Displaying items by tag: business development http://www.kepler.edu Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:57:22 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb How to Create a Budget for Your Small (Holistic) Business http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/component/k2/item/468-create-a-budget http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/component/k2/item/468-create-a-budget How to Create a Budget for Your Small (Holistic) Business

Let’s face it, unless you are independently wealthy, if you want to sustain yourself as a holistic, astrological business owner, you have to earn money. Unfortunately, many holistic business owners shy away from financial discussions. In this article, we’re breaking the taboo.

Understand Your Income and Expenses

The first step in creating a financial plan for your business is to understand your sources of income and expenses. You’ll need a list of your sources of income and expenses to begin building your budget. 

Income

Your primary income will come from the services and products sold by your business. For a holistic business, examples of products and services may include:

  • Sessions/Consultations
  • Providing services at special events
  • Workshop or class registration
  • Speakers fees
  • Writing Articles
  • Books
  • Audios/Videos
  • Sales of goods

While calculating your estimated income, if you are a holistic practitioner you’ll soon realize that the number of service hours you can provide is fixed — there are so many hours in a day.  So, if you plan to increase your revenue, you’ll either need to raise your prices, or diversify what you provide by hiring additional staff to provide services, or by selling products.

Expenses

In addition to understanding your business’ income, you must understand the expense side of the ledger.

As the owner of a small business, your business should pay you a salary, your payroll taxes and benefits. Budgeting to pay yourself a salary is essential to the sustainability of your business.

Your business will also have a variety of fixed and variable expenses related to the operations of your business. Common operational expenses for a holistic business include:

  • Advertising (includes website, business cards, paid advertisements, etc.)
  • Auto/Fuel
  • Bank Service Charges
  • Certification/Continuing Education
  • Conferences
  • Dues/Memberships
  • Donations/Contributions
  • Entertainment
  • Insurance
  • Library/Subscriptions
  • Licenses & Permits
  • Loan Interest
  • Maintenance
  • Office Supplies
  • Postage/Shipping
  • Professional Services
  • Rent
  • Taxes (Federal/State/Local)
  • Telephone
  • Travel
  • Utilities
  • Other

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have additional expenses that affect your business balance sheet. These may include:

  • Capital expenses (Computers/software, fixtures/renovation, furniture, office equipment, etc.)
  • Inventory/cost of goods sold
  • Loan principal
  • Owner’s Draw (when the owner withdraws profit from the equity of the company)

Creating a Financial Forecast

Once you’ve mapped out your income and expenses, you’re ready for the next step: estimating your cash flow over time. It takes time to build a business: you’ll need to build your client base, set up your business processes, and develop your marketing campaigns.  In order for your business to succeed, you’ll need to be realistically estimate the speed of the growth of your income, as well as control costs.

If your business is just starting up and your income is still small, you’ll need strategies to reduce your expenses. Cost-cutting measures to consider while you are just starting out:

  • Keep your day job. Work on your business start up as a second job until it’s financially sustainable.
  • Work out of your home, or share office space with a similar holistic business.
  • Use no frills business cards and other marketing materials
  • Lease or buy used furniture and equipment
  • Market to people you know and avoid large advertising expenses.
  • If you sell products, sell on consignment so you don’t have to invest in inventory.
  • Do as much of the work for your business as you can yourself. Hire professionals only when necessary.

Depending on the nature of your business, you’ll want to create a financial plan to cover the first 1-3 years of operations. You may break down your income/expenses on a quarterly or monthly basis, so you can plan for your growth, and track your progress toward meeting your goals.

To help you with your forecasting download the Budget Worksheet excel spreadsheet to help you. Just add and subtract income and expense lines to match your own list.

Set Up and Maintain a Bookkeeping Routine

To manage your small business finances and determine whether you are meeting your income and expense targets, you will need to create an accounting system that allows you to collect, aggregate, report and analyze your financial transactions.

There are numerous software solutions on the market to manage accounting for small businesses.  QuickBooks, one of the most commonly used accounting packages, offers a free version (Simple Start QuickBooks) for new businesses.  There are also online software-as-a-service products such as Kashoo. Take some time to do some internet research to find a product that meets your business needs and budget.

Once you have chosen your accounting platform, you’ll need create a schedule for keeping your business books up-to-date. A simple calendar may include:

  • Weekly – At the end of each week update deposits and expenses, file receipts
  • Monthly – At the end of each month reconcile bank statements and pay monthly bills
  • Quarterly – Check in where you are on budget goals and estimated taxes
  • Yearly – Close out your annual books and pay taxes

If you keep track of your finances as you go along (as opposed to saving everything up until the last minute), you’ll be able to quickly assess how well you are staying on track toward your financial goals, and make adjustments as needed.

Seek Professional Financial Advice

While this advice can help you get started with your business financial planning, it’s no substitute for professional financial advice. There are books available on small business accounting. A bookkeeper or an accountant can advise you on local or state regulations affecting your business, help you set up your financial recordkeeping and advise you on tax schedules.

