Displaying items by tag: holistic business http://kepler.edu Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:43:52 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb How to Create a Budget for Your Small (Holistic) Business http://kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/468-create-a-budget http://kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/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
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    donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Tue, 16 Jul 2013 02:49:58 +0000
    Essential Elements of a Holistic Business Plan http://kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/458-essential-elements-of-a-holistic-business-plan http://kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/458-essential-elements-of-a-holistic-business-plan Planning

    A few months ago I heard a holistic practitioner arguing that a business plan is a waste of time. If you don’t need to make money from your business, that’s probably true. But, if you need to earn a living, business planning is one of the most essential ingredients for your success. A business plan outlines what clients and customers want, and how your business will meet those needs in a way that enables you to earn a living. If you can’t answer those questions for yourself, your business is far more likely to fail.

    Most holistic businesses are small shops – you’re either a sole proprietorship or working with just a few staff members. Such small operations don’t need 100-age business plans, but they do need a plan that covers the basics.This article distills the essential ingredients that you’ll need to answer for your holistic business plan. Depending on the nature of your business, you should be able to answer the following questions in 2-5 pages.

    Holistic Business Plan Outline

    Executive Summary

    This is a several paragraph summary of all of the elements of your business plan. This may be first in a presentation of a business plan, but it will be the last part of the plan you write. Finish all of the other sections, then summarize the most important points from each in the executive summary. It will give you a chance to crystalize your plan in your mind into its most essential elements.

    Customers’ Needs

    In this section, you will explore who your customers are, and what needs they have. In order for a business to be successful, it must provide something customers need or want. Who are your customers? How do you know what they want/need? What aspect of that need do your services/products satisfy? We’ve been working on this section together in chapters 1 and 2 of our Adventure, here is where you’ll analyze your customers (your target market) and identify your personal market niche.

    Products and Services

    For most small business owners, this is the easiest section to fill out: what products and services does your business provide? The most important part of the description is how your products and services meet the needs of your customers you identified in the previous section.

    Competition

    Now it’s time to look at what other businesses in your service area provide products/services that address the same customer need. Competitors can be other people, or even other ways of addressing the customer need/want. You need to understand what your competition is, and why your business provides the better solution for the members of your personal market niche. You need to be convinced yourself that you have what those in your market niche are seeking, if you expect them to believe the same thing about you.

    Marketing Strategy

    Your marketing strategy outlines how you will reach out to the members of your market niche and tell them about your products/services. Holistic businesses often seem to have the hardest time with this area; we don’t want to appear to “pushy” or “money grubbing.” But we are all in a helping profession. If your customers can’t find you, you can’t help them! Not only are you not fulfilling your personal mission, your business can’t grow. This section is continually evolving and changing as we learn new ways to reach out to our market niche, and measure the effectiveness of our efforts. We’ll also spend most of our 52-week adventure exploring marketing strategies for holistic businesses – we’ll be sharing ideas with you and you can share ideas with each other.

    Company Structure & Operations Procedures

    Imagine you had to hire someone to take over your business while you took a leave of absence. What would they need to know about how it works? In this section you’ll outline how your business is structured. Just a few of the questions you’ll want to look at include:

    • Who owns your business?
    • What are your qualifications?
    • Do you have employees?
    • What are their qualifications?
    • Do you have an office?
    • What supplies do you need?
    • Do you have physical or online products for sale? How do your track your inventory?
    • What are your hours?
    • How to you schedule clients/customers?
    • How to you track your clients' history?
    • What kind of follow-up do you have in place to keep your clients/customers engaged?
    • How do you do keep track of bookkeeping?
    • Who’s responsible for marketing efforts?

    Financial Summary

    Another critical piece of the puzzle for business success or failure, you must have a budget forecast that outlines how much your business needs to make in order for you to be able to operate it successfully. As a small business owner, you should not only be making enough to pay yourself a salary, but making a profit that you can use to invest in growing your business or in other future endeavors. Your financial plan needs to include in detail:

    • How much do you charge for products/services?
    • How much does it cost you to produce products/services
    • How much do you need to spend on operations (Office space? Marketing? Bookkeeping? Taxes? etc.)
    • Based on how much you charge for services vs. how much they cost to produce, how much do you need to sell in order to break even? To make a profit?
    • If you aren’t selling that much now, how long will it take for you to reach that amount of sales? How much extra would you need to spending on marketing, etc. to reach your goals?
    • If you aren’t reaching your goals, what will you do?

    If you can answer these questions for your own business, your chances for success increase exponentially. Depending on where you are in your process and how much information you need to gather, writing a business plan can take a few hours, a weekend or a month. You may want to go back to the previous weeks of our adventure and review information about your target market and market niche, or spent some time getting your office processes in order. If you would like additional information, the Internet also provides a wealth of other (often free) resources to help you get started.

    Even better, recruit some friends and colleges to serve as a sounding board for your plan. It always helps to have a mastermind of people to help you clarify and strengthen your plan. The clearer your intention, the more likely you will be successful. Perhaps you could trade business plans with a friend and keep each other motivated through the process.

    Questions to ask yourself:

    • Have you written a business plan for your holistic business. Why or why not?
    • Looking over these elements of a business plan, what do you think are the most challenge sections for you? Why? What could you do to make it easier?
    • Who do you know who would discussion your business plan with you? Who do you know who needs to write one of their own?
    • business plan
    • holistic business
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      donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Tue, 04 Jun 2013 14:47:59 +0000
      How to Create Your Holistic Market Niche http://kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/item/448-holistic-market-niche http://kepler.edu/home/index.php/news-mainmenu-139/professional-development/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
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        donna@fourmoonsastrology.com (Donna Woodwell) Building Your Business Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:56:35 +0000