One of the first things many entrepreneurs do is to create their mission statement, vision statement, and values. These three statements anchor the brand, the business plan, the map for the business itself.  If you have never taken the time to define these things for your business, it’s definitely an exercise in clarity.

A surprising assignment.

I learned the importance of this exercise with UNEQ Consulting. We were late with this process though and we worked with an amazing business consultant to guide us.  Since that experience I have made a point to create these three statements for every venture. But I didn’t revisit them before now. Revisiting them was an assignment from my coach. 

I honestly never thought to review the “big three” statements once I got them written. I guess I always thought that was such a “corporate” thing to do. Not a small business thing. In reality, small businesses change and evolve and pivot and serve different audiences much more frequently than large corporations.

I had created this first mission statement back in October 2019 as Entre Money Coach was fully separating from my law practice and personal financial coaching business into its own entity:

“My mission is to empower and support entrepreneurs making powerful, positive changes to their money management approach, to protect and grow their businesses into the vision they were given, with understanding, enthusiasm, and without judgment.”

Niching Down

So much happened between October and March! I worked with many more people on their businesses. Through those clients I refined the process of calculating my signature Breakthrough Number approach to money management, so it was more streamlined. I definitely niched differently. I thought that start-ups would benefit from getting their financial sh*t together from the beginning, but I realized very quickly that these entrepreneurs were so excited about just, “being in business” that the money stuff hardly entered their mind. 

Rather the clients calling me were entrepreneurs who have been in business for a bit, and who are making money and not keeping much of it. This segment required much more strategy to create income and increase profits. It was less about “open your operating account” and more about, “we need to change this package because you are losing money on this.” The consistent results for my clients was that they made more money and kept more profit. Financial organization and positive changes to money mechanics were byproducts of my approach. Not the reason I was being called.

Time for a Change

So mid-March I revisited my mission, and realized a lot had changed. So, I refined it, taking into account all of the stuff I already talked about above. Here is the March 2020 version of my mission statement:

“The mission of Entre Money Coach is to help small businesses make more income and keep more profit with a money management approach that starts with their Breakthrough Number and prioritizes protecting the business and paying the entrepreneur so they can grow into their business vision. We do this with understanding, enthusiasm, and without judgment.”

Much more specific as to who and how. I plan to revisit it again in October. It’s already on my calendar to take time to review. If you haven’t looked at your statement in a while, or never created one at all, I encourage you to take the time to do it this week. Happy Entrepreneuring!

 

Most of my clients have lasting results with the money changes we make. But what makes some clients more successful than others? I don’t judge success by dollar amounts of debt paid or profit made. Some of my most successful clients had overall smaller dollar changes.  I judge success by my clients reaching their financial goals, staying protected at their income milestone, paying themselves and having great job satisfaction. If my clients can remove the stress and uncertainty that can come up around money, I call it a win.  But my most successful clients all have three qualities about them that made them “extra” successful.

1 – They have a money goal and a purpose for the money.

My most successful clients have a money goal. Saving to buy a building, leave the 9 to 5 job, open a day spa in 3 years are all examples of my client’s goals and purpose for a set amount of money. These goals aren’t fuzzy. They know how much they need, and they have a timeline to make it. If they don’t start that way, they get it when we work together. If your money goal is “as much as possible” or “as much as I need to cover overhead” you likely don’t have the same laser focus to create and make money as my most successful clients do. The truth is, if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. You need to define and write down your goals with a plan to reach them. Not that plans can’t grow, change, and evolve, but if you don’t start with one at all you aren’t going to be able to really measure your progress.

2 – They take immediate action to control their money.

They opened the holding account, they took the utilities off autopay, they started tracking income every day. Some of my clients have done those tasks the same day we have our session! Keeping their laser focus on the goal they take quick action and have wins immediately. I have seen less success with entrepreneurs who are slower to make necessary changes. The motivation to get it done quickly goes away, and often only about half of the recommendations make it into the business. They may pay their expenses intentionally, but they don’t make the time to create a monthly spending plan (budget). My most successful clients commit to making changes with their money quickly, one step at a time, and they follow through right away.

3 – They celebrate every financial win and use them to stay motivated.

Let’s face it, saving 5 years for a building can get a little boring. Every $200.00 deposit seems tiny in the face of the price for a building. But my most successful clients celebrate every single win, whether it is a deposit into a building fund, or a payday when they proudly sign both the front and the back of their paychecks. Staying motivated can be difficult sometimes, and we all have to deal with the sometime lack of motivation. Celebrating the little things brings joy into the progress, not the end state. If you aren’t celebrating and doing a little dance after every sale or payday, I challenge you to start today. Find a small money win and recognize it with gratitude.

 Many people find business tax stuff difficult, and for the most of my clients it is a matter of organization.

Using these four categories of information, you can set yourself up to make taxes in 2021 stress-free.

