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Three Business “Do Or Dies”

Three Business “Do Or Dies”

The barrier to entry to start a business in this country is extremely low. Have an idea? Think you can do something better or different than others who are doing it? Than start a business! File some simple documents online, and you’re official.

But that doesn’t mean that you can run a successful business.

When it comes to running a business, there are three core functions that you absolutely must have. These apply across every business model and industry without exception. These are mission-critical, and without all three, failure is inevitable.

I talk about these functions seriously because they are that essential. You can develop these functions internally or you can outsource them, but you must have them covered one way or another.

So, without further ado, these three necessary skills for anyone running a business are:

  1. Generate and convert leads.
  2. Read and interpret financials.
  3. Create and put processes in place.

These are each make-or-break, and it’s not just your business that’s at stake—it’s your life. Keep reading and I’ll show you not only why, but also how, to effectively master all three.

1: Generate And Convert Leads

Your business will fail if you don’t have leads coming in. Right? At least, that’s what all the digital marketing companies are telling you. And it’s the truth, but not the whole truth.

Lead lists and how important it is to convertYou do have to be growing your lead list, that’s for sure. I’ll take it a step further, though, and say that your conversion rate on those leads is even more important. If you need nine new clients a month and are only generating a dozen leads, but converting nine of them, you’re right on track.

Your conversion rate will depend on a multitude of factors, and business-to-business those factors will vary a lot. Identifying the right KPIs will help give you direction on where your numbers should be.

Maybe you’ve already identified those KPIs. Maybe you already know where your numbers are, and you’re painfully aware that you desperately need more leads—and a much higher conversion rate. To get to the heart of this, I’ve outlined the steps to get going in the right direction. This is something you have to work on immediately, because without generating and converting the right number of leads, it’s just a matter of time until your business is toast.

Step 1 – Identify Where Your Ideal Clients “Live”

You’ve probably heard and read about this many, many times. Your ideal client, or avatar, is the profile of the client you best serve.

As much as you might know about your avatar (their gender and age, where they are located geographically, what they do for work), do you know where they hang out? Do you know what percent of that audience uses one social network versus another? Can you name a book that multiple people in your audience have read? Do you know what their favorite websites are? What magazines they read? Where they go for fun? What they really care about deep down?

You can get these answers through interviews of your ideal client. This will help you know where to go and what to talk about to attract and convert more leads.

Step 2 – Make A Valuable Offer

We’ve gone over how you’ll have a much easier time reaching your ideal client when you know where they “live.” You’ll also have a better understanding about what makes them happy, sad, scared, relieved—and make an offer to them that’s valuable and alleviates their concerns, helps them realize their dreams, etc. In essence, that takes care of what they care about. Anything that can bring real value to your avatar (while speaking to the “need” and emotional backdrop you know is there) will help position your offer as the solution.

Step 3 – Follow Up

Let’s say you’ve done all the work up to here. To tap the well and convert even more leads, you need a system in place to easily (and, ideally, automatically) follow-up.

Sometimes called “touch programs,” “top-of-mind awareness” and “drip campaigns,” this refers to the marketing and messaging you push out to warm leads who already contacted you but didn’t bite. This is the segment of your target audience that knows who you are and knows you provide a solution they need. Generally, two thirds of this segment learned about you before they were ready to buy, and following up is your ticket to staying in the picture until they are ready to make their decision. Without following up, it’s dangerously unlikely that decision will be made in your favor.

Building a system for following up also generates content that’s often sharable and repeatable, and helps bring new leads in—and thus the cycle continues.

Take these steps seriously, and remember that even a mammoth lead list won’t do anything unless you both generate and convert leads consistently.

2: Read And Interpret Financials

Your financial statements are commonly referred to as “the scorecards for business performance.” I love talking about the KPI scorecards I help Kleriti clients build, and financials are always a big part of those. This acumen is so essential to your business that, if you aren’t on solid footing in reading and interpreting financials, you truly need to solve that now.

