Are you a Santa Claus or a Grinch? 5 steps you need to take to master cash flow in your business


This time of year, many business owners take inventory of how they’ve spent money over the past 12 months. Were you penny wise and dollar foolish? Were you the Santa Claus of cash flow, or Grinch like?  Let’s face it; if your business is not producing a profit, you won’t be around very long. Mastering cash flow at any business stage is essential to remain viable. Here are 5 steps you can take to master cash flow in your business.

1) Know Your Numbers – what gets measured gets improved.  What does it cost to run your business? What are your fixed costs? Is there anything that can be trimmed? Here are a few places to look for cost cutting without altering your business lifestyle:

a. Cell phone plans. Carriers compete based on price and benefits. Take a few moments to evaluate your plan’s monthly fee and plan design. Compare it to the competition. I did this recently and reduced my monthly fee — and got a better plan design!

b. Internet, cable. Same as above.

c. Landline services. Do you still need them? If you do, look around for alternate plan designs. With all of the options available (VOIP, traditional, etc.) you might be pleasantly surprised.

d. Equipment leases. Is it time to negotiate a better contract?

e. Subscription type services. Take a look at the things your firm has set to auto-pay. Are they all necessary?

f. Memberships. Look at the costs for association-type dues, like chamber of commerce, industry associations, etc. Are you making good use of the membership? If not, it might be time to cancel.

2) Employee Head Count – do you have enough staff? Look at what you are doing on a daily basis. What could be delegated to someone else? As the business owner, you should be spending 80% of your time working ON the business, not IN the business.  Your roles should entail all of the things that no one else can do. Everything else should be delegated to someone making a lot less money than you.

3) If your company needs to generate more revenue, take a look at your “low hanging fruit." What services or products do you sell that are easy to move? How much more do you need to sell to get the cash flow you need? Sometimes, it just takes a minor adjustment and focus to get sales to the needed level.

4) Employee Benefits – have you reviewed your benefit package? Maintaining a cutting edge benefits package will help your firm retain and attract top talent. An annual review of what you are offering, the cost and benefit design is recommended. Having your benefits set to “auto pilot” can become an expensive error.

5) Salaries – are you competitive, too generous (Santa Claus like) or do you undervalue your talent pool (like a Grinch)? Being in alignment with industry standards can actually save you money in the long run. There is a real cost to hiring and training replacements.  If you stop and calculate what it would cost your firm to replace your top talent, you will probably find a bonus or raise to that employee will be less expensive.

THERESE R. NICKLAS is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Certified Money Coach®. She specializes in helping successful female entrepreneurs handle the financial fallout after a big lifestyle change (like divorce, career, loss of loved one, etc.). She does this by teaching smart money strategies that help her clients feel confident about their financial future.

As a Certified Money Coach®, she identifies unconscious patterns, beliefs and behaviors around money that prevent clients from reaching their full potential. Money Coaching helps identify money blocks and shows how to push through them. Clients experience much greater personal satisfaction, increased abundance, and enhanced success in life. Helping clients plan their future while enjoying the present is not a profession, it is a calling.  When she’s not working, Terri enjoys spending time with friends and family, travelling, cooking and hiking with her grand-dog, Jackie.

The Wealth Coach for Women Inc.® (“WCFW”) is a registered investment adviser offering advisory services in the State of Massachusetts and in other jurisdictions where exempted.  Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of WCFW, unless otherwise specifically cited.  Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness.  All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.

2 big reasons why you should package your services

I’ve covered the topic of working within retainers (if you’re a service provider, this means getting paid a one-time flat fee by your client each month in exchange for a set number of hours or completed projects) and the benefits for both the client and designer (or any service provider.) In a very similar way, packaging your services can also be beneficial to you and your clients.