 

  1. Track all of your income this year in a single place.

Some people like to use software, some like excel sheets, some get reports from PayPal for example, and some use good old-fashioned pen and paper. You need to account for every dime coming in, and it’s best to look at it month by month. I meet way too many entrepreneurs who don’t actually track the money coming in.  They just set expenses up on auto pay and use a credit card to cover any negative cash flow. The issue with this approach is that you can’t track trends or opportunities to make more money. It further makes quarterly tax deposits a pain. I recommend to my clients that they take 10-15 minutes every week to figure and track that gross income number.

 

2. Keep your routine expenses organized.

You need to keep everyone and everything you pay every month in one place. This serves two purposes. First, you don’t forget to pay something, and you have all of the info at your fingertips if we need to contact a creditor. You can get a free expense organizer from me by visitinghttp://entremoneycoach.com and you will have everything ready to go in about 30 minutes. As a bonus, complete the Breakthrough Number worksheets, you will also know the minimum amount you must make every month to breakthrough to profit.  That B-Number has the added bonus of reducing stress and frustration around your expenses.

 

3. Organize your other receipts by month.

Just take an envelope and write the month on the front. Every expense receipt for the month goes into the envelope. Then the receipt amount and purpose of the expense goes on your monthly tracking sheet. If you buy ink for the printer, for example, write “ink” on your tracker, and put the receipt in the envelope for the month. That’s it! At the end of 2020 you will have 12 envelopes with every expense and 12 months of tracking. This can be used to spot trends in costs and other things that you can use for business planning, as well as for filing taxes.

 

4. Enroll in EFTPS and deposit your self-employment taxes online.

Take the time now to enroll in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System at https://eftps.gov Once you are enrolled you can log in every time you write yourself a paycheck and deposit your taxes. Rather than making quarterly deposits (and perhaps accidentally spending the money), make your smaller deposits, perhaps every time you write yourself a paycheck.  For tax time 2021 you will just print out a summary of payments to the IRS and include it in the documents you give your accountant. Easy peasy.

 

By taking these few actions above, and consistently tracking your income weekly and your receipts once a month, you will be organized and ready to provide everything to your tax pro in 2021.

 

If you’ve been following me for any time, you know that I am all about protecting your business, now, wherever it is in its evolution. One of the best ways to protect your business is to have an emergency fund. Also known as a management reserve, this fund is a stash of cash equivalent to at least three times your monthly expenses, including your paycheck.  The importance of having extra cash for emergencies cannot be overstated. I have worked with entrepreneurs who spend everything they make each month in profit. They enlarge marketing budgets and add services to their businesses but have no cash to protect their existing milestone.

Three times your breakthrough (B-Number) is my recommendation for a first emergency fund goal (you can easily calculate your numbers with the free worksheets at www.entremoneycoach.com.) The reason I believe three months is a minimum number is that if the sun explodes, you still have a full quarter to right the ship. You will have expenses and a paycheck for the three months it takes to pivot, to launch, to take corrective action in your business. 

At first that number may seem a bit high, and honestly you may be thinking, “I’m barely surviving right now, you want me to save HOW MUCH?” But it is possible to save towards your goal and hit it in a few simple steps.  

  1. Get Set Up for Success. Make sure you have a separate bank account so that your emergency fund money doesn’t get comingled and accidentally spent. Keep it liquid but keep it separate, even in a different bank. Have a fee free checking account, with checks, for access and have a defined list of what constitutes an emergency.
  2. Put a little in each month. Make your emergency a line item in your budget. If you write down your savings goal, and you write in a goal for saving a certain amount, you are more likely to do it. Save a little each month, and you will be amazed how fast it grows.
  3. Make larger deposits as you make more money. Alternatively, or additionally, save a portion of your profits over your B-Number in a good month. Let’s say that you have a very successful month in sales, commit to stashing some portion of that profit in the fund.
  4. Celebrate your progress. You are actively taking steps to protect your business should you need a little money to cover you.

Treat your emergency fund as a priority and it will be funded faster than you expect. And once it is funded, you are done! You will then be in a better position to grow and take on new growth and risks, and more confident knowing you can cover what you need to every month. Happy Entrepreneuring!

The concept of the business pivot is not new, I learned about it several years ago when I was in the Syracuse University V-WISE program for women veteran entrepreneurs.  Traditionally a pivot is a term to describe a strategy to turn a business when the current business model isn’t working, a plan “B” if you will.  But I also see a pivot as a strategy that can aid expansion of a business. I don’t think a pivot is only a plan B, but can be a business strategy for small turns, little twists that steer the business to look in an additional direction.

 

Entrepreneurs are, by nature, change agents. Known for figuring out ways to do things better, ways to take calculated risks. We are also known for continually searching for the “next thing.” I believe that using a simple pivot analysis can help you find the next move for your business. Again, I don’t ascribe to a pivot as something to do only when things are going wrong. I believe that a little turn deserves a pivot analysis, so risks can be weighed in a structured, but simple, way. Use this three-step process to discover your next business move.

 

  1. Commit to use openminded and unfiltered brainstorming. For best results, use the recommendations by Jennifer Jackson of Lucid Chartand just get every idea down on paper, and edit later.

