As and entrepreneur and business coach, I am often presented with worries my clients have over getting more clients and making ends meet. Part of what I do is sit down with them to go over the system on getting more clients, and then we look at a much more simplistic approach.
How much money do I need to make?
My answer is always the same. Do the math. It really is just that simple. And it is not all about complex formulas and algorithms. As a business owner, figure out what your monthly expenses are. Everything from rent, salaries, taxes, advertising, dues and subscriptions, the list goes on and on. Then also figure in how much of a cushion you want to have in your account for the months when business is a little slow. I find this is an important step a lot of business owners miss. There is always a slow time for every industry. So figure out yours and prepare for it.
Now that you have that number, start working backwards. What types of programs or products do you offer? How much do you charge for them? How many of them do you need to sell to achieve your goal? This money can come from specific projects, retainers, billable hours, public speaking engagements, or product sales.
I recommend tackling a smaller time frame in the beginning. Approach it from a monthly perspective. How much money do you need to make every month to pay your bills and still have room to breathe? Then start plugging in the credit side of the balance sheet. How many products or services are needed in one month to cover this amount? Start by making a simple document that lists the type of product or service you offer, the price point, and how many you will need to sell of each one in order to achieve your goal.
But it doesn’t stop there. You have to have a process to achieve these goals. What types of marketing will you be engaging in during this time period to find new clients? Will it be online advertising such as enewsletters, social media, or Google Adwords? How will you increase your newsletter subscribers? Will you run a special?
Then you must also consider the systems you have in place to track everything you are doing. What programs will you use to improve delivery, track expenses, streamline the client intake process, set up blogging schedules and appropriately follow up? A few I recommend for you that are easy to use when you are just beginning:
- WordPress – set up your website on this platform so you can maximize your SEO and blogging efforts. It is super simple to maintain and easily updated.
- Quickbooks – have an accountant help you get started, but everything is handled within it for billing and invoicing purposes that make your life easier. There are also services you can sign up for that make payroll and taxes a breeze.
- Keep In Touch Software – I have recently begun using Contactually and it has made my life a thousand times easier in the keep in touch department. You can also enter in specific tasks and it will remind you to send important emails or make important phone calls.
- Newsletter Service – I recommend Constant Contact to all my clients. Their customer service is superb and it is a very affordable price point for beginners.
- Evernote – a very popular app for people to record thoughts and to do lists for later and then you can access them from anywhere. Then you always will have a blog topic you can write about to keep in touch with your clients!
This is just a small sample of some of the advice I give to my clients to help them wrap their head around their business. It is also useful for anyone else who is considering making the leap into entrepreneurship.
So what about you? Do you have any more tips to share on how to make ends meet as a small business owner? I want to hear them!