When I say package your services, I don’t necessarily mean working within a retainer model, but simply offering more than one completed project at a time to your clients. For example, I offer brand packages to small businesses that either need a visual identity created from scratch or who want to rebrand in a new and fresh way. Instead of creating just a logo for them, I also design and develop a website and other branded materials to get them up and running. This can include a bundle of social media graphics, brochures, postcards, Facebook ads, display signage and more. When a client purchases the package, they understand all of the print + digital bits and pieces that come with it and that it’s an investment, like anything else in their business. It will serve them not only right now, but also in the long run. A professional identity will make “all of their things” look cohesive and legitimate, whether someone comes across their site, a business card, an ad, a video, a blog post or a social media account. When finished pieces are packaged, it improves a client’s brand and allows you to help them grow and scale their business. Below are 2 big reasons why packaging services to your client is especially beneficial…

1. You provide more overall value to your clients.

The saying stands true in this case, “you get more bang for your buck.” Yes, it’s more work to execute multiple projects instead of just one, but in turn, you’re creating more strategies, platforms and/or materials for your client, which equals more value. The longer that you work with someone, you become a trusted expert for him or her. They know that you can handle more than one thing and as weeks, months or even years go by, you’re building a more long-term relationship and partnership with them. You will end up being hired for more work and your clients will refer you to others. You get to also show off that you have more than one skillset. Within my all-inclusive packages, my client gets to see their brand literally come to life one step at a time — from the form of a static logo, to an interactive website, to other tangible products.

2. You can charge higher rates and make more money.  

Because you’re creating multiple things for the same client, you obviously get to generate more income. You can price higher flat fees, because your packages are so valuable and consist of multiple items. In the long run, you will make more money than just developing one-off pieces because packages naturally are more costly (but worth it!) and investments — and you become more an extension/team member of your client’s brand. You’ll continue to be a go-to pro for them to hire over and over again. I would personally rather have 3 or 4 solid client relationships who give me work that I enjoy year-round (and who pay well) — instead of 30 different clients who only use me one time and don’t see an investment in my work or who don’t pay me on time.   

Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
I got a question for ya. How is your branding looking? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

4 ways to set quarterly goals

I was on a video call with my mastermind group earlier this week and someone mentioned that Q1 (the first quarter of the business year) is already over! I couldn’t believe it. I guess I knew it, as I track my income each month and am in the middle of booking April and May projects right now, but it took someone else literally saying it to make it very real. This year, I decided to take a slightly different approach to my goal setting and focus on 30-day goals. If I can figure out what I need to do each month to keep me moving along at a good pace within my business plan, I feel more productive and like I’m actually crossing things off of my list. And, if I set good and solid monthly goals, it will only help me to set and hit my quarterly goals.

With Q1 over, it’s time to set yourself up for success, so that you can hit Q2 even more out of the park. It’s cliché, but true — TIME FLIES. And, time is money (am I right?) There simply isn’t enough of it in the day. Because time flies, it’s super important to maximize each day with setting goals and being productive with achieving those goals, to help you get where you ultimately want to be, regardless of where/what that is. We all run different businesses, some big, some small, some in their early baby stages just getting feet wet — and some have been around the block and are really killing it. No matter what kind of business you run or where you’re at in your business model/plan, breaking up client projects, business development and money goals by quarters will help you to really see where you want to be and what you need to do to get there. I’ve outlined *4* quick tips below that will help you set quarterly goals, a necessary thing to do as an entrepreneur:

1. Decide how much money that you need to make each month, in order to reach that quarter’s financial goals.

First, in case you don’t already know, here is how a standard business year is financially setup:

Q1: January – March

Q2: April – June

Q3: July – September

Q4: October – December

Decide what you need to make each quarter, in order to meet your end of the year income goal. So, figure out what you need to make each month. It sounds simple, but it truly makes it easier to plan your calendar, figure out how many clients/projects that you need to book and how often that you need to work and when, in order to make what you need to. Everyone’s goals are different. Obviously, you need to take care of your cost of daily living, whether it’s just you or you’re supporting a family. Then, figure out what you need to keep in your business bank account to take care of monthly expenses. Think about what you want to save away for taxes and other important things. And, think about what you want to invest. Start with the money goal, no matter what it is — and work backwards.