One of the best ways to find a financial professional is to talk to other members of your holistic profession and ask for a referral. Many cities also have a small business assistance center, which may have a list of bookkeeping/accounting professionals who specialize in small businesses. Business coaches are also another source of referrals for financial professionals.

Even if it is an additional expense, hiring a professional, especially in the start of phase of your business, can help you avoid pitfalls and errors that can cost you far more later down the line.

Questions for Consideration:

  • If you’ve been a holistic business owner for a while, how long did it take you to get your business off the ground? What advice would you give a new holistic business?
  • If you own a business, what financial recordkeeping system to you use? Do you have a special routine? Would you recommend it to others?
  • budget
  • income and expenses
  • holistic business
  • consulting
  • finances
  • business success
  • business development
    ]]>
    donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Tue, 16 Jul 2013 02:49:58 +0000
    How to Create Your Holistic Market Niche http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/component/k2/item/448-holistic-market-niche http://www.kepler.edu/home/index.php/component/k2/item/448-holistic-market-niche How to Create Your Holistic Market Niche

    We know there are millions of customers searching in the holistic marketplace for ideas, products and services to make their lives healthier, more meaningful and purposeful.  Now let’s start to explore how we as holistic practitioners can tap into this marketplace to build successful and prosperous businesses.

    I’ve recently finished reading “The Law of Success” by Napoleon Hill. Written in 1925, this groundbreaking work is the forerunner to all of today’s popular books on entrepreneurship and the law of attraction. Hill conducted extensive research and interviews with business and industry leaders of his day in order to distill their common traits into 16 key ingredients for success. “Singleness of purpose,” what he also called a “definite chief aim,” tops his list. Hill explains why:

    [Each person] acts always in harmony with the dominating thoughts of his or her mind. Any definite chief aim that is deliberately fixed in the mind and held there, with the determination to realize it, finally saturates the entire subconscious mind until it automatically influences the physical action of the body toward the attainment of the purpose. … The subconscious mind may be likened to a magnet, and when it has been vitalized and thoroughly saturated with any definite purpose it has a decided tendency to attract all that is necessary for the fulfillment of that purpose.

    Hill made it his own definite chief aim to help others uncover their purpose in life and fulfill their potential. He believed our best chance for success in life comes from the pursuit of what we love to do. Consequently, he interviewed thousands of people to help them discover their definite chief aim, asking questions like:

    • What do you love to do?
    • What can do better than anyone else?
    • What makes you unique?
    • Remember a time in your life when you were happy and satisfied. What were you doing?
    • Visualize your ideal life in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. What inspires you most?

    For a holistic business, having a “definite chief aim” goes hand-in-hand with identifying your particular niche market. Says Peter Geisheker in Niche Marketing Strategy: “A niche market is group of consumers or businesses that all have a very specific need or want.” By providing exactly what customers are looking for, demand for products and services naturally follows.

    Laura Lake in Defining Your Niche Market suggests some questions for better understanding your own niche:

    • What is it that your current clients have in common?
    • How do you set yourself apart from the competition?
    • What is different about the services or products that you offer?
    • What are the “extras” that you bring to the market?

    Also consider your geographic area — if your services are hands-on, your niche may be more local. But even if your business can sell worldwide, don’t be afraid to focus narrowly. It gives you a way to concentrate your efforts and meet the maximum number of true potential clients — the ones who are looking for exactly what you offer.

    And now it’s time to write down your niche statement. Your niche statement needs to communicate how what you offer will help improve your clients’ quality of life. It speaks not about what you do, rather about what your clients’ need and how you can help. The distinction may seem subtle, but it makes all the difference in the world to your eventual success.

    Susan Reid in How to Define Your Niche for Your New Business shared a fabulous formula for writing a niche statement.“There are just four things you need to include in your niche statement: your niche, their problem, your solution, your promise. Stated simply, the niche statement formula: niche + problem + solution + promise = success. Here’s what it looks like in more detail:

    I/we work with __________________________(your niche),
    who haven’t/need to ____________________ (their problem).
    If you’re ready to/it’s time to _____________ (your solution),
    I/we can/will ___________________________ (your promise).

    In going through this process, you may discover that you have several market niches for different aspects of your business. That’s normal. But for purposes of this Adventure, I suggest you start with just one.  It will help you harness your power of concentration if you focus your energy on a single, “definite chief aim.” Once you’ve mastered the principles on one aim, you can confidently move on to another.

    Once you’ve written down your clear and concise statement, place it where you can see it. Look at it every night before you go to sleep and every morning when you awaken.  Since your subconscious is more open to suggestion at the threshold between sleep and wakefulness, these two times of the day are the magic moments for impressing your desires deeply into your mind.  Do this every day, and in just a few weeks you’ll begin to see shifts occurring in your life.

    In upcoming articles we’ll begin to formulate a plan to bring your “definite chief aim” into reality, so stay tuned!

    Questions to Consider

    • What is your definite chief aim in life? In business?
    • What is your niche marketing statement for your holistic business?
    • How has focusing on your niche marketing statement  changed your daily routines?
    • professionalism
    • marketplace
    • business success
    • business development
    • holistic business
      ]]>
      donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:56:35 +0000