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Financial Tips for E-Commerce Sellers

For the past few weeks, I have been doing a Financial Tip series. This week, we will be focusing on Financial Tips for E-Commerce Sellers. In this blog, we will tackle 4 topics that would allow E-Commerce sellers to take their businesses to the next level. 

 

 

 

FINANCIAL TIPS FOR E-COMMERCE SELLERS

 

 

Know what you are REALLY being charged to use the platform

 

If you are using a shopping platform such as Etsy, Poshmark, Shopify, or E-Bay, know that there are considerable fees that can be a part of each transaction. If there is an embedded payment service, there are transaction and interchange fees for taking payment. Then there are fees for listings, advertising, and renewing items on the platforms. These are common, and the cost of doing business with these services. Just know what they are. I had a client one time on Etsy who ended up paying almost 40% of an item with advertising (someone bought through the Etsy ad link), listing, shipping, and payment. When we looked at the numbers she didn’t realize it was so high.

 

 

 

Get your shipping down with pre-paid services

 

I got this tip from a friend of mine who mails out about 100 packages a week! There are places to buy pre-paid labels for the postal service here in the US to get shipping costs down. My husband has used Pirateship (Free USPS shipping software | Pirate Ship) to ship some packages from his coffee business, and it saved his customers anywhere from $1.50-$4.00 per package. That’s significant!

 

A few others to check out are:

 

If you are reading me in the US, another thing to do is to contact your local business development specialist at the United States Postal Service. They can give you referral codes for vendor partners to create your shipping labels at no cost! My husband had a short conversation with our local post office and had promo codes for five vendors the same day!

 

 

Maximize profits with good pricing and good transaction records

 

I frequently see pricing mistakes in this industry, and often it is because entrepreneurs just double or triple their wholesale costs. It would be better, and more accurate to do a breakdown of operating costs and labor that should be included above the wholesale price of an item. Finally, I like to see an added profit margin.  If you need a good pricing formula for any product or service grab my free resource.

 

Often times I see labor as a sticking point in pricing goods.  If you are a reseller, don’t forget to include the time it takes you to shop, take photos, upload and list items, and pack them, when you calculate pricing.  If you are selling items that you make, know how long it takes you to create the item you sell, and make sure that is considered above your operating costs and the actual wholesale cost to make, photo, list, advertise, and sell the item.

 

Once you figure out your operating costs, please include the costs of using the platform that we talked about above, consider adding a flat labor cost to every item, and then a flat profit amount. For example, you can add $10.00 to an item to cover labor and profit above what you need to recover to make the sale. If that isn’t enough, you can go up, if it’s too much, you can go down.

 

 

Another key to ensuring you are maximizing profit is to keep meticulous transaction records. If you need to pay to relist the item, that additional fee is coming out of your profit margin. Know exactly what to pay for everything you make and everything you sell. If you paid $23.00 for a designer item to resell on Poshmark, you need to record that amount.

 

Estimating what you paid or what it costs to make something is an easy way to lose money in your business. What you paid is the starting place of your pricing structure to make money in this business. You can use a spreadsheet, just a notebook, or some software, whatever feels good for you, but don’t skip this step.

 

 

Check your expenses and margins quarterly

 

A lot of things can change in 90 days in ecommerce. Set aside time to review the expenses in your business. Look at the time you are taking to create and list your items. See if your shipping rates are still working. Look at your platform expenses and make sure that you adjust prices as necessary to cover any new increases.

 

Take the time to check your profit margins as well. Is one platform outperforming another in sales? Are your margins staying relatively consistent or are you going wildly up and down on certain items? You can take an average sale at your average price in a few categories and look for trends. If you typically sell items at $35.00, $60.00, and $85.00, look at a few sales in each of those price ranges. That’ll keep you from feeling overwhelmed at the idea of reviewing 1200 transactions! Make sure everything you sell makes a profit. Likewise, limit your losses. Because I know that sometimes lose a little bit to move something stored in inventory for a while.  

 

There are million-dollar eCommerce businesses built every year around the world. People love point-and-click convenience. The ability to get items that aren’t readily available where they live and unique online finds.

 

Financial Tips for Coaches and Consultants

This article is relevant for all service providers, but I’m focusing on coaches and consultants who use the online space to make sales and provide services. Here are a few financial tips for coaches and consultants to make the finances easier, and better, for service providers!