Financials and how to read financial reports

The Balance Sheet

The balance sheet gives you a “snapshot in time” of:

  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Shareholder equity
  • Net worth

This sheet is the quick overview of the health of your business. It’s also used to calculate things like your business’s capital structure and rate of return.

The Income Statement

The income statement, also called the profit and loss statement (or P&L), reports the money in, out and owed over a specific time period (rather than the balance sheet, which is a snapshot at a specific point in time). The focus of the income statement includes the net balances of money in and out.

Cash Flow Statement

We all know what cash flow is, and the cash flow statement is an equally essential concept to understand. This reports the operating cash flow as well as the financing cash flow, and—if you have investors—also includes the investing cash flow. Knowing what cash you have on hand, where it’s coming from and at what cost, is essential for assessing any business’s liquidity.

After you know what these financial statements are (and how to read them), knowing how to use that information is the next crucial hurdle. The good news is that this essential, do-or-die task is one of the most practical to outsource. Or, who knows, maybe it’s time to upgrade to a CFO?

3: Create And Put Processes In Place

Processes know how to put process in placeYou know how your business works. In fact, you know it better than anyone. That knowledge transfer is fundamental when you bring more people onto your team—and having documented processes in place is how you transfer your knowledge (and your expectations) successfully.

Processes act to streamline and communicate recurring tasks, as well as to support improving them. So, how do you know what needs to be turned into a process? And how do you craft that process, document it and teach it to others? My new self-paced, online course DuplicateU teaches you how to do just that. And in the meantime, here are some basics to get started.

Step 1 – Determine Recurring Activities

Every business is comprised of predictable, recurring business activities. Since time is money, engaging in recurring tasks depletes your bottom line. The more you can automate, the more time and space you can free up to attend to more creative endeavors.

Step 2 – Document Everything

I can’t tell you how many owners say to me, “Don’t worry. It’s all right here,” as they point to their head. To which I respond, “That is precisely the problem!”

You see, our brains are not meant to keep track of mundane information. They’re meant for higher level functioning and problem solving. Yet, when we fill them with all these details, there’s no room for anything else. Do you ever feel like your brain is sometimes foggy? Or like it’s really hard to concentrate on one thing? This is why! Not to mention that brains are fallible.

Operating this way is not just risky…it’s reckless. Put everything on paper. This makes it shareable and teachable with others in an efficient, effective way. And it frees up your brain for more fun stuff!

Step 3 – Design Tools for Support

Every process has a set of elements (like templates, scripts and checklists) that support it. These are necessary to execute the process seamlessly and consistently every time. And these all need to be on paper so that anyone can follow/use them. The right tools allow you to automate the process, making each repeatable task easier to execute consistently every time.

Mission-Critical Means Immediate Action Needed

This article was a to-the-point description of the three do-or-die functions for business owners. As you can imagine, each of these is so important that I could devote not just a whole blog, but an entire course to it—like I did with DuplicateU, the course I designed to empower business owners to put the processes in place they need so their businesses can run without them.

There’s a lot of information out there on each of these concepts, and even some excellent tools to help you. For example, read what Lucid Chart has to say about process documentation, and you’ll see how their “idea board” SaaS is especially well-designed to help.

Whatever you do, don’t look at the end of this article as the end of the lesson. These three business tasks are non-discretionary for your business and for your own well-being. You need to generate and convert leads, you need to know how to read and take action on your financials and you need to have defined, documented processes in place—or your business will fail. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Start today, and check out DuplicateU. You’ll be happy you did.

How To Create And Use KPIs For Real Results

How To Create And Use KPIs For Real Results

Analytics today. How much data do we have available just a click away? It’s unreal.

Most of the data we can access today about our business, our clients and the market in general is downright fascinating. But the excitement of all that information quickly deflates when you find yourself neck-deep in data without any idea how to use it.

Not all data is created equal. You can end up with a ton of information that doesn’t inform you on your daily business functions and which quite frankly isn’t that useful.

Gain relevant and actionable insights by developing and using the right KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Easier said than done, right? It’s true that this will require some development. Well-crafted KPIs are worth it, though, when you see them clearly outline your business’s road map to success.

