Many entrepreneurs low ball their prices for products and services in the beginning. I did.  For my own story, I had a coach that told me what I already knew, I was undercharging. Imposter syndrome is a real thing, and many of us tend to undervalue ourselves and the impact we make in the beginning of our entrepreneurial journey. This seems to be very common with service providers. Coaches, consultants, and freelancers typically start lower than they should, and are sometimes very slow to raise prices. Margins in service businesses are typically higher than many product-based businesses. Because there isn’t a “wholesale” cost, so to speak, many of us struggle to price our services. And if we don’t have a responding increase to the cost of doing business, we tend to struggle to “justify” a price increase to ourselves.

 

There are a lot of articles and methods for pricing yourself in the marketplace, and also ways to raise your prices.  What I want to offer is a way to raise your prices when you are resisting the increase by identifying the increase with a name. We’ll simply call it the “profit line.” This can help with some of the hesitancy to increase prices, your “base price” remains the same but you add on an increase which you categorize and have a real purpose for the money.

 

This system works because many of us struggle with money mindset, and the thought that raising our prices might mean we are greedy. “I don’t need that much” is the cry of the resistance. But you aren’t in business only to solve your needs. You are also in business to create profit and to reach your financial goals. If you don’t have yours defined yet, let’s get some profit goals and the why behind them written.  

 

You can decide what you want to add as a percentage or a number. For example, you charge $200.00 for a service. You add $20.00 as a 10% pure profit line, and the new price is $220.00 for your service. Your prices are raised, a bit, and moving forward every time you sell that service, you siphon off $20.00 to put into an account for profit. Give that account a name, a purpose. You don’t have to stop at 10%. You can add 50% profit and make your service $300.00. Your decision.

 

If you are resisting raising your service prices, give this method a try. Go ahead and figure out how much profit you will have in an account in a month if you add this line. Plan your next business move. What is this specific profit amount going to be for? Remember that any money without a name will run off and spend itself. Go ahead and raise your process. Just do it. Add a profit line this week. Happy Entrepreneuring!

 

Small businesses are started with an intent and design for growth. To impact more people. To serve a larger audience over time. That’s why entrepreneurs start businesses, right? More growth typically means more money. Another reason we start a business.  Keeping your finances organized for growth can be tricky. Particularly if your business grows quickly. Growing businesses mean growing expenses. Perhaps the addition of a new team member or increased wholesale or raw material costs. So, how do you keep track of it all? Here are five tips for organizing your finances for growth.

 

  1. Make sure you have all of your bills and expenses in one place. You should never have to go looking for a bill to pay it. Write down who you pay, what it’s for, account numbers, contact information, and online login info in a notebook, on a spreadsheet, or just on a list in a Word document. Keep this list updated anytime you make a change to the business expenses.

 

  1. Be intentional with your payments and take all your bills off autopay. If you aren’t already, this is the time to manage cash flow very carefully. You need to be in control of your cash. Holding the water bill for a day or two while you are waiting for your invoice to be paid keeps cash in your pocket just in case. Cash flow issues cause sleepless nights in around 60% of entrepreneurs. Control yours.

 

  1. Track all money coming in, in writing, and leave it in the holding account until you pay bills, payroll, or write yourself a paycheck. Don’t use any money coming in before it’s time. When you are growing you may have intermittent bills or newer expenses that are due in a time period that is new for you. Don’t try to rely on memory to tell you where that $65.00 cash payment went. It doesn’t have to be a complicated system. You can use a sheet of paper. JUST WRITE IT ALL DOWN.

 

  1. Have categories for your “extra money.” Miscellaneous is the category of money that runs off and spends itself, and we don’t want this. I am a firm believer in “profit parking lots” that have names, and a purpose attached. You need to have a separate bank account from your operating account for holding these profits. Use a fee free checking account, and don’t forget to look online for a bank. My clients have had great success using an online bank for their holding account.

 

  1. Don’t forget to put money in your emergency fund to protect the business you have as you are growing. Three months of your breakthrough, or B-Number, is a wise amount to put aside in case of emergency. Giving yourself a full quarter’s worth of money to cover expenses as you pivot or launch something is a smart move. To figure your B-Number use the free worksheets on www.entremoneycoach.com and the free videos on the Entre Money Coach Facebook page.

 

You don’t have to make money organization and management complicated. You just have to maintain control, track it all, and protect yourself with categories and purposes for profits. Use these five tips to prepare your business for growth. Happy Entrepreneuring!

The 2016 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor reported that  only 51%  of entrepreneurs pay themselves a salary. By 2019,  the statistic flipped,and 51% of entrepreneurs did NOT pay themselves a salary. In fact, 26% of business owners skipped pay for 2-6 months, and another 25% went OVER six months without a paycheck. What in the world?

Truth be told, many entrepreneurs pay themselves as an afterthought. I spoke with a restaurant owner just yesterday who admitted, “I could probably take a check, but I’m afraid if we slow down the business would struggle.” That’s a fairly common sentiment. Cash flow concerns have caused lost sleep and anxiety in  63% of entrepreneurs in a recent survey.

It is my personal experience that foregoing a paycheck caused even more anxiety because our personal income became unstable. I hear the wishful thinking that entrepreneurs can pay themselves, “someday.” Well, let’s start the habit now. You may not be able to pay yourself your dream salary, yet, but you need to get into the habit of budgeting for yourself.

1. Make sure you know your business “4 walls.” I like to envision your business as having 4 sides, like a house or a box, and your priority must be the expenses on the inside of that box. Expenses that cover your access to buyers, critical operating expenses and minimum inventory spend and a paycheck for yourself should be your priorities over anything else you may owe. The anxiety of worrying whether you have made “enough” this month will be alleviated by having this number. You can get the free worksheets on my website www.entremoneycoach.com.

2. Pick a number. Pick a number to pay yourself. Many entrepreneurs get stuck here. There are a few different ways to calculate your salary. One is to total up the personal expenses you need to cover your personal “four walls;” food, utilities, rent or mortgage, and transportation. When your electric and water is paid, you will be able to show up and serve with less stress.

Another method is to decide your ideal check, and take a percentage of it, say 40%. For example, if your ideal check is $1,000.00/ week, your 40% is $400/ week. Then add your taxes on top of that. So, you may take base pay of $500 week with a 20% tax rate. Every two weeks you write a $1000.00 check, deposit it and pay $200 to your self-employment taxes. Every dollar over that amount remains in operating account. As the business grows you can incrementally increase your salary.

3. Put your paydays on a calendar. And commit to paying yourself, even if it’s only $10.00. Do it. Celebrate your business, and yourself, with a tangible reward for two weeks of hard work. This pay must be in a paycheck. You are not going to live out of the till anymore. The money you earn between paydays stays in the operating account. Many entrepreneurs go through “petty cash” or take money directly from the business to pay personal expenses. This co-mingling is a nightmare for taxes and your personal finances.

The picture of the struggling entrepreneur working hard, starving even, until they make it big is the Cinderella story we love to read. But most small businesses grow slowly and incrementally. Those “overnight successes” we read about were likely in business for years before the “big break.” So, let’s pay ourselves, something, every other week in 2020. If you need a reminder, sign up for the Entre Pay Day newsletter at Entre Money Coach