No time to business plan? It may be that your brain is overloaded.

No time to business plan? It may be that your brain is overloaded.

Are you an over-thinker? Does your brain only know how to solve short term tactical problems?

One of the biggest barriers to growing my own business over the years hasn’t been because I didn’t have enough clients, or good enough products, or even enough time; it’s because I lacked the mental clarity and the space to think strategically.

Over the past 18 years of running my own coaching and training businesses, I have been working around my family. My children are now 20 and 22, but I won’t forget those crazy school day schedules in a hurry. My head was always full of to-do-lists.

What to cook for dinner, and did I have enough in the fridge or did I have to stop off at the supermarket on the way back from pick-up? What are they going to wear for World Book Day next week? Did they have the right trainers for hockey season? (and why do they need different sports shoes for every different sport FFS?!) … the lists never stopped.

This mental ticking off carried over into my business.

I had trained my brain to think in short term decision making and although this meant I was a very good problem solver, this wasn’t helpful for thinking about my business growth.

I was often knee-jerking from one product launch to the next and I would get bored of a programme or a workshop and want to do something new, even when what I was promoting was working really well, and I spent my week making tactical decisions and reacting to what was coming into my inbox.

And I know I am not alone.

Whether you are a parent or not, this kind of mental overloading happens regularly with service professionals such as trainers, coaches and consultants. Because you are often working directly with clients and you are good at solving their problems, you are giving a lot of your time to each new piece of work or proposal that comes in.

And even if you think you can solve this by trading your time with online products and digital programmes, if you are a natural over-thinker, as well as good at what you do and clients keep buying from you, you will still do a lot of tactical thinking and reacting to everyday problems that keeps your mind focused on the here-and-now.

So how did I shift and create the mental space for strategic thinking so that I could make the time for business planning and spotting the right opportunities for growth.

Firstly, I had to recognise that getting better at time management wasn’t the solution.

If your brain is trained to be solving short term problems and you get a buzz out of a busy delivery week, there’s every chance you will make yourself more efficient at getting stuff done, rather than creating the space needed for strategic thinking.

Secondly, I began to address my working week rhythm’s and flow. To begin with, I couldn’t simply plug in a whole day to take off for business planning; my diary was booked out for weeks and it seemed that I didn’t have the time. The trick I discovered was to block out days out for thinking ‘on’ the business 6 weeks or more in advance, and this has become my go-to advice for everyone since.

Go to the point in your diary when you have spaces in your delivery calendar – and yes this may be two months or more – and block out two or three days. Don’t worry about what you are going to actually do during this time at this point; the important thing is that you carve out the time in advance now so that you have a firebreak in your schedule.

I also addressed how I started my working week. Monday mornings became time for me and the business and this now looks like weekly review of campaigns and implementation plans, team meetings and finances. Again, this acts like a firebreak and I can reset myself, no matter how busy the week before was.

Finally, I needed a process to follow. I knew that if I left strategic thinking time to its own devices and simply went with the flow, I would fill my head with more thoughts and ideas that never had the chance to be executed. I have found techniques such as journaling to be helpful to a point, but I needed a way to structure my ambitions and vision into a way that could be implemented.

And buying beautifully designed planning diaries (and yes, I have most of them on my bookshelf!) rarely helped me because they often over-complicated the process or distracted me by giving me lots of irrelevant boxes to complete.

So over the years, I crafted my own planning process that simplified what was needed to scale my business, and it worked so well that we now teach it in our Momentum business growth programme. The Grow Strong planning process is based on the 90 day planning principles, but rather than have a back-to-back quarterly cycle, I run it three times a year on a trimester basis.

What this does is allow space between the implementation time to review and reflect (as well as catch your breath which, as I got older, I needed so much more of!) and slows the pace down.

And it’s this slowing down that actually speeds up the business growth.

I know it may sound rather counterintuitive, but for a classic over-thinker like myself and for many of our clients in the Momentum community, it’s been instrumental to creating the space for strategic thinking, respecting your health needs as well as being able to behave more like a CEO, rather than someone who runs a busy business.

So where are you at? Are you an over-thinker? Has reading this made you realise that your brain may be trained to solve short term tactical problems, rather than the long term strategy needed to grow your business?

And if you’ve already identified this, what have you done to slow down your tactical thinking and create the time and space for business planning?

