I met with my client, Paul, earlier this week. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, it had been three weeks since our last meeting. I was looking forward to reviewing with him his list of Key Strategic Indicators that he’d committed to delivering – the critical, quantifiable reference points he’ll use to track the health of his business and his progress towards his stated goals. An hour before our call, nothing had been posted. Not a good sign.
The money you make in your business is hard-earned. It’s the reward for all of the sales calls, difficult client deadlines, and customer support challenges. So it’s hard to give it up to anyone—least of all the government. Yet, taxes are a part of doing business in almost every country on earth. And we want you to focus on one thing: keeping as much of your money in your pocket as possible by taking advantage of every possible legal method of reducing your year-end tax bill.
Topics: Managing Money
If, after reading part one and part two in this series, you’re starting to see the value in better understanding your financial performance, then we’re in a good place to move forward. If you’re thinking, “Sure, that all sounds good, but there’s no way I have time to put this much energy into tracking and thinking about my money—nor the ability to pay someone else to do it,” then you need to stop and reconsider. A relationship with your numbers is a key ingredient of your success, but there are some tools you can leverage to reduce the technical work significantly.
Perhaps you use Google Analytics to track every visitor to your website, right down to the country they’re visiting from. Maybe you even use wearable technology and a smartphone to measure the steps you take in a day or how much sleep you get at night. But what are you doing to measure the financial health of your business? If your only measure of financial performance are the sales you generate each month or the balance in your bank account—you’re missing out on a wealth of information about your business.
How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m just not a money person”? Have you ever been that person? It’s a common expression and an easy escape hatch to fall through when you’re staring at spreadsheets full of numbers and formulas. But it’s a phrase, and an attitude, that’s ultimately unproductive and stopping you from taking your business to the next level.
Our recent post about systems should have your gears turning already, but for your business to truly thrive, the best-designed systems alone won’t suffice.
You need people. But not just any people: You need a high-performing team. The kind of team that makes your systems—and your business—really work.
Our natural world is a great example of systems at work—solar systems, ecosystems, weather systems, bodily systems, and so forth. As humans, we naturally look for patterns to solve problems and make extraordinary advancements. We search for ways to turn chaos into order and to discover efficient and repeatable ways of doing this to preserve our resources and energy. It is no different being an owner of a business. You want productivity, control, and predictability.
If you’ve ever had the thought that you weren’t a good leader or didn’t know how to be one, you’re not alone.
Business owners rarely go into business for themselves in order to become the leader of a company. In truth, most are looking to secure a “job” where they can provide their product or service free of a boss. This orientation—the Technician’s mentality—inevitably creates a business built around their own ability to produce results. It’s the orientation of the vast majority of owner-operated businesses, and it has obvious limitations. You alone can only get so much done. You can only stretch so far. You can only produce the results that you can produce.
As a business owner, attracting customers is so central and occupies so much of your focus that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that not all customers are created equal.
Not knowing who your best customer is results in countless and costly efforts to attract a customer who isn’t actually your ideal. You suffer endless frustrations, false starts, wasted time and money, and sometimes even total failure, all to pursue an audience that never was that “into you” to begin with. More importantly, if you really examined that audience, would you be that into them?
When I started as a business coach, my life did not look like it does today. I lived in the city, in a house that was in the middle of a subdivision. I worked for someone else and had never considered myself an entrepreneur. My default vision at the time was that I would continue to build a career for myself inside a good company—one that cared and took care of its employees—until I retired in my dream house, watching grandbabies run about.
Don’t get me wrong; I did dream about what it might be like to be an entrepreneur, just as I saw my father do his entire life. But it was just that—a dream, and not the reality I thought would support me for the rest of my life.