fbpx
Add Flexibility With A Weekly Task List

Admit it, as entrepreneurs we have full plates. And for anyone running more than one business it can get very overwhelming quickly.  So why not add flexibilty with a weekly task list?

Add Flexibility With A Weekly Task List

 

If you sometimes look up at the calendar and realize you forgot something you are supposed to do each week (hello social media post to promote the blog), I have an answer for you.

 

Add Flexibilty With A Weekly Task List

Imagine creating a simple tool that helps you remember the things you have to do around your business and life. This tool would track the repeatable tasks that sometimes get missed. Imagine having this list of tasks that have to be done every week. By using this you can add flexibilty with a weekly task list.

 

I created such a tool for my life and business (es) and it has been a game changer.  The key is that the tasks can be done generally any time during the week, as long as they get done. Because I am a pen and paper kind of girl and love the feeling of checking a box or crossing things off a paper list, I created a single list of tasks on my computer in Word, and I print off a fresh sheet every week.  

 

 

Add Flexibilty With A Weekly Task List

 

Here are a few of my tasks:

 

  • Create the soundbite for the next podcast episode
  • Promote the blog on social media
  • Make sure to pre-label 50 12oz coffee bags (put the logo and “roasted right” labels on them)
  • Print 25 Thank You Cards for shipped coffee orders

 

There are a few more, but these are tasks that support both businesses. If I have time on a Friday afternoon and I want to pre-label bags, or print the labels, I can do that.  If I have 45 minutes between calls and I want to create the soundbite for the podcast, I can do that too.

 

 

To create my list, I tracked all of my repeatable tasks for two weeks, writing down the things I had to do, then formalized it into a pretty document I like to check off. I also left a few spaces for the one off “miscellaneous” tasks that I need to get done in a given week. 

 

Having this list has not only helped with remembering all the little tasks but has also helped with procrastination. Many of these little tasks are kind of boring, or repetitive, and easily forgettable. Having a list in front of me also allows me to choose what I can get done, and when. It also allows me to know each thing on there is important for my life and business.

 

 

In a strange way this list has become kind of a game to see what I can “squeeze in”. That flexibility also reduces stress, because I don’t end up trying to get everything done at the last minute. I print off my weekly task list every Friday.   If you struggle with things falling through the cracks, give this a try, and please, let me know how it works for you!

 

Should you need more resources for your business, check out my resource center!

 

 

Wholesale products

I get this question a lot from my clients because wholesale products requires the sharing of profits with the retailer, so the margins are lower in your business. While it isn’t right for every business, I have helped several clients with very successful wholesale and consignment lines of business that rapidly grew more income, greater audience following, and ultimately a larger retail base.  Here are a few reasons that wholesale and consignment can be great for your business.

 

Wholesale Products

 

 

Wholesale Products: Larger orders than individual sales

 

When any customer buys you should do a happy dance. But when a wholesale customer buys it’s a bigger order and a bigger happy dance. If a customer buys one, a wholesale order can buy 12. Even with the loss of margin, you have more volume, and you make more income.  Just make sure your numbers are right on the wholesale and retail prices.  Know your production, packaging, and labor costs.  I have several clients with retail margins over 60-80%, so wholesale margins are still beautiful even sharing 25-40% with a retailer.  Take the time to build a solid relationship. Give them the product knowledge and watch how your business customers begin to promote YOUR product when people ask for suggestions.

 

 

Wholesale Products: Introduction to their audience

 

And the reason you don’t mind giving margin to the retailer is… because you are being introduced to their audience! They are paying for their storefront, labor, overhead, etc., and you get to be an option for the customer base they spent time and money building.  They are making something, and you are still making something. It is a win-win. You get shelf space, physical or virtual, and the visibility.

 

 

Wholesale Products: Reordering more frequently

 

Another aspect of wholesale is that there are more frequent orders from the buyers. Individual consumers buy maybe a few times a year (depending on the product) but businesses are going to order as they are selling. A key here is to be organized and to be a great account manager. Know the business owner’s intentions with your product. Learn what is selling and what isn’t.

 

Again, build that relationship. Make suggestions, call, and ask for the reorder (don’t make them run out first), and for the love of all things holy, don’t take it personally if an item isn’t a hit with their audience.  The reorders from a business are generally larger than an individual order, so more volume, more income, more chances to serve the business owner and their audience.

