Navigating the Feast and Famine Cycle in Business

Navigating the Feast and Famine Cycle in Business

As a successful businesswoman, you’ve conquered numerous challenges so far:

  • Started your business and been going long enough for it to be a viable and ongoing concern
  • Grown a team, because let’s face it, your clients need and want what you have to offer
  • Juggled the balance of work and home life (sometimes, not very successfully but the kids/pets are still alive and you have a healthy waiting list of prospective clients)

And yet, when you look at your bottom line, the profit margins (aka money in your personal bank account) just aren’t showing up as you expect and want them to be.

Yes, you can tweak some expenses, perhaps look at increasing your prices but when you feel like you’ve pulled all the levers and you’re still not feeling rewarded sufficiently for your hard work, then you’re missing a key point.

And this is it – there’s a silent, somewhat uncomfortable, barrier standing between you and your next level of success: your money mindset.

And now is the time to address it, head-on.

Your money mindset is like a silent puppeteer pulling the strings, and if you’re not careful, it will hold you back from creating the financial success you know you’re worthy of.

Your money mindset is this intricate blend of upbringing, culture, family vibes, and life experiences.

It shapes your financial DNA, influencing how you view money, wealth, and success.

Rewind to your childhood… what money messages were whispered in your ear? 

For me, it was phrases like “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “you have to work hard for your money” – innocent at first glance, but they built a foundation of money beliefs that I had never stopped to question.

Your money beliefs are like a fingerprint, unique to you based on your life adventures, experiences, role models and upbringing.

The bad news?

Your current results are influenced by your current beliefs.

The good news?

Your money beliefs aren’t carved in stone; it’s just a vibe you have until a breakthrough happens. 

Recognising and challenging your beliefs is the secret sauce to propelling your business forward.

So if you are feeling stuck or experiencing a plateau, here’s your call to action: 

  1. Grab a pen and paper. 
  2. Jot down the money belief that’s been pulling the strings right now (i.e. anything that comes after you say the words, I’d be better off financially if/but…)
  3. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is it gospel truth?
  • What if it’s not?
  • What could be a better belief right now?

Challenge your beliefs and notice the impact it has on your bottom line.

If you want some extra help, feel free to reach out. 

Helping women break through their money story and build wealth for themselves into the future is something I can talk about until the cows come home!

Meet Nicky & Ness

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Profit is not an event

Profit is not an event

If you’re not earning the profit you want to, it could be because of one of these reasons…

  • Your sales figures aren’t high enough
  • You don’t put any attention towards knowing your profit
  • You’re bleeding expenses

When it comes to creating a profitable business (not just one that pays everyone else and not you!) then being purposeful is essential.

And it’s not just about earning more income.

Because there’s no point in earning more if there’s no profit as a result.

So how do you know that your business is profitable?

Traditionally, we’re taught to figure out our profit we simply take our income and subtract our expenses.

The problem I have with this thinking is that it’s easy to spend to match our income.

And there’s never any money left over.

I prefer to consider the formula differently:

EXPENSES + PROFIT = INCOME

This makes us more purposeful when it comes to setting our income targets.

And if your business is leaking money, then it’s time to get intentional.

The way you do this is by high-quality questions about your expenses.

Go through your Profit and Loss statement for the last 6 months line by line and ask yourself:

  • Was this spending planned?
  • If not, for what purpose am I investing my money into this expense?
  • How is this expense going to deliver value to me and/or provide a return on investment?

Making it a habit to regularly review your expenses, your pricing and your profit targets will help you to earn the profit you deserve.

Because in the wise words of Mike Michalowicz (the guy who wrote Profit First):

“Profit is not an event. It’s a habit.”

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I didn’t pay my best employee

I didn’t pay my best employee

As far as employees go, she was the most exceptional one you could ever meet:

  • Turned up to work early and stayed late
  • Went over an above expectations day in, day out
  • Lived and breathed the values, the epitome of culture in my business
  • Would put in more than 100% effort because she believed in my business

And yet, I didn’t pay her.

And when I did eventually pay her, it barely covered her living expenses, let alone any luxury that she so desperately deserved.

If this was true, you’d think I was crazy right?! 

I mean, aren’t we meant to reward our best employees with great salaries and a bonus system to keep them loyal?

But according to research by the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, in 2013 they found that 51% of women small business owners do not pay themselves a wage.

And the conversation I have with women business owners tells the same story.

Like the client who has run a successful business for nearly 10 years, employs 14 staff and works crazy hours only to barely cover her mortgage payment with her wage.

This has to change!

If you’re in a similar situation, then it’s time to shift your mindset.

Often we think that our profit as the business owner comes from the old accounting system of

INCOME – EXPENSES = PROFIT

However, we need to flip this around. Instead, think of it as:

EXPENSES + PROFIT = INCOME 

Whether you place your income in expenses or profit, your income target must include a payment to yourself as a priority.

