Author Archives: Crystel

smart goals smarter

Smart Goals – S-M-A-R-T goals just got S-M-A-R-T-E-R!

S-M-A-R-T goals just got S-M-A-R-T-E-R!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that you must set smart goals, or S-M-A-R-T goals, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented, and within a Time-frame. I’m here to tell you that the old smart goals approach, while effective for some, isn’t a sure-fire way to reach your goals. Smarter goals, or S-M-A-R-T-E-R goals, on the other hand, make a connection that’s sure to keep you driving, reaching, and attaining your goals!

Here’s why and how your smart goals just got smarter!

Specific AND Success Oriented.

Many business owners set a goal to make more money than the year before. I often ask them “so if you made $100,000.00 last year and you make $100,000.01 next year you’ve reached your goal?” Goals need to be specific. If you have a monetary goal set a specific dollar amount.

Ask yourself if this goal is related to your overall success.

You may have a goal to get up at 5:00 am every day. However, you may be more productive if you slept until 6:00 am every day. Goals should be the steps to achieve your bigger picture. If it doesn’t help paint the picture don’t set the goal. That’s a smarter smart goal.

Measurable AND Meaningful.

Again, just to make more money isn’t measurable over certain periods of time. You’ll need a method to track your success. If your goal is to make $100,000.00 this year break it down into smaller amounts, such as $247.00 per day or $1,923.00 per week or $8,333.00 per month. Use something as basic as an excel spreadsheet to track and measure your progress. Just tracking will immediately begin to give you greater results.

Make your goals meaningful.

Do you really want to make $100,000.00 by December 31st or is there a meaning to the additional income? Maybe what you really want is to take a family vacation. Is it possible that you truly want to purchase a larger home? Would you like to pay cash for your child’s college education? Dig deep into what achieving the goal provides to you, your family, your business, your employees, your community.

Achievable AND Accomplished.

Be realistic. If you made $5,000.00 last year is it possible to make $100,000.00 this year? It may be. I’ve often been told, “that sounds impossible”. Everything is impossible until someone does it, right? Break it down into small bites and you may just find that it is, in fact, possible. If it’s truly not possible don’t set yourself up to fail. Adjust your goal to ensure that it is achievable.

Ask yourself if achieving this goal will give you a sense of accomplishment, and why it will provide a sense of accomplishment.

I set a goal several years ago to purchase a larger home.  Yes, I did achieve that goal. It provided me with a great sense of accomplishment, not because I was able to work hard, save money, negotiate with the agents and banks, but because I was able to provide a place where my children could invite their friends, (the house had a great family room and pool), where we could have large family gatherings, where the grandchildren could have sleepovers, and build memories.

When you attach a sense of accomplishment, and this tied meaning to my goal as well, it creates a whole new sense of urgency and drive to achieve your goal!

Results Oriented AND Relevant.

Too often business owner focuses on the goal rather than the results the goal will provide for them and their business. If your goal is to hire a new employee focus on what you want the outcome or results to be of gaining a new team member, how it will help your business, your other team members, and your customers.

Ask yourself if this goal is relevant to your success.

Setting a goal of getting a promotion may sound great but is it really a promotion that you want or is it that you truly want to be empowered with more authority to make decisions.

Time-frame AND Thankfulness.

Like planning a vacation, you must schedule a date to arrive. Setting a goal is first determining a destination and then assigning an arrival date. If you haven’t set a date in which to accomplish your goal you won’t be able to plan accordingly. Just imagine if your realtor gave you the exciting news that your house sold. However, when you asked her when you could expect to go to closing and get your check for the proceeds she responded with “soon, I’m sure”.

First of all, how could you plan to move? Would you know when to start packing, cleaning, or even looking for a new home? You wouldn’t. On the other hand, if she said 30 days from today that’s a different story. You could plan and act accordingly. Your goals must have a date that you want to achieve them by. Otherwise, it’s just a wish.

Be thankful for the result of achieving your goal.

Too often business owners see setting goals and working to achieve them as a daunting task. If your goal is to weigh to 150 pounds by March 1st be thankful that you have the ability to walk and run. Be thankful that you have an income that allows you to buy healthier food. Be thankful that you have the mindset that allows you to make healthier choices. What if you can’t afford to join a gym today? Be thankful that you can exercise right in your own home. Attitude is everything when it comes to achieving your goals!

Evaluate and get Excited.

If the thought of reaching your goal doesn’t excite you don’t set that goal. You should hardly be able to contain yourself at the thought of weighing 150 pounds or making $100,000.00. Evaluate and reevaluate. If your goal was to weigh 150 pounds evaluate your health at 175 pounds. You may be at a healthy weight and may have more energy. You’re possibly be sleeping better. There may not be a need to lose 25 more pounds. What if you just needed to tone your muscles? Toning may require a different exercise regimen and diet than losing weight. Sure, income and weight goals are smart goals. However, set goals that excite you and you’re setting much smarter goals.

Reevaluate and be Ready.