Financial Tips for Coaches and Consultants

 

FINANCIAL TIPS FOR COACHES AND CONSULTANTS

Have a financial structure for money management and taxes right away

 

I see service providers frequently live out of their own personal accounts for a while. It’s so important to set up your business bank account and to create a system for withholding taxes and paying yourself as soon as you can.  Typically profit margins can be larger in the online space, because the cost of doing business is minimal, and I see many entrepreneurs make the mistake of treating their revenue as, “it’s all my money anyway.” This co-mingling makes it difficult to hire contractors, such as a social media manager, because you shouldn’t pay business expenses from a personal account. This can create a tax nightmare.

 

You must pay self-employment taxes on your own paycheck, and if you are using the money in that account, even for business purposes, it be your own personal money. Create a separate financial identity from the start. Get a business bank account. Set up your online deposit with the Internal Revenue Service or your home tax agency and make sure you are withholding and depositing your taxes. Pay yourself every two weeks and let the rest of the money sit in the bank until you get paid again or must pay bills.

 

Calculate everything in your pricing, and know your numbers and your margins

 

My next tip is one that I get some pushback on, I want you to calculate your numbers and know your margins. The reason I get pushback is because people frequently want to “feel” into their pricing, which isn’t a bad thing, but just make sure your feelings are profitable. 

 

I worked with an entrepreneur who was losing money on her most expensive package. By the time we calculated the hours, the services and additional bonuses and things provided, her $1500.00 package had a net LOSS of $80.00 per client. OUCH. In fact, her most profitable package was $195.00. It was extremely hard for her to hear, but it was the truth. Her lower cost packages were covering her losses. She was very frustrated in business, and that was why.

 

You need to know how much you need to make, how much you are legitimately profiting, how many things you need to sell, and at what price, to grow your business strategically and sustainably. Please get your numbers.

 

Stop feast or famine with payment plans and signature offers

 

Coaching and consulting can be feast or famine, and the income can be very unpredictable, especially when you are starting out and haven’t built up your client base. To stabilize your income quickly, please have payment plans available for anything you offer over a certain dollar amount. You get to decide, but I have a client that offers at least 2 payments for anything over $299.00. I have another client that starts at $500.00 and still another that starts at $1,000.00

 

When you offer payment plans you are giving people access to your programs and services at a price point, they can more easily afford, and you get to project income out into the future. Just make sure you cover any additional interchange fees, the fees charged by the bank for running the card each time, in your pricing. Based on the dollar amount, that may be just a few dollars. Again, this is your decision.

 

I know there are some people who do not recommend extending payment plans beyond the length of the program or service the client is buying.  I understand that there is a risk that they will get the service and not pay the remainder. But, while there is a little risk that someone will not honor their payments, generally people follow through, and if you have good policies and procedures surrounding payments (discussed below), you can protect yourself from these instances.

 

Have policies to protect you from chargebacks and from giving refunds if you do not offer them

 

Do not accept anything without a payment agreement. I have a podcast episode, “Get it in Writing” that talks through the basics of what should be in an agreement. I want to talk here specifically around payments. Protect yourself from chargebacks. That is where someone complains to the credit card company or payment portal, and the company gives them the money back- straight from your account. If you do not have anything in writing that says, “no refunds” or “all sales are final” then you will not win against the payment vendor.

 

Make sure that your terms and conditions are required for EVERY sale you make. Take the time to draft them or have an attorney help you and post them inside the sales process. For longer programs or bigger ticket items, send a follow-up agreement in writing to clients. There are a few people in the world that will try to take advantage, and having good, clear, and acknowledged policies surrounding payments will protect your income and your business.

 

Coaches and consultants need to protect themselves financially. I have a special place in my heart for this group of entrepreneurs, because it’s where Mike and I started with UNEQ Consulting in 2011, and I wish I would have had these tips, and had taken this advice back then.

 

 

Author’s Note:

If you enjoyed this blog about Financial Tips for Coaches and Consultants, feel free to visit my other blogs and resources

Creative Business

There are many, many handmade creative product businesses. Whether you make jewelry, paint pictures, created wooden or porcelain gifts, or make something else, you are a creative product business. I have clients who make soaps and lotions and clients who make artwork and gifts. I find there are a few key areas where creative product businesses lose money, and I have a few tips to help your business stay profitable.