There are many systems around to help you out – the book ‘Profit First’ by Mike Michalowicz is a great starting point to shift your mindset.

The best way to start is to start with a number. Any number!

Be consistent when you pay it. And keep increasing the amount regularly.

Because the alternative is not worth thinking about: you’re going to end up resenting your business. 

And ultimately? Perhaps wanting to leave to find a job that pays you better.

That means giving up on your dreams.

Let’s not do that.

Meet Nicky & Ness

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It takes 30 days to get a grip on the health of your business

It takes 30 days to get a grip on the health of your business

Have you ever tried to ride a bike with a flat tyre? 

It’s slow, unsteady and bloody hard work.  It doesn’t matter how much air is in the other tyres. It’ll make for a bumpy ride and you might end up damaging the bike to the point that you can’t ride it anymore. 

Imagine your business has 3 tyres. Most of the time businesses focus on tending to and pumping up 1 or maybe 2 of the tyres. 

But they don’t actually see the others which can in turn end up driving the business into the ground. 

According to the ABS, 60% of businesses will fail within the first 3 years. And that number rises to over 90% after 5 years. 

The main reason discovered is that business owners are not upskilling in other areas like sales, finance and marketing. And they’re not planning. 

You didn’t go into business to be an expert at sales or finance. You went into business because you’re passionate, are damn good at what you do and can do it like no one else. 

BUT to be successful, I’m sorry to tell you, you do need to be across these other areas of your business … all while not getting burntout! 

It’s frustrating though because you don’t know what you don’t know. There’s an inkling there must be a better way but you don’t know where to start. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew how to keep things pumping without worry, having to invest more time or having to do more work?

If you could feel like things are under control so you can go back to loving your business again. 

Unfortunately, the more common approach is for business owners to either go into full avoidance mode burying their heads in the sand or getting a false sense of security by looking only at the ‘vanity’ numbers in the business. 

They default to working longer hours, working more and staying in the same vicious cycle. 

There are 3 pieces to this puzzle (heads up – these cover the 3 ‘tyres’ in your business).

  1. Focusing on smart growth meaning you having a plan, are focusing on both sales and profit
  2. Getting time freedom back through working on your beliefs, setting strong boundaries and working with, instead of against, your natural internal drivers
  3. Having an autonomous team you trust, that is thriving in the current culture

Is it time to look under the hood of your business, or check the air pressure in your business tyres?

Be the mechanic your business needs you to be. Or at least be the driver!

If you don’t know where to start, ask for help from someone who does. 

It only takes 30 days with the right focus in the right areas to get a real handle on what’s happening under the hood of your business. 

We take our clients through a business health check process that moves you from chaos to business clarity, in just 30 days. 

Book a clarity call here to uncover the #1 thing that’s holding you back right now.

Nicky is a Sales and Business Leadership Coach with over 2 decades experience in sales and leadership. She’s been running successful coaching businesses since 2015 and is obsessed with helping business owners and teams thrive. She helps her clients install smart business growth strategies and leverage leadership for peak performance.

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Why Smart Growth is Not Only About Sales

Why Smart Growth is Not Only About Sales

Let’s face it, without sales you aren’t going to last long in business.

When I started back in 2015, I hired a coach because I had no idea how to close a sale.

I followed his advice, studied sales models and applied them with success.

And my business started to boom.

In 2019 I hit my stride and all my income targets were met, plus some. 

But I was bleeding expenses. 

My philosophy? If it’s in the bank, it’s there to spend!

Never mind looking to the future, understanding cash flow or building an emergency fund.

And then 2020 hit and I was stuffed. 

The sales dried up. Work got pulled.

My bank account looked as empty as my diary.

The tough lesson I learned was there is more to smart growth than sales alone.

You see, the sales were great but during 2019 I was so busy delivering, that planning took a back seat.

My business was in chaos.

There was no profit to draw from.

And I had huge regrets.

It seems I wasn’t alone though.

According to Mainstreet Insights, Australia’s financial habits, July 2021, the number one financial regret of Australians is not prioritising their financial health earlier in life.

The biggest mindset shift was realising that growing a business isn’t just about more sales.

There are 3 fundamental aspects to smart growth.

Smart Growth

 

At the foundation is planning

As Lewis Carroll said – any road will get you there if you don’t know where you’re going.

We must know where we’re going because that determines our focus.

Our focus then determines our actions.

Some key elements to successful planning:

  • Make sure you review your business and personal vision annually
  • Set targets and Key Performance Indicates (KPIs) for yourself and your team
  • Identify your Wildly Important Goals (WIGS) for the next 6 months
  • Set 90-day milestones that work towards achieving the WIGs
  • Review and adjust as needed every month at a minimum
  • Identify and complete at least 3 tasks each week that move the dial in the right direction
  • Have a ‘plan on a page’ that you can see each day to keep you on track

 

Growth comes from sales

Sales will always be important in business growth.