First, I’d like to back up to one essential KPI “pre-step.” The following section is a must read before starting strategic KPI work, because ultimately your KPIs will be based off of this basic ingredient.

 

Start With The Right Goals

the best kpis start with the right goalsYour KPIs, in essence, are the metrics to check your progress against your goals. So setting the right goals for your business is essential to later craft the KPIs that measure their status.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you just rebuilt your website. It seems obvious that increased traffic would be a goal, right? That means increased visibility, maybe even improved SEO or a better user experience bringing more people to each page. But is website traffic necessarily the right goal to know if your website is performing well?

Websites aren’t (or shouldn’t be) built solely to “get more traffic.” If the business’s goal is to get more business, then a more appropriate goal for the website would be to get more online conversions. Higher website traffic comes with more conversions sometimes (for sheer volume), but definitely not always. By looking at conversions instead, you’re encompassing all the other factors that ultimately lead you to your goal.

Specific website conversion goals might include when users:

  • Register for an event
  • Submit a question
  • Make a payment
  • Fill in a form or opt in to something

Did you catch it? These goals all have a direct and measurable effect on our number-one business goal: growth. And by making it measurable, you naturally identify the KPIs that are worth watching to get where you want to go.

For some businesses, KPIs around things like employee performance feel harder to quantify—at first. Let’s work with another example. Is it the number of calls your front-desk employees are making that you want to monitor and improve? Or the number of appointments set with potential clients? By identifying the right goal, your KPIs will be easier to pick out.

How about business strategy KPIs? Client retention KPIs? See more examples and tips on choosing your KPIs in this well-done Hubspot article. Right here and now, I’ve got some more ground to cover to make your KPIs usable and effective.

 

Lagging Vs. Leading Indicators

It’s important for me to take a moment and talk about lagging vs. leading indicators. This is one important and fundamental way that performance management is broken down in business, and it’s also something I talk about with Kleriti clients and in my new self-guided online course, DuplicateU.

  • Lagging indicators are usually “output” oriented, meaning they measure something you’re looking at in hindsight. Think about financial performance, profit and cost metrics. These indicators are very easy to measure, while being more challenging to influence.
  • Leading indicators are the “input” factors in your business’s performance, meaning they measure something that’s in your control now. Leading indicators are measurable in the context of today or the immediate future, making them harder to measure but easier to control.

Want another example? Imagine a business that has some form of tech user support, like a SaaS start-up. They might have internal policies stating how to resolve client issues. Let’s say they even sold their clients on a commitment that they resolve all help-desk issues within 48 hours.

The output or “lagging indicator” is easy to measure—how many tickets are closed within a 48-hour window?

And how do you influence that lagging indicator? If tickets aren’t getting closed out, what KPIs are in your control? Maybe you see that incidents not touched within two hours are those that don’t get closed within 48. Your “leading indicator” could be the percent of incidents not worked at least once in a two-hour window.

what are lagging versus leading indicators in business kpis

For more examples, you can check out this accounting-specific article on leading and lagging KPIs.

 

Crafting Your KPIs In A Usable Way

So you have your goals and you have your KPIs. You even know how lagging and leading indicators work.

How do you ensure your KPIs are not only insightful, but also actionable?

An actionable KPI is an effective KPI, because the whole point of these metrics is to make smarter business decisions.

To spur action, your KPIs are effective and useful once you set targets for them. And describing the desired performance of these metrics is how your data will be interpreted later. This step defines good performance and bad performance along with thresholds for upper and lower limits.

And here we are at another “how:” how do you measure against those targets?

 

Establishing KPI Scorecards

how to establish kpi scorecards to track kpiOnce you have all these numbers clearly defined, the final steps are to set them up in a highly usable scorecard and establish a cadence for scorecard review.

The scorecard should include:

  • The KPI
  • The target
  • Who in the organization (team or individual) is responsible for driving it
  • How the metric is collected/measured (to ensure consistency)

Then establish a process where the scorecard is reviewed regularly (I recommend weekly) with a red light/green light report out so that corrective action can be taken as soon as possible to get metrics that have gone off track back on track.