 

Creative Business

 

 

 

Tips for Creative Product Businesses

 

 

 

 

Know your actual costs to create your product and include your labor

 

  • Include all the items it takes to create your product, paint, paper, beads, yarn, wood, labels, shipping boxes, lotion bottles, etc. and your operational costs. For my easy formula for pricing anything guide visit:  https://entremoneycoach.kartra.com/page.pricing .

 

  • Calculate how long it REALLY takes you to create each product, and then calculate your labor cost, per piece, that you want to recover in your pricing. Don’t shortchange yourself, the number is the number. Make sure you have the true costs so you can make pricing decisions that reflect your actual time spent.

 

  • Make sure to also include your shipping materials, tissue paper, bubble wrap, stickers, boxes, and any other items you use to ship your items above actual postage. A flat handling charge may be a good, transparent way to do this, or if shipping is included, add it into the price.

 

  • Finally, know your fees for Etsy, Shopify, eBay, etc. if you use any of these selling sites. These can take a pretty significant chunk of profits if you use all their features and advertising offerings. Think also about the table at the fair or the farmer’s market booth. You must consider the cost to sell your product in your pricing.

 

 

 

 

Have a custom option available for customers and charge appropriately

 

One way to increase the price of an item is to have a custom option available. I’ve worked with clients who personalize items, and clients who create custom items for occasions such as weddings. Having some sort of customization available for people to buy can increase your revenues and margins. This can also be a way to resell to customers who need your custom item again in the future, such as for gifts.

 

You need to charge more for the extra time to tailor the product to your client’s specific wishes. Anytime you veer from a standard item, you need to have a charge. Whenever someone orders something custom, please get a deposit. It doesn’t have to be half, it can be a smaller percentage, but get some financial commitment from the buyer before you start creating your one-of-a-kind work.

 

 

 

 

Watch your discounts, coupons, and bonuses

 

I see creative entrepreneurs constantly markdown items, which cuts into the profits.  A coupon for signing up for the email list, then free shipping, then a bonus trial size, then some other thing, and all the sudden you lose money on the sale. I know that many, many people try to compete on price in the creative space, but what you create is unique because you create it.

 

I don’t recommend discounting items often, or buyers will expect them and just wait to purchase until you markdown again. Offering a 10% off coupon with a newsletter signup may be ok, or even a free shipping option on a minimum purchase. Just make sure you have the margin to offer them. I worked with a client one time who barely broke even after offering her discount coupon, after the Etsy fees and advertising costs.

 

 

 

 

Have policies on product changes, returns, and refunds, and stick to them

 

Things can happen in shipping, the item ordered may not be exactly what the customer expected, or there may be another reason for items to need replacing or returning. Protect yourself with clear policies on shipping and tracking shipments, how long you will accept a return, and when an item will be replaced at no or little charge.  Create a policy that all sales are FINAL on custom items.

 

When people order products online, they have several guarantees offered by payment vendors such as PayPal. They can begin a chargeback or complaint and receive their money back- from your account.  Unless you have clear, understandable policies in place, you probably will lose any dispute and be out however much your item cost plus the additional vendor fees. 

 

There is always a demand for beautiful handmade items for gifts or for any occasion.  I know someone who buys a great pair of new handmade clay earrings every other week. She just loves them. Too many creatives under charge for their items and lose money in their business. Following the tips above will help you stay in profit and have the money to keep on creating what you love. Do you have a specific question related to your own business? Reach out and let’s chat!

calculating profit margin

Marcus Lemonis loves to remind business owners that “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.” And those numbers he refers to include “margin” as in the profit margin, expressed as a percentage, on every product and service you sell. To make things a little more fun, for our conversation “margin” can be expressed after production costs (gross margin) and after operating costs (net margin). It’s important to recognize the difference to ensure we are looking at the right numbers to make decisions.

 

 

 

Profit Margin: Gross Margin

 

Gross Profit Margin is calculated by subtracting what it costs to produce something from how much it is sold for. For example, it costs you $5.00 to produce a widget (labor and all materials) and you sell it for $10.00. You have a 50% gross profit margin.  This is only half the story though because you have other business costs (operating costs) that also have to be paid from the gross profit.

 

To figure out our net profit we need to further subtract the operating costs from the item. If each $10.00 item actually incurs $1.00 of operating costs, the net profit isn’t $5.00, it’s $4.00.  That’s the number we want to work with for managing pricing and expenses. In our example, this $10.00 item has a 40% net profit margin.