Next steps: If you know you want to scale your business but you’re not sure what your next steps are, then an easy first step to take is my Scale Scorecard. You simply answer 21 questions and then my system will make a recommendation based on your responses.

This is a game changer – saves you time, focuses your effort, and gives you clarity all in under 3 minutes. Better still, I’ve made it free for you!

Click here and get your custom recommendations.

The 3 onboarding documents to help you set a clear, professional working relationship with new clients

The 3 onboarding documents to help you set a clear, professional working relationship with new clients

I’m writing about boundaries this month; those often invisible lines that we need to have to protect and fuel our time and energy. Last week I wrote about the 4 work boundaries to increasing profitability and avoiding burnout. This week, I want to shine the light on how clear your legal and professional working relationship needs are set with your clients.

When so much attention is given to sales and marketing, the legal processes and terms of engagement of a new client starting to work with you are often overlooked. For some of you, it’s a lack of awareness. After all, what you don’t know, you don’t know. For others, it can feel dull, confusing or perhaps a little scary.

And I’m here to tell you that none of that needs to happen.

There’s no shame in not knowing what you aren’t even aware of. And if you have been shying away from this area of your business (or even burying your head in the sand!), then I want you to know that it is far easier and simpler than you may be making it out to be.

In this week’s article, I have broken down the three documents to use during your onboarding process with new clients that set up your Power Partnership working relationship. With these in place, you will find a real shift in your business, no matter what it is that you actually do with them or for them.

First of all, what is a Power Partnership™?

Partnership Power™ is the phrase that I use to teach my clients how to sell and work with clients from a place of equal power.

When you let your work and personal boundaries slip, you start to give up your power and this can lead to some clients beginning to take liberties with you. Sometimes this shows up as simply not turning up to meetings on time or not giving you what you need in order to do your work, such as completed questionnaires. With others, they may start asking for discounts or add-ons to what you’ve already agreed.

When you start saying ‘no problem’ to them, you allow your power to shift away from you even more and the relationship has the danger of quickly becoming toxic; behaviour such as unpaid invoices going unpaid to start or cancelling meetings without notice.

But take too much power over your clients, dictate your terms and not show any flexibility or compassion when needed, you will come across as arrogant, cold or dismissive of their needs. This, of course, would start pushing away clients and your business will suffer.

Setting clear working relationship boundaries doesn’t mean you need to become Queen Bitch. Putting the right legal and terms of engagement in place is about creating the space and container for both and your client to work side by side, in partnership and in service with each other, rather than you becoming the servant.

Let’s dive into the three things that will give you this container.

1) Terms of Service

Whatever you sell, your clients have to be aware of the parameters of your professional working relationship; basically, getting clear on what it is that they’ve actually bought.

If you don’t set the rules at the start, your client won’t know when they are stepping over the mark or requesting something that you can’t or don’t want to deliver on. Remember you are in service to them, rather than taking on a servant role.

The specifics of your working relationship need to include:

  • Exact outline of your service and/or programme. If you’ve done this via a proposal, then this should be pretty clear. But if you’ve sold via a conversation or click on your website, then having a welcome pack or email to confirm what it is that your client is receiving from you, is critical. You may have told them on the phone the details or have it listed on your website, but your clients are human; they won’t have heard or read every detail so it’s important that you clarify this at the start of your working relationship to ensure their expectations are met and they is no ambiguity on what was on offer.
  • Cancellation policy. In the UK, anything sold that your client hasn’t seen in person (which is anything you sell, unless you have an in-person gallery or shop that you are selling from), gives them the right to a 14 day cooling off period. But what happens if they no-show or they want to cancel a contract or workshop? How do you deal with emergency situations when they genuinely can’t keep their agreed time? Is there a charge in place when they don’t? If you are in any doubt that you need to have clear cancellation or postponement clauses in your terms, then I always recommend you take inspiration from your dentist; you’d never be able to cancel an appointment at the last minute without a financial penalty. Why should you be any different?
  • Confidentiality. Is this important to highlight in your client work? Do they need reassurance of the level of confidentiality and how you will manage this?
  • Payment terms. When do you expect payment and how? It’s not good enough to let your clients pay you when it suits them. You either set up a pay-before-we-start-work-together process or invoice with 5 days payment terms, slightly longer perhaps if you are dealing with a finance team in an organisation, but certainly not 90 days which I’ve seen one of my own clients feel obligated to agree to.