For example, I work with the leadership teams of Kleriti clients to elect a set of 6-12 numbers that on their own give an absolute pulse on the business. These KPIs are formalized into a scorecard, data is collected and reviewed weekly by the leadership team and red light items are discussed with specific action items assigned to individuals to get them back in the green.

 

Ensure KPIs Are Understood And Used Across Your Organization

It’s essential that everyone on your team be aware of what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re measuring progress. KPIs form part of your business strategy decision-making across the board, and everyone should be clear on how their contributions affect major KPIs.

Communicating KPIs keeps your team on their toes and it also provides an opportunity to applaud success. People react to numbers, and meeting goals is something that can be shared and promoted company-wide when KPIs are hit out of the park.

Data and metrics are everywhere. For your business, only KPIs that are well designed and actionable will be effective in tracking progress to reaching your goals.

I spend a lot of time with Kleriti clients helping them define goals, identify KPIs and create the scorecards to assign responsibility and streamline the collection of usable data. If you have questions or want to know more about any part of this article, don’t hesitate to send me an email directly.

How to Know When it’s Time to Upgrade from a Bookkeeper to a CFO

How to Know When it’s Time to Upgrade from a Bookkeeper to a CFO

As your business grows, financial management turns into an increasingly delicate task. To stay on top of the books (and stay ahead of problems later), you need a rising degree of financial intelligence.

But you’re also running all other aspects of your business. To focus on more critical duties, and—ideally—take a big step back from the business so that it can start to run itself, getting those time-consuming financial activities off your plate is crucial.

You probably already have a bookkeeper, whether remote or in-office, part-time or full. So, when do you know it’s time to delegate all your financial responsibilities to a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)?

Here, we’ll explore the key differences between a bookkeeper and a CFO to understand which will have the biggest impact on your business according to your needs, right now.

WHAT DOES THE AVERAGE BOOKKEEPER DO?

You probably already have a bookkeeper or use a bookkeeping service, and here we’re going to review what their responsibilities generally include.

A bookkeeper is generally employed by a small-to-medium-sized business to record and track transactions and reconcile accounts, including but not limited to payroll, invoices and expenditures.

That said, a bookkeeper’s role isn’t limited to entering numbers into spreadsheets. Especially if you contract a bookkeeping service, their expertise and knowledge also include leveraging key accounting software to take care of things like:

  • Training you or other staff on accounting software
  • Cleaning up mistakes and validating accounting data
  • And streamlining all bookkeeping tasks

These responsibilities take an enormous weight off a business owner’s shoulders. However, you’ll see that these tasks still require someone to manage the bookkeeper and step in when it comes to more complex to-dos.

Spoiler alert: if it is time to upgrade to a CFO, you’ll have more accounting needs than those listed above.

WHAT DOES THE AVERAGE CFO DO?

As your business grows, managing your finances becomes too complex for a bookkeeper to handle. And without the right pieces in place to keep finances managed well, this can become a strain for future growth, particularly when it comes to investments and strategic planning.

This is your first sign that it might be time to hire a CFO.

But back to basics: a CFO is brought into a business as the bearer of all financial activities. The CFO not only has the knowledge and skills to handle accounting independently, but takes ownership in the success of your business.

Ideally, a CFO ends up becoming a right-hand man or woman for your company, with responsibilities such as:

  • Strategic planning to assess the operational and financial impacts of strategic business initiatives
  • Annual budgeting and quarterly forecasting, including recommending adjustments, as needed, to properly manage the business
  • Operational and financial reviews with actuals vs. budget forecasts and operational efficiency metrics to make better day-to-day and strategic decisions

A CFO will be responsible for everything from general accounting to protecting the financial future of your company, keeping a pulse on how stable your company is at a given time.

Though, as you can imagine, hiring a CFO is a big decision for any business owner and has to be done at the right time.

