Online business tips

  • How to effortlessly create a balanced scorecard for business

    A business scorecard objectives are to measure the true health of your business and progress in your strategic goals. The balanced scorecard for business helps monitor four key perspectives that make up the primary focus areas of the business scorecard. 

    The balanced scorecard for business helps create a systemized way of assessing the performance of your business and keeps the consistency in doing so. This is the only way you can assess the progress you are making from one period of time to the next.

    Let’s have a look at each of these criteria below.

    Financial

    The financial perspective is arguably one of the most popular focus areas for business owners. Much as this is a critical aspect of your business, it is a function of decisions made before seeing the results through the financial outcomes of your business. If you are solving your customer’s problems in the most efficient way possible and you are constantly learning new ways to grow your business, then the financials will definitely show for it.

    What are your current financial goals, and what projects or activities are you focusing on to reach your target? The answer to this question will form the first part of the balanced scorecard for your business.

    As you go along, you will also need to start looking at your financials and start making decisions based on the numbers. You can always get someone to help you make sense of the numbers. However, don’t make decisions on projects or focus areas if you haven’t looked at the financials.

    Customer

    Without the customer, your business is a hobby. Your customer’s needs, desires, pain points, fears, worries should always be at the center of your business.

    You could track the number of new and repeat customers on a monthly basis. Track their level of satisfaction through surveys as a means of evaluating how well you are performing in this area. How well are your products and services serving customers in a way that meets their deepest desires? Who are your ideal customers and how are their buying behaviours changing? These are all questions that you want to keep asking yourself as part of the balanced scorecard process.

    The easiest way to get your customer KPIs on track is to detail out who exactly your customer is, and get as much feedback as possible whenever they use your products or services. Big corporations use Net Promoter Scores to get an objective view of how their customers view them. Similarly, you can engage your customers and use the feedback shared to refine your product.

    Processes

    The processes perspective of the business balanced scorecard focuses on how efficient and effective your business processes are. Are you doing things as efficiently as you can? Are you spending time on the 80% of activities that only give you 20% of revenue?

    Perfecting your processes is key in saving yourself time and money. One of the easiest ways of doing this is setting up systems in your business to make your processes as efficient as possible.

    Think about the systems you can implement today, with as much simplicity as possible, so that you can save time on those repetitive tasks that you know you have to do, but don’t necessarily directly contribute to your bottom line.

    The quickest way to get your processes in check is to start by writing down all your standard operating procedures. Once you have documented them, it’s so much easier to track what’s working and what isn’t. It also makes a significant difference when you give new team members your SOP Manual so that they know how things should be done in your business without you having to explain the same thing over and over again.

    Learning & Development (L&D)

    Especially in the online business world, where many people tend to think that they can get away with google search and youtube to grow their business, it is important to place a target on your learning and development. If you want to grow, there will always be skills and experiences that you can learn from more experienced people. The L&D perspective captures your business’s learning needs and the approach to tracking progress, budgets required, and impact.

    If you are a solopreneur, you need to continuously improve your knowledge and skills. The learning could be in the form of trainings, mentorship programs, workshops, new courses etc. Keep a budget aside for this, and start seeing it as an investment in growing your business.


    Free GUIDE: Plan & Organize your business in a Day!

    In Conclusion,

    Take some time to map out your goals for each of the 4 areas of the balanced scorecard for your business. Each goal should be linked to an activity or project within your business, even if it’s the same activity across more than one scorecard area.

    Remember to track your progress, review what’s going well and what isn’t and refine your products and processes along the way.

    Check out my Plan your business in a day guide here!

    A gudie for mompreneurs on how to effortlessly create a balanced scorecard for your business.

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  • 9 Financial key performance indicators that you should be tracking to grow your new business

    9 financial key performance indicators you should be tracking as a new business owner.

    I get it, you are just new in this business, and as a busy mom, reviewing the finances every now and again is not the most exciting thing that you do in your business. In fact, many people avoid looking at important financial key performance indicators for their business, because they are afraid of the reality that these indicators will show about their business.

    The tough news is that you are going to have to learn how to use numbers to grow your business and make key decisions. So this post series is for you if you are still trying to figure out the what, why, and how to use financial numbers to make better business decisions.

    Financial key performance indicators are simple ratios or percentages or actual figures that businesses use to measure their financial health. If you are not monitoring your finances closely, as I mentioned in this post, you could end up making decisions that not only hurt your business in the long run, but also don’t make sense.

    Here are my top 9 financial key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can start tracking today in your business!

