I recently started listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast, The Dave Ramsey Show, in which he encourages American families to take the plunge into reducing their financial debt. What first struck me about Dave’s podcast is the fact that what he teaches is so sensible, yet not always easy. But the one thing that’s very clear for any family wanting to come out of the debt, is the fact that they have to know their numbers.
Having listened to three episodes, I began to notice that the facilitators or catalysts for financial change, very often were women. Sometimes these women were stay-at-home moms, yet they were the ones who came to their husbands telling them it was time for change; it was time to be serious about their financials.
More Women on a Board of Directors Means Higher Financial Performance
I’m not offering you any scientific evidence to answer the question of why women bring on positive financial change, but there’s no doubt that even beyond the home, on those oh so fancy board of directors, it’s the women who are making a difference to businesses, improving the financial performance of the companies on whose boards they sit. And if they can do it for their homes and large enterprises, there’s no doubt that women entrepreneurs and business owners, can do it for themselves too.
“That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” – Karl Pearson
It won’t be long until 2017 is upon us. It’s now time to take stock.
Here are the 5 things all women entrepreneurs need to do before 2017 to ensure it’ll be a great financial year:
1. Make a list of ALL your clients
No doubt you attracted new clients in 2016. Add them to your longer list of clients accrued throughout the years. Did you know that “it costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one?” That’s the reason Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerilla Marketing, thinks that you should be spending more than half of your marketing time and budget on your existing customers. That’s not a figure to be taken lightly.
2. Refine your client list and figure out who your top 20% spenders are
The Pareto principle states that 20% of your clients will bring in 80% of your results. Figure out which clients are spending most and get into the nitty gritty of understanding their pain points. You probably already have a product or service they don’t know about. And if not, it may get you thinking about how you could offer them a product or service you haven’t thought about offering them. Until now.
3. Take stock of which goals you hit and which you missed
I don’t know about you, but there are goals, I totally missed. Some I put on hold and just forgot about and others, well, I really wanted to, but I didn’t get around to them. It’s time to go back. It’s time to figure out which goals were in fact a mistake (even if they were met), which goals have to be taken more seriously, and which are entirely missing from the plan and need to be added. Once you do this, don’t forget to figure out the action plan and tie them into your calendar.
4. Have an income goal
This might seem obvious. In fact, I hope it is. But if it’s not because you’re too scared to aim for a goal, you’re doing yourself a grave disservice. Think about the percentage you’d like to grow this year and align it with your marketing activities – the successful ones from last year and the ones you intend to try this year. Don’t think that 100% growth or more is impossible. If that’s your goal just make sure that your marketing activities and the figures make sense.
5. Create a content or marketing calendar
Even if you don’t have a blog, you need some type of calendar to help you remember when you need to start certain marketing activities. For instance, if you’re business creates products for women, you should be reaching out to blogs in March to find out if they can feature you, mention you in blog posts leading up to Mother’s Day, or if you can write a post for them about Mother’s Day. Not creating a content calendar can mean missed business opportunities, and less cash in the bank.
5. Figure out which quarter was most successful and which was least successful
Now go back and try to remember why. Obviously it’s better to do this exercise in real time, that is, after each quarter figure out why it was a great quarter, or a less than stellar one. But even if you didn’t do it after each quarter, reflecting on it now will help you figure out what you need to repeat and what you need to improve on. If you can take your weakest quarter and think of just three things to improve your numbers, you’ll do better next year.
What other things will you do before 2017 to improve your financials next year?