LET’S TAKE A MOMENT TO TALK OUTSOURCING

We can outsource just about everything these days. With a tap of the smartphone, we can open apps to communicate with freelancers and contractors around the globe who are playing an increasing role in capacity building and scaling for small and medium businesses.

Outsourcing is common, too, with bookkeepers. Whether it’s an independent bookkeeper or a service you contract, working from the cloud gives businesses the financial controls they need without having to hire in-office.

Looking for a bookkeeper online today is easier than ever, too, with multiple certifications you can check for and validate. For example:

  • Certified Bookkeepers (National Bookkeepers Association)
  • Certified Management Accountants
  • Certified Accounts Payable Professionals
  • Certified Accounts Payable Associates
  • Certified Payroll Professionals
  • Tax Certification

But did you know you can outsource your CFO, too? This is most appealing for businesses without a physical office, and for those who are aching to get the help a CFO can offer but still aren’t sure about finding and hiring someone local full-time.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IT’S TIME TO HIRE A CFO?

We’ve talked about the increasing complexity of business finances. So what are some of the triggers that might indicate it’s time to start thinking about hiring a CFO?

If any of the following are true, that will be a big flag that you’ve grown enough to start thinking about hiring this important team member:

  • If you have investors interested in supporting your business, they’ll want to see detailed financial statements and financial plans. This is something that almost always requires contracting a CFO, unless you want to be stuck doing all this work yourself.
  • If your company revenue has increased significantly or rapidly, it’s wise to look for a CFO to help manage your cash flow. Planning appropriate cash usage is another strategic “must” that a CFO can manage for you.
  • And, as your business grows, banks will start insisting on thorough audits of your financial statements when you come looking for loans. These types of audits can include digging into even the most minute details, and can be intimidating—not to mention a major time suck. A CFO would take care of this for you, also ensuring that financial statements are up-to-date without discrepancies before that audit even comes.
  • For any company that’s grown significantly beyond “what it once was,” understanding and managing risk becomes more difficult. Hiring a CFO gets you the insights you need for proper risk management, strategizing and protecting you against all the “what ifs” that are likely to occur.

Now that the wheels are turning on the “when” and “why,” the rest is up to your gut. You’ve made business decisions a million times before, and now you have some key considerations on a silver platter. So, what do you need? And what do you want? Do you have the time to handle finances on your own?

If it is time to hire a CFO, this will mean handing all that responsibility off to someone uniquely trained and positioned to not only handle accounting, but the necessary financial strategy to keep your business running successfully.

BONUS: HOW DO YOU HIRE THE RIGHT CFO?

Hiring anyone for your company is a delicate matter. Even the entry-level representatives answering the phones act as the face of your business, so there is no “small” job in your business.

That said, a CFO will act as an especially important player. Looking for talent isn’t as hard as you think, and so if it is time to hire a CFO, start looking now.

And then, pat yourself on the back, because your business has grown so much that you’ve arrived to a major turning point. This will be another day you remember.

Have a financial situation you’re not sure about? Want to learn more about what a bookkeeper or CFO can do? Connect with us today!

Make Q4 Count: 4 Plans to Jumpstart Your Company’s Year Ahead

Make Q4 Count: 4 Plans to Jumpstart Your Company’s Year Ahead

How was your year? Of course, we still have a few months left. But it’s important to start reviewing what worked, what didn’t work, and why not, so that you can hit the ground running once January arrives.

Q4 is the perfect time to plan. And no matter what stage your business is at, these four essential plans are key to achieving your business goals and growing in the year ahead.

Operations Plan

An operations plan covers all of the things that are necessary to the day-to-day life of your business. They’re so necessary, in fact, that they might seem obvious to you. But writing them down helps you plan in advance, making sure that you have what you need before you need it.

Questions to get you started:

  1. What do we need physically to get things done? (e.g., location, equipment)
  2. What goals aren’t we achieving? How can we achieve them every day?
  3. Which processes are inefficient or ineffective and need to be improved?
  4. What kind of budget do we need to implement our operations plan?

Personnel Plan

A business is only as good as its people. Having a personnel plan in place ensures that you assemble the best team for your business. And if you already have an amazing team in place, knowing how you will support their development in the coming year is invaluable.

