The Do’s and Don’t’s of Payment Plans

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Payment Plans

There are many good reasons to offer a payment plan to your customers, but there are also a lot of assumptions that many business owners make about how they go about offering them, particularly whether they ought to be charging their clients more for taking up the payment plan option.

In this article, I want to debunk some myths and misconceptions, and help you see how positioning your payment plans can actually benefit both you and your clients.

Don’t see payment plans as recurring income

I know many business owners like to have a consistent flow of income, but to see payment plans as recurring income will actually cheat your sales mindset.

A payment plan is accepting payment for a one-off product or service; once sold, you are delivering it for a specific finite time.

Recurring income has a completely different job to do as it’s revenue from a product or service that a client continues to use each month or year, with no specific finite time until the client decides to stop buying.

Many years ago, I used to feel safer knowing that I had money coming in each month and thus was very happy for a client to take up a payment plan, but what this would do would let me off the hook of selling more over the coming months. I would make myself feel more comfortable than I actually was and would even stop selling when I saw a healthy chunk of money coming to me over the next few months. The reality was that I was spreading the money out, rather than growing the business revenue.

Don’t charge your clients more for taking a payment plan

Yes, I get the argument that it can cost the business when payment plans are defaulted or card payments don’t work, especially if you are dealing with hundreds or even thousands payment plans.

But if you know that there is always a percentage of card payments that need sorting each month, then see this is a cost to your business, in the same way your web hosting and internet usage is. Either look at how you can improve your business processes to automate as much as possible, or factor this into your overall prices.

Plus there are certain laws and regulations you need to be aware of.

In the UK, The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 is now in place which made it unlawful for “merchants from charging a fee in addition to the advertised price of a transaction on the basis of a consumer’s choice of payment instrument (for example, credit card, debit card or e-money)”.

I asked Suzanne Dibble, founder of the Small Business Legal Academy and my go-to legal advisor for her advice on the matter.

“Payment plans or instalment agreements could fall foul of Consumer Credit legislation if more than 12 instalments are charged or interest (or any other fee) is charged. It has been suggested that if offering payment plans to consumers (which includes sole traders and partnerships), you express the instalment price as the full price and discount the price for pay in full, so as to be able to argue that no interest or other fees have been charged for the instalment credit. However there is no guidance that this rather artificial way of structuring things would keep you safe.”

If you are based outside of the UK, do check your own country’s regulations in regards to payment plans.

Do see payment plans as a good way of helping your clients

Your clients should never feel shamed into taking the payment plan option. If they want to choose to spread their payments over a period of time, there is often a genuine reason for it.

They may not have the money right here, right now, so don’t shame them for not having the cash. Let them make their own decisions over payments depending on their circumstances.

They may not trust you enough to pay up front and that’s OK, too. Trust is always earnt before it is given, so if your new client wants to start to see results before they are willing to commit to paying everything up front, then start giveing them the results that you are promising.

If you are attracting the kind of clients who take up payment plans as a try-before-you-buy, ie they cancel in the first month or two, and you are getting financially burnt in the process, then you have to take a hard look at your client attraction process and eligibility, as well as the quality of your product.

Perhaps you are either willing to accept anyone as a client or that you are over-promising on your product offer.

Do reward your clients for paying in full

If you can’t charge more for your payment plan option, then flip this around and reward those who want to pay upfront. I would also advise that you would want to have your clients pay you upfront if it’s possible; better to have the money in your bank, than theirs as it saves on invoice chasing at best and debt collection at worst.

Plus I like to think that when you have the money up front, it puts you in a position where you have to deliver. They’ve put their trust in you so make sure you not only give them the goods, but exceed their expectations.

You can reward them with a simple discount, although don’t be too generous! 10% may sound like a nice figure, but if you haven’t factored this discount into your overall revenue goals, you could find yourself short. Do your sums and factor any discounts into your price structure so you can achieve your sales targets.

If you don’t want to discount, or the margins are already too tight to discount further, then you can reward them by giving them access to a lower priced digital product, discount code for partner products or services (a great way of forging client referrals and recommendation with other businesses) or some other gift that does not take your time or additional costs.

