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Recurring revenue creates business stability through renewable products and services.

 

Do you know why memberships, subscription boxes, and automatic renewals are so popular? Because people love to be a part of something and to receive new things regularly.

 

And where there is predictable RR the business owner can relax a little bit because a certain amount of money will be flowing in each month without their having to make any more sales.  This is also the reason payment plans are so popular for entrepreneurs as well. Yes, there is a risk someone won’t meet their obligation, but most of the time people do. As a result, recurring revenue streams can be a great way to grow your business and have “guaranteed” income each month and I recommend having at least one offer to many of my clients.  

 

 

How to Set Up Your Recurring Revenue:

 

1. Create an offer that people want every month.

Many people join memberships and subscriptions because the offer has something new each cycle. I belong to a few memberships where each month has new trainings that I love.  There may be a members-only masterclass, new members-only bonus, some accountability, or other “new” perk that keeps the subscription fresh.

If you don’t already have something that would support a regular renewal, create one. Start with the outcome. What is the client going to receive with this offer? Sales support? A Product box? A new course or masterclass? Why would they choose to work with you each month, what are you giving them?

 

2. For subscriptions, use membership software to minimize your tasks.

 

There are a lot of different kinds of membership software available that will automatically “renew” your members each month and keep your client’s payment information secure.  I don’t recommend manually invoicing or running cards for small payments in a membership. It is labor-intensive and there is a risk of making a mistake, double charging, invoices not being sent, etc.

Invest in a membership portal or software to automate the billing tasks.  I have personally used a single purchase of Memberpress for my WordPress website linked to PayPal for my monthly recurring membership for non-traditional law students. I know that there are other platforms and software products available for you to explore.

 

 

 

A note on payment plans.

You can still have recurring revenue with payment plans for your products and services.  You can decide how many payments you want to receive for each offer. I don’t recommend stretching the payments too far out past the end of your program or service. And I always recommend adding to the monthly payment enough to cover your additional fees and to reduce the risk of someone not paying.

For example, I have an offer that is $697.00. I have a plan for two payments at $365, or $730, and three payments at $250.00, or $750.  The little bit extra in each payment offsets both the increased interchange fees and the risks that someone won’t make all of the payments. Payment plans can be a great way to have a regular income for a few months on a single sale.

 

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!

 

 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.

 

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!