6 Big Mistakes that Small Business Owners Make that Can Lead to Struggle and Failure

In business, ignorance is not bliss. In the last three years of running my own business consulting practice and 20 years of advising small business owners, I’ve seen a trend of “mistakes” or challenges that small business owners face that cause them to struggle, and can lead to financial failure…these are mistakes I’ve made in my business as well. Most business owners are really good at their passion (their reason for starting their business), but very few have business management and finance training – they’ve never learned to run a business…I know I didn’t have that knowledge at first when I started my business, even with my seven years of business finance and accounting education and professional designation. But you don’t have to struggle like I and so many other business owners have…here are some tips to overcome the biggest small business mistakes that contribute to those struggles.

Mistake #1 – Failing to Plan

We all know the saying, if you fail to plan, plan to fail. Yet, strategic planning continues to be one of the greatest struggles for business owners. It certainly was for me when I started out. I knew I had to have a plan (I had the offer, target client and financial forecasts, but had no sales and marketing plan), but trying to work with business plan templates used to make me nauseous…that is, until I found a more intuitive approach to business planning. It starts with having a very clear vision of you business, what you offer, to whom, and WHY (WHY you’re doing your business – your mission, and WHY customers would buy from you)…I use visualization and meditation techniques to get this clarity. This is an iterative process, and while your WHY may not change much, your offers and target clients could change dramatically over the years. My only caution here is to not get caught in the planning paralysis trap…make sure you are taking action while you’re creating and refining your plans (results come from taking action and going through iterations, failing fast and getting back in the game).

Mistake #2 – No Clear Value Proposition and Ideal Client Experience / Process

The more targeted and clear you can be with who you serve and the results you create for them, the easier it will be to communicate that value and attract new high-quality clients. It’s easy to want to serve everyone, and not leave anyone out. While this “jack-of-all-trades” mindset can work for a little while, and while you determine what you’d really like to be doing, it can lead to a huge dilution in energy, focus and profits. It’s difficult to communicate your message to the masses in a way that anyone will actually hear it. It’s better to have a focused approach, targeted to a specific group…try it for 90 days…if it doesn’t produce the results you’re looking for, target a different group with a message designed to reach them. Again, this is an iterative process.

Mistake #3 – Not Tracking and Reviewing Financials on a Regular Basis

Most business owners are not trained and educated on organizing, tracking and understanding their financial numbers. In fact, less than 30% of business owners have a good understanding of what their numbers are telling them (couple this with the fact that 85% of business failures are a result of poor financial organization and know-how, it’s no surprise that so many businesses fail). Yet, the numbers tell the story of how the business is doing and can highlight problem areas that need to be addressed. As a micro or small business owner, at a minimum you’ll want to review sales, gross margins, major expenses that you can control the most, and profit margins. You’ll also want to look at balance sheet items such as accounts receivable (how much, from who and how long have they been outstanding), accounts payable (how much, when are they due), and balances in your bank accounts. Review your numbers on a regular basis (monthly is best), and get help to truly understand what your numbers are telling you.

Mistake #4 – Not Paying Yourself Enough

This is one of my favorite things to work on with clients. The traditional business model has been to pay the owner last, with whatever is left in profits after operating expenses. When you follow this model, you’re likely to get paid a lot less than you’d like (or not at all). While working with one client, he figured he was only paying himself $2 an hour for his efforts…you wouldn’t work for anyone else for less than minimum wage, so why work for yourself for such low pay. I like to take a bottom-up approach to paying yourself first and determining what sales you need to support what you want that pay to be.  Here’s how: determine what you’d like to pay yourself (based on your personal needs and lifestyle), layer in taxes, desired business profits and estimated operating costs, to determine what your revenues and prices should be. This approach works really well for service-based entrepreneurs, and I’ve developed a whole empowered pricing course to teach this method [email me for more info].

Mistake #5 – Trying to do it ALL Yourself

Some business coaches may say that you should turn your greatest weaknesses into your greatest strengths. However, this is not what 7+ figure business owners do…they capitalize on their strengths, recognize their weaknesses, and build a ROCKSTAR team to get done what needs to be done in the most efficient way possible.  Often we feel as entrepreneurs, we need to do it all ourselves/be jack of all trades…this can work if your goal/intent is to be a practitioner for life (i.e., steady contract work), BUT, if you want to grow and scale your business successfully, you need a good team to support you.