After you have (or have not) reached certain benchmarks reevaluating is key. My client had a goal of 2,000,000.00 in gross annual revenue. The gross annual revenue was climbing at a very fast rate. However, they were not profitable. The missing link was their margins. They had priced their product too low. Thus, they were losing money on every product sold. They reevaluated. I’m happy to say they are very profitable today.

Finally, you must be ready for the reaching your goal.

If the goal was to make $100,000,000.00 do you have the level of expertise to handle that amount of money properly? Do you know how to invest your money and get a solid return? How will you prepare from a tax standpoint? Do you have checks and balances in your business to safeguard you from fraud or embezzlement? Preparing in advance will play an enormous part in reaching and maintaining your smart goals….your smarter goals.

Therefore, if you’re ready to make a change, devote the time and effort, and reap the rewards, set S-M-A-R-T-E-R goals that are Specific AND Success Oriented, Measurable AND Meaningful, Achievable AND provide a sense of Accomplishment, Results Oriented AND Relevant, have a Time-frame AND allow you to be Thankful! Evaluate and get Excited! Reevaluate and be Ready for SUCCESS! Yes, smart goals just got smarter….much smarter. 

Now that you’ve set your smarter goals it’s time to achieve them. Here are 7 PROVEN STEPS TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS!


shocked at competitors

Who your greatest competitors are may shock you!

Before we begin, take one minute and write down all of your competitors that comes to mind.

Do you now have a list of companies that offer similar products and services? Do you have about 10 of your local obvious competitors?

My guess is that you’ve missed your largest competition and who they are may shock you.

Most business owners only consider the obvious direct competitors, missing their potentially largest competitors.

Ask any salon owner who their competitors are. They quickly rattled off 25 other salons. While the other salons are competition, they are not their greatest competitors.

Ask any attorney. I can assure you they will provide a list of other attorneys. Again, not their greatest competition.

What most businesses overlook when it comes to their competition is the educated consumer.

A salon owner would never consider Walmart to be their competitor. The salon owner would argue that Walmart is not their competitor. Why? Because the salon provides at atmosphere, quality products, services, and a level of expertise that the box color on the shelf of Walmart could never provide.

They may be right. However, the consumer, who wants to change the color of their hair has access to thousands of options within seconds. One search using the keywords hair color and 10 different box color options appear on the first page. Try it for yourself. Unless there’s a salon in your area who understands the power of and how to optimizing their site based on consumer searches, you’ll find box color options for pages.

Attorneys seldom, if ever, consider their greatest competition. Again, it’s the consumer. Every legal document known to man is available, accessible, and downloadable in seconds, usually at no cost. Even the large box stores carry a vast variety of legal documents.  Let’s not forget the Legal Zoom and Legal Shield. For about $19.99 a month the consumer has legal access at their fingertips.

Sure, there is a vast difference in the value of the advice, guidance, direction, and experience of an attorney vs the downloadable document. Salons provide an experience that box colors can’t.

However, unless you educate your consumer, they will continue to be your greatest competitor!


hot air balloon marketing

90 Marketing Strategies for Small Business Owners with No or Little Budget!

Marketing on little or no budget? Yes is it possible!

How many marketing strategies do you have actively working to drive business to your door? 100 or more? If it’s any less than 100 you’re missing countless opportunities!

I know what you’re thinking.

That’s impossible for any small business!

What if I told you it was possible and on a very minimal…almost zero budget?!

Visualize your business. Think of it as a porch with pillars. If you only have two pillars (marketing strategies) and one pillar collapses your roof (business) is sure to fall. However, if you have ten columns, each with 10 different support systems built in, your roof will have continuous support!

Before building your 10 x 10 marketing plan you should first DEFINE YOUR TARGET MARKET, and Follow this 9 Must-Do’s to GENERATE AND CLOSE LEADS IN TODAY”S MARKET!

Take a moment and list all the general marketing avenues you are currently using. Now, within each one of those avenues how could you utilize that avenue for more potential? If you’re using social media as an avenue what other social media platforms are available. I can think of 10 free social media platforms. The pillar (Marketing Avenue) is social media. The supports (Strategies) are the 10 platforms. That’s 10!

If you have a website what are the 10 things that you could do to generate and potentially close leads on your site? That’s 20!

If you have a referral program, what are the 10 ways you could generate referrals? That’s 30!

The list goes on and on!

Check back or email me at crystelsmith1012@gmail.com for a 10 x 10 downloadable marketing strategy list with over 90 strategies with zero or minimal investment required!

Marketing doesn’t require a hefty investment that’s tied to guess work. If done strategically, efficiently, and effectively it can generate and close more leads than you ever thought possible!


confused about vision and mission

Is There Really a Difference Between a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement?

First of all, if either of these is just a statement to you don’t bother writing them. Too often companies write lengthy meaningless vision and mission statements merely because they’ve heard they need one, for marketing, a business plan, or just because they “should”.

Yes, there’s a difference.

Your company’s vision is exactly that.

The overall purpose, of your company. The big picture that drives every aspect of your business. The why in what you do every day.

Every product, service, system, team member, action in your business should be to achieve the vision of your company.
It should be simply stated, making it easy for consumers and your team to understand, remember, and recognize.