Do let your clients make the decision which option they take

It would be easy to now decide that you want all your clients to take the full payment, but going heavy with the sales to persuade them to say no to the payment plan may mean you lose the sale completely.

We have a saying in our Momentum community; be committed but not attached to the outcome. Make your offer, talk through the options available but stay unattached to what your client decides. People love to buy, but often hate being sold to so think about how you position your offer so that your client feels they genuinely have the choice, rather than being bullied into it.

Do write about your payment plan options in your marketing campaigns

If you are launching a product online or running a marketing campaign, deciding when you talk about the payment plan option presents some great reasons for people to click your emails or check out your sales page.

Write about your payment plan options somewhere in your email campaign, and explain the benefits of taking advantage of it.

A technique that I have seen many big internet marketers use is to bring in another payment plan that is spread over a longer period of time at the last minute – just before the shopping cart closes – which brings the risk down and helps those people who are still sitting on the fence to say yes to the offer. (Do make sure you’ve read the advice from Suzanne above about extending payment plans for longer than 12 months.)

Do offer payment plans when your client can no longer pay their invoices

We are heading towards difficult times for some and the cost of living is on the increase. You may find more clients have agreed to buy something from you but then over a period of weeks may not be able to pay you for whatever reason.

Collecting money owed for work already delivered, or part delivered, can be a horrid and difficult process for both parties, but communication is key. So rather than write off outstanding invoices or threaten legal proceedings too early, talk about spreading payments over a longer period of time. If you do go down this route, have the conversation face to face – zoom or phone – rather than rely on emails and ensure everything is documented and agreed, with clear payment terms and invoicing dates confirmed with both parties to avoid any further disputes.

In summary, view your payment plan options as both a sales and marketing opportunity to help more clients buy your products or services, as well as a way of offering good customer service. Set yourself and your clients up for success, rather than penalise them for taking the payment option.


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How can your business operate without you?

How can your business operate without you?

If you run a busy business, it’s easy to feel responsibility for not only getting new leads and winning over new clients, but also for delivering the work and all the admin tasks that go along with that.

For most business owners I speak with, having a business operate without them being in the thick of everything, all the time can seem an impossibility.

So is it really possible for your business to operate twelve months of the year, whilst you take holidays, weekends away or even finish your work day at 3pm if that is what you want?

However much fire fighting you feel you are doing right now, I want to reassure you that yes, you can absolutely achieve this.

It isn’t something that can happen overnight but over the course of the next few months, you can start to shift yourself from being a busy freelancer to being a CEO of your business.

Step One – Your CEO Mindset

Start the transition from being the person who does it all, to being a business leader.

This starts with recognising your role as a freelancer (the part of you who does the delivery), your role as a business owner (the part of you who is responsible for the running of the business – sales, marketing, operations, finances) and your role as a CEO (the part of you who strategically plans long term and focuses on your next stage of growth).

This important first step helps you move away from ‘winging it and hoping for the best’ because when you are busy, busy, busy it’s no surprise that you can’t think or visualise what your bigger dreams are and where you could hope for your business to be in 5 years time.

You need to slow yourself down so you can clear the mental overload in your brain, and give you the space to clarify your professional and life goals and ambitions.

Have a read of my article next where I dive in to the problem of having an overloaded brain and the time impact it has your ability to long term plan.

Step Two – Get operational support

If you are running everything yourself, with maybe the odd bit of outsourcing of design work or ad hoc admin, then the first action to take is almost always to hire someone to help with your business operations.

If you have a virtual assistant working for you already, it may be time to review their role and assess whether you are ready to hire operations manager level support so that someone else takes on the day to day running of the business for you.

You need to free up some time so you can work ON your business, rather than IN it every day. Breaking this ‘do it all yourself’ habit, no matter what experiences you have had in the past, is essential if you want to be able to take time out of the business for holidays and shorter work weeks and days.

Don’t just hire anyone; it’s important that you write out a job description – what it is you feel you need help with and what kind of person you feel would bring out the best in you. If you don’t know where to start, then have a read of my how to hire an operations manager article.