Getting help and building a team doesn’t have to mean hiring full-time employees, but it does mean you have to think about all the different functions in your business, what is within your zone of genius, and what makes sense to outsource. Create hiring criteria (whether hiring consultants or employees) and make it a priority to outsource and delegate what is not your genius so you can focus more on what you do best, knowing that the rest will be properly taken care of.

Mistake #6 – Not having a Governance and Risk Management Plan

Most small businesses have no governance/risk management plan, yet it is one of the most important aspects of business success. Governance and risk management may not be sexy, but ignoring this aspect of business could lead to business failure. Just think about what would happen to your business if you had a significant negative tax audit, or legal action from a customer or employee, or experience a major illness or disability. It’s necessary to identify all your risk areas (legal, tax, employee, operations, economic, health, political, social, technology, business interruption, etc.) along with potential costs should the risk materialize, then implement protocols for managing and mitigating those risks within your risk appetite.

The bottom line is, when you have a clear vision for your business, supported with systems, structure, protocols and people to help you achieve your true potential, all the pieces start to fall into place…and you’ll have more ease, confidence, peace and harmony in your business and its possibilities.

These are all areas that I work with my clients to overcome and create a strategic business roadmap for success, while working on shifting their mindsets and relationship with money and the financial side of their business. I invite you to book a discovery call with me to discuss your challenges in business and what actions you could take right away to overcome them. I also welcome you to join the CFO Mentoring community on Facebook to support you in being the CFO of your business and your life!

Take Nothing for Granted

Last weekend I was visiting with my family in Quebec on the family farm.  As is tradition, we always have dessert after supper, and my son had asked for ice cream.  When he went to get it out of the freezer, it was a soupy separated mess…the very large, very old (over 50 years old) chest freezer, had finally died at some point that day.  Now normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal since my parents have 2 other somewhat large (but old) chest freezers and 3 fridges each with their own freezer compartments, and they would find room in those for the soon to be spoiled food.  But harvest season just ended, and the freezers were quite full.   It was interesting to watch as a number of family members scrambled to make room in other freezers, even next door in my brother’s freezer, and I started to think about how we just take it for granted that equipment is going to keep working (even when it’s old).

It was the same when my furnace died last winter.  Even though it was 25 years old (well past the lifespan of a furnace these days), and needed repair, I took it for granted that I’d get at least one more winter out of it.  Not so – I was forced to deal with the expense of a new furnace a year earlier than I had planned.  And my dishwasher that died this summer – 15 years old – I hadn’t planned for that, and we’ve resorted to doing dishes by hand.

We do it with our cars, our phones, our 

computers, and even our bodies.  We take it for granted that things are just going to keep working…we never think that something is going to give out, even when it’s old, and therefore don’t think about or plan for repairing or replacing it.  And when that time comes, we typically experience great stress over the hassle and cost of repairs/replacement.  One solution is to build a capital replacement reserve in your cash flow plans.

Larger businesses have policies, systems, and processes to track their capital equipment, its expected life, replacement costs and annual operating costs.  They also build up reserve funds (capital replacement funds) so that when something breaks or dies, they are prepared – they have a process and the funds to deal with those “unexpected” break-downs.  And they have similar processes for when key employees “break-down”, by ensuring that at least one other staff member is properly trained to do the job and can step in if and when needed, at least in the short term.

So what are you taking for granted in your home or business?  And what policies, systems, and processes (including financial) can you put in place to give you peace of mind and to deal with “break-downs” with greater ease and grace when they happen?

If you need assistance with your cash flow plans, send me an email…let’s see how I can help 🙂


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://54.82.103.175/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Linda-Spencer-Visionspire-cropped.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Linda Spencer is a CPA, CA, Canadian Tax Specialist and Money Mindfulness Coach. Her mission is to eliminate the stress and anxiety you experience around money and taxes, by empowering you with the know-how and mindsets to improve your business success and financial wellness, so you can have more harmony, joy and abundance in your life.[/author_info] [/author]

 

What is Your Mission?

It’s been a while since I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night with a spark of inspiration so great that I just had to get up and write it.

“It’s not about the number of days you’ve lived, but how well you’ve lived the days you’ve been given.”

I couldn’t go back to sleep.  The message kept repeating until I got out of bed and came down to the computer.  What does this mean – how well you’ve lived the days you’ve been given?  It is different for everyone.  But you can find out for yourself by asking these questions:  Why are you here?  What are you here to do?  If you had $100million, what would you be doing with your life?  What is your personal mission statement?