 

 

Converting fans to direct retail

 

This happens frequently. After a time, the customer may begin to order directly from you, at retail.  This happened to us with the coffee business. People bought our product from a local store, then joined our Facebook group, then directly ordered from us.  I’ve seen this happen with several clients of mine as well.

Make sure to have your website or online store on your product label.  But please note: DO NOT undercut your wholesalers with deep discounts online. It’s very disrespectful and will cause you to lose wholesale business fast. The retail price is the retail price. If you buy from me, from them, or from the other them. The ONLY time I’d think about discounts would be if something is discontinued or you are discounting wholesale as well, the margin remains the same for the retailer.

 

One last thing, consignment can be a great way to test out a relationship with a potential wholesale customer. Offer to let them try it out in their business for a time, say 30-60 days, and after it sells out, you would be happy to have them as a wholesale customer. The difference is that on consignment you are paid only after an item sells. In a wholesale account the business customer owns the item once they are purchased at the wholesale price.

Business Agreement

Running a business without written business agreements puts you and your clients at risk for misunderstandings. It puts you at risk of not getting paid. And further puts you at risk for chargebacks, where the client goes directly to the credit card company and claims fraud after receiving services. Without a written agreement, you will likely have to refund any money you’ve received, even if your policy is “no refunds.”

Business Agreement

All About Business Agreeements 

 

 

The truth is that contracts, or as I call them business agreements, do not have to be complicated, written in legalese, or 20 pages long to be enforceable. What they need to be is yours, not someone else’s copy/paste, clearly written, including all terms, and signed.   When I say do not “copy/paste” someone else’s, I mean do not copy/ paste. There are formats online you can follow, but don’t include things you don’t understand and just change terms just because they have it in theirs.

 

 

Here are the main things to include in your business agreements.

Business agreements:  Be Clear and keep it simple.

 

Nobody likes legalese. Nobody. Drop the “whereas” please. Just say it clearly and keep it simple. If the program lasts six months, it lasts 6 months. If there are 4 monthly payments, say that. People want to know what they are signing up for. It doesn’t have to be fancy, lengthy, or in legalese to be enforceable. You can have a legally binding agreement written on a napkin in a bar (there’s a law case on this!), not that I’m suggesting that approach.

 

Business agreements: Include QTIPS

 

The specific terms need to be spelled out. You can use QTIPS to remind you to include these things:

 

                Q: Quantity  (6 sessions, 2 bracelets, 5 massages, etc.)

                T: Time of Performance (15 days, 6 months, 1 hour)

                I: Identity of the Parties (You and the name of the client/ customer)

                P: Price

                S: Subject Matter (what are they specifically buying? Coffee? Coaching? Copywriting?)

 

When you include the above terms of your agreement, there isn’t much room for misunderstanding. Just make sure you are specific. Don’t say “fruit” if you mean “orange.” It can be a single sentence, “This agreement between Me and You is for Six 30-minute life coaching sessions over 6 weeks for $350.00.” All the terms are there. You know what you are giving, and they clearly know what they are getting.

 

Business agreements: Spell out the policies

 

This is where people often leave out things that come back to bite them. If you have a no refunds policy, you must put it in writing, in the agreement with the terms, and have it signed. If you offer refunds or replacements within 30 days, it must be in there as well. The policies are the actual guidelines within which you run your business. If you require a deposit, if you require pay in full before a VIP day, if the customer pays shipping, you must let your people know this BEFORE they complete the purchase.  

 

Many times, I see entrepreneurs who have policies develop only after an incident. You must be more intentional than that.  Walk through the customer journey in your mind and find the sticky spots where they may have a question or an issue about your product or service, and how you want to resolve it.  If someone doesn’t like your policies and chooses not to do business with you, trust me, it is far better than the bitter dispute with the credit card company over the chargeback later.

 

 

Business agreements: Get any changes in writing

 

If you make changes, and they do happen, just put them in writing and sign and date them. “You and I agree to change our agreement to include XYZ.  This change is effective immediately.”  Do not rely on the memory of what you said on the phone, and the out of context email isn’t any better. Take a minute and “memorialize” the change.