 

Anything that affects that $4.00 net dollar amount affects the margin of the item. If costs go up or down, that $4.00 can get bigger or smaller. Let’s say that materials go up in cost $.50, so that costs are now, $5.50 to produce, the net margin goes down from $4.00 to $3.50. From 40% to 35%. Make sense?

 

 

 

 

If you don’t know your margins, you need to take a little time to figure them out. The amount of margin that’s considered “good” or “healthy” varies by industry. Restaurants typically have lower margins than retail and retail is typically lower than many service provider businesses. Online businesses have lower operating expenses and often higher margins than businesses with physical locations.

 

 

 

 

PROFIT MARGIN: WHAT AFFECTS IT?

 

This article is about the things that affect your margins, and margins can be the difference between struggling and thriving. And those things are many. Changes in any costs can affect your margins and require you to address your pricing to maintain your profits. Any cost. Utilities, service providers, suppliers, and other expenses can go up in cost at any time unless you are under a contract.

 

As margins go down, there is less and less money left over, and it can affect your growth and your ability to weather any unexpected events. This is why I encourage entrepreneurs to check their expenses through the Breakthrough Number process once a quarter. You can use these resources to figure yours.  Keeping your eyes on the margin can help you head off issues that can affect the health of your business. Set aside the time to learn your numbers.

 

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTES:

If you want to walk through a step-by-step method to manage your margins, your income, and profitability, join me for the next Quarterly Intensive. Visit https://entremoneycoach.kartra.com/page/quarterlyintensive to learn more.

“I don’t know what I am going to make.” I hear this statement all the time, and when your business is fairly new, I get it. But even from the very start, you should understand your capacity and availability to predict your revenue.  Whether you are a business or a service, you should be able to figure out how much you can make in a given time and create a path to get there.

 

 

It is so important that you figure out a predictable revenue at every phase of growth. Using these numbers can help you make the best business decisions regarding whether it is time to scale. The first thing you have to do is get your pricing right. If you need a pricing formula that will help you price any product or service for profit, you can find it in this blog: How Do You Calculate Selling Price? | Entre Money Coach .

 

Once your pricing is where you need it to be, we can talk about your capacity to make products and services for predictable revenue. I’m going to use a recent example, a client of mine who is starting a coffee roasting business.  We calculated his pricing based on operations, cost of the beans, labor, packaging, and shipping. We also figured out both a wholesale and a retail price for his products, because part of his model is to be on consignment in small local stores.  Here’s how we went from pricing to predicting monthly revenue:

 

 

 

 

  1. Capacity and Availability

 

Roasting coffee takes a certain amount of time per batch and based on the roasts and origins times can vary. But we averaged the time it takes to roast a batch, and the number of bags of product he can make in each roast cycle. That number alone will limit his capacity to make more than a specific amount of product each day. 

 

So, based on roasting time and resting time before packaging, we calculated the maximum amount of product that can be made per day, and then per week.  The cool part is that you can decide how much and how often you work. My client wanted to be part time to start, so the amount of product produced was also determined based on his availability and the number of hours he wanted to work.

 

 

 

 

  1. Number of items of each type to sell at each price

 

My client has two package sizes of roasted coffee beans right now, a 3oz size and a 12 oz size. How many of each size he makes, and sells, each week can help him predict his income. Some will be sold at wholesale, some at retail, with pricing at each size. Based on the number of wholesale and retail orders, plus the product he makes, without orders, to sell that week we can predict how much he will make each week, then month, then quarter. These numbers need to be reviewed at least every quarter.

 

For example: He sells 20 12 oz bags and 10 3 oz bags in a week.

 Ten 12 oz bags at $10.00 wholesale becomes $100.00 and ten 12 oz bags at $14.00 retail is $140.00.

Adding ten 3 oz bags at $2.50 wholesale is $25.00. With this mix of products, he will gross $265.00 this week on 30 total bags, mixed in size and price.

 

This is his “predictable” revenue. He can make more or less by selling more at a retail price instead of wholesale. This is just one small example of how knowing your “mix” of capacity. That and knowing your availability, audience and price can be brought together on paper. Doing this will allow you to predict how much money you will bring in.  I want to note that this isn’t actual sales at this point, but a very solid estimate.  You CAN predict your revenue, even as a new business.

 

 

 

Ready to plan your revenue for Q2 2021? Join me Saturday, March 13th for the three-hour Revenue and Profit Planning workshop! Visit https://entremoneycoach.kartra.com/page/quarterlyintensive for more information!