I’ve been reflecting on this myself for the last couple of weeks (perhaps this is why I woke up with this message – that it’s time to share this with you).  For me, I envision a world filled with joy and harmony.  My mission is to inspire, empower and assist people to have more joy and harmony in their lives, as I do so for myself.  I came to the realization of this mission about 10 years ago, at a time in my life that I was not having much joy or harmony in my own life – my job was making me sick; there was a lot of tension, anger, and resentment in my marriage; my baby kept me up at night; the closest friend I had lived 500 miles away; I had no hobby that filled me up.  It took adversity to wake me up, and I remember sitting in my basement office asking myself, why am I here?  What am I here to do?  What would I like my life to look like?

I still have the piece of paper I wrote it on…my personal mission statement:

  • To be the best I can be
  • To help people achieve their goals and fulfill their objectives through inspiration, motivation, education, and empowerment
  • To make people smile
  • To live each day with love and happiness

Then I started asking HOW…how could I do this?  Then new doors started to open.  A new job came, as did many personal growth (and re-membering) opportunities, and new relationships.  Creativity also began to flow again (that hadn’t flowed in over 10 years prior) with a new level of inspiration and empowerment, in writing inspirational poetry that has been published internationally.   And although I haven’t written much poetry in the last couple of years, I have not stopped writing to inspire, creating to empower, educate and motivate people to smile daily.  VisionSpire was not even a thought back then.  But 3 years ago when I decided to start my business, I began to imagine inspiring, educating and empowering people through my business.  At first, it was to inspire and empower joy by relieving tax stress…it has morphed into so much more.  And each day I ask, what contribution to joy and harmony for the planet can I be today?  What can I do to have more joy and harmony in my own life?

Each time I find myself faced with adversity or drifting off-track, I am reminded of my personal mission statement, and start asking “How can I do this”…doors open. 

You see, everyone faces adversity throughout their lives.  You can choose to let it get you down, to live each day complaining about what happened, about how hard done by you were, how much you lost, how crappy life is…wasting your days in self-pity.  Or you can rise up, and LIVE.  When you have a written personal mission statement, a vision for what you’d like life to be like, you will rise all the stronger and faster from each adversity that comes, and you will live your vision.

What is YOUR personal vision and mission?  What are you here to do?  How will you live the days you’ve been given?

What to do with Your Ideas

If you’re like me, then you have ideas coming into your head all day long.  And frankly, it can be quite distracting, contributing to the “squirrel syndrome” of chasing ideas and not getting things done on your daily list.  The question becomes, what do you do with all those ideas?

The answer is Vision and Focus.

When you are clear in your vision, in what you’re here to do, what your priorities are, it’s a lot easier to discern whether an idea has a place in contributing to that vision, or whether it should be released into the wind for someone else to pick up.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, employee, stay-at-home mom (or dad), we all have a greater vision for what we’d like our life to BE like, for what we were born to do here in this lifetime.  For me, that vision is a world that lives in greater joy and harmony that exists today.  Then you choose the vehicle for which you will contribute to that vision.

Until few years ago, my vehicle was a full-time job where I helped my team and clients reduce stress and anxiety over tax laws, allowing them to have more joy and harmony in doing their own job/business.  Currently, my vehicle is my business through which I inspire and empower people to have more harmony and joy with money and finances…which has a positive ripple effect into other areas of their life (health, relationships, family, community, contributing to their vision).  I do have another vehicle – one that involves meditation and writing.  With this vehicle, I inspire others to see greater possibilities beyond their current reality – one with more joy and harmony than they have today.

Just like the car you drive, that vehicle can change over time, but the vision doesn’t. 

So, what is your VISION?  What IDEAS are you generating that are in support of that vision?  And what ACTIONS are you taking to transform those ideas into meaningful contribution to your vision?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://54.82.103.175/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Linda-Spencer-Visionspire-cropped.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Linda Spencer is a CPA, CA, Canadian Tax Specialist and Money Mindfulness Coach. Her mission is to eliminate stress and anxiety people experience around money and taxes, by empowering them with the tools, knowledge, strategies and mindsets that will put them in the driver seat of their business success and financial wellness, so they can have more harmony, joy and abundance in their life.[/author_info] [/author]

For more information on Linda’s upcoming programs and workshops, visit the Events page.

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.

