This is part three of my recap on Pat Mussieux’s Wealth Makers Toronto 2014 event, and this article is all about money!
Recent Statistics Canada data shows that over two-thirds of micro-sized firms (less than five employees) and almost half of small sized firms (5-99) fail within five years of start-up. That’s a little scary, isn’t it?
Businesses fail because of:
- Poor general management
- Poor financial management
- Under capitalization
- Poor record keeping
- Poor forecasting
- Shortage of cash flow
I’m around that five-year mark from when I first started freelancing (before I officially called myself a virtual assistant), but I’m determined to be successful and to continue to grow my business to a point where it is completely sustainable. It’s not easy. It takes work, and investing in yourself and your business, and I’ll be darned if I’ve done all this work and spent all this money for nothing! I’m pleased with how I’ve been able to grow my business slowly but steadily each year with very little help, but there is a certain point where you either plateau or you realize your business just isn’t growing fast enough and you need some kind of help.
Invest in Your Business
It takes money to grow a business. Invest in yourself and in your business. This may look like marketing training programs, a business coach, a bookkeeper, a virtual assistant. Pat suggests getting the support you need right out of the gate.
If you have chosen your mentors wisely and follow the advice given, you will make your investments back quickly, and so much more.
Hiring a bookkeeper and a virtual assistant will be a no-brainer because, think about it for a minute… how many hours per day do you spend on administrative and technological work? You aren’t getting paid for those hours. What is the average value of your time on an hourly basis? What if you spent that time on revenue-generating activities instead? How much more would you make? Probably more than you would be paying bookkeepers and virtual assistants for that time.
Stating Your Fees and Closing the Sale
When you are in business, you do not barter. If there is no cash transaction, there is no business. Business is all about money transactions, and 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact (email, phone call, etc.)
Stop assuming, “My clients won’t pay.” It’s none of your business how much other people can afford and it’s not your place to decide what they can afford. People have money. You’ll see people who are unemployed or on a very low income going out and buying big, wide-screen TVs. They want it and they find the money for it. People have money for the things they want. If people see the value in your product or service, they will find the money for it.
However, a confused mind will not buy. When having the sales conversation, make one recommendation based on who you’re speaking to and their pain points. Have options at hand in case you need them.
Be clear about your fee for service. If you’re not confident about it, walk around the house saying, “My fee is.” When you tell someone your fee (confidently), shut up and let them internalize it. Wait for them to speak.
To close the sale, get the commitment and repeat back what you’ve agreed on. Then get the credit card information right then and there. Get two credit cards on file when possible. Then explain the next steps. Keep it simple.
Here Is Your To-Do List
- Raise your fees. Many of you are giving away too much!
- Track your leads and your income daily.
- Create a stretch money goal for the month and for the year. Post it where you will see it daily.
- Remember it’s none of your business how much other people can afford.
- Practice stating your fees until you can say it confidently.
- Hire a business coach. You need the guidance and accountability.
- Hire a bookkeeper and a virtual assistant.
- Focus your time on revenue-generating activities, not on administration and technology.
Don’t wait until the New Year to start thinking about the changes you are going to make and what you are going to implement. At the very least, get the plan in place and make the necessary arrangements now so you can hit the ground running at the first of the year, if not before.
If you don’t already have a business coach, figure out who you relate to best and who can help you double or triple your revenue in the next year.
If you don’t have a virtual assistant, make a list of all of the non-revenue-generating activities you need to delegate and what items you want to start with. Research, ask for referrals, and choose the virtual assistant who specializes in tasks that you need help with and that you feel a connection with. Keep in mind that some virtual assistants may only have one opening, so if you know you need help, make your decision and move forward with it.
If you wait until you have all of your ducks in a row to make decisions and commitments, it will never happen and the next year will look the same as the last, financially. It’s about progress, not perfection.
Some Questions to Ponder…
If money were no object, what would your business look like? What one point in this article made you step back and think? What are you going to commit to doing as you move into the New Year? Add your comments below!