 

 

 

Business agreements: Be prepared to enforce the agreement

 

This is the part of business nobody really likes, but this is the reason you have written and signed agreements. You must be prepared to enforce them. In my own business I allow people to pause coaching for a month or two if life happens, because I understand that life happens, but we don’t just “cancel” the agreement because life happens. We pick back up and finish out the terms of the agreement. I’ve never had to actually go out and enforce anything, because I have great clients, but if that day ever came, I will. This is business. My livelihood depends on my clients keeping their word, and their own business growth and development relies on it too. You must view this from an objective place and understand that if your clients don’t keep the agreements, your business could go under. Be stronger than that.

 

Finally, Having an attorney look over your agreements is a wise decision. I don’t just say that because I have a law degree. Attorneys went to school to spot gaps and look for language that is written in a way that can be interpreted differently than you think it means or is ambiguous.  If you are skipping the attorney for now, but don’t have written agreements, set aside time to follow the above steps and get your agreements together now. 

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.

 

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!

Food Business

Do you have a food business? Whether it is a cottage business like a home bakery, or a restaurant, or takeout place, there are a few key things you can do to stay in profit in your business. Here are some financial tips for food businesses. 

Food business

 

 

Financial Tips for Food Businesses

 

Know your real food costs on everything you sell and have good margins

 

  • Make sure you calculate your food costs, don’t guess. Take the time to know what it really costs you to create that dish or bake that cake. All the costs involved. Include costs of packaging, labels, and labor, to calculate the true prices. Consequently, that container adds to the cost of delivering the food, as do any food labels– whether it is served in-house or sold online.

 

  • Don’t forget operational expenses and waste costs in your pricing scheme as well. For instance, every business has fixed operating expenses such as rent, internet, and phone. However, as a food business, you also must include waste and other costs like linens, that other industries do not have to include.

 

  • Watch your margins. If you are producing food products, I like to see 60% or better, if you are reselling items, I like to see north of 35%. You will save money, and will have higher margins, by buying ingredients and producing items in-house versus re-selling food that was already made.

 

Watch your inventory spend

 

It is VERY, VERY, VERY easy to overbuy inventory in a food business. In fact, suppliers give volume discounts. It is important to remember that any money you have tied up in inventory is money that you do not have available for other things.

 

Keep in mind how often you can get a delivery from your suppliers. Is the savings of $10.00 worth the additional $77.00 in your walk-in or freezer?

 

Good inventory management will allow you to have better cashflow. Knowing your top sellers and the items that need to be on a regular schedule of ordering will prevent the “feast and famine” orders swinging hundreds of dollars each week.

 

Have an emergency fund and keep debt low

 

Lots of things can happen that affect revenue in your business. If you have bad weather and your restaurant doors are closed for a day or two, or a shipment of your cookies gets damaged and needs to be replaced, it costs your business money.  Relying on the public to decide to eat out or order in on a given night isn’t always predictable. Keeping some cash stashed is a good idea to offset any lower revenue months. Typically, quarter one each year is brutal on food businesses. Having the money set aside to cover any income dips can be the difference between staying in business and not.

 

Along the same lines, keeping debt low is important. Most of the inventory in food businesses are perishable and aren’t available as collateral to take out an emergency line of credit if needed.

 

For example, the depreciation of equipment also can make the food business equipment a little riskier for the bank to loan on for full value.  In addition, not having a lot of debt in the business can also make a difference in the success of a food business in a slower season.

 

Create a sinking fund for equipment repair and replacement

 

Food preparation requires equipment. Ovens, fryers, stovetops, refrigerators, etc., are commonly found in restaurants and home food businesses. These pieces of equipment will often need regular maintenance, and at some point, replacement. Creating a separate fund early in the business where money is parked for these specific needs can ensure that if a piece of equipment goes down, the restaurant budget doesn’t struggle to cover the repairs.  This fund truly protects the business from expensive appliance repairs that must be made to keep the business running.

 

 

Author’s Note on Financial Tips for Food Businesses:

 

Using these tips will help to ensure that your food business operates with finances in the black. You can protect yourself and your business from the most probable money issues facing your industry by:

  • getting good margins
  • only having the necessary inventory
  • having an emergency fund and keeping debt low
  • saving to maintain equipment.

 

Did this blog bring you a bit more clarity?

 

Then visit our linktree below for some useful resources!

 

https://entremoneycoach.com/linktree/

Registering Your Business

Are you ready to form an LLC? I’ve seen quite a bit on social media lately about forming a Limited Liability Company to create a business. I want to remind you that not everyone needs to rush into creating one to have a business.  It can protect your personal assets from being reached to pay a judgment if it gets sued.  There are important decisions to be made about an LLC.  Make an informed choice based on where you and your business are at right now. 