2. Set small and actionable goals to help you reach the above money goals.

Now that you’ve figured out that you want to make “$x” this month (April) to get you on the right track for your overall Q2 goals, think about what you need to do to make that money. Do you provide 1:1 or group services to your clients? Do you sell digital/physical products? Or, do you do a mix of both? Regardless, figure out how many clients that you need to book, what offers or products that you need to sell, etc. in order to bring in that cash flow. If you only need to book 1 or 2 clients or sell 10 of your products, that’s enough to go off of for now — great! Figure out what client-getting activities you need to do (sending an email to your list, running Facebook ads, engaging in Facebook groups, posting on Instagram, running a special or incentive, etc.) and go do them!   

3. Setup systems to help you reach the above small and actionable goals.

Once you’ve figured out the client-getting activities that you need to do, in order to book or sell enough, then decide the best ways to execute those activities. Maybe you email your list with a special offering just to them. Perhaps you host a session of free calls or a webinar, to help solve your potential client’s/following’s issues. Maybe you take advantage of the weekly promo threads in Facebook groups and let others know what you’re offering. Or, maybe you can generate some traffic to your site because of that podcast or blog that you were just featured on. The ways that you can reach your audience are endless. Just figure out where they’re hanging out, what they need and how you can best serve them.

4. Think about the big picture, too — and long-term goals. Decide what short-term goals will help you reach those long-term goals.

I’m all about setting the smaller, monthly, actionable goals because they’re attainable and realistic. And, I truly believe that they’re the little bursts of productivity that you need everyday, to get you one step closer to your goals. However, I’m also a BIG goal-setter, planner and dreamer. I think it’s equally important to look at the big picture, so that you’re seeing where you ultimately want to be. Do you know what that is for yourself — 1 year, 5 years or even 10 years from now? Do you want to do what you’re doing now, forever? Do you see yourself evolving, growing and changing course down the road? Most likely! I know that I do. So, what are the important things that you and I need to do today, tomorrow, next week, next year, in order to get us there? This will help us to figure out what small goals that we need to achieve, in order to get us closer to our big dreams. Just remember that each day, no matter how lousy or unproductive that you feel, you ARE one day closer to where you really want to be. Comment below and let me know if you achieved your Q1 goals? What are your Q2 goals?

Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
Here we are, 2017! How is your branding looking for the new year? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

Quality over quantity: 5 reasons why playing big doesn’t always mean more money for your biz

My husband Adam and I play on a sand volleyball team every Tuesday night at a bar in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, about 20 minutes from our home in southern Indiana. It’s a hobby that we decided to pick up right after we got married and were settling into a new life and routine together. We play on a small team with friends and it’s just for fun, but of course I’m too competitive (with literally anything that I do in life) and it’s definitely not fun to lose, right? A couple of weeks ago, our team of five (we didn’t have six that night) found ourselves facing a team of only three. I secretly thought to myself, after we had been on an endless losing streak, that we HAVE to be beat these guys. There are literally only three of them. We outnumber them and are obviously the bigger team with more manpower. This shouldn’t be a problem — we are finally going to win a game!

Big mistake. That team of three definitely kicked our butts the entire match (ALL THREE GAMES!) because there was more strength, strategy and experience that they all held together over our team of five, which is a mix of a little experience, inconsistency because we sometimes have different players playing each week and no strategy at all with our plays and positions. Again, we play just for fun, but this was a good lesson and reminder to me about how it’s not always the bigger number (or person) that wins. You can be small, but mighty, especially in your business, if you have the right ideas, systems and practices in place. Remember the biblical parable about David and Goliath? Exactly. The little guy can definitely win.