Step Three – Get a grip of your finances

My version of profitability is not just the potential of your financial gain, but also how well your business model is set to ensure your business delivers the best results to your clients, with the time and energy you want to give.

If you haven’t done much work on your finances over the past few years except to sign off your tax return and company accounts, a deep dive into your finances to help you benchmark and track the numbers in your business is needed and this will help you make better decisions about where to focus.

Decisions such as:

  • Are your prices right? Is the price you are charging not only giving you the income you want but also going to give you the cash flow to invest in your sales, marketing, systems & processes to support your delivery?
  • Can you afford to outsource? Have you factored in your costs so you make sure you still get paid?
  • When and where do you invest your time, energy, and resources? Where are your future profit opportunities, and when would be the right time to diversify or work with different audiences?
  • Which products to stop offering and clients to ‘sack’? Are you really making ‘enough’ sales to justify your efforts?
  • Can you invest in advertising? Are your sales going to give you the right return on investment?

Without taking a good look at your finances, you may be missing an easier or simpler route for your next stage of your growth.

And even if you have exceptional support from your accountant, this kind of financial work is rarely done because your statutory tax return and end of your accounts don’t give you the right financial information to help you spot your profitability and growth potential in your business.

Step Four – Review your products and service offerings

How easy it is to reach and take on more clients, and increase your revenue and impact without you having to work harder and more hours to get there will depend on what it is you are selling.

If you are already maxed out on either time, energy or client work, the objective at this stage of your business is not to focus more of your time on marketing and attracting more clients, but to assess how well your products are supporting your business goals.

The more personal and bespoke your offers are, the harder it is for you to scale your business; if you don’t have a standard process or framework to take your clients through, you will always be limited to what you can personally deliver.

And, in my experience, no matter how individual you think your service is, there are always repeatable lessons and teachings that can be created and turned into digital content, even if you aren’t interested in creating group programmes or online courses.

Start by clarifying the specific results your clients get from working with you, then map out the exact steps you take to give them these results.

Plus it may be time to review how much of your time is spent delivering during the week.

Even if you still feel you are the only one who has the expertise, is there someone who could take on a client support role? i.e. host q&a sessions, take on the initial assessment and onboarding, or even accountability follow up sessions depending on the programme or service you currently offer. This is great first step if you are feel nervous or unsure how outsourcing work will work for you and your clients.

Step Five – Process, process, process

As your business grows, the need for process grows. Process isn’t just for large enterprises; it’s needed at every stage of business growth and size, so it’s critical that you prioritise which processes you need to work on.

There are 4 key areas:

  • Operations: everything you need to run your business on a day-to-day basis; from email management and computer backups to monthly finances and renewing insurance.
  • Sales & Marketing: you can not rely on word-of-mouth referrals and your inbox to manage your prospecting, so if you haven’t done so already, it’s essential to start putting in the processes in order to generate consistent leads and create sales opportunities.
  • Delivery: in order to consistently exceed your clients’ expectations, you need the processes to be able onboard and deliver what it is you’ve promised.
  • Team: knowing how to hire (and fire!), as well as how to run your weekly team meetings and quarterly review meetings will ensure managing people doesn’t become the headache that we know many fear it will.

And if this list feels rather overwhelming, go back to the second step, get operational support, as taking action on a lot of these processes is not something you will have to do.

Someone in your team needs to take on some of these process projects so you can keep more of your time free for being CEO, and step away from being freelancer and even business owner (see Step One!).

To sum up …

To sum up, these five steps aren’t something you can do overnight. They usually take between nine and twelve months, whilst still allowing you time to run the business and deliver what your clients want from you.

And yes, there may feel like a lot of work here but I promise you that this kind of work is a lot less hard work than what you are probably doing right now by doing it all yourself.

If you would like help in working through one or more of these steps, a great place to begin is with our Scale Scorecard which will show you how scalable your business is right now.

And you never know, you may have much of this covered already and the report will give you recommended next steps to take.

Plus, you can book yourself on one of our free Scale Clinics to discuss your results with me; these are run twice a month so look out for the link to book your place once you’ve completed the scorecard.

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.

 

 

 

 

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