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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!

 

 

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. 

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

 

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.

Define

 Defining Offers Your Audience Will Crave

One of the services people seek from me is defining offers that are strategic and are profitable.  My first step is to learn all I can about my client’s business and how they currently serve their clients. We then discuss how they are feeling about their business.

 

I’ve had clients come to me ready to pivot, ready to stop doing what they have been doing up to that point.  Truly loving what you do is critical to long-term success in business.

 

Shocked Client

 

 

STEPS IN DEFINING OFFERS

There are many approaches to defining offers that clients are excited to buy.  One is to first define your “Ideal Client Avatar” or ICA.

 

My approach is a little different. I first want to know why people would come to YOU for what you do.

 

What is your unique perspective, method, approach? If someone is shopping for what it is you do and sell, and all other things being equal, what do you think the deciding factor would be for the client to choose you? Have you ever answered that question before? 

 

Secondly, the next step is to ask where the client is in their journey with your current offers.

 

Do they need to really know you to work with you or can they align quickly with your results? One way to explain this is, do they need to commit 3-6 months to work with you, or can they get you for an hour or two? Or do you have an “entry-level” thing to sell? or are you currently only a long-term commitment? 

 

Guess what, all approaches are fine. You just need to recognize where the client has to be to take advantage of your offer.

 

Thirdly,  ask what levels of results do you want to offer? I want my clients to go from A-B, C-D, and E-H. Maybe you just have one result. But know what it is.

 

Lastly, define where you want to serve new clients in your world. For some people, they want to serve on a recurring basis, like in a membership or subscription.

 

 

 

TAKEAWAY:

 

However, some have more of a stair-step approach. Some serve new people with free masterclasses for several days before making any paid offer. Again, it is about your results and how you get them.

 

 

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

There is no one right way to create and sell your offers, and I don’t believe that everyone should have a certain number of offers available. I have paid courses, workshops, group and 1:1 programs, and a book, and then free resources, masterclasses, and a podcast. Plus, this blog. But this isn’t the right mix for everyone and every business. These offers are what work for my clients along a spectrum of needs and desired results and feels really good for me to offer and serve. 

 

I recommend that you approach your current offers through this process and evaluate what you can offer to fill any service and results gaps in your current programs. One other thing to do is to ask people if there is anything you should be offering differently. That question actually created a 12-week program because the 6-week profit accelerator felt too rushed for one of my clients. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience how you can serve!

 

I wanted to give you an end of year checklist with the knowledge that once you check these things off, your 2020 stuff is in the books! If you run your business on the January to December calendar year, follow these steps to close your year out over the next few weeks!

End of year checklistIt is almost the end of 2020 (fanfare!) and I know most of us are relieved and grateful for the new year. This past year didn’t go as planned for anyone I know. Yet, many people learned to pivot, change, and thrive this year. Never underestimate the determination of an entrepreneur.

 

 

 

End of Year Checklist

Close out your income for 2020.

 

After the 31st, no more income counts for 2020. You should have your gross numbers immediately if you have been tracking your income monthly. Print out reports from Stripe, PayPal, and any other payment processor you use. Keep these for your taxes.

 

 

 

Organize your receipts by month

 

If you don’t keep your receipts by month already, go ahead and sort them into envelopes, by month, and total the amount of the receipts on the outside of the envelope. You can add the 12 monthly totals together to easily find what you paid in expenses in 2020.

 

 

 

Know your regular monthly expenses for 2020.

 

Again, if you don’t total these monthly, go ahead and add up your regular monthly expenses such as your phone, rent, internet, and software subscriptions. You need this total for your taxes as well.

 

 

 

Print out the report of your tax deposits

 

In the U.S. you have until January 31st to pay your fourth quarter taxes. If you follow my method, however, you are withholding and depositing taxes with each paycheck throughout the year. This means 26 deposits in 2020. If you used the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) you can just print a report of your deposits and have it for your taxes.

 

 

 

Make sure you send your returns for of your payroll tax deposits

 

If your bookkeeper will run you an annual report, grab it and have it for taxes. The same with your software, run those reports if you paid employer taxes to make filing your final 2020 940 and 941 easier. If your bookkeeper or accountant does this for you, bonus! Just make sure you sign and mail these returns on time.

 

 

 

Recalculate your Breakthrough Number for Q1 2021

 

Have your expenses changed? Do you still need all of the things you pay for? Take time to run your numbers and adjust your emergency fund deposit as needed to cover any changes. This is also the time to check in on your cyclical fund deposit for any changes in 2021.

 

 

 

Finally, celebrate the end of 2020

 

Check all of these things off the list, and feel free to dance around the living room. I won’t judge. The new year brings 365 new days of opportunities, growth, and success.

 

 

 

Wishing you the very best for 2021. Happy Entrepreneuring!