These terms of service don’t need to be long and legal. You can create a very personable welcome pack or letter that highlights the promise you are making to your client and the level of service you are giving them, without lots of small print.

For those of you who work directly as a coach, consultant, trainer or therapist, I do recommend you get your clients to sign one, rather than just email them a copy for reference, before you start working together because it means they’ve read it and acknowledged how your relationship is going to work. There are some good, inexpensive options such as Hellosign that make this signing process work easily online.

2) Terms and conditions

Technically, there’s very little difference between a Terms of Service and a Terms and Conditions. Many businesses will refer their clients to one document and contract.

But I like to split them apart because I find that many of you reading my articles run businesses that involve personal relationships with your clients. Simply having a long, legal contract as your only form of service or programme confirmation, can be rather daunting for your client. They may even be scared off or feel it’s all rather too serious if this is their first time working with someone like you. On the other end of the scale, only having a Terms of Service welcome pack can mean you miss out on some important legal points that protect both you and your clients.

So for clarity, I am referring to your Terms of Service as a read-friendly document that confirms your client working relationship; a welcome pack or letter or proposal. Your Terms and Conditions is a statement of both you and your clients’ legal rights. This is the document that is needed to protect you both in case of a breakdown of your working relationship, unforeseen circumstances that mean you may not be able to deliver what you’ve sold and cover things such as IP, professional indemnity and data protection.

Now I am sure you would never want or even imagine a breakdown of a working relationship. But the truth is that it happens. And when it does happen, it usually happens at the worst possible time. So it is critical that you have clear and legal terms and conditions set up for your business and have them both listed on your website, and have them sent to your clients at the start of the working relationship.

If you are a UK Business and want some well written templates to work from, then I can highly recommend The Small Business Legal Academy which is where I’ve got all my contracts and terms of service documents from.

https://smallbusinesslegalacademy.co.uk/sbla/

(Please note: the above link is an affiliate link and if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I recommend this service because it’s something that I have already purchased, use in my own business and wholeheartedly recommend.)

3) Fair Play Agreement

This third document may be overkill for some of you, but for those of you who are about to embark on a long term working relationship or consultancy project, then a Fair Play Agreement document can be a really useful addition to your onboarding process.

I have to give credit to one of my clients for this name; Jon Norton from http://www.barefootaccounting.co.uk/ came up with this name to use in his accountancy practice and I love it. You, of course, can come up with your own name and version.

What this document gives your client is a clear outline of what you both agree to do for each other to enable a successful outcome. It is particularly useful for professional services, consultants or design companies who have used a proposal to confirm the exact nature of the project or contract, and then want to highlight some key working practices during the onboarding process.

This may include some of the following:

  • Support times and access to you. How do your clients reach you whilst working with you? If you don’t want them calling you on your mobile number, why do you have it on your business card or email signature? What response time do you promise for emails or phone messages?
  • Information from the client. What ‘homework’ or information do you expect your client to give you by when? If you are working to tight deadlines or managing a design project for them, and you can only deliver based on what your client gives, being clear on what you need and when, will help prevent project creep or any blame that you are at fault. Rather than have to become Queen Bitch and quote any legal obligations, you can use this agreement to keep in your Power Partnership.
  • Expectations of how people are treated. You may have an assistant or a number of associates that will work with your client, so it may be that you want to ensure the right level of trust and respect is given to your team members.

Although not a legal document, it is something that I would recommend asking your client to sign, as above with your Terms of Service.

Having all three of these documents in place not only protect you and your client, but create a strong set of working relationship boundaries. Each time I help our clients put these in place in their business, there is a visible difference to the way they work within weeks.

Yes, they can take some thinking out. But do the work and you have a clear and professional onboarding process that sets the tone for a sustainable and profitable working relationship.

And as a final note, these aren’t just to be used with your new clients. If you need to get some (or all!) of your clients realigned with your new working relationship boundaries, then communicating these with them will only show you in better professional light. They set the tone for working together sustainably in the future, and can always be a great reason for bringing some more painful clients to the end 😉

Let me know what you end up putting in place and what impact these documents have on your business.

Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.

 

 

 

How I decided on which Impact Project to support

How I decided on which Impact Project to support

Last year I decided to align my business so it can become a real force for good and, in particular, in how I can contribute towards the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

(You can read about these SDGs here if you want to know more https://www.globalgoals.org/) 

One way I have decided to do this is to use the Accountability Reports that each of our Momentum members posts each week to donate to specific causes I want to support. I use an organisation called www.B1G1.com which allows me to give to charities easily through a process of “whenever we do this, we make something great happen in our world'”.

