10 financial management tips for the new small business owner

Financial literacy is a key skill for small business owners; it could be the one difference between a successful business venture or joining the whopping 80% of businesses who fail within the first 18-months of opening their doors.

A solid grasp on your business’s financial situation drastically improves your chances of long-term success – you’re better able to plan for the future and avoid many common financial management traps.

Despite it’s importance, it seems many entrepreneurs struggle to get a grasp on their finances.

In a study conducted in Canada, 46% of business owners rated their knowledge of financial management as “sufficient” or “less than sufficient”.

Here are some tips for managing your small business finances and increasing your financial literacy to give you and your business the best chance for success.

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  1. Education

This is the most direct approach to combating insufficient financial management knowledge that I’ll give to you.

Start with financial statements. They contain four essential details: cash flow, income statement, balance sheet, and a statement of shareholders’ equity.

Cash Flow: It analyzes operating activities, investments, and financial in/outflow.

Income Statement: It reflects revenue earned within a specific period of time.

Balance Sheet: Provides information related to the business’s assets.

Shareholder’s Equity: This is a statement representing the amount of common and preferred shares financing the business.

Financial statements are a good place to start to drastically increase your financial literacy. They tell you all about your money, where it originated from, how many times it changed hands, and where it is now – this is critical knowledge to have.

  1. Business is business, personal is personal

Draw a line and don’t cross it. Your business finances are one thing and your personal finances should always be separate.

Get a business credit card and a savings account dedicated to your business.

A business credit card serves two beneficial purposes: it gives you a place to put all business-related expenses and it allows you to easily track outlays and maintain control.

A savings account gives you a place to put a certain percentage of each payment from which you can easily pay your taxes from at the end of the year.

  1. Be frugal

Especially when you’re first starting out, you’re going to have to be a bit of a penny-pincher; just not at the expense of pissing off your customers.

While you can’t do much about your fixed costs, you can exercise some financial responsibility in terms of your variable costs – use free, cloud-based software versus expensive branded software; Skype for long distances, barter your services with other professionals, etc.

  1. Web-based accounting software

Managing all your bills and finances can be complicated and stressful. You have two options: contract an accountant or get tech savvy.

Web-based software has the ability and convenience of providing real-time insights into your finances.

In most cases, it’s also free or low-cost. A lot of successful entrepreneurs are heading this direction as spending even a little money on technology is more affordable than hiring a whole other person.

  1. Be on the ball

You are the business owner and, thus, solely responsible for your business. That means it’s up to you to keep track of when and where money is moving, monitor your financial performance compared to previous statements, and project how things are going to go in the future.

The world, and especially the business world, benefits the prepared. Taking the time to inform yourself of everything that is happening with your business is a must.

  1. Plan for the future

Being prepared means being ready for the tough times. We live in a volatile economy – one day everything is great and the next it seems there’s a global economic panic.

Have a risk strategy in place in case there is any turbulence in the business environment.

  1. Audit your supply-chain

This is where having a careful eye on your financial statements comes in handy. Look at where your money is changing hands and identify unnecessary middle-men that are driving up your costs. Cut them out if you can.

  1. Move from paper to devices

You’d be surprised how much you can save by deciding to go paperless (and it’s good for the environment too). Smartphones and tablets are efficient ways to circulate documents, efficiently file important paper work, and they also boost productivity.

Giving your employees and customers access to what they need instantaneously does wonders for your bottom-line.

  1. Get your money!

It’s insane how much money get’s lost due to slack invoicing. Send out invoices as soon as possible and stipulate that payment must be received within 7-days (this helps make sure payments aren’t lost or forgotten).

Also, don’t be squeamish when it comes to following up. You provided a service and you deserve to be paid.

  1. Exercise patience

Don’t go too big too fast. It’s easy to fall into this trap when things start to go well, but don’t make huge investments in professional sign writing, marketing materials, cars, office space, and the like before the actual revenue comes in.

Just because things are going well now doesn’t mean there won’t be an unexpected dip in the near future. Make sure you’re able to handle and survive it.

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Conclusion

As a small business owner, the odds of success are against you.

Being “in the know” financially can dramatically increase your odds of success. While it may seem overwhelming at the get go, starting with the content in this list and expanding your knowledge from there will get you to where you need to be.

If you like the article, check out some of my previous posts, follow the blog, and find Healthy Wheys on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter).

If you’d like personal help with health and fitness or business, contact me! I’d love to hear from you and help you reach your goals.

 

 

 

3 financial New Year’s resolutions and 6 steps to turn them into reality

The holidays are now in our rear-view mirror as the new year is upon us. Naturally, many people are feeling self-reflective and are re-evaluating some of their life choices – maybe it has a little bit to do with that smoking credit card burning a hole in your wallet from all the holiday spending.
Luckily, 2018 is a brand-new year; it’s a chance to start anew and curb some of your less desirable habits. This week I’m talking about your finances.

