Boost Your Business Profits: Discover Solutions for Improved EarningsEntrepreneurs are often driven by an unwavering passion for their ideas, willing to sacrifice stable employment, sleep, and security.
While the aspiration for financial success, inspired by billionaire icons like Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, or Oprah Winfrey, looms large, it's important to recognize that the entrepreneurial journey transcends mere financial gain.
However, what happens when your business isn't thriving financially? When each day is an arduous sales struggle, and reviewing financial reports induces discomfort?
Entrepreneurs commonly express the sentiment of not earning enough, even when they're statistically successful. I experienced this myself when I exceeded my revenue target, quadrupling my business income, yet still grappled with a sense of inadequacy.
The crux of this issue can vary widely. Below, we'll delve into five prevalent sources of financial challenges for entrepreneurs and explore strategies to address them.
Solution: Reverse-Engineer Your Pricing
Have you ever wondered how you arrived at the pricing structure for your product or service? Many entrepreneurs make the error of determining prices solely based on market trends or their personal perception of fairness. However, this approach is flawed because pricing should be rooted in the financial sustainability of your business.
To rectify this, you must have a comprehensive understanding of your business expenditures, tax obligations, outstanding debts, and your own desired income as a founder.
While this may involve some mathematics, it's crucial to remember that flawed pricing often stems from mathematical inaccuracies. Here's a straightforward formula to gauge your annual revenue goal:
(Business Expenses + Desired Salary) /
Business expenses encompass software subscriptions, contractor payments, employee salaries, and loan interest repayments. Your desired salary reflects the amount you wish to draw as income, keeping in mind that founders may not initially take a salary.
For instance, Janine Allis, founder of Boost Juice, shared in interview that she didn't draw a salary from her business until three years into its operation.
The tax liability percentage, expressed as a decimal, indicates the proportion of your business revenue allocated to taxes. Convert it to a decimal (e.g., 30% becomes 0.3) and subtract it from 1. For example, if 30% of your income goes to taxes, you should use 0.3 as the divisor in the formula.
Consult your accountant for precise tax liability calculations, as they vary among businesses.
Here's an example of applying this formula for a sole proprietor who's a freelance web developer:
($9,000 + $70,000) / 0.7 = $112,857.14
In this scenario, the web developer needs to generate $112,857 annually to cover business expenses, pay a $70,000 salary, and allocate 30% for taxes. Armed with this figure, she can strategize her pricing and services to meet her income target.
Remember, this represents the minimum required for breaking even and paying the desired salary. It's an excellent starting point for setting profitable prices.
Solution: Consider a Pivot
Prepare yourself for a candid assessment because this issue demands a sobering reality check. The problem may have two facets: your product's impracticality due to high production costs (requiring a pricing strategy review) or its unpopularity among consumers.
If your business remains unprofitable despite pricing adjustments and you can validate a superior business concept, your best course of action (aside from closing your current venture) might be a pivot.
Some of today's most prominent and successful companies underwent significant pivots, including YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. Holly Liu,
If you've cultivated an audience for your product but it's still not profitable because your audience isn't making purchases, consider flipping the script and crafting a product tailored to your audience's preferences.
Take a real-world example from Gretta van Riel,
Indeed, if you've cultivated a dedicated following, adapting your strategy to cater to their needs can lead to success. For instance, if your business initially offered financial coaching services for stressed creative entrepreneurs but your audience expresses a greater need for bookkeeping assistance, pivoting towards bookkeeping services could be a viable path.
However, the decision to either close your business or pivot is weighty and warrants careful consideration. Here are some questions to ponder:
Do I Have a Loyal Customer Base? Assess whether you have a loyal customer base that values your offerings and is likely to embrace your new direction.
Do I Have Sufficient Financial Resources? Evaluate your financial capacity to sustain the business during the transition period and support the pivot.
Do I Possess a Strong Following, Even if Unpaid? Recognize the value of an engaged following, even if they haven't yet become paying customers.
If your response to all these questions is a resounding “no,” it might be prudent to contemplate the possibility of winding down your current venture and embarking on a fresh start. This decision, while challenging, should align with your long-term goals and the sustainability of your business.
Solution: Define Your Ideal Customer
Do you possess an exceptional product or service, yet find yourself struggling to make sales? Are your skills top-notch, but you can't seem to convert prospects into paying clients? Do you encounter a multitude of challenging clients or unsatisfied customers? It's possible that your business is not attracting the right audience.
If your business is drawing in the wrong type of customers or struggling to attract any at all, it's time to revisit your customer avatar, also known as your buyer persona or ideal customer. Let's steer away from the notion of a “customer avatar” as if it were a video game character; instead, your ideal customer should be a real, tangible individual.
If you haven't crafted a customer avatar, this omission may be the root cause of your predicament. Here's a practical exercise to identify your ideal customer: Start by examining your existing customers or clients who genuinely adore your product or service. One way to locate them is by reviewing social media mentions and emails expressing gratitude for your business.
Who are the customers who enthusiastically endorse your offerings without prodding? These are your ideal customers. Dive deeper into understanding them by conducting customer interviews. Gain insights into why they choose your business, what aspects of your product delight them, and how you can enhance your offerings to better serve them.
All your marketing efforts should align with your customer avatar. Without this clarity, you'll inadvertently cast a wide net that fails to capture anyone's interest.