 

 

“I don’t pay myself; I just take a little bit here and there when I need it.” I hear this phrase all the time from entrepreneurs. Even from owners of businesses with employees. They just don’t take a check. But they do get paid. Here are some of the top objections to setting paydays, and some reasons you should really do it in your own business and for yourself.

 

Payday: image of someone counting money

 

 

 

1. Setting paydays: It’s all my money anyway

 

Maybe. Depending on the structure of your business that money belongs to your LLC or corporation. If you are a sole proprietor the argument can be made that yes, it’s all yours.  But you are earning it in your business and keeping business and personal finances separate is important. Now, I know some business owners that still use their personal accounts for business transactions. They accept credit card payments to their personal accounts. That creates kind of a mess for business expenses. There are fees for accepting cards, and these are co-mingled with personal money. And oftentimes, business expenses are missed when they are mixed in with the personal.

 

Separating your finances is one of the easiest things you can do that protects the integrity of your business record keeping. All of your payments earned in your business go into the business account.

Your expenses stay clean and you can still get your money from the work you do in your business.

 

 

 

2. setting paydays: I don’t need take the extra step to write myself a check.

 

Taking the extra step to pay yourself protects your business and personal cashflow. Here’s what I often see happen. The electric bill is due, and “just this once” you are going to use the business debit for your personal expense.  Or you just write a business check to the orthodontist because it is just “easier” than taking a check and depositing it in your personal account.  In both of these very common occurrences you are potentially messing with your cash flow.

 

If you dip into your account throughout the month for expenses you are increasing the chance for a cash flow issue.  There are always things that can happen to your income. You can have a chargeback. Or you can have a client pay late. Or you can have a down sales month. Many times, unexpected challenges affect our business financially for a time.  If you set two days a month that you would take time to write that paycheck (for what you really need to support your personal expenses) you allow the cash in your business to build up throughout the month. For example, instead of 8 draws on your cash for personal bills, you would have two.

 

 

 

3. setting paydays: I don’t take that much anyway.

 

The tax liabilities on small business owners can be huge where the taxes aren’t withheld when money is taken from the accounts. More than once when the books are actually reviewed did the entrepreneur have to do a double-take to see what was actually taken. Owner’s draws, those little withdrawals from the account for personal use, add up and they are taxable as self-employment income.  In the U.S. you have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your personal income. It is very easy to take a little bit each week, and not pay taxes on it. Because it doesn’t feel like very much.

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

In reality, you can set up a process to withhold and deposit your taxes every time you take a paycheck. Having an online payment portal to the IRS is easy in the states.  You can make a transfer when you pay yourself.  Over the course of a year, it is very easy to take $20k or more from the business and not feel it. $20k a year is only $1667 a month, which is a little over $400.00 a week.  Pay your car payment and insurance, grab a little bit for groceries, and buy a birthday gift for your mom and you can easily hit that a month. You will then owe taxes on that $20k.

 

Take the time to set yourself up to protect the integrity of your business records, protect your cash flow, and protect your personal income by setting up paydays for yourself. Taking a check every other week is a great way to also predict your income for your personal expenses and allow you to have some income security.

Every small business needs money pros. A money pro can be a bookkeeper, accountant, financial coach, or payroll service. A fractional Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is another type of money pro, and there are others, so this list is not all-inclusive. Not every business needs all the pros, but at a minimum, I advocate for every small business to have the services of a small business accountant for tax preparation every year. This post isn’t about finding your pro by getting a referral from someone you trust, which is always good practice.

Woman conducting an interview to find her money pro

This post is about making sure the pro you hire is a good fit to help you with your financial needs. Not all accountants have the same services. Some reporting styles will work well for some people more than others. You need a pro that will be an important part of your team for business compliance, planning, and growth. And it may end up being more than one pro.  You need to get what you need to meet your goals. 

 

 

 

 

FINDING OUT YOUR MONEY PROS

 

What support do I really need? This question actually covers two areas in my mind. What are the mechanical money things I need done, like running payroll or filing taxes, and the organizational and mindset support you need, like regular email reminders. There are a variety of services that can manage the mechanical. What are the financial things you don’t want to do? Or find too complicated? Find the pro that can do them. But make sure you also consider the personal touches needed to keep you on track. If you need a monthly phone call or email, request one. I know people who have weekly or bi-weekly meetings with their accountants. I know others that only need a letter with their completed quarterly return to sign and file by mail.

