There's a fairly common theme when talking to entrepreneurs about business. They don't like to talk about their numbers. Their sales figures, conversion rates, web stats, and heaven forbid asking them to talk about "Profit Margin".
It's almost like we have our head in the sand.
If your business is making money & you're feeling balanced, read no further. Just jump down to the bottom and leave an encouraging comment for the others here. You're a fabulous ambassador for entrepreneurs!
But if you need to pull your head out of the sand for a few minute today, keep reading!
Are you seriously having FUN in your business?
But if we're really serious about this (and yes, business can be fun, I'm not talking about taking the fun out) we've got to look at the numbers. We've got to measure and analyze, so we can make smart decisions.
How else will we know if we're moving forward with a business project, product or plan which simply isn't working for us.
And in the great big picture, I don't think any of us really wants to create a business (even it's something we're wildly passionate about) that isn't making any money, right? We might be able to convince ourselves we'll "carry" the business for a few months or years. But in our dreams, when we conceived of this idea, there was a real desire for the business to give us the Freedom to do what we love.
Not chain us to computers, or continuously providing services that wear our bodies out, leaving very little money to do the fun things. Or what about extra money to reinvest in the business, or go to an industry seminar to learn new things & make business connections to build your business faster, stronger, better?
Profit Margin and other boring words! Yawn!
Yes, I know this stuff makes your eyes glaze over, and want to take a nap. But once you get the hang of it, you might even start to look forward to it. It's actually quite empowering.
Take a few minutes and think about where you wanted your business to be at the beginning of the year. Is it 'pulling its weight'? Or are you still investing personal funds from time to time, in order to keep it afloat.
Consider breaking it up into segments of your business. Are there parts of your business that are making money, and other parts that are not?
Take a Good Look
Take the time to LOOK at where your money is coming from & where it is going. Money likes to be focused on, and they say that what you focus on expands. And then take a look at where you're spending your time, and other energy. Is it balanced?
I've included a little snapshot as an example. It's a snapshot "story" of a consultant who is selling two products and two services and is working on something new. She is making money from all of them, which is great. But it can be distracting for her. She's really passionate about her "other" project (in this example) and has been working on it now for nearly 6 months. She's spending a lot of time promoting it, but when we looked a little closer we can see it's bringing in less than 5% of her total revenue over the past 6 months, and she estimated spending over half of her time focused on it. (Did you also notice she's worked 70 hours in her business this past week? Not uncommon. Would you do this for an employer and only bring home $200?)
And I can't help wondering why she doesn't spend just another 5 hours each week on Service #2, and bring in another $667/month. She tells me she's not that interested in anymore, but wouldn't it make sense, instead of continuing to struggle?
I'm not writing this blog today to make you sad or depressed. Sometimes looking at these numbers will show you how "ON TRACK" you really are. And maybe even remind you that it's okay to take a break, go on that vacation you need, or simply have a picnic in the park this afternoon. In fact, do something FUN anyway! Your mind will be clearer and you'll feel inspired to work on creating a big strong business (even if it's a one woman show!). A business that will have an easy flow of money, a purpose, and something others will look at and say, "I'm inspired to be an entrepreneur too!"
Are you an Ambassador for Entrepreneurship?
As an ambassador of entrepreneurship, I can't help but wonder what damage I've done to other dreamers. Ones who were sitting on the fence, when they witnessed me struggle. Does it scare them away from potentially living their dream? Do they say, "I've always wanted to, but I'd rather have my steady paycheque", after seeing me on a rollercoaster ride. Or see me struggling to balance the work with fun.
I'm guilty of it too. I stick my head in the sand, especially when I'm passionate about a new project, program, client project that I think will lead me to something "so much better". I'm an optimist!
Take a look at your numbers today. Even if it's scribbling something on the back of a piece of paper while you're reading this. Leave me a note below to let me know how it feels. Did you have an "ah-ha" moment? Can you see where you have some extra time to go for a picnic, out for coffee with friends, connect with someone who may be a potential client for one of your higher profit margin products/services?
Have fun in your business. Don't take it so seriously, but at the same time, be serious about making a profit, and living a good life!