12 Ways to Optimize Your Cash Flows and Taxes Before the Year is Through

Most entrepreneurs aren’t thinking about their 2016 taxes this month, but they should be…there are some things you need to do before December 31 to take advantage of certain deductions and tax credits for your 2016 tax return.  And, it’s also a good time to have a boost in your cash flows.  Here are 12 tips:

Increase Your Cash Flows

  1. Want a boost in your cash flows this last month of the year?Look at where you are leaving money on the table – it could be outstanding receivables, over-delivering on your services, not following up on leads (how awesome would it be to book another client or two just before Christmas?!).
  • While you’re at it, why not review your payment policies…maybe a change is required such that you’re getting paid in advance or at the very least on the day of service (that way you don’t have to worry about chasing those receivables after the fact).
  • Now is also a good time to review your pricing strategies to make sure your charging for value.  Now would be a good time to notify your clients of price increases that will take effect in January.

 

2.  Consider accelerating purchases for your business.

As a business owner, you probably have a good idea of the things you need for your business.  If you want to get the deduction from your income this year, purchase items you need in your business on credit in December and pay for them in January when your credit card is due.  This way you’ll get the tax deduction this year but defer the cash outlay until next year.

  1. Pre-sell packages/services/goods to be delivered in the new year.

‘Tis the season for giving, so why not offer an incentive for people to pre-order goods and services and pay for them now, that they’ll receive in the new year.  Examples could be taking custom orders for your goods for future delivery, offering gift certificates for clients to give to their loved ones that they can use in the new year, offer savings/bonuses to pre-sell a program/course/workshop that will take place in the new year.

4.  If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to look at your 2017 plan.  When you have clarity in where you’re going, and align your actions to achieve that, you’re telling the Universe that you’re open and ready to receive.  That receiving may even happen sooner than you think.  Going back to my previous point – when you have clarity of your 2017 goals/targets/plan, you can decide which offers to promote and pre-sell now.

When you’re planning for the new year, plan with the end in mind and ask these key strategy questions:

    • What is your overall vision, purpose and goal?
    • Where will you play (play where your target clients are)?  How will you become more visible and build your audience?
    • How will you hit/exceed your targets?  What will  you offer, at what price? How/when will you get paid? What are you marketing/sales strategies? How will you know you’re on track?  What are your back up plans?
    • What capabilities/resources need to be in place to support that?
    • What management systems need to be adopted and implement to support that?

 

Optimize your 2016 taxes

So now you’ve injected some extra cash into your bank before year-end, the year would not be complete without thinking about how to optimize your taxes.  Here are some tax-saving tips that you’d need to consider doing before year-end.

  1.  Maximize your CCA (tax depreciation) claims.

Purchase business equipment before year-end to accelerate the capital cost allowance (CCA) deduction by one year.  For most equipment purchases, you get 1/2 the CCA deduction in the year of purchase.  So if you purchase in Dec 2016, you get 1/2 the year’s CCA in 2016, then a full year’s worth in 2017.  If you wait until early 2017 to make the purchase, you only get 1/2 the year’s CCA in 2017, even though you’ve been using it for almost a full year.   Again, buy them on credit and pay later, allowing your to get the deduction in 2016, but defer the cash outlay to 2017.

2.  Keep cash in the family and reduce your taxes.

Pay a reasonable salary to your kids/partner for actual work they do for you (this is a form of acceptable income splitting).  You get the deduction, and the income should be picked up in their income tax return for the year, presumably at a lower tax rate than yours.  But, also beware of additional tax compliance and amounts you have to remit (such as CPP contributions and completing T4’s).

3.  Maximize your car expenses.

If you use your car for business, and you know you’re car is in need of service and repairs (perhaps new winter tires?), make those necessary car repairs before year-end to get the deduction in your 2016 income (in proportion to your business use of your car).  While you’re at it, update your mileage log to track all your business km’s.

4.  Maximize the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) for the year by making your RESP contributions prior to December 31.

If you have kids under the age of 18, the Canadian government give you a grant on the RESP contributions made for your kids’ post-secondary education.  The grant is 20% of the RESP contributions, to a maximum of $500 on $2500 of contributions made in the calendar year.  Now is the time to top up your RESP contributions to take advantage of the maximum available CESG for the year.  There are additional grants available for low income families and kids with disabilities.

5.  Maximize your RRSP contributions.

Assuming no carry-over room or pension adjustments, you can contribute 18% of your earned income for the previous year to your RRSP in 2016 (to a maximum of $25,370 for 2016 contributions).  Many people wait to top up their RRSP contributions until February.  However, there are a few instances where it would make more sense to do so before the end of the year.