 

 

MONEY PROS AND YOUR COMFORTABLITIY

 

What level of reporting and understanding am I comfortable with? Let’s be honest, not everyone can read a financial report and understand it.  It’s definitely not in the zone of genius for most entrepreneurs. But what good is having the reports if you can’t use them? If someone just generates a report can you use it for projections and growth decisions? Perhaps for you it would be better to have quarterly in person (or virtual) meetings to review the numbers and understand what they mean for you. I have several quarterly planning clients because their accountants only do reporting for compliance. So, they work with me to do planning and projections. Get the pro or combination of pros that makes you very comfortable using the data to drive your decisions.

 

 

 

WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A MONEY PRO

 

The phrase,Just because you ‘can’ doesn’t mean you ‘should’’ includes financial matters.  Are you still running payroll when you should have handed that off already? Struggling with your taxes again because you don’t want to pay for help? Having money pros can also reduce the potential mistakes that can cost your business. Having a bookkeeper, accountant, payroll service, CFO or coach for planning and growth are all pros that can help you avoid costly mistakes. Tax mistakes can have penalties and interest costs. Not withholding the right amount of money from your employee’s checks can also have penalties. Just like not having projections and growth planning each quarter can affect your profit margins and goals.  Keeping your books inconsistently can also cause a financial crunch, and you can miss indicators that business decisions need to be changed.  As soon as you can, get professional support.

 

 

 

FREQUENCY

 

Finally, how often do I need to see my pro? For many of us an annual checkup by a physician or medical practitioner is on the calendar for our health. For others there are weekly appointments to the chiropractor or regular visits with a specialist. Approach your financial pros the same way. What are your goals? You will likely need to see more people more frequently if there is an issue, less if you have a good management practice in place.

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

 

Don’t be afraid to just book a session with a pro for an hour if you need one. Go get that consultation and have your questions answered if you need it.  Thinking that you must retain a money pro for every week, or every month can prevent people from getting the support they need. These pros work for you and need to be a good fit for your personality, business culture, and financial needs.

 

 

 

 

 

Money management should align with your personality and the way you like to do stuff. Radical, right? I believe one of the biggest obstacles that business owners face when it comes to money stuff is the idea that there is only one “right way” to do it. This software. Or that spreadsheet formula. Or these guidelines. But if we are really honest, there are actually very few things that have to be done a specific way. Tax and employment filings, sure, but the way you track and manage your business money is up to you. The method you choose just needs to be in a manner that protects your business records and would stand up to an audit, just in case.

 

 

 

What is Aligned Money 

Management?

 

 

So, what is aligned money management? Managing your money in alignment with your financial style, so you stick with it (even if you never learn to enjoy it).  When we try to force ourselves to use a system that doesn’t naturally work with our style of doing things it rarely works. This is a common issue, and it often creates a struggle and resistance to doing the things that support our business growth.

 

A great place to start is with your financial personality (If you don’t know which personality you best identify with, visit this blog to learn more).  It’s important to know how you currently relate to your money. Particularly your business money. For example, do you ignore or obsess over your financials? Whichever it is you can then begin to work with your money in a way that feels relatable.

 

 

 

MONEY MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

 

Next, we need to examine your comfort level with different management strategies. How are you tracking other things in your business now? Are you a pen and paper person? Do you prefer software or spreadsheets? Do you like more automation or are you comfortable entering data points regularly? Your natural comfort level with certain approaches can easily translate to your financial tracking.  There are templates for paper and pen tracking, apps and software, spreadsheets, and computer formats available for anyone and any budget.

 

Finally, it’s time to start trying things out and being open to tweaking your approach. If you know that pen and paper is how you like to do things, grab some templates, and try them. If you like automated software,  start shopping for one that feels pretty intuitive for you. Many have free trials, so try them. If you like spreadsheets but don’t know how to set one up, get some help creating one that works for you. If you are really at a loss for where to start, hire a money pro to help you. Ask your accountant or have a session with a financial coach.

 

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

It can take three months or so to get into the habit of managing your money if you don’t do it now, so make sure you build in some grace and room to make mistakes or forget stuff. Particularly your internal processes. If you are worried about the most important compliance things like taxes, turn them over to your accountant so you have the knowledge that they are done correctly. You CAN create a money management strategy that works for you, your needs, your personality, and your organizational style. Making sure your money approach is comfortable and aligned will help you stay consistent with your finances.