As of next week, I have decided to up the value of each accountability report from $1 to $2, which means for every Accountability Report they post over the next 90 days, they have the potential of helping me donate $408 by the end of August. 

There’s nothing like using an additional emotional reason to help keep our members motivated to post weekly Accountability Reports. Plus it helps keep me committed to my giving goals throughout the year! 

I have just decided on three projects that I would like to support and I’ve just asked my Momentum members to vote on the one we will be supporting for this next 90-day cycle.

And, I’ll admit … it was bloody hard to pinpoint three projects that I wanted to support this time around. 

With so much attention going on raising funds for our NHS right now, I got confused about where I should be focusing my impact right now. With so many charities needing our support at this current time, how do any of us decide who we support?!?

Should I be moving away from my SDG goals and B1G1 commitment, and switch?

We can’t support every charity. As much as we all like to give when we can, we just don’t have the funds to give to everyone, do we?

And yet if we stay undecided, we end up supporting no one. 

Wrestling with this dilemma this morning has made me realise why it’s important for us all to spend time to keep connected with the vision we have for the future. Our vision is our guiding light; our North Star if you like. 

And this morning I reminded myself of my vision. 

“Imagine a world where our global political and economic drivers are deeply connected to our spirituality and humanity; a world where money, creativity and impact are aligned to give us a planet where every person, animal and ecosystem thrives.”

Reading this again helped me see why I needed to continue to support the two SDGs that I believe will support my vision for the future: 

Gender Equality – the empowerment of women around the world to not only be safe but to have choices in how they live, work, contribute and lead.

Responsible Consumption and Production – supporting businesses that choose to do good, be good and treat our planet with the respect that it deserves. 

Once I reconnected with my vision again, the choice of what projects to present became easy. I was able to select based on my top-down criteria. 

These are the three projects I presented to my members today. Although your vote can’t be counted (Momentum members only, I’m afraid!), I’d love to know which project you’d vote for if you had to. 

And if you find the choice hard, I get it. Choosing who we support can be tough and I hope by sharing this story with you today it helps you make your decisions on who to give to and how to do it. 

The important thing I believe is that we DO make a decision. 

Because, if we stay undecided, we end up supporting no one.


Project 1: Train a Farmer in Sustainable Farming

Logging the rainforest is a dangerous job that takes you away from your family and compromises the water you depend on for life. Loggers in Indonesia know this but have no alternative livelihood. By teaching farmers sustainable farming techniques like crop rotation, using organic fertilizers and pesticides, these farmers no longer have to practice slash and burn agriculture, but can farm the same land year after year. Train one farmer in sustainable farming techniques and you will protect the rainforest and improve community well-being.

Project 2: Fund a Social Entrepreneur

Fund a social entrepreneur and help to make a change through financial support, which is inclusive of the start-up costs needed to set up a pilot initiative or business. Seed funding, especially the costs of setting up a pilot are critical in the early days of a start-up social entrepreneur. These entrepreneurs are primarily solving social problems around livelihood, education, health & wellbeing, environment, agriculture and waste management, leading to long-term solutions for problems occurring daily in India.

Project 3: Empower Women with Literacy and Business Skill

Five Talents is a microfinance organization that uplifts the world’s poorest families. Your support helps women build their own businesses through education, business training and access to financial services, which supports their families and entire communities – paving the way for a sustainable future. Poverty levels in Uganda are high, access to electricity and education are limited and the country relies heavily on agriculture. This project works with the community to address their specific needs and find ways to diversify their incomes.


Until next time,

 

 

 

 

Consider the impact your business is making

Consider the impact your business is making

How often do you stop and consider the impact you are making?

Not how many sales you’ve made this month. Or how many new leads you’ve got. Or even how much money you’ve made. 

But how your business is making a difference. 

Now before you begin to wonder whether this is an either/or question, it’s not. Money is still an important energy in your business, whether you are a commercial, social or charitable business. But for us to thrive whilst growing a business, we need the energies of money, creativity and impact. 