Questions to get you started:

  1. What kind of team do we need to achieve our goals? What roles need to be filled and what do ideal employees bring to the company (education, background, skills, etc.)?
  2. How can we further develop our current talent?
  3. How do we recruit, onboard and train new employees? How can that be improved?
  4. What do employees need from us when they start?
  5. What kind of budget do we need to effectively recruit, onboard and retain star players?

Marketing/Sales Plan

We’ve talked a bit about sales in the past. Finding, qualifying and onboarding the right customers is just as important as finding, qualifying and onboarding the right employees. Sales and marketing go hand-in-hand, so it’s a good idea to plan for them together.

Questions to get you started:

  1. Who is our target market?
  2. What is our unique selling proposition?
  3. What’s the current ROI on our marketing activities? How do we want that to change?
  4. Are our services and prices fair and meeting the needs of our target market? How are we communicating that?
  5. How can we generate qualified leads that result in sales?
  6. What kind of budget do we need to achieve our sales and marketing goals?

Financial Plan

You might have noticed that each of the above sections ends with identifying a budget. Finances are important, and if you identify your company’s financial needs early on, it will help you invest in and take action on each of the plans you’ve created.

Questions to get you started:

  1. What’s the profitability of our clients, service lines, etc.?
  2. What are our monthly financial projections, based on anticipated income and expenses?
  3. What’s the most optimistic financial scenario?
  4. What’s the most pessimistic financial scenario?
  5. What’s the most realistic financial scenario?
  6. What are our financing needs for the year and how can we work toward achieving them?

Does your business struggle to create actionable plans that your team will follow through on? Contact Kleriti Business Solutions today. We’ll help get you on your way to your most successful year yet!

Best Business Practices to Keep Finances on Track

Best Business Practices to Keep Finances on Track

As a business owner, year’s end is a time to evaluate the overall performance of your company —whether or not you’ve achieved set goals and what projections to set for the coming year. One of the most important barometers of business performance is finances. It can be rather difficult to plan for big purchases or set reasonable sales goals if you don’t understand your cash flow, know how a particular service offering performs or recognize the factors impacting your profitability.

 

Here are three financial practices that will keep your business on track throughout the year, making annual reviews (somewhat) pain free.

 

1. Diligently Track Your Income & Expenses

 

You have no idea how many long-standing businesses don’t know how much cash they have on hand. In addition, their method of logging “expenses” is a shoebox full of crumpled receipts. Using these rudimentary methods for monitoring money coming in and going out is not only inefficient, but you are putting your business at risk.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, take initiative by signing up for (and using) one of the many online bookkeeping platforms like QuickBooks, Xero, or FreshBooks. Having access to real-time updates that show your financial standing can help inform current and future business decisions. If this seems intimidating, invest in a reliable bookkeeper! Having a knowledgeable person on hand to answer questions and log income and expenses, all the while making sure your financial “house” is in order, will save you time, money and many headaches in the long term.

 

2. Complete Quarterly Reviews

 

Equally important to the year-end financial review is the implementation of quarterly reviews. Setting aside time to dig deep into your financial statements will not only make your end of year closeout and tax preparation infinitely easier, it will allow you to course correct any negative trends before the negative financial impact is too great. For example, if you notice a drop in sales for a particular offering at the end of the first quarter, you have an opportunity to redesign or restructure the offering, increase or adjust marketing efforts or get rid of it all together. Leaving issues like these undiscovered until an annual review can have a significant negative impact on your business. The essential financial statements you can leverage during quarterly and annual reviews are your: A) Income Statement (aka Profit and Loss Statement) B) Balance Sheet and C) Statement of Cash Flow.

 

3. Pay Attention to Larger Trends

 

Look at the macro trends of your business. With your financial statements up-to-date, widen your focus and distill data into valuable information to identify trends and help your business grow. Remember the example we used in #2? Let’s pretend you decided to continue selling the underperforming service. You determined the drop in sales was a fluke due to seasonality and would like to give it another chance. During your annual review, some nine months down the line, there will be a wealth of data to determine whether or not your decision was a good one, and to decide to continue offering the service or not.