But we can be smarter about it as we grow.

Here are just a handful of actions we can take:

  • Set targets, for you and your team and celebrate achieving them
  • Regularly review your prices and where appropriate, increase them
  • Set up sales structures and processes in your business so your team members can sell
  • Get clear on your ideal client and only work with them
  • Determine how profitable our various services are and kill off those that don’t make us money

We can’t take the foot off the break here, but we can smooth out our demand.

 

Build wealth through profit

This is often the forgotten piece for many female-founded businesses that I work with.

There are a variety of approaches to wealth creation in business.

Here are some I recommend:

  • Set targets each year, including your profit target
  • Put money aside for tax, including GST (it’s not your money to spend)
  • Set up a cloud-based accounting system that’s easy for your team to use
  • If you delegate your book-keeping make sure not to delegate understanding your figures – learn how to read a Profit & Loss statement and Balance Sheet
  • Know your cash-flow projection for the next 3 months minimum
  • Have 3-6 months of expenses set aside in an Emergency Fund
  • Regularly review your expenses

According to Inc Magazine & The Kauffman Foundation, two-thirds of the 300 fastest-growing private companies in the US had either shrunk stagnated or failed within 5-8 years.

Don’t become another statistic of rapid growth. 

When you focus on all 3 areas of smart growth, you give yourself the best chance of long-term business success.

To help you focus on smart growth, we’ve created the Smart Growth Checklist, which will you tell you exactly where your business strengths and gaps are in under 4 minutes

It’s quick and easy way to get a helicopter view of the state of your business, through the perspective of reactive vs. proactive growth

It’s powerful and will quickly become an invaluable tool in your business

You can download it here.

Ness is a money coach, helping businesswomen like you gain clarity over your financial goals, building wealth and financial security for themselves.

Supercharge Your Business!

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7 things you can do to get out of a financial rut

7 things you can do to get out of a financial rut

As the founder of a business, we all share one common problem.

The timing of it may not be the same for everyone, but at one point or another no matter how financially ‘successful’ your business is:

You will hit a financial rut

Whether it’s at the start of your business, during a rapid growth phase or once you hit your big goal, you will feel like you’re stuck at a money plateau and just can’t seem to get past it.

What is a money plateau? 

It’s like an invisible limit we hit around money (also known as an “upper limit”) and it reflects your beliefs about what you are capable of earning.

You’ll know you’ve hit it because some sneaky behaviours will start to set in… you’ll feel resistance, you may start procrastinating or avoiding taking action and all of this can lead to sabotaging your financial goals.

Here are 7 ways to bust through that plateau and get out of your financial rut:

1. Journal your thoughts

It’s time to get real with yourself about what you’re thinking. This requires you to write your thoughts down on paper. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and keep writing for the full amount of time. Do not let your pen leave the page! You will uncover so many funky beliefs you didn’t realise you had.

2. Challenge your beliefs

Challenge each belief you uncovered above when you journaled your thoughts. If you were in court challenging whether it was a fact, what evidence can you find to disprove it? Ask yourself “is this belief moving me towards or away from my goals?” If it’s away from, replace the belief with one that better supports you.

3. Give yourself a Performance Assessment

Get real with how you spend your time and focus. Are you doing work that you can delegate? If so, why? Are you putting off completing a piece of work and justifying why it’s ok? Imagine you have to report to a Board of Directors – what would you say about your standards around work?

4. Get clear on your why

When we get off course and start to feel stuck, a great way to bring back the feeling of motivation is to reconnect to our purpose. Do you have a clear vision for your business and yourself that you review at least each week? If not, now could be a good time to update it. What impact does your success have on others and yourself?

5. Take action

Write down three actions you can take today. Check your to-do list, it could provide some ideas such as sending the email or making the phone call you’ve been avoiding. Tackle these 3 actions first thing today before you move on to any other work.

6. Set yourself a fail challenge

A fail challenge is doing something that you truly believe is not going to come off. For example, you might reach out to be a speaker at your industry conference or send a letter to someone you would love to have as a client. The best thing with this is, that when you aren’t fearful of failing, you just get on and do it anyway. Expect to fail and you might just surprise yourself with a totally different outcome!

7. Reach out and ask for help

If you have tried all of the above or just don’t feel like you are in the right headspace to do it, then reach out and ask for help. It might be a raw and honest chat with a trusted business buddy that helps you reframe and refocus. Or seek out a mentor or coach – you can book a chat with Ness below to see if working with a coach is the right thing for you.

Meet Nicky & Ness