Key questions to help identify your ideal customer:
Who are my product's enthusiastic “ambassadors”?
What is their age range?
What job titles do they hold, and what is their income level?
What are their primary concerns?
What were their recent purchases?
Which brands do they have a strong affinity for?
How does my product or service address a specific problem they encounter?
Once you've defined your ideal customer, here are swift actions you can take to attract them effectively:
Craft a Clear Tagline: Create a concise tagline that prominently appears on your website, ensuring visitors instantly recognize they've landed in the right place. Use a formula like “Your Company + Helps + Customer's Problem and Solution.” For instance, Hootsuite communicates their value by stating, “Manage all your social media in one place,” making it crystal clear for social media managers seeking a solution.
Locate Your Customer: Identify where your ideal customer congregates, both online and offline. If they're mid-level managers in tech companies, shift your focus from Instagram to LinkedIn, adapting your efforts to their preferred platforms. Revise your Facebook ad targeting to zero in on this precise audience, optimizing your marketing strategy.
By defining your ideal customer and tailoring your approach accordingly, you'll be better positioned to attract and retain customers who resonate with your offerings, ultimately improving your business's financial performance.
Solution: Implement Weekly Cash Flow and Income Statement Updates
As the age-old saying goes, “What gets measured gets managed.” Without a clear understanding of your business's cash flow and income, you'll struggle to maintain control over your finances.
It's vital to note that cash flow and profit are distinct concepts. Cash flow reflects the money entering and exiting your business each month, while profit encompasses revenue earned, even if it hasn't been received in the same month.
Profitability is crucial for assessing your business's long-term sustainability, but positive cash flow is the lifeblood that keeps it operational on a day-to-day basis. To illustrate, consider a service-based creative business owner who secures a $20,000 contract to design a client's website. They may require a 50% upfront fee to begin work, with the remaining balance payable upon project completion two months later. In this scenario, cash flow might be negative for the month due to the upfront expense, while income is positive because $20,000 has been earned (even though only $10,000 is received this month).
Ideally, you should track both cash flow and income because you need to ensure you can cover immediate expenses and payroll (cash flow statement), while also assessing the long-term sustainability of your business (income statement or Profit & Loss statement).
Collaborate with your accountant to create these essential financial statements for easy reporting.
Ignoring financial issues won't make them disappear. You must confront them
Solution: Transform Your Money Mindset
Consider this question: If you had $5 million, would you finally feel that you're making enough money, and would your financial anxieties dissipate?
It's a common misperception that a specific financial milestone will lead to a sense of financial sufficiency and the vanishing of all fears.
Surprisingly, as one study from Boston College revealed, accumulating substantial wealth often introduces a new set of challenges. Researchers surveyed individuals with substantial assets (most exceeding $25 million) and discovered that this wealth brought feelings of isolation and concerns about its impact on their children. Remarkably, most respondents did not perceive themselves as financially secure.
So, if your pricing, product viability, customer attraction, profitability, and cash flow are in order, yet you still grapple with the feeling that your business isn't making enough money, it may point to a flawed relationship with money.
Finance experts refer to this as your “money mindset” or, simply put, your beliefs and attitudes about money. Persistent fears of financial inadequacy or the fear of losing money can leave you perpetually feeling financially unsatisfied, even if you achieve millionaire status.
To overcome these fears and enhance your financial mindset, consider a practice advocated by business expert Marie Forleo: Each time you invest in your business, remind yourself, “There's always more where that came from.” This shift in perspective directs your focus away from the fear of financial loss and toward the recognition that you have the capacity to generate more income.
By reshaping your relationship with money, you can foster a healthier mindset that bolsters your confidence in your business's financial success.
1. Question: Will a Rebrand Help My Business Make More Money?
Answer: Rebranding can be effective if you're undergoing a strategic shift in your business's purpose or direction. However, it's important to note that rebranding alone may not be the silver bullet for financial improvement. Other strategies should also be considered to enhance your business's financial performance.
2. Question: The Economy Is Impacting My Business's Revenue. What Should I Do?
Answer: While economic factors can influence business performance, it's essential to have a long-term vision for your business that transcends the fluctuations of economic cycles. On average, economic ups and downs occur roughly every decade. To safeguard your business against external influences, it's wise to build a financial reserve that can sustain operations for 6 to 12 months under normal circumstances. This financial buffer helps protect your business from economic challenges.
3. Question: What's the Easiest Way to Boost My Business's Income?
Answer: The quickest way to improve your business's bottom line is often through cost-cutting measures. While this may not be the most glamorous approach, it can have a swift and positive impact. Consider assessing your expenses and identifying areas where you can trim costs. For example, transitioning to a virtual office space may yield substantial savings compared to maintaining a physical office.
In conclusion, if you feel that your business isn't generating sufficient revenue, you're not alone. Many entrepreneurs face similar challenges. To address this issue, focus on the five common problems that can lead to financial struggles:
Ensure your pricing strategy prioritizes profitability.
Validate the viability of your product in the market.
Define your ideal customer to guide your marketing efforts.
Implement rigorous tracking of your business's income and cash flow.
Examine and improve your relationship with money to overcome financial fears.
Remember that entrepreneurship entails risk-taking, and financial concerns are part of the journey. However, the pursuit of freedom and purpose often makes it all worthwhile. To delve deeper into effective business strategies, consider exploring additional training resources available.