How Farming Prepared Me for Entrepreneurship

I spent the first 19 years of my life on a beef farm with my loving parents and 3 younger siblings in the Eastern Townships (QC).  It was a lot of hard work (and hardship) and simply our way of life.  Never once did I think of it as a business, with plans and strategies, and committed action to get desired results…until after I myself became an entrepreneur.  Even though I had years of education and training in accounting and finance, I realize now that growing up on a farm was likely some of the best training I could have for running my own business.  Here’s why:

1 – Farming takes dedication, resiliency and hard work, and a love for that way of life…it’s not for the faint of heart.  I feel the same for entrepreneurship.

2 – Farming requires a lot of planning and strategic action to achieve desired results in the timelines afforded by the changing seasons.  Running a successful business requires knowing your markets, having clear plans and taking strategic action to get the results you know are possible.

3 – You can’t run a farm successfully on your own – as in business, you need a good team.

4 – As a farmer, you need to build great relationships with your suppliers, your customers and your team members that fully support you in achieving your success.  This same is true in business.

5 – My family really loves what they do and puts so much love into caring for the land and each of the animals on their farm.  This love and compassion was instilled in me, and as an entrepreneur, I really care for my clients.  I love serving them and seeing the joy on their faces as a result of their transformations and the results they’ve realized from working with me. 

6 – Farming is a 24/7 job (at least the kind of farming we did)…you could be up before the sun and not get to bed until the wee hours of the morning (especially if it’s birthing season or maple season).  As an entrepreneur, I eat, breathe and sleep my business.  It’s an integral part of me, and often has me up into the wee hours of the night (especially when I’m in creative mode).

7 –  As a farmer, you need to be prepared for life’s curve balls (uncooperative weather, sick animals, illness, injury, economic set-backs, influences beyond your control) – having back up plans, risk management systems, and a good support system are essential to handling those curve balls with ease and grace.  These are also essential for success in business.

8 – Growing up, we had to make do with what we had.  That meant being really resourceful, thinking outside the box and finding solutions that required little to no money.  If it meant rolling up our sleeves, getting our hands dirty (and worn), and creating something out of nothing, we did it.  I’m finding this has become a great skill in the beginning stages of my business.

9 – My dad never seemed to stress if things didn’t go so well on the farm.  Sometimes SH*t happens – it is what it is…no point stressing over it…just assess the situation, learn from it, find a better solution and move on.  I’ve had many challenges in starting and growing my business.  Thankfully, I adopted my dad’s outlook on dealing with those challenges…otherwise I likely would have given up and gone back to a full-time job long ago.

10 – In farming, you really need good tracking systems and processes – whether it’s for your cash flow or your animal inventory (I saw my dad, and now my brother, tracking the cows and money almost daily – perhaps this is where I adopted my love and propensity for numbers, and why I became an accountant).  As an entrepreneur, you really have to know your numbers (sales, marketing analytics, financials, etc.) and what they’re telling you so you can make the right decisions for you and your business.

So there you have it – 10 ways that farming prepared me for running my own business…and I never really acknowledged or appreciated them until just recently.

So what about you?  What skills did you acquire from your childhood that maybe you haven’t acknowledged or appreciated until now? I would love to hear about them…leave your comments below.

If you would like to chat about how I can help you with growing your business, CLICK HERE to book a complimentary clarity call.

Know Your Numbers

In my 20 year career as a professional accountant and now business coach, I have worked and talked with hundreds of entrepreneurs.  I’ve seen many grow their business exponentially, and I’ve seen some fail.  Many entrepreneurs have told me they’re struggling to make ends meet.  When I ask them if they know how much money they’ve made and spent in the last 6 months, or if they have a plan, almost all of them say no…they don’t track their numbers (many handing over all their receipts for the year to their accountant at tax time), or if they do have their bookkeeping done, they don’t look at the numbers.  Many tell me that they don’t look at their numbers because they don’t know anything about finance, dealing with finance/money stresses them out, and/or they don’t have time.  This certainly backs up the statistic that over 85% of business failures can be attributed to a lack of financial planning and organization.

If you want to have financial wellness and abundance, one of the essential keys is to know your numbers and what to do with them so you can take the appropriate action in line with your business (and life) objectives.

If you don’t track and review your numbers, how would you know how you’re doing?  How would you know if the products you’re trying to sell are making you money?  How would you know if your marketing and sales efforts are paying off in profitable returns?