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

 

Our Book Club for The Profit Accelerator for Small Business begins in a few days! You have free exclusive access to the club when you purchase your copy of The Profit Accelerator for Small Business book on Kindle or paperback.

 

 

 

Want to make next year’s annual expenses easier on the monthly budget? You can protect your monthly income by starting what I call a “Cyclical Fund” (C-Fund). When you start your Cyclical fund, you will deposit a smaller amount each month towards these costs and save enough over 12 months to have all of them covered when they come due! The alternative is what most of us do now, having to pay the large bill is all at once out of one month’s income. That can be very stressful and hard on your monthly spending plan!

3 STEPS TO START A CYCLICAL FUND:

1. MAKE A LIST OF ALL YOUR NON-MONTHLY EXPENSES. INCLUDE THE THINGS THAT RENEW QUARTERLY, SEMI-ANNUALLY, AND ANNUALLY. MOST BUSINESSES HAVE ABOUT 5-6 OF THESE. THINK ABOUT:

    • Business and professional license renewals
    • Subscription renewals for things like software
    • Membership fees
    • Annual domain and website renewals

2. TOTAL UP ALL OF THESE EXPENSES AND DIVIDE BY 12. THIS IS THE AMOUNT OF YOUR MONTHLY DEPOSIT.

3. SET UP AN ACCOUNT AND MAKE YOUR FIRST DEPOSIT. 

Do not open a savings type account if you will make frequent withdrawals to pay these bills as they come due. In the US, “Regulation D” limits the amount to free transfers or withdrawals to six each month. Then the bank can charge a fee for every subsequent withdrawal.

 

 

 

These 3 steps are a surefire way of starting and growing your cyclical funds!

It’s so easy to get frustrated when we forget when the annual bills come due, and of course, they still come due.  Start your Cyclical Fund to put a little away each month to cover what you will need. The stress is really reduced when the amount you need for an expected expense isn’t squeezed 100% from the same monthly budget.  Take time this week to sort this out and you will have a jump start on next year’s renewals.

There’s still time to join the  Q1 2021 Income and Profit Planning Intensive Session to have an actionable plan for your business offers, income, and profit through March 2021.

Visit this  link to register,  the next workshop is on December 12th.

 

Q1 2021 Income and Profit Planning Intensive Session

 

One of my favorite programs is called, “The Profit” which airs on CNBC. In this show the CEO and multimillionaire Marcus Lemonis helps struggling entrepreneurs by injecting his expertise and own money to invest in these businesses and make them profitable.

One thing I hear in the show over and over is, “this business generated $4.2 Million last year but had a loss of $30,000”.

And that tells me that many, many entrepreneurs do not know the difference between generating revenue and cash and making a real profit in their business.

 

It isn’t the money you make, it’s the money you keep

 

How can a multi-million-dollar business post losses? Because having sales doesn’t mean you will have anything left after all of your liabilities.  Just because they sold millions doesn’t mean there will be anything left over after they pay salaries and expenses and service any debt the business may hold.  This is why I am so passionate about making sure your pricing, expenses, and offers are right to make and keep money. More profit means more growth, more impact, and more service.

 

Business revenue and cash

 

Sales generated for your products and services are revenue and the money you collect is business cash. If you receive ongoing payments for services or reorders, those are revenue that we can project for the month they are due.  Basically, every dollar that comes into the business is business cash. The more you bring in every month, the more sales you are making. That is the first half of the equation.

The key is to have profit, that amount of money left over every month.

 

“Gross Profit” and “Net Profit”

 

Gross profit is the difference between your cost to create your offer, product or service and your retail price you sold it for. For example, your widget costs $7.00 to make for materials and labor, and you sell it for $15.00. Your gross profit is $8.00 per widget. This is the number many entrepreneurs rely on for pricing and for expenses. But it’s the wrong one.

What’s missing in this number is the amount of the “hidden” expenses, such as all of your operating expenses of rent and utilities, plus taxes. 

Let’s say your operating expenses add an additional $2.00 to the cost of each widget, your net profit is really $6.00 each. That $6.00 is the one we want to know, and it is the one to work with when we look at growing the business.

 

Start by ensuring every product or service is profitable

 

Do the quick math and make sure that everything you sell is generating a profit, an amount left over after everything. Remember that your profits don’t have to be equal, one offer can be 10% profitable and another offer $25%, but each one must be profitable on their own.

You will be well on your way to a profitable and thriving business!