 

business registration

 

An LLC has some great benefits. But, it also has some responsibilities that not enough business owners are aware of. 

 

Here’s the skinny on forming an LLC:

 

 

Form an LLC: It Creates a New Legal Entity

 

When you form an LLC, it creates a new legal “person” who will have its own legal identity. You and any partners become “members” of the organization. The organization is the “citizen” of the state where it is formed.  Typically in the state where the member(s) live. You are creating a new structure. It needs to be treated that way, even if you are the only member of the business. Depending on where you live you may need to renew your entity each year and file to keep your LLC in operation. Additionally, the LLC will have a separate Employer Identification Number (EIN) for taxes, and you must maintain separate bank accounts. 

 

 

 

Form an LLC: All the Business Income Belongs to the LLC

 

One of the biggest issues I see is that people create an LLC to protect their personal assets, which it can, but they use the LLC bank account as their personal piggy bank. In order for the LLC structure to work, and to protect you, the finances MUST be kept completely separate. The LLC pays you as the owner.  Either by a paycheck or through an owner’s draw. You don’t swipe the business debit card to pay personal expenses. Ever.  If you do, the courts can conclude that you didn’t actually treat the LLC as a separate person and that you are really the “same person” as the business, so they can go after your personal assets. It’s a little complicated and beyond the scope of this post, but I cannot stress enough how strictly you must keep the finances clean with an LLC. 

 

 

 

You May Not See Tax Benefits Until You Reach a Certain Income Level

 

Another reason to create an LLC is there can be some tax benefits to the business owner. Depending on the tax structure of the LLC, such as an S-Corp, personal income taxes are being paid on the income the owner actually takes as salary or draws, not on the income that is remaining in banks at the end of the year- which belongs to the LLC.

 

Tax structures and whether the LLC is taxed as a “pass-through” to the member’s personal taxes or as a separate entity is a little outside the realm of this article. But you may be surprised to know that the benefits may not be that great until you pass a certain income threshold. Until your business makes a certain amount in profits, the difference in the amount of taxes may be minimal.

 

 

 

 

Understand the Benefits AND the Costs

 

The many companies preparing and submitting LLC documents to the states are either assuming business owners know all the details, or they are focusing so much on the protection they fail to talk about the expense and the upkeep of creating a new entity. In some states, the renewals can be quite substantial. For one of my clients, her LLC renewal is $800.00 a year.

 

Weigh the costs against any assets that may be at risk, and of course any potential tax savings you could have.  Long story short, not everyone needs to rush into an LLC when they first start a business. Talk to a tax professional about any potential tax benefits, and know your state costs and rules before you create your new business entity.

 

Need free resources for your business? Check out our resourcelinktree

 

make a decision

.I have personally fought the deep fear that I was going to make a wrong decision. I have lived with “analysis paralysis” and turning the same question over and over in my head while trying to figure out every possible outcome. It was exhausting and my business was also stuck. I finally realized that not making a decision IS a decision. I was choosing to keep spinning my wheels. 

 

What If You Couldn’t Make A Wrong Decision

 

Perhaps you have a decision to make that you just can’t. And it is keeping you stuck. Perhaps you have been holding off finding a VA or new software or marketing support. Maybe it’s a financial decision. Maybe it’s the decision to enter a new market or offer a new service.  I want to give you a quick and easy process you can use to help you make the decision. What if you couldn’t make a wrong decision?

 

The Cost-Benefit analysis for this is a simple tool. It shows you if the benefit of something in your business will outweigh the actual cost of having it.  I am a HUGE proponent of the cost/benefit analysis. But the cost/ benefit is a tool that shouldn’t keep you up at night.  I made the biggest mistake with this process by not committing to implementing the best course of action that the tool revealed.

 

 

 

 

I feared that even if I picked the “best” one, it may be wrong for the business. But what if I couldn’t choose “wrong?” What if you couldn’t? Your mindset has to be that you will go with the decision. The decision based on the knowledge that you have when you use the tool.

 

The easiest way to work a cost/ benefit tool is to sit down and handwrite all of the costs and benefits of the decision you are trying to make.  And you use this tool for each decision point. You can handwrite it on a piece of paper, or use a computer program. I am personally a pen and paper and coffee and relaxed environment kind of girl, but you do whatever will allow you to think clearly.