The reason why I wanted to share the important message of impact today was that I was delighted to see one of my Momentum members featured in her local newspaper. Linda is a transformational life coach who came to work with us last summer to help get her business back on track. It was apparent very quickly that what Linda needed help with was to build up her confidence and FEEL more in tune with what she was offering, rather than focus on DOING lots of marketing tactics. 

This may sound a little woo woo but, in my experience, we can not grow our business sustainably unless we’ve connected energetically with our goals and the plans on how to get there. 

It doesn’t matter how wonderful your new marketing funnel is. If you’re not energetically connected with it or feel at all heavy about the whole process, it ain’t going to work!

Part of this connection process is understanding the importance of impact in our business and how it serves not just the people we are impacting, but also ourselves as we stretch into our potential. 

We helped Linda unlock this and find focus on how she could achieve this in her business. She took an idea of starting up a Chattie Cafe, events for people who may feel lonely in the community, and got funding from the Co-op Local Community Fund and Lions Club to keep them going on a regular basis. 

Now, for some people, they may consider a project like this a distraction from the act of having to make sales. But this isn’t an either/or opportunity. 

The confidence Linda has found in leading this project has not only helped and provide critical wellbeing support for her local community but also helped her step up her own coaching business and establish herself as a recognised member of her local community. She got herself ‘out there’ without having to be always marketing her commercial business. 

It’s what I would call a win win win! A win for the local community, a win for Linda’s confidence and leadership skills and a win for Linda’s paying clients. 

The energy of impact is needed to ensure you align your drive to make money, with who you are as a person and the difference you want to make. 

This is what I call True Profit Business. If you want to know, you can get a copy of my book over on Amazon.

Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.

 

 

 

 

True Profit Business gets shortlisted by Business Book Awards

True Profit Business gets shortlisted by Business Book Awards

If there is one thing that I have learnt about starting up and scaling up a business is that it is through growth that we become.

And it’s how we become that allows our growth to flow.

Now I know that may sound a little Yoda.

But having been a Dominant Do-er for most of my life and spent the first 25 or so years in business believing that I had to think and do my way to success, I have worn struggle and hard work as badges of honour. And over the past 15 years of running my own coaching and training business, I have witnessed, and worked with, many hundreds of other entrepreneurs who have been on the same path.

With more of us in our 40’s, 50’s and beyond starting up our own businesses and social enterprises more than ever before, we are struggling to keep up with the pace of life and unsustainable benchmarks for success.

We do not lack ability or ambition!

But because of factors specific to our age bracket – the Sandwich Generation (caring for both children and elderly parents), mid-life changes and menopausal/andropausal shifts – we often experience high levels of stress, hormonal imbalances and burn out whilst trying to grow our businesses.

Which also means that our society is losing out on an immense monetary and social potential that our micro-businesses can bring to our economy. Now, more than ever, we need to champion ways to help our global political and economic drivers deeply connected to our spirituality and humanity.

Because a large percentage of business growth advice and books focused on topics such as business models and the mechanics of starting up and growing a business are dominated today by digital internet marketers, there are very few practical and easy to read business books written for those entrepreneurs who have ambitions to grow a purpose-led business, but without the hustle-and-grind push to succeed or the sole focus of digital options.

As we start this brand new decade, you and I don’t need business dumbing down or being made pinker or softer. What we need is to fundamentally change the way we all – men and women of all ages – approach business growth to create a purpose-led and sustainable economy.

As many of you may know, my book, True Profit Business, was published last year. The book writing process took almost three years of researching, refining and articulating how to connect the ‘doing-ness’ of business – the mechanics, plans and processes – with the ‘being-ness’ of business – the power of energy flow and listening to intuition.

My mission was to simplify the business growth process so that entrepreneurs like you can make the money you want, but do it in a way that fuels your health and allows you to make the impact you want. So I am incredibly proud to have found out yesterday that my book has been shortlisted for best Start-up Inspiration business book in the Business Book Awards 2020.

To be recognised and have my book sit alongside a list of incredible books on topics such as leadership, sustainable change and promoting diversity is mind-blowing to me, especially as they have had a record number of books submitted this year. It gives me hope that the tide is turning and business mainstream is prepared to accept that our being-ness is not only a powerful economic force but also a critical one to work alongside our doing-ness.

The awards ceremony is in March, and I can’t wait (as well as feel ever so slightly squeaky bum about it all, too!) to attend and proudly showcase my book.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement. There are lots of people in my community who have been connected with me for many years now and the feedback and comments I get each time I write new content really does help motivate, inspire and draw me onwards and upwards. Thank you x

Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.