 

Make financial management a priority in the New Year. Take time now to schedule the following:

  • Two hours monthly to update your books or get information to your bookkeeper.
  • A half-day at the end of each quarter to review your financial statements.
  • A full day at the end of the year to dive into your financial standing for the previous year and make detailed projections for the coming year.

Getting into these practices will make success less of a question and more of a certainty.

 

What are you doing to tame your finances and set yourself up for success next year? Please share in the comments section below.

 

How to Price Your Services: 3 Keys to Knowing Your Worth

How to Price Your Services: 3 Keys to Knowing Your Worth

Have you ever felt the fear of losing a client if you didn’t price your services to meet their needs? You’re trying to grow your business. You want to receive referrals. You’re scared of turning them away because you have no idea when another potential client will walk through your door.

 

Sound familiar?

 

Waffling on price is a common occurrence among business owners, as a result of the fears mentioned above. The solution to tackling these issues is to create standardized prices for your services. For some, this can be an even scarier scenario because the fear of losing current clients or turning away new ones can be debilitating. However, in order to create a sustainable and successful business, standardized pricing is essential and can bring more benefits than you ever thought possible. When you’re in doubt, remember this:

 

Saying “yes” to the wrong customers, means you’re saying “no” to the right ones.

 

Having set prices for your services will create “buckets” for your customers to fit into. Let’s say a prospective client comes to you with a particular need. You will already have a short list of accurately priced services that COULD be a fit. Here’s the catch: you need to have a better understanding of your customer’s pain points and how you can solve them so you can offer the perfect package, product or service. This underscores the importance of having questionnaires or checklists to ensure you’re gathering all the information you need to offer a solution that speaks to them. What’s the bottom line? You should know the scope of the project ahead of time so you can serve clients appropriately and make money in the process.

 

So, how do you create standardized prices for your business? Below, we’ll go through three key factors to consider when creating your pricing structure. It is imperative that you move through this process with intentionality. In other words, when writing down these numbers, have a vision for how your new and existing clients will reap the benefits of your offerings, while keeping in mind the long-term goals of your business.

 

  • Know Your Margins — Just because you give an hour of your time to a client doesn’t necessarily mean that it only takes an hour to attract, nurture, and secure their business. Think about the time and materials required up-front, then quantify and incorporate it into the price of the service.

 

  • Know the Industry Standard — Knowing what other providers in your industry charge for their services can be a valuable benchmark for creating a standardized pricing model. Are you just starting out and need to build testimonials and a solid client base? Perhaps your prices will be just slightly lower than the industry standard. Does your unique value proposition set your services far apart from your competitors? Perhaps it’s time for higher prices that may set the bar for clients who can afford you. You could even “buck the system” and design a totally new model that differs from the industry standard. You never know, it may catch on. You’ve heard of Uber, right?

 

  • Know the PERCEIVED Benefits to Your Client — What does your client get from investing in your services? Hint: it’s not just the services themselves. If you’re a dentist, your client doesn’t just walk away with cleaner teeth and better breath. They may also have more confidence because of your work! What about your office environment? Have you spend a pretty penny on office space in a prime location? Have you made a solid investment in equipment or décor? Whether they realize it or not, your clients may develop a higher perceived value of your services because on some level, they “sense” you know your worth.

 

After you’ve taken the time to create firm pricing for your business, you’ll be able to speak with confidence about your offerings, knowing these prices are fair, reasonable and “worth it” to the customer.

 

Finally, once you’ve shown your prospective clients how your service can solve their pain points and have given them a price, be prepared for the “Yes.” Know the exact next steps that need to happen so you can get to work and get paid. Have a standardized agreement saved that you can access within minutes, a payment system to invoice your client immediately after services are rendered and a follow-up mechanism to capture feedback and testimonials to improve your business even more!

 

 

Have you ever been afraid to raise your prices? Now’s the day to change that. Share your experiences in the comments below!