 

 

 

 

Be specific. For example, a Virtual Assistant will save you time that can be better available for money-making activities. Email Automation can make sure nobody who opts in for your newsletter falls through the cracks. And continue to list the benefits that you will personally receive in your business.  Then look at all the costs, financially or otherwise, of implementing the thing.  

 

Many times, when you write it all out, an investment is a “no brainer” and your business will benefit so much you need to add whatever it is, now.  On the flip side, if you are wondering whether to keep something in your business, you can use the same approach. If the benefits (be honest) are not enough to justify the cost, you don’t keep it.

 

 

 

 

Author’s Note:

 

But here is the key, you cannot get it wrong. When you use this tool with the best information you have, your decision is the best you can make at the time. Period. Not making any decision and spinning your wheels is a decision and one that isn’t moving you forward.  Try this tool the next time you have a business decision to make and commit to implementing what comes out on the paper. You will be amazed at how much stress is gone because a decision is made, a course of action is taken, and you can now focus on the next thing.  On one last note, rarely is any decision permanent, so move confidently on the best one that reveals itself to you the next time you feel stuck.

business strategy meeting

As entrepreneurs, we are often asked if we have a “business strategy” for just about everything. Social media, marketing, growth, operations, and on and on. But what does it mean to have one? The word strategy, as defined by dictionary.com means, “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.”

 

business strategy meeting

 

In all honesty, it can feel a little overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be planned in your business. On the other hand, operating without any plan, that is, just winging it in your biz, will cost you time, energy, and money because you will be trying to hit your targets in the dark. The truth is that you need an overarching plan for your vision, then mini-plans in each of the action areas.

 

 

 

 

Must Fit Into Your Bigger Vision and Goal

 

You want to go from New York to Los Angeles in the car. That’s the goal, get to LA. There are so many different routes to get there, but we can probably agree that you need to have a starting road and you need to be going west. Without looking at a map or GPS or having a strategy to get to your destination you could end up anywhere else costing time and money.  It is true that your starting route may change, and you may end up on a different interstate- but as long as you hold the vision of getting to LA, you will be ultimately moving west. Make sense?

 

My question to you. Where are you going? What does this look like in the future? What is your vision? This is your very first strategy assignment, create a picture of where you are going. This is where people look out 3 months, 6 months, a year, five years. But for now, just pick a timeframe within 2 years and grab the picture in your mind. Now we need to hold that vision to create a plan to get there. Write down this vision and your goals.

 

 

 

 

Must Lead Into Action Plan

 

Some of us love to plan. I do. Unfortunately, sometimes we replace action with planning. Planning is preparation, and I am so guilty of this when I have any fear or resistance around taking the next step. The best use of strategy is to translate your plan into actions that you take every day, week, month, towards your vision.

 

This is where multiple strategies are developed. For example, the social media strategy, marketing strategy, and webinar strategy must nest within the bigger vision. To do this, look at your written vision and goals and describe what each plan needs to do to support your journey. If your business is product-based you may have a strategy that includes sales to both wholesale and retail audiences, so your sales strategy needs to address how to support both.

 

The actual number of plans will vary by business. If you are in manufacturing, you will have strategic needs that aren’t necessary in the coaching world. At a minimum, however, I think just about every business needs:

 

  • A marketing strategy (with a social media plan)
  • A sales strategy
  • A customer acquisition, service, support, and retention strategy
  • A clear strategy for delivering the products and services to market

 

With these four strategies defined for your business, you can make decisions and take action every day aligned with your bigger vision.

 

 

 

 

Must Be Reviewed At Least Twice A Year  

 

It is so true that businesses start with one thing and ultimately evolves. You may start with a single idea and grow it into several lines of revenue. You may need to meet your customer a different way as the industry changes. The strategy will also evolve and grow with your business.  So, creating your strategy isn’t a “one and done” event.  Reviewing it twice a year is a great way to see if your goals and vision are still aligned based on the daily real-world business things.

 

If you aren’t a natural planner, I get it. I hope you see how important it is to have an overarching map and strategy to get to your vision.  You’ve been given a vision, and your entrepreneurial purpose is to reach it. If you need some help with planning your next moves, grab a spot on my calendar for a chat, I have an intensive 3-hour session available that is intended to get your plan reviewed and if needed, back on track to support your goals.

“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!