you got when it came to dealing with numbers.
You are now in business and numbers are an integral part of your life. However, you still carry that phobia today. You may be thinking: “Impossible!” Really? How much do you love numbers? I have had clients that deal with numbers by:
- Avoidance: if they do not deal with the numbers they do not exist.
- Anxiety: they are so scared to find the numbers that they break into a complete anxiety attack.
- Hope: that they go away and work out to their benefit.
The challenge is if you are in business, numbers do exist and no matter your wishes, dreams or anxiety they will continue to be there and will have to be dealt with. They will not magically disappear or rearrange themselves to suit you unless you get in there, roll up your sleeves and do something about them. You may not want to, but the question becomes: “How much do you want your business to succeed?” I thought so. Therefore, dealing with the numbers does not become an option.
How do you go about finding them and more importantly, finding the ones that are the most important to your business? There are many ways and on top of the long list are the following:
- Immerse yourself in them. Grab your books/receipts/box and start putting some semblance and understanding into them and then start all the math required to finally come to a conclusion as to how your business is doing at this very moment. If you have been avoiding them for awhile I would highly suggest that this is not the way to go.
- Get a business coach. Together, you can both go through the numbers, but more importantly, if they are a business coach of any consequence, they will be able to decipher what may look like an impossible mess into a clear and precise action plan to take in order to make sure that you are headed in the right direction. They will also be able to do all that pesky math for you.
- Hire a virtual accountant. Give this project to someone that does this for a living. Let them know which numbers you are particularly interested in and have them give you those ones.
How important is this? Let me inform you of a recent experience that I had. Someone hired me to help them with their business. The challenge was they had introduced a new item into their offering and found that they were not getting any further ahead even though they put the new product out with a great discount to get traction. They sold a lot in the month prior to me working for them, but again, they were not getting a return. This person hated numbers. This is what I found. They found the landed cost of the product. They doubled the cost to get to the selling price, then offered the product at a 50% discount.
If you do not immediately see the challenge you may be suffering from arithmophobia. Yes, it happens more often than you may think. In business, working with numbers is not an option. Sorry!