    1. Profit margin:

    The profit margin helps to compare the performance of your business to the past, and to other competitors who post their financial performance regularly. Having a targeted margin will help in assessing how attractive potential new services and products are, as you should be able to calculate an expected profit margin for each product if you know how much expenses and revenue you expect from it.

    Profit Margin = Profit / Total Income

    2. Expense margin:

    This determines how much of your income you are using to pay for expenses. A higher expense margin means that you are using a lot of sales revenue to run your business. Generally, your expense margin should not change significantly over the year unless your business model has changed. Keep an eye over your expense margin, so that you are not overspending in your business.

    Expense margin = Expenses/ Total Income

    3. Cash on hand:

    This determines how much cash you have at any given time. You should have enough cash to pay for 6-12 months of overall expenses.

    Cash on hand = Available cash to business (Cash + Petty cash + Bank current accounts)

    4. Burn rate:

    This determines how fast a company uses its money to cover its expenses. It is usually interpreted in months, as an indicator of how long a company can continue running if there were no sales or income coming into the business.

    Burn rate (in months) = Cash/ Monthly expenses

    5. Return on equity

    This determines how much you have earned from the investment you have made in the business. This rate is usually very low or even negative in the first 3-5 years of a business.

    Return on Equity = Profit / Equity

    6. Working capital

    Working capital measures the amount of capital that a business uses to continue running its daily activities. The higher this amount, the more upfront financing will be required to operate the business. Working capital is usually calculated by considering the company’s current assets and liabilities. A ratio above 1 generally indicates that the business is in a good position.

    Working Capital = Current Assets / Current Liabilities

    9 financial key performance indicators you should be tracking as a new business owner

    7. Conversion rate

    This determines how many people eventually buy your product or service after seeing your promotion or visiting your website. In online businesses, anything between 3 and 5% is a fairly good conversion rate.

    Conversion rate = Number of buyers/ Number of visitors on page

    8. Revenue per customer

    This is an important financial key performance indicator because it tells you how much revenue you make for each customer. It gives an average figure of the shopping basket size, every time a customer buys from you. You can use this ratio to determine how many new customers you need to target using your marketing efforts, in order to meet your sales targets.

    Revenue per customer = Monthly total sales / Number of customers

    9. Cost of customer acquisition

    Cost of customer acquisition measures how much it costs in marketing to attract and get one customer to buy from you. If you use Facebook Ads, it provides a summary of the cost per conversion, another way of saying what the customer acquisition costs are.

    Cost of customer acquisition = Total marketing spend/ Number of customers

    Found this helpful? Don’t forget to share with your goalfriends using the social media share icons below. You can also download my easy peasy income & expense tracker, and start keeping your business finances in order!

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  • 6 things you can do to make your new business more profitable

    6 ways to build a profitable business

    You want to become financially free to spend time doing the things you love with the people you love, right? So you thought the perfect way to do this, is to build a profitable business. But instead of working less, you are actually working harder, spending more time and not making much progress.

    In the process of it all, looking at your financials is not something you have the time for…. Believe it or not, this is a big reason why a lot of businesses are just not profitable. Business owners don’t realize that the sales they are making just get swallowed up by all the expenses + the taxman!

    Building a profitable business that makes money (because that’s the only way to financial freedom) takes time and an intentional understanding of what is working and what isn’t. Your financial data will tell you a lot about what you might need to change to become more profitable. It’s also important to remember that the performance of your business in no way indicates how good or bad of a person you are, and many businesses are unprofitable in their first few years of operations. Think Uber, Tesla, etc – these innovative companies have been around for a while but not yet making enough sales to cover their expenses…

    That being said, here are a few things that you can do to get your business on the right track:

    1. Set and track your financial goals

    • Where do you see your business in the next 5 years? 
    • Set a goal and break it down into a short-term goal for the next 12 months
    • Break the goal down further into a monthly goal that is easier to achieve
    • What does this monthly goal mean for your everyday? Break your monthly goal further down into smaller, daily actionable steps that you can take to reach it.

    2. Focus on 3 revenue-generating items every day

    It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the “busyness” of being a business owner, and worse if you are the only one in your business.

    Using my time management techniques mentioned in this post, prioritise your to-do items and mark the 3 items on your list that generate the most revenue for your business.

    Getting these three items done on a daily basis will not only make you feel like a champion (because you are a champion!). But will also get you closer to building a profitable business and a strong foundation for your business to truly thrive.