 

  1. Use the Entre Money Coach ADFP Formula. Ask open ended questions about your Audience, Delivery, Focus, and Processes for places to improve, serve, and expand. Get the Free ADFP Process and questions to ask by visiting> here.

 

  1. Use market research to explore ideas. Don’t just throw out unusual ideas as bunk. Do a little market research to see if there is a fit. There are all kinds of free resources online to help you. Don’t forget to look at adjacent industries and at your own industry for ideas and changes going on that can support your ideas.

 

Some of the best business moves are those that seem to be a natural twist or progression. A pivot doesn’t have to be dramatic to impact your bottom line positively. Happy Entrepreneuring!

Entrepreneurship means always having to say, “no worries,” even when we are worried. And as a group, we worry a lot. We want to be relevant, successful, financially secure. We are, in many cases, able to separate what we can control, and what we can’t control. But where money is concerned, 60% of entrepreneurs lose sleep when there’s a crunch. It’s safe to say that we struggle with the control thing when we are talking about our money. I am guilty of this too and am still working on it.

 

So why are we so crazy about the money? For many of us, it’s our metric of success. When we are responsible for every aspect of our business, from finding clients to keeping staff happy, juggling vendors and paying the bills, we gauge how we are doing by the amount of money we make. But when we use the bottom line as the only metric of our success any changes in the cash can increase the stress to unbearable levels. So, what can we do when we feel the financial stress rising up?

 

  1. Recognize the stress. Stress can zap your creativity and ability to make the best decisions you can make to get through a rough patch. If you can see stress rising in yourself when you review the financials you can take action to mitigate its effects. Don’t wait until you can’t sleep or turn off your brain to take action.

 

  1. Admit what you can’t control, and act accordingly. I have worked on this one for a long time. I can’t control if my invoice gets paid on time. I can’t control when people cancel appointments. I can’t control when packages arrive late. I can take affirmative steps to prevent these things from happening, but I cannot control these events when they happen. When I realize I cannot control the event, I give myself grace and a timeline for being upset.

 

  1. Don’t lie in bed and worry about money. Worry at the desk. Fine. The dinner table, fine. Not in bed. That’s not fine. If it’s not in the bank when the bank closes, it’s not in the bank. Your being up at 2am worrying about the money in the bank won’t affect your balance one bit. It will affect your ability to show up the next day. It will affect your health. Train yourself to keep financial stress outside the bedroom. If you wake up in the middle of the night and have financial worry- get up. Take it outside your sanctuary.

 

  1. Find non-monetary measures of progress and success. In today’s business world there are metrics everywhere. Websites and social media platforms can show you how you are reaching out and impacting the world. You don’t only need to measure by the money. What are a few ways you can look at your progress now without the bank book?

 

  1. Give yourself CEO space. No people. No projects. No progress reports. Schedule an hour or two a week to close yourself off to think, reflect, and to be by yourself. Use this time to brainstorm, meditate, listen to music. To Just BE. I’m still working on this. Entrepreneurs by nature are human doings much more than we are human beings.

 

Money stress when you are not in control does nothing to impact your bottom line and everything to affect your health and creativity. These skills are a work in progress for most of us. But managing to keep money stress at bay by focusing on other measures of success, ensuring a good night’s sleep, and reminding ourselves where we aren’t in control will make running your business less stressful. 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!

I’ve developed the concept of the business 4 walls from the Dave Ramsey 4 Walls approach, which makes sense, since I started my practice as a Ramsey Financial Coach. Imagine the 4 walls are the sides of a box, and you will consider the things on the inside of the box more important and needing protection than things on the outside of the box. That is how you need to view your business. You need to protect the things that keep the doors open and keep you able to continue to make money. The inside of the box.

We protect those walls by prioritizing what gets paid when. You control the money. You also decide who gets paid, “how much” because the reality is that many times businesses have to juggle when invoices are paid late, or cash flow is tight. More than once I paid the electric bill in two halves instead in one payment when we first started UNEQ consulting. And it saved our cash flow.

Here are three simple steps you can take now to secure your business 4 walls.

1. Take the bills off auto pay. I am a huge proponent of intentional business money management. I want you to pay your bills intentionally. And limit electronic access to your operating account so you can control all of your money, and pay halvsies if necessary.

2. Prioritize your expenses. Organized into the four walls, you pay the bills in this order:

Wall 1. Rent or internet, and utilities, your access to your buyers
Wall 2. Critical Operating Expenses that are required to keep doors open
Wall 3. Inventory or products to sell or provide services with
Wall 4. Payroll and payroll expenses

This includes paying yourself. And not out of the till, writing a paycheck and withholding taxes. For more on this approach, and calculating your B-Number, grab the free e-book at www.entremoneycoach.com

3. Start an emergency fund. You need to protect your four walls and pay these expenses every month, even if the sales are slow or money is late to the table. This is the quarter where many businesses make a bulk of their earnings. Hold some back for the slower months of January and February. Try to hold back the amount you need to cover your four walls, so you continue to be able to get a personal paycheck in 1st Quarter 2020.

If you take these few steps you will be protecting your business, your ability to make money, and your personal income.