    • If you’re nearing retirement, and make spousal RRSP contributions, consider that if you wait until Jan/Feb 2017 to make those contribution, your spouse will not be eligible to withdraw them until 2020.  Making the contribution in 2016 accelerates the eligible spousal withdrawal to 2019.
    • As a tax free savings vehicle, if you’re 18 or older, you can make after-tax contributions to a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA).  The maximum contribution for 2016 is $5500 (like RRSP’s, the unused contribution room gets carried forward and available to you in future years).  If you’re planning to make a withdrawal from your TFSA, do it now instead of waiting until January – that way your withdrawal is added back to your contribution limit for 2017 (otherwise you have to wait until 2018 to be eligible to add it back into your TFSA).

6.  Maximize your medical tax credits.

Medical and dental expenses incurred in the year can only be claim if paid in 12 month period (claim period) that ends on or before December 31.  So, you’ll want to pay those outstanding medical expenses/prescription refills/dental bills before year-end to maximize your claim for 2016.

7.  Optimize your charitable donations tax credits.

Total charitable donations in excess of $200 made in the year can give a higher tax credit (approximately 40% in Ontario) than your marginal income tax rate, giving  you a net benefit on your tax return.  But, the donations have to be made in on or before December 31 in order to be claimed on your 2016 tax return. So if you’re planning on giving, December is a great month to give.

8.  If you have unregistered investments which are giving you taxable gains in the year, consider selling stocks with accrued losses to offset realized gains for the year to reduce your taxable income.  Also, consider paying investment related expenses before year-end in order to get the deduction for this year against your investment income.

 

So there you have it – 12 ways to increase your cash flow and optimize your taxes for 2016.  Of course, these are general statements – each person’s situation is different and must be considered carefully before making decisions that will affect your taxes and cash flow, taking in to account the specifics of your situation.  I would suggest you speak to your accountant/tax advisor/investment advisor to be sure you’re making the best choices for your unique situation.  I’m happy to assist as well – contact me and request your complimentary clarity session to see how I may help.

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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).

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_button admin_label=”Button” button_url=”http://54.82.103.175/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/VisionSpire-CFO-Jumpstart-registration-form.pdf?utm_source=VIP+Invitation+List&utm_campaign=a8ccdb63b6-8WeekJumpstartVIPinvite_Reminder_4_26_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2afe0e68a1-a8ccdb63b6-183272273″ url_new_window=”on” button_text=”I WANT THIS!” button_alignment=”left” background_layout=”dark” custom_button=”on” button_border_color=”#1e73be” button_letter_spacing=”0″ button_use_icon=”default” button_icon_placement=”right” button_on_hover=”on” button_letter_spacing_hover=”0″ button_text_color=”#1e73be” button_text_color_hover=”#1e73be”]

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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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Do You Know Where You Are?

“She turned to the sunlight And shook her yellow head,And whispered to her neighbor- -Winter is dead.”So many entrepreneurs just don’t know where they’re starting from, and end up taking inefficient and ineffective action to get to where they want to go.  For many, the first glimpse of their past year results is when they have their taxes done, which I have found in my 20 years of preparing tax returns for small businesses to be 4+ months after their year-end and into their current fiscal year.  But how can you get a good handle on your strategic action plan for a successful year if you don’t even know where you’re starting from?

That’s why I feel Step 2 – Knowing where you are now, financially, systematically and operationally, is an essential step in the process of creating your strategic action plan for success. This means you’re going to have to get organized with your financials and conduct a little internal assessment of where your are now in your business.

Once you have a good picture of your current financial situation, skills and resources, internal controls and risk management practices, you can figure out what you’re missing and need to put in place (Step 3 – Analyze the gaps between where you want to go and where you are now) in order to effectively build your action plan for how you will achieve the goals you set for your business in Step 1 of the 8 steps to create your road map to success.  (By the way, If you missed my 8 Steps to Building your Road Map to Success post, or last week’s post on Step 1 – Start with the end in mind, you can get them HERE.)

Statistics show that 85% of business failures are a result of improper organization and planning.  So why is it that so many entrepreneurs don’t have their records organized and up to date?  Some of the reasons I hear are: not enough time (and no one to help), not knowing how, and outright fear of money and finances (YIKES!).