What numbers could you be tracking?  Literally, hundreds.  But here are some key financial numbers that every business owner should know and understand:

  • Cash in, cash out, net cash flow – What do you bring in, spend, and how much is left each month?
  • Collection rates – How long does it take you to get paid? Do you have policies and processes in place to ensure you’re getting paid on time (or faster)?  Statistics show that any money owed to you that is more than 90 days old likely won’t be collected.
  • Cash burn rate – How fast do you burn through your cash on hand? Typically, you want this to be 3 to 6 months.  It’s a fast track to failure if you don’t have cash to meet your next payroll.
  • Revenues – Are your sales increasing? Decreasing? Are you hitting your targets?
  • Product and Client profitability – How much money is each of your products/services and clients making you…you want to focus on the profitable ones, and let go of the ones that don’t make you money.
  • Gross margin and profit margin – Compare your margins to plan and industry averages – how are you doing? Do you know how much sales you have to make for every dollar you spend in order to have the profits you’d like to have?
  • Capital spending and Return on Assets (ROA) – What are you investing in your business (and do you have a plan for this)? Are the assets you’re buying making you money?
  • Cost of client acquisition – What is it costing you to bring on a new client [=total marketing costs/# new clients]?
  • Return on investment (ROI) – Are your investments making you money, and how much? You can look at this not only from actual investments in stocks/funds/etc., but from every expense line and every effort you make. For example, you may want to know the ROI on your investment in your learning, investment in marketing and advertising efforts, or investment in people.

Whether your focus is on marketing, sales, productivity or profits, you need to track the appropriate numbers and review them on a regular basis to make sure you’re on track with your plans.  By looking at your numbers, and understanding their story, you can then identify the money/productivity leaks and opportunities on which you can take action to grow your business and your profits.

Every person has the opportunity to have financial wellness and abundance.  The difference between the 30% of the population who thrives financially, and the 30% of the population that struggles to survive, is that those who thrive have a plan, track and review their numbers, and take inspired action to grow their net worth.

Your numbers tell a story.  They tell you where you’re making money, where you’re losing money, and whether your efforts are paying off.  Do you know what story your numbers are telling you?

If you would like to empower your financial wellness and abundance, and get to know you numbers better, I can help.  Drop me a line and let’s talk.

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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Linda Spencer, CPA, CA Certified Money, Marketing & Soul Coach [/author_info] [/author]

CFO Money Mastery – 8 Week Jumpstart Course

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CFO Money Mastery – 8 Week Jumpstart Course

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You, yes, YOU are CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of your business (unless you’ve actually hired one, but that is the exception with a small/micro- business).

You, as CFO (not your bookkeeper or accountant), are ultimately responsible for all financial aspects of the business, including costing and pricing, testing and validating business assumptions, and all reporting and compliance matters. As CFO, it is your role to ensure that your business funds are being managed appropriately and that there is adequate cash flow and capital for the business, that spending is under control, and that you (as CEO) are not driving your company forward recklessly.

Would you like to:

  • Make more money and better manage your cash flow? 

  • Understand your business finances and make them work for you? 

  • Have a system for creating more ease and flow in your business? 

  • Get out of the “not enough” cycle and into the “abundance” cycle?

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This program was designed just for you – a micro-business entrepreneur who doesn’t have a degree in Finance, and is feeling overwhelmed and struggling with making your money and finances work for you.  You may have a bookkeeper and or accountant to compile your numbers and do your taxes, and although you should be working closely with them, they may not be helping you to understand what your numbers are telling you or how to use them to grow your business.  As the CFO of your business, you need to be empowered to make smart business decisions based on your financial results on a regular basis (and I don’t mean just once or twice a year).

This program will help get you started.
Over the course of 8 weeks, you will:

  1. Clarify your business vision and learn how to operate from where you’d like to be;
  2. Get a clear picture of your current finances and what the numbers are telling you;
  3. Discover insights into how you do money and your money gaps.
  4. Create your business profits model to for more flow and flexibility, and stop spinning your wheels when it comes to creating new offers.
  5. Learn how to price for value and set empowered money boundaries to get paid more and on time;
  6. Acquire tools and strategies to create a never-ending cycle of growing cash flows;
  7. Learn how to more easily make smart financial decision for your business; and
  8. Empower yourself with systems and strategies that will get you unstuck and out of overwhelm.

You will also be added to a private Facebook group exclusively for participants of this program, where you can post questions and insights, and call on me and each other for support (or you can email me directly with your questions).

The program starts Monday, May 9th, and will run for 8 consecutive weeks, consisting of 90-minute sessions (via webcast or telecast), on Monday afternoons from 2pm-3:30pm EDT.  The links will be posted on the private Facebook group, as well as emailed to you each week.  There will also be a program pre-call scheduled for the week before May 9th (date and time yet to be determined).

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I want you to be set up for success!  As an added bonus, you are invited to receive a private 60-90 minute strategy session for $200 off the price I normally charge ($300 instead of $500) to get you into inspired action in one or two areas that are causing you the most stress with your business finances.

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Areas that I have worked on with clients include:

  • overall business strategy
  • profit models
  • pricing for value
  • getting paid
  • overall cash flow strategies
  • creating packages that sell
  • systems and business process improvement
  • networking and marketing strategy
  • attracting the right clients
  • team support and management

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KNOWLEDGE is the key to EMPOWERMENT and INSPIRED ACTION is the key to getting the results you desire!