    3. Which products or services are bringing in the most revenue?

    Can you guess what Tesla, Apple and Facebook all have in common? They have all mastered just ONE product and made a killing from it. I know you want to grow multiple revenue streams, but before you start creating a hundred and one products to sell, first specialise on the 1 or 2 products that bring you the most sales, and make them so amazing that your customers want to sing your praises about how great your products/services are, from the rooftops.

    4. Take time to reflect on what is working and what isn’t

    By now, you should be tracking your income and expenses on a regular basis. Keeping track of your financials goes a long way in helping build a profitable business so do it as often as possible. Go back and analyze the good months when you made profits:

    • Are there expenses that you didn’t have then that you now have? Do these expenses make sense? Can you do away with them until the sales in your business pick up again?
    • Are there any other actions you took in these months that contributed to the good performance?
    • How can you repeat these actions and apply them in your business today and consistently?

    5. One bird in the hand is better than two in the bush

    If English was your favourite subject back in high school, you have probably heard this phrase. You may be focusing so much on winning more customers that you forget to give the best customer experience to your existing customers.

    Focus on giving your existing customers the best experience and services ever, and allow their testimonials and feedback to sell your services even more. This will put even less pressure on you when it comes to marketing because social proof is one of the most powerful forms of marketing in this age.

    6. Plan for huge expenses ahead of time

    Your business might be doing well in terms of sales, but one large unexpected expense could wipe out months of good performance. Plan for all your expenses ahead of time. Make sure you keep some cash aside for unforeseen expenses. Do what you can to run a tight ship (budget), and be in control of how you spend cash in your business.

    Want to find out more tips on how to build a profitable business, build your business the right way without experiencing overwhelm and burnout? Download this business basics cheat sheet and start receiving weekly tips from me to you!

    6 ways to build a profitable business

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  • How to price your product for the win

    How to price your product competitively.

    You have nailed your product/service and you know that it is going to be a hit. But you still need to figure out how much to price it…… Pricing can be a headache because there is no exact science to it; I find it to be a balance between an art and a science. This is one area that entrepreneurs do not always spend enough time on, and it can literally make or break your business. So, exactly how should you price your products?

    There are a few things that you need to take into consideration, so let’s look at those first:

    1. Your costs: How much does it cost you to produce each item?

    Your costs include overheads such as rent, your salary (which you can determine by reading this post), and office expenses. All these costs need to be taken into account so that your product is profitable.

    Use your monthly expenses to determine the total cost of delivering your offering. You can also use your expected number of items or services to be sold each month to determine the average cost per product/ service

    2. Your time: How much time do you spend creating and delivering your products?

    Often, entrepreneurs forget to add in the cost of their time. How much time did you spend producing the product? For a service-based business, how much time do you spend preparing your service and delivering your service to your client? If your time is accurately reflected in your salary, then you can skip this step. If not, then determine how much time you spend on each item that you are selling, and use an hourly rate that reflects rates in the market to determine the total cost of your time per product.

    3. Your target market. How much are the willing to spend?

    Do you want to provide a low cost convenient product or do you want to sell a high cost luxury item? There is no right or wrong answer here; you just need to know what type of product/service that you are planning to sell, and who your customers are, so that your pricing is reflective of this.

    4. Perceived value: How much value are you adding?

    You do not want to price your offering too low that people think you are selling something of low value; at the same time you do not want to price it too high so that people feel that you have overvalued your item. Market research would be useful in assessing how similar products/services have been priced before.

    5. Competitors: How much do they charge?

    It would be short-sighted to ignore your competitors when determining how to price your offering. If you have done your research properly, then you should be able to determine who your competitors are, and you can do mystery shopping to get a better understanding of their pricing. The pricing of your competitors will give you a good feel of an acceptable price if you are offering something with similar value. Of course, if you are giving higher value, then you can easily hike up your prices.

    How to price your product competitively.

    How to determine the price of your product

    You are now ready to determine the actual price, and this does not have to be fixed forever. You can tweak your pricing as you get more information and feedback from your customers and competitors or if your costs suddenly change.

    You can determine your price using a top-down or bottom up-approach

    Bottom-up approach

    Add all your expenses, and then determine the profit percentage that you want to earn from your products. This profit percentage can be anything from 5-50%, but it is best to do some competitor analysis so that you are not so far off in your pricing.

    Add the profit percentage to your costs and that will give you the price of your product.

    * Remember to include tax costs, even if you are unsure of exactly how much tax you will be required to pay at the end of the year.