Everyone has heard the phrase “quality over quantity” — but what does it really mean? Wouldn’t you think that the bigger you play, the more premium services and products that you sell and the bigger that your audience is would automatically equate to more income? Maybe in some cases, but not always in others. Sometimes, it’s OK to not have a following in the thousands, it’s OK to only focus on a couple of services that you’re truly passionate about and really benefit your client base — and it’s OK to not be a jack of all trades and a know-it-all expert. Sometimes, if you just focus on what you’re good at and spend your time nurturing the specific audience that’s going to actually buy from you and not just follow you online for no reason forever, you will find more success and consistent flows of cash finding a home in your bank account. Here are five reasons why “big” and “more” isn’t always better and the benefits of being specific and playing a little smaller can definitely win out in the long run: 

1) If you’re everything to everyone, you will be exhausted and not provide good service at all.

If you service a niche market/audience, they will buy from you, whether it’s now or later. You have to nurture them and form meaningful relationships with them and allow them to find trust and transparency in you, so that they will always find themselves thinking of you and coming back to you. They need to find value in what you say; they need to be able to know that will always receive value from you and that you want the best for them. If you know who you are, they know who you are and you service them for exactly what they need, you will absolutely find more success — even if it’s not immediate. Be patient. The sales will come and your clients will love you.

2) You should focus on just the social media platforms that truly benefit you and your followers.  

If your followers and potential clients are primarily on Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest, hang out where they are. Don’t worry about being everything to everyone and posting several times a day in each platform. Post 3-4 times a day in at least 2 of the platforms that will benefit you the most. Even if there is only one platform that proves to generate more for your business in the way of engagement, driving traffic to your site and eventually sales, just be present there! Don’t waste your time hanging out in the gym, if your client base is running outside on a nice day.  

3) You need to use the few systems that truly keep your business running.

Again, if you have 2-4 platforms or apps that keep your business on track each day, hold you accountable and allow you to stay better organized, utilize them! If you’re using a program that you don’t truly love and you end up spending more time in each day than you really should, drop it. Stick with what helps you work the best and most efficient. If you don’t have time for certain tasks like email management, blogging or social media posting, outsource that work to a VA. Fill your time with meaningful work and tasks that you enjoy and bring you money. Don’t waste your time working in programs or crossing things off your list that don’t allow you to be super productive and enjoy the work.

4) Experiment with selling no more than 3-4 services.  

Once again, you don’t have to do “all of the things.” Stick to what you’re good at and sell services based on that, only what your audience really needs and what will ultimately generate the most income. If you sell 5 different services and an additional 5 different products, it will be hard for your audience to keep track of what’s coming, what’s going and what they truly need to buy from you. Focus on just what you need to that will benefit your clients the most. Plain and simple.

5) Remember that your email list doesn’t have to be huge.  

Everyone would love a list that is miles long, with 50 new subscribers each day, but it doesn’t always happen that way. While a big email list can have its benefits and you’re certainly popping up in a lot of inboxes each week, how many of those people are actually reading your emails, clicking through to your offerings and going to buy from you? As I’ve mentioned before, I would rather have a list of 100 people that I know truly enjoy following me and will eventually purchase something, rather than 1,000 other people who can’t even remember why they’re still on my list and don’t even open my emails. 

30 Minute Brand Analysis Sessions

Speaking of quality — have you taken a look at your visual identity as a whole recently? Do you really love your logo and website? So much of the quality of your brand depends on how professional it looks, how consistent it is, how much it reflects your personality and how well it resonates with your audience. I literally have a few spots left for Wednesday, September 21 for 30 Minute Brand Analysis Sessions. Grab a spot on my calendar, include a link to your website and separately email me any other branding visual elements or examples that you have. I take a look at it all and prepare valuable feedback, suggestions and other bits of advice for what is working, what you can improve and how — and we meet via video chat — so it's virtually face-to-face!  Go sign-up now! 

Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire a professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more! If you do decide to hire a professional, I have branding “starter” and “expert” kit packages available for businesses at different stages and budgets. Let me know what you’re interested in today!