 

 

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To see the other books shortlisted for the Business Book Awards 2020, go to https://www.businessbookawards.co.uk/shortlist-2020/

True Profit Business is available to order on all major book sites, including Amazon, Hive and Waterstones. If you do order your book on Amazon, please do leave a review as it really helps spread the word. To find out more about True Profit Business go to www.KarenSkidmore.com/book

“There are so few really practical, ballsy books like this. I love the way you set out those simple business models and give all the practicalities as well as bringing in the beingness of business. That combination is so powerful.”

Published by Practical Inspirations in September 2019 – https://practicalinspiration.com/


 

 

 

What is the real truth behind your profit?

What is the real truth behind your profit?

For many of you who decide to start up a business, it isn’t the money that necessarily drives you above all else. However, making sales is a critical component to having a successful business. Without someone buying what it is you are selling, you have no business. Even a charity or not-for-profit organisation has to have an income to exist to do its work.

There’s often a lot of emotional baggage and over-thinking tied up with the process of sales and marketing, especially when money may not appear to be the primary driver. Feelings, beliefs, and thoughts about money and profit often create strong emotions and thinking around what you believe you are worth, the prices you charge and your ability to go out and sell.

You will have your own stories about what profit means to you.

Profiting can be viewed as a “bad” thing to do in business for a lot of people. I have heard many stories over the years from my clients about money; about how they base their behaviour on beliefs such as “I need to add more bonuses and get everything right before I put my offer out there”, “my clients wouldn’t pay those kinds of prices” or “I want my prices to be low enough for anyone to say yes”.

When you focus hard at making sales

The times that I have focused hard on making sales have been the unhappiest and most stressful months of running my business. I remember one period in particular when I decided to work with a sales mentor because I was frustrated with my inability to make enough money. I had convinced myself (and he had convinced me, too!) that he had the sales formula that would solve all my problems in just six weeks. He taught me a sales strategy that I now refer to as FOOB (F*%! Off Or Buy). The selling process meant that the offer I made on a call with a prospect was only available if the person decided to buy there and then. If they wanted to go away and think about it, that was OK but they wouldn’t get the special price I was offering to them. I was being taught to sell scarcity in a high-pressure sales environment so that I could make my sales targets.

I made my targets and I filled my programme, so you could say it worked. But I was miserable making my sales this way. It felt pressurised, the process didn’t align with my values and I soon decided to stop working with this particular mentor.

Each time I have found myself rising to the pressure of having to make money, it has rarely worked. Even when I have met my sales targets in this driven way, I didn’t seem to be any happier overall. My sales achievements often pushed me to up my game and increase my next month’s targets, I didn’t take the time to celebrate my successes and just raced on to the next idea or project. All this contributed to my burnout.

When you focus hard at doing anything but making sales

On the other end of the scale, there have been times that I have done anything but do the work to make the sales. When I first started up my business, I often used the phrase “I’m not doing this for the money”. I had stories going on in head such as “I’m just a mum who works from home” and “I need people to like me before they buy from me”. I was pretending to myself that money wasn’t important and these stories held me back. I felt incredibly uncomfortable when quoting my prices. I just hoped that my emails and blog posts would do the selling for me, rather than pick up the phone and speak to people directly (which frankly is still the simplest and easiest way to make sales today).

This would also happen during the times I was burning out; being knackered and brain fogged meant that my fears and doubts would have me spending my time re-writing my sales pages, creating pretty graphics, writing email autoresponders and posting updates on my social feeds. That’s all I felt I was capable of so I found myself busy for the sake of being busy because I didn’t have the energy to plan long term or think strategically about my business.

So when you focus hard to make sales, you are in danger of working against your values or lose sight of your purpose that can mean, over time, you burn out in the process. On the other end of the scale, if you aren’t connected with your purpose or your money stories are triggering your fears and doubts, your business has the danger of being nothing more than an expensive hobby.

What are you do?

Do we really have to sacrifice our creativity and purpose in order to make a profit?

What I have come to know now is that for you to fulfill your greatest potential and play your bigger game, your business needs to fuel three things: your creativity, your purpose and your financial goals. This is not an “either-or” choice you have to make. You can have a business that fulfills your purpose, allows you to have fun as well as make good money in the process.

