Starting up a business is an exciting endeavor, but how do we make sure that what we are designing is sustainable? And what exactly does a sustainable business look like? I have always created business models that are simple, save me time, support positive cash flow and provide me the freedom to enjoy my life. Keeping these goals in mind when starting a business allows us to create practices for a fulfilling and successful career. Enjoy these 5 secrets to a sustainable business model.
- Support the Lifestyle You Want to Have
The whole purpose of starting up a business is to support the lifestyle you want to have. Why else do it? So the first place to begin is by envisioning what your perfect life looks like. In your perfect vision of your life, what kind of schedule do you have? How much time do you take off from work? Do you take vacations? Where do you go? What kind of home do you live in? What kind of vehicle do you have? What type of clients do you enjoy working with the most? Once you can create a clear picture of what lifestyle you want, you can figure out how much that lifestyle will cost you. Put a dollar amount on it. This will give you a financial goal to work towards, helping you set targets to achieve it.
- Create a Schedule and Commute that Works for You
One key element to a sustainable business is creating a schedule and commute that supports your lifestyle. How far do you really want to drive to see your clients? The amount of time we spend in our cars commuting has a big impact on how we FEEL throughout the day. Getting strategic about where and when we work is a simple way to create a sustainable business practice. So choose a part of town that’s convenient for you to get to, and focus on that when choosing what kind of clients to target for your business. What time of day and what days of the week do you want to see your clients? Suggest those times when setting up new accounts.
- Understand Your Value and How Much to Charge
Once you have taken the time to envision your perfect lifestyle and assigned a dollar amount to it, you can now work backwards to figure out how much to charge for your services. This should never be random! Always be deliberate and strategic when coming up with your pricing and what your time is worth. Set yourself a goal on how much money you want to make each month. Then determine how many classes you want to teach each week… how many total classes does that equate to in a month? Once you figure out how many classes you want to teach, you can divide your monthly financial goal by the number of classes to determine how much to charge per class.
- Create Pricing Packages Paid in Advance for Optimal Cash Flow
In order to create a business model that supports positive cash flow, it is essential to charge for your services IN ADVANCE! When setting up a new client, rather than pitching the idea of doing one class at a time, offer a package or series of classes that gets paid up front. Not only are you getting a longer term commitment from your client, but you are also avoiding a situation where you have to chase money. Who needs that? When you go to the store to buy a product, do you pay the vendor before leaving with the item, or does the store send you an invoice to pay later? You are not a big business, so DON’T OFFER CREDIT TERMS to your clients! Tell them your policy is to pay in advance before you start teaching the classes. It’s an incredible feeling to get a big paycheck before you even start teaching!
- Optimize Your Time and Create Boundaries for Balance
One last key element to a sustainable business model is creating systems that save you time so you can have more balance in your life. Why start up a business if you’re working 24hrs per day? Take a moment to write down all of the different type of activities you need to do in order to run your business. There might be accounting, prospecting for new clients, planning sequences for classes, commuting & teaching time, marketing, emails, content writing or filming videos, social media, etc. How can you create some automated systems to manage these tasks? Talk to other successful entrepreneurs and ask them how they maximize their time in these different areas. Schedule blocks of time into your calendar where you can work on these projects uninterrupted to ensure they get done quickly and efficiently. And most of all, set yourself some boundaries for working hours. Give yourself a hard end time each day so that you have plenty of time to enjoy your life. That’s how to create balance.