You see, most people know they have financial issues they’d like to remedy, but a lot of us don’t exactly know where to start. And since the vast majority of people fail to stick to their resolutions, you’ll need all the help you can get.

What I have for you in this article is a list of financial New Year’s resolutions you should make this year, followed by a cheat sheet that will help you follow through. The content in this article should give your all the ammunition you need to make 2018 a better financial year than 2017.

Here’s to a prosperous 2018!


What kind of goals should you make?

1) Decrease your debt

According to the Globe and Mail, the average amount of consumer debt – does not include a mortgage – in Canada is $20,967 and non-consumer debt, which does include your mortgage, makes up 163% of disposable income. In the US the average debt per indebted household is more than $131,000 (NerWallet analysis). With this data in mind, paying off high-interest consumer debt – credit cards and personal loans – should be a top priority.

2) Spend less

78% of people live paycheck to paycheck (Career Builder), and, according to the same report, this includes 1 in 10 making $100,000 or more. Some of this can be blamed on an inflated cost of living without a matching increase in income. But, based on the consumption of consumer goods and surmounting consumer debt, some can also be explained with frivolous spending. 2018 is your year to tighten up the purse strings and cut back.
3) Earn more

What’s your passion? Maybe starting your own business and working for yourself has been at the back of your mind for years – start now!

The best way to eventually become your own boss, while also supplementing your current income: a side hustle. With a side hustle you can get involved in something your truly passionate about and build your self-employed income while you still have the safety and security of your day job.
There’s plenty of opportunities out there (I’ve even talked about multilevel marketing on this website). For more ideas, check out this list by Side Hustle Nation: 99 side hustle business ideas you can start today.

How do you make your goals a reality?
Identifying what you need to do is great, but the more important part? The how. How do you turn a simple goal into a reality? With these 6 steps.

1) Define a clear goal

Be clear; be concise; be specific. It’s not good enough to say, “I want to decrease my debt,” instead, you should say, “My credit card right now is at $5000, I want that to be $0.”

2) Turn a negative into a positive

It’s a little trick from Dr. Will Meek, a psychologist in Vancouver, Washington. By wording the goal as a positive, you prevent your brain from thinking it’s giving something up. For instance, saying, “I’m going to spend less by not spending money on frivolous things,” could be replaced by, “I’m only going to spend money on things I truly value.”

3) Focus!

Do less. Everyone comes into the new year thinking they will be able to completely overhaul everything in their lives; wrong! If you really want to make successful change, focus on one to three things that are really important.
This way you don’t spread yourself too thin and you have the energy to commit to ensure your success.

4) Track your progress

Luckily, most financial goals are measurable because they involve numbers – nothing could be simpler. Because your goals are measurable, you can track your progress and define landmarks: this is essential for maintaining motivation.
Our goal was reducing our credit card from $5000 down to $0. We can break this down into 10 $500-dollar payments over the year, turning a mountain into a mole hill. Plus, we get the added satisfaction of watching ourselves make our goal a reality in real time as the balance decreases.

5) Make sure it’s realistic

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with not trying to do too much all at once. Telling yourself you’re going to pay off the mortgage on the house you just bought last year in 2018 is just setting yourself up for failure.

6) Give it a timeframe

This means they have a deadline. Again, going back to our credit card example: We have 10 $500-dollar payments to reach our goal of reducing the balance on our credit card to zero. If we do one a month we could have it all paid down by October (write this down and make it a hard deadline for yourself).

Conclusion
Stick to this list and you stand a much better chance of succeeding in making your financial goals a reality and avoiding the majority of people whose New Year’s resolutions are just that: resolutions.
One last thing: when you’ve accomplished your financial resolution for 2018, give yourself a reward! You’ve earned it.
Let me know about your resolutions in the comments, and if you’d like some more advice, please contact me; I’d love to hear from you.

And be sure to follow the blog and Healthy Wheys on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

Residual income: What it is, why you want it, and how to create it

It’s probably crossed your mind before: Why do I have to work so hard just to make ends meet while Joe and Karen up the street work six hours a day from home and spend every other month on vacation?

What are they doing that I’m not? They must have got an inheritance or something. There’s no way I’ll ever have that kind of lifestyle.

We all know, and secretly despise, our “Joe and Karen from up the street”.

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I’m here to tell you that you can have that kind of lifestyle. And, no, they probably didn’t get some sort of huge inheritance that allows them to live that way.

The difference between you and “Joe and Karen” is your mindset.

They think of money differently than you do.

You think the only way you can make money is by working. More work = more money. And the only way you can shift the equation is by putting in more hours or getting paid more for your time.

“Joe and Karen” haven’t been waiting to get a raise. And they haven’t been putting in more hours.