A 6-figure business with a turnover of £250,000 may sound impressive, but when you see the business owner burnt out, unable to feel fulfilled or even pay themselves a decent income because their costs are so high, the True Profit of this business is low.

A business with half this turnover, but with the business owner working in flow and having decided that a £65,000 annual income is more than enough to give them what they want from life, the True Profit of the business may be considered high.

Everyone will have their own, unique True Profit figure and it’s important to recognise this. We often judge other people’s businesses from what we see externally; the number of people in the room at a conference or how many likes or comments they get on their Facebook posts. And then we use these judgments to benchmark our own success. But the external numbers only tell one part of the story.

Profit

Let’s dive into the topic of profit in more detail. If you look up the definition of profit, this is what you’ll find:

“The monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc”

Now, I don’t know about you, but that definition is not terribly inspiring to me. When laid out like this, it’s easy to think that profit is best left for your accountant to sort out at the end of each year. Having a “monetary surplus” is hardly inspirational.

Even though I recognise the fact that making money is important, I’ve never been particularly motivated by numbers on a spreadsheet. In my early years, knowing what my profit was week in week out was never high on my agenda. I knew what my sales were (turnover) but never really bothered by what my “monetary surplus” was. They were even times where I would totally disregard the financial aspect of my business which, not surprisingly, did lead to the detriment of how much money I really did make. My sales may have been good but what this translated into profit and my personal income has been demotivating at times.

What does the word profit really mean?

A business like mine and yours is not just something we do; it’s not a job that we get hired for but a representation of who we are. No matter what you sell, you have so much of you wrapped up in it (your expertise, talents and intellectual property). This can make it hard to separate the pragmatic, monetary side of worth, with the worth that’s wrapped up so tightly in your heart, body, and soul.

This is why it’s interesting to look at the origins of the word profit because it has a completely different meaning to what we think of profit today. Go back to 1300 and the word profit comes from the old French “prufit, porfit”, meaning “benefit advantage”. If we go further back, the word profit comes from the Latin word “proficere”, which means “accomplish, make progress, be useful, do good, have success.”

Our modern-day economy has seemingly sucked the life-force out of the word. Profit is no longer associated with accomplishment and commitment to do good. The doingness of our business culture has morphed the word “profit” to give us a different version of success; a version that makes us feel we are never enough.

It’s time to change this. You, and all our micro-business and small business communities across the globe, have a huge combined economic power, as well as the ability to make our own choices in how we decide to grow our business, which in turn can change the way business impacts our planet and how we treat each other as human beings. Profit can once again mean that business is here to make progress, to be useful and does good.

That’s my bigger vision and my driving purpose for my business and the work that I do. But with as with most bigger visions, a mission such as this grows with one business at a time. So, let’s start with your business. Let’s dive into how you can bring these principles of True Profit Business into your business.

A new (and better!) way of doing business

The True Profit Business Model

We’ve established that financial profit is important; let’s not pretend otherwise. Without money flowing into your business, money can’t flow out. It’s a necessary energy to create growth. But take into account the hours you work, the effort you put in, the sacrifices you make, the stress that your business causes you … how does that financial figure translate into your health, wellness, happiness, time and impact that you make?

I believe that when you figure out how, when and where you want to work, get clear on your strengths and values, and design the right marketing systems, revenue streams and business model that fuels you, that this is when a True Profit Business Model can give you freedom to create, have an impact, as well make you money.

In the center of the True Profit Business Model are the three energies of money, creativity, and impact. It may not feel like it right now, but you have complete control over the choices of how each of these energies can work for you. Deciding on what these choices become your True Profit Compass, a navigation tool to help keep you centered on how your business works for you at each stage of your business growth journey. Your True Profit Compass evolves over time as you grow and evolve so it’s a tool you will want to review a few times a year and particularly before you create any next growth plan or make a decision to change the way you run your business.

Surrounding your True Profit Compass are the five True Profit Growth Pillars, which are there to support you at every stage of your growth. These pillars have to grow together because, as you can imagine, if even just one or two are not growing with you, you are going to have wobbly foundations for your business.

Over the coming weeks, I shall be sharing more about these five Growth Pillars and the True Profit Compass. My new book, True Profit Business, is coming out this September.

In the meanwhile, I’d love to know what insights you have this article so do comment below and share your thoughts on what profit really means to you.

Thank you for reading. Until next time, do less, be more, play bigger.

 

 

 

 

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