Are you working too hard?

busy productive rest work Jun 30, 2020
I took a day off last week.  It’s actually the first proper day I’ve had off since lockdown, where I turned off my email and my notifications for the day and was truly present with my family.  We went to the beach for my son’s 8th birthday and it was just a lovely day, one of those rare parental days that go well!  And since then I’ve been super productive getting my business work done.
 
So I’m planning another day off this week (my husband’s birthday!)
 
 
I’m a firm believer that actually hard work doesn’t always equal greater success.  Yes, if you are lazy and don’t put in the work at all, your business won’t grow.  But actually, working 14 hour days isn’t the answer either. 
 
In her book, “Do Less” by Kate Northrup (get a copy here), Kate talks a lot about needing to have time out in order to be able to have productive times.  That we...
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Do you know what the breakeven position is in your business?

Do you know what the breakeven position is in your business?  Do you even know what that is?
 
If you don’t know (and it’s totally ok if you don’t), breakeven is when your sales and costs are the same ie zero profit.  This is taken after tax to ensure this doesn’t get forgotten.
 
Start with working out your fixed costs.  These are the items that, if you didn’t have any income, would still exist.  This might be your website, insurance, accounting costs, employees, office space costs, tech (G suite, zoom etc) or manufacturing costs.  Also, anything that you are paying on a payment plan to ease the payments.  Anything that you can’t just turn off if your business stopped for a period. 
 
Then look at the variable costs.  This could include paying yourself although I think you should be aiming for a minimum fixed cost each month to pay yourself.  So put in how much you need to live in this...
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Being a sole trader

There is often a lot of talk about whether you should be a sole trader or a limited company.  There are circumstances when being a limited company is a really good idea, such as having people on the payroll or being in business with someone else.  The main reason for most service businesses is that they want to save tax.  Once you take home more than £30,000 from your business (sales less costs), it is worth considering.  But it isn’t always the right thing to do and you should consult an accountant first.  More information is here
 
You must make sure you have sufficient insurance in place.  When you are a sole trader, liability if a client sues you is unlimited (hence Limited company) and you need to have solid insurance in place to ensure they can’t take your house.
 
Being a sole trader, if you have been in business for more than a couple of years, has also been much easier to claim from the government in recent...
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Why you should have a cash flow forecast

cashflow forecast planning Jun 10, 2020
Cash flow forecasting is critical in any business but lots of people neglect this area.
 
Imagine for a moment that you are wanting to buy a new car but you don’t have the cash for it.  You look at the options – you could lease, which would be more expensive but would only mean a monthly outlay, or you could save up to buy the car outright.  For each option, you would look at how you would save the money, or whether you could afford the monthly lease repayments.
 
You might look at your household budget, if you have one, or make a guess based on your bank balance, or just decide without looking and say you will put any shortage on your credit card.
 
Without planning, this could lead to significant debt.  You might choose a car that is more expensive than you can afford, or have monthly payments you can’t meet. 
 
It’s the same with having a cash flow forecast in your business.  How do you know whether you can...
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How lean is your business?

business cashflow numbers Jun 10, 2020
Do you run a tight ship, or do you keep spending money in your business?  
 
Running a lean business is key, whatever size business you are.  Overspending is a sure fire way to have you go out of business.  60% of UK small businesses fail in their first 5 years, and you don’t want to be one of them.
 
Examples of how to keep your business lean:
 
  • Employ freelance staff where you can, rather than employ them, until you are sure you can keep them on the payroll permanently.   Employing people can work out cheaper in the long run but only if you can guarantee work.  Freelance can be more flexible.
  • Make sure your marketing costs have a sold return on investment (ROI).  For example, if you are going to do Facebook ads, make sure this is factored in when you are looking at how much your offer is.  If you spend thousands on ads and are only selling hundreds in services, it’s not worth it.
  • Don’t have anything on...
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How do you measure success in your business?

business money success May 27, 2020
How do you measure success in your business? Is it all about the money, or does something else drive you?
 
For me, I know that I measure success largely by how much money I have in my bank account. I'm a numbers person, and I know this motivates me hugely. However, success to me also means having quite tight boundaries, so I don't work evenings and weekends as much as possible. I have 2 young children and being able to be there for them is really important to me. I want to choose to have school holidays off. In lockdown, these boundaries have become even more important as I love my business and could spend every waking hour on it! However, I need to make sure I have plenty of downtime as well.
 
I also value flexibility in my work, and I don't believe you have to work harder to be able to be successful. I am always looking for ways to make my business more efficient, and outsource things that take me a long time to do. I also try not to trade time for money too much, so...
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6 Figure Myth

In this week's blog, I want to talk about all the stuff I see online about "6 figure businesses". I think it can make small business owners feel that they are not getting it right if they are not doing this.
 
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they are making 6 figures in their business but this is only talking about the sales they make. This isn't to be dismissed, but the bit they don't tell you is how much their business is costing to run and how much money they are taking out of the business for themselves. It may even cost them 6 figures to run their business!
 
It's expensive to run a 6 figure business, often with employees and freelancers working for the business, plus all the costs of various events they run and the software that is used.
 
I think it can be aspirational to hear about people doing well in their business, but it can also leave you feeling inadequate, especially if your business is just you.
 
Don't feel bad if you are not making 6 figures, focus...
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Financial Goal Setting

goals growth income May 06, 2020
Do you set goals? Any goals will do, but do you set them?
 
I set mine monthly at the moment, with everything going on, but usually every 90 days. I write one revenue goal, one systems or process goal, one launch goal and one social media/email list goal. That's it. I don't write 50 goals as I can't achieve them, plus it keeps me focussed. I put them on my computer lock screen so I am reminded of them every morning when I log in.
 
It is so important to set goals in your business. Time easily slips away and you find you are no further forward than you were 6 months ago. But making sure they are things you are going to work on and can aim for are critical.
 
When you set a revenue goal, do you just pluck a number out of the air, or take last month's number, or do you look at how that number will be made up? How much time will you be working over the period, what work are you going to do? Breaking down your goals into manageable steps is key to making sure you will...
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Pricing

expenses pricing Apr 29, 2020

When was the last time you reviewed your pricing? And how much do you give away for free?

So many people I come across give everything away for free. I'm not saying you shouldn't give stuff away for free and make it some of your best content, but too many people, especially women, don't sell after the free stuff comes out. And then we are back to it being a very expensive hobby.

It's important to check that your prices are competitive in your market place, especially if you are in a price driven market, but also make sure you are charging what you are worth, plus having enough to live.

When did you last sit down and work out how much you need to charge to cover your overheads? Do you know how much your overheads are, including paying yourself? What about how many hours you work? Do you take off holidays or have quiet or busy periods in your business? Do you work full time even? And how many of the hours you work do you actually do client facing work? What about the time spent doing...

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Passive Income

Do you have a passive income product? Do you even know what that is?
 
I didn't know anything about passive income until around 18 months ago and since then I've been hooked! It is anything that you can sell in your sleep, from ebooks to masterclasses to online courses. They are usually lower price points as they don't involve interaction from you.
 
The idea that it is "passive" is a bit of a misnomer though, as it takes a lot of work up front to create a course, ebook or masterclass. But once you have done it once, you can sell it over and over again, so that becomes passive.
 
I think every small business should have something passive to offer as, over time, it will give an underlying source of income in your business. If you've always wanted to write a book, or create something more accessible for your clients, this is a great way to do it.
 
Be careful of creating a lot of content before you have sold places though. Lots of people create a huge course of...
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