    Top-down approach

    Determine how to price your product, based on your competitor and customer research. After deducting your costs from this price, the amount remaining is your profit. You can then make a decision as to whether the profit is acceptable to you.

    Make sure that the price makes sense in both approaches, by testing it. You can market it to a few customers and request for feedback on your pricing. But don’t let this alone lead you to make changes in your prices. The best approach is to set your prices for a few months before reviewing them.

    If you are not able to sell at the prices that you have determined, then you might need to look at a few other areas in your marketing and sales plan before changing your pricing:

    • Does the number look realistic?
    • What are your competitors doing?
    • What have you done in the past?
    • Do you need to market more? Do you need to reduce your price to sell more or increase the value of your offering to attract higher-value customers?

    Remember to be confident when setting your prices. Do not undervalue or reduce your prices with the hopes of selling to more customers. Instead, target the customers who will appreciate the value that you are offering in your products; these are the type of customers you want to keep. 

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  • How to pay yourself from your business

    How to determine how much pay yourself as an entrepreneur.

    There is nothing more stressful than putting up capital, running a business, and not getting a penny in return. Sounds crazy right? It is actually a more common practice amongst entrepreneurs than you would think. How much should you pay yourself anyway?

    There is a tendency to believe that you should either

    • not take any money from the business until it is profitable OR
    • use your business credit card to go on a spending craze

    Neither of these two approaches is the right way to manage your finances. And I can tell you from experience that neither will get you closer to your financial goals.

    How much you should pay yourself, is especially important if you have quit your full-time job to fully focus on your business. The truth is, your business might take months, if not years, to break-even. You would not want to go through sleepless nights of hard work, only to have to send around the offering plate for people to help you pay your bills.

    Here is what you should do, because you deserve to pay yourself:

    1. How much is your business left with after paying non-negotiable expenses?

    This will give you a realistic view of how much you could be paying yourself.

    However, remember that non-negotiable expenses include taxes, which are usually paid at the end of the year. So remember to make an allowance for these expenses when calculating how much your business can afford to pay you.

    2. There is a difference between a salary and a dividend

    This is rather obvious, but I believe that it is the reason why a lot of us in business wait until their business is profitable, before paying themselves.

    A salary is what you pay yourself to reflect the value that you bring to the business every day. A dividend is what you pay yourself as a shareholder for investing your funds into the business. A dividend is usually paid out when the business has made profits (income made is higher than the money spent on expenses).

    Whether your business is making money or not, I believe that you are adding value and putting your time and effort into growing your business. Just like any other person that you would employ, you deserve to be paid.

    Leave the dividends until when your business is profitable, but in the meanwhile pay yourself a reasonable salary.

    So the question remains: How much should you pay yourself?

    3. How to determine your salary

    There is obviously a limit to how much you should pay yourself. Because the income that you make from your business will first need to cover

    • all non-negotiable expenses
    • taxes (if your business is profitable)
    How to determine how much pay yourself as an entrepreneur.

    Basic-worth approach

    You can determine how much to pay yourself by using your basic worth as a starting point:

    • How much do you believe is your basic worth? You can use the last salary you earned from employment or the salary of people in your area of expertise as a starting point
    • Add inflation so that your income is protected from an increase in the cost of living for at least one year.

    So for example, if your previous employment salary was $30,000 per year, then you can use the same salary amount and add inflation of 6% to determine the salary to pay yourself -> 30,000*1.06 = 31,800. Divide this amount by 12 to get your monthly salary -> 31,800/12 = $2,650.

    It is important to make sure that you have enough funds to put back into the business for growth and any unexpected eventualities after paying your salary.

    As a rule of thumb, try and keep your salary within 20-30% of the money you earn from the business.

    Personal expense-based approach

    Start by determining your monthly expenses, that your salary needs to cover. Also factor in your annual and quarterly expenses into this monthly cost.

    In the early phases of your business, it is important to be as prudent as possible with the funds that you have, so try and cut down on your discretionary personal expenses.

    Once you have determined your total monthly expenses, you can use this figure as your salary, as long as it is not an extremely high percentage of your expected income (between 20 and 30%).

    4. Allowing for your salary in your business budget

    As part of running your business, you need to have a budget at least 12 months ahead of time, so that you are always in the know of how much income you need to make in sales in order to cover your costs (create a budget). Make sure that your salary is included in these costs so that even if you need to raise capital or take a loan, your salary is already factored in.

    Download this profit tracker to start tracking your income and expenses, including your salary expense.

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