They’ve been concentrating their effort on creating residual income.

What is that you say?

I’ll tell you just that and offer a suggestion on one of the best ways to create residual income for yourself.

The difference between residual and active income

Going back to my earlier example (more work = more money), most people think in terms of active income. It’s the money we get as a direct result of the work that we do.

We work for an hour and we get paid for an hour’s worth of work. Simple as that. It’s our wages, salaries, and the money we get as a result of our services if we’re self-employed.

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Residual, which is also called passive, income on the other hand is income that keeps rolling in even after the work is done.

The most commonly mentioned sources of residual income are royalties from books, movies, or songs and things like real estate or business investments.

The key difference between the two is that with residual income, you don’t actually have to be working, or even present, to earn the money.

Take Bill Gates, for example. He’s still earning a residual income from Microsoft even though he hasn’t been putting working hours into the business for years.

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How do you create residual income?

Residual income comes from building an asset.

In financial terms, an asset is an economic resource. It is anything tangible or intangible that can be owned or controlled to produce value.

A house is an asset to a landlord because they get paid rent every month.

A business is an asset to a business owner.

Each are assets because they produce value (in the form of income) for the person that owns or controls them (i.e. the landlord or the business owner).

How to start building an asset

There are a lot of different ways to build an asset and start generating a residual income.

Purchasing a rental property, investing in the stock market, writing a book, writing a song, or owning a business are just a few examples listed on many websites talking about residual income.

But what if you don’t have the capital you need to just up and purchase a house?

Or the financial savvy to get into the stock market?

And the articles that tell you to simply sit down and write a book… or pick up a guitar and write a song…

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They can get bent.

They make it sound like writing a book and navigating the publishing world is child’s play. And coming up with a killer, catchy song? The only reason I haven’t done it yet is because I haven’t felt like it. It’s not like it takes a life time of practice, natural ability, and some luck to write a hit single.

Here, I want to talk about generating residual income for us real-world people.

I’d like to introduce you to network marketing.

What is network marketing?

Entrepreneur.com defines network marketing as “A business model in which a distributor network is needed to build the business. Usually such businesses are also multilevel marketing in nature in that payouts occur at more than one level.”

Avon, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Tupperware, and Isagenix fall under the network marketing business model.

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Network marketing is a way to own your own business without having to come up with a huge initial investment or go through the turmoil of establishing the brand from the ground up.

It’s usually as little as a few hundred dollars for the purchase of a product sample kit and you have the opportunity to work with a brand that already has a reputation.

You can then build your own business by selling products or services and by recruiting other sales representatives into the structure.

How to find success with network marketing

Here are some tips for getting started with network marketing as your full- or part-time business.

1) Do your research.

You want to choose a good company to get involved with. This requires some research. Here are some questions you should get the answers to before you get involved:

  • How old is the company?
  • Are the products or services something consumers will use and need more of?
  • What is the payment structure like?
  • Is the company well respected?
  • Is the company growing?
  • What kind of support is there?
  • Will you be mentored at all?

2) Take the advice

The way network marketing businesses are structured, it’s in your mentor’s best interest to help you succeed. They succeed when you succeed. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do it better or do it without them.

Listen to what they did to become successful. Be willing to listen and be taught.

3) Be a good mentor

This is the flip side of the last point.

It’s easy to get caught up with bringing new people in that you don’t spend enough time training the people you have already brought in. Their success is your success. Take the time to help them get started and it will pay off in the long run.

4) Don’t miss an opportunity to follow up

So many people in the industry get calls, emails, or texts from someone who’s interested, but they don’t follow up with that person, then they’re gone forever.

Don’t be this person.

It reflects poorly on you and it can also give the company you’re working with a bad reputation. Not to mention you’re missing out on potential sales.

5) Treat it like a business

This is a business, so it deserves the respect of a business. That means there are things to consider before you go in.

  • How is this going to affect you tax-wise?
  • What are your write-offs?

Consider seeking the advice of accountants and lawyers who deal specialize in network marketing businesses. They know the answers to the questions above and they’ll be able to consider a myriad of things you haven’t thought of.

6) Patience

Don’t quit your day job because of a dream or good prospects. It needs to become reality first.

I wouldn’t recommend leaving your full-time position until you’re absolutely sure the income coming in from your new business will be there.

That means you’ve got to do it for a while to make sure it’s a stable company, you can successfully manage it, and the earnings are equal to or greater than what you were getting from your day job.

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Conclusion

Residual income is the way to wealth and financial freedom. Make your money work for you and you’ll be able to work until the day you die.

Residual income comes from building an asset. That is, something that can be owned or controlled to produce value for you.

A great asset is a business. And good business to get into are network marketing businesses. They require relatively little initial investment and they have an established reputation you can take advantage of.

But, it’s not easy. Contact me today and I can help you get started transitioning your life towards residual income.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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