On of my clients, Susan, recently shared with me that 2015 was her best year in a long time, that she had a lot of growth in the fall, and that a big part of that success had to do with me helping her to change her mindset about finances and understand her financial numbers in a strategy session we had back in the summer.  She had long been tracking, monitoring and using her marketing and social media metrics to gain more traffic and clients, but had fallen short of using her financial metrics effectively to grow her profits and cash flow.   As she put it, finances scared her, so she ignored them.  I helped her see that they weren’t scary at all (and in fact, they could be her best friend) and showed her how she could use her financial metrics to make more effective business decisions based on what her numbers were telling her.  So kudos to Susan for using her new knowledge and mindset to create a great year!

If you find yourself resisting the task of getting your finances up to date and organized, or if you just struggle with tracking and understanding your financial numbers, I can help.  Contact me to set up your complimentary Business Clarity Breakthrough session to discuss a strategy for success with this essential step in creating business success, and ask for my Business Management Assessment Questionnaire.

Complete the following form to request a private Clarity Session with Linda

How can I help? What are your top 3 business priorities/pressing issues that you would like solved right away?

Feel free to ask a question or simply leave a comment.

Kick Start Your Year with Clarity and Focus

“Be INSPIRED to create what you imagine” (Linda J. Spencer)

Mondo nell'acqua dell'oceanoWelcome to a brand new year…time to kick-start your strategic action plan with clarity and focus!  Strategic business planning is essential for your business success.  Your business plan is like a roadmap – it gives your direction for where you want to go and how to get there with the most direct route.  A good strategic plan keeps you focused.

In November, I posted my 8 Steps to Building Your Road map to Success.  Over the next 8 weeks, I’ll dive deeper into what each of those steps are, and specific actions you can take to create your own road map to success.

So, where do you start?  You should start with the end in mind…this is Step 1 to creating your business success road map:  define and clarify your goals.

The key with defining the end result you want in your business is to get really clear about what you want and why.  Ask yourself key questions like:

  • Where do you want your business to go? What do you want to create with your business? and WHY? Write down your goals for the next year, 3 years, 10 years.  Really challenge yourself – Dream BIG!  Studies show that if you think small, you’ll play small – so think BIG and play BIG!
  • What would really make your heart sing to achieve in your business long-term?
  • What impact would achieving these goals have on your life? What would it mean for your family?
  • What are your SMART (specific, meaningful, attainable, relevant, time sensitive) stretch goals for this year? List your BIG revenue goals as well as things like the number of customers you want to serve and any new projects you want to launch / implement.  Don’t try to boil the ocean here, but make them big enough to excite you and be impactful…pick just 1 to 3 key things that you’ll focus on this year that will really pull your business forward to meeting your long term BIG objectives.  Chunk them down into key milestones, and add target dates to them.

With your goals for the next year clarified, you can now move forward with focus in making business decision and taking inspired action that is aligned with those goals.

Stay tuned for next week…I’ll get into Step 2 of creating your business success roadmap…the essential step of knowing where you’re starting from!

If you like what you’re reading, be sure to get on our mailing list to receive our weekly INSIGHTS newsletter delivered right to your inbox.  You’ll receive our Monday Morning Inspirational SPARK as well as weekly insights to help you drive success in your business with greater ease and efficiency.  You’ll also receive news about upcoming training programs and workshops designed to help you, as CFO of your business, define and execute strategies that impact key areas of your business.

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Think You Don’t Need a Business Plan?

In this video, Marcus Lemonis, host of The Profit, (thank you to Ink from Chase for posting on YouTube) tells you why you should have a business plan, and although it doesn’t have to be formal, it should be written down.  I whole-heartedly agree – writing things down provides a ton of clarity, and for me makes ideas more tangible and workable.  Once the ideas are clear, then you can develop a good plan, that answers a few key questions, against which you can execute and bring those great business ideas to fruition with much more ease than without a plan.  Statistics show that 85% of business failures are due to improper planning.  And as Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.  So, if you want success and better results, get those ideas written down and write out your plan (do your homework!).

If you don’t have a business plan, and/or don’t know where to start, you’ll want to read my post from last week 8 Steps to Create Your Road to Success  (8-simple-steps-create-business-success-linda-spencer).  Have questions or need help?  Contact me for a complimentary Business Clarity Session (valued at $247) Business Clarity Session Request Form

In one week, I kick-off my 4 month Success Readiness Program:  Create Your Business Roadmap to Success.  This intensive program is all about building the foundation for your business success.  Success Readiness is about learning and implementing the tools and best practices for you to create clear goals and action plans for your business.  Want more information – click Here (PS – registration closes Monday November 23rd, and there are only 2 spots left!)

https://youtu.be/qpmlKe6UoJ4

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