So, won’t you join me on this 8-week journey to jumpstart your CFO Money Mastery.

YES!  SIGN ME UP!  (Complete the attached registration form and send it back to me via email at Linda@visionspire.ca)

For this inaugural 8-week experiential CFO Money Mastery Jumpstart tele-class program, you pay only $298.

BUT – this is a one-time only offer…when I launch this program again in the Fall, the price will be over $1000.  My private consulting & mentoring clients pay $4000 or more for what I’m offering in this course.  I certainly don’t want you to miss out on this amazing opportunity for creating a more healthy relationship with your business finances.

SIGN ME UP NOW! (Complete the attached registration form and send it back to me via email at Linda@visionspire.ca)

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Have questions?

Send me an email or give me a call!


FAQ’s

Is this for you?

I want to work with entrepreneurs who are motivated and committed to creating impactful results in and with their business.

This program is for you if:

– you are ready, motivated and committed to creating a healthy relationship with your business finances
– you are willing to be brutally honest with yourself and your money situation, and you really want to know more about your business finances and how to use your numbers to grow your business and your cash flow
– you are tired of the time and cash struggle
– you want to stop spinning your wheels when it comes to creating new offers (without spreading yourself too thin) and how to price them for value

This program is NOT for you if:

– you already have a great relationship with your finances and you know how to use your numbers to make smart business decisions
– you are not ready, motivated and committed to create change
– you think this program will magically fix your money problems (no, it won’t – you need to make changes and take INSPIRED action for that to happen).
– you tend to enrol in programs but not do the work to create impactful results (don’t waste our time then – I only have 8 spots available and there are other entrepreneurs who are ready, willing and committed to doing the work)

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What is the time commitment?

There will be live calls/meeting for 8 Mondays starting May 9th from 2pm – 3/3:30pm.  The calls will be recorded and made available within 24 hours, so if you can’t make the live call, no worries.  You will be given exercises and action challenges each week as part of the program.  This is your business, and it is up to you to how you want to participate…you get out what you put in. 

What if I can’t make it to the live call?

No problem – all sessions will be recorded and available within 24 hours to replay at your convenience

Will there be handouts or a workbook?

Yes, I will send the materials need for a particular call the day before the call so you can print them and have them ready to participate. 

What if I have questions during the program?

Once registration is confirmed, you will be added to the program’s private Facebook group.  You can post your questions there, where I will answer them same day.  Alternatively, you can send me an email or private Facebook message and I’ll respond within 24 hours. 

I’m interested, but I don’t think I can fit it in my schedule?

I hear you – As a single mom with 2 school-aged boys and running my own business to support them, I’m faced with the same dilemma whenever a growth opportunity arises for me.  But, personal and professional development is really important to me, and I tend to be enrolled in at least 2 programs at any given time…the point is, you find time for what’s important to you.  Money is a relationship – should it be any less important than any other relationship you have?  And let me ask you this as well – what is not having a healthy relationship with your business finances costing you?  Can you afford NOT to take charge and invest in yourself and your business right away?  This program is a very small investment for thousands of dollars worth of business consulting and mentoring.   

Why is the investment so low?  It sounds too good to be true…

This is the first time I’m offering this particular program…it’s in Beta format.  Because of the small class size, you get my full attention and expertise, and you get to contribute to making this program great with your honest feedback and participation before I launch it in the Fall on a much larger scale, for a much higher investment.   

How do I register and make payment?

All you have to do is complete the attached registration form and email it back to me (Linda@visionspire.ca).  Once registration is confirmed, I will send you the program agreement and invoice for payment that you can pay by credit card, e-transfer for cheque according to the payment instructions listed on the invoice. 

Why would I choose you?

I’m not your typical tax accountant…just 3 years ago, I was married and had a dream job managing the North American tax function of a large multi-national corporation.  But I knew even more was possible for me…three years ago I asked for a divorce and claimed my freedom.  What happened next was beyond my imagination:  I got divorced, found love that was beyond anything I had experienced before, put myself out of a job (an orchestrated exit), traveled three continents, found soul family all over the world, started a business and published a story all in the span of 24 months.  Beyond my 20 years training and experience as a CPA and tax specialist, I have had the privilege of being trained and certified as a business coach, with particular emphasis on business and marketing strategies to streamline business processes and attain greater profits and cash flow more quickly (they don’t teach you this in accounting degree programs!).  I combine these tools with my intuitive abilities to not only see what’s possible, but to create the action steps to make it a reality more quickly.  Not only do I teach this to my clients, but I use all these tools and practices in my own business, and WOW!  has it ever made a huge impact in my results, and in my way of being.  I am definitely NOT the same person I was 3 years ago, thanks to some great coaching along the way…and I am so appreciative to be able to share these tools and gifts with my clients.

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