A local company with a clear vision states this “Simplify Life”.

Talk about clear, direct, and easy to understand, and identify! Every decision made in the company for a new product or service should “simplify life”.

Your mission is how you will achieve your vision.

Your mission should be clear, direct, and briefly stated.

The above company’s mission? “Taking care, custody, and control of our customer’s belongings.”

This company provides storage for local residents.

Their why is to simplify life. Their how? By taking care, custody, and control of their customer’s belongings.

As you put your vision and mission into writing, remember this.

Know your why. Make it clear to all those who know or may need to know you. Live it every day. Be very specific about your mission, your how. Act on it every day.

 


Finally, an Easy Way to Project Cash Flow and the Sustainability of Your Business!

How many times have you been asked for cash flow projections only to throw something together based on what you think the banker or CPA needs? One time is too many!

If you’re ready to see the future of your business, verify that it’s sustainable, this article is a must read!

While most business owners see cash flow as a daunting process it doesn’t have to be. As a matter of fact, it can be very exciting to see the financial future of your business! Projecting cash flow allows you to see the financial picture, allows you to create a budget, and arrange your ebbs and flows of cash in order to sustain a profitable business. Sounds more exciting now doesn’t it?

Here are a few simple steps to successfully projecting cash flow.

  1. Create an easy to use template. Something as simple as excel can be a very useful tool for projecting. You will need tabs/pages for the following. You may also download a cash flow projection sheet if you’re not the expert in excel.

    1. Cash In (All of your revenue broken into weekly columns)
      1. This will be a weekly forecast of all expected income
        1. Columns
          1. Sources of income such as retail sales
        2. Rows
          1. The week ending date for 3 consecutive months
        3. Cash Out (All of your expenses broken into weekly columns)
          1. This will be a weekly forecast of all expenses
            1. Columns
              1. Sources of expenses such as rent
            2. Rows
              1. The week ending date for 3 consecutive months
            3. Cash Flow Summary (This is the page that calculates a combination of your cash in and cash out tabs.)
              1. Columns
                1. Beginning Cash
                2. Cash In
                3. Cash Out
                4. Available Credit
                5. Available Cash
              2. Rows
                1. Corresponding weeks
  • Let excel do the calculating for you.
    1. Sum each column on the cash in and cash out pages
    2. Connect the corresponding total to the cash flow summary columns
  1. List all of your reoccurring expenses with monthly amounts and due dates. Such as…

    1. Rent
    2. Insurance
    3. Payroll
    4. Marketing
    5. Professional Fees
    6. Dues
    7. Subscriptions
    8. Auto Expense
    9. Loan payments
    10. Owners Draw
  2. List all of your expected revenue with expected amounts and dates of receipts. This can usually be easily found in your accounts receivables.

  3. Enter the data into your template weekly. For example, if your rent is due on the first of every month, enter the total rent due in the first week of every month on your template. In the same manner, enter all of your expenses on their corresponding due dates. Likewise, enter all of your projected income on the dates you expect to receive them.

Viola! You’ve successfully projected cash flow and the sustainability of your business. Well, for the next 90 days. You must continue the process every 90 days. Review, update and manage your cash flow on a weekly basis. Schedule recurring time weekly to do this.  Do you want to take the fast track? Email me at crystelsmith1012@gmail.com for a complimentary cash flow projection workbook!


generating and closing leads

9 Must-Do’s to Generate and Close More Leads in Today’s World!

9 Must do’s to generate more leads in today’s world!

Marketing in it’s simplest form is buying customers. As a business owner you must know what you’re willing to spend to gain a new customer, create a budget, set goals, market, track, adjust, and market again.

  1. Determine the lifetime value of your client.

    1. Average Dollar Sale
    2. Number of times your client buys from you
    3. Average number of years your client buys from you
Average Dollar Sale $100.00
Average Number of Purchases in One Year 6
Average Number of Years We Retain Our Clients 3
Lifetime Value $1,800.00

 

  1. Determine what you are willing to spend per client.

    1. If the average lifetime value of your client is $1,800.00 would you be willing to spend $100.00 to get them in the door? Would you be willing to spend $300.00? You must determine what you’re willing to spend for a new customer.
  2. Create a budget with an allowable acquisition cost per client and set a target goal.

    1. If a marketing strategy requires a $300.00 investment and your allowable acquisition cost per client is $100.00 then your goal should be to gain a minimum of three clients. Any less than three clients and your acquisition cost just went up.
  3. Target your client.

    1. Since you know your target market, use mediums that they actively use. If you are unsure of who your target market is, stop and DEFINE YOUR TARGET MARKET!
  4. Create the offer.

    1. Be clear and specific in your strategy. Tell your client what the specific offer is.
  5. Give them a call to action.

    1. So often advertisements lack a call to action. Customers are left with basic information about a company with either no offer or instruction to get the offer.
  6. Track your leads.

    1. If your strategy isn’t generating any leads you may want to change your medium,  your offer, or your call to action. If it’s generating leads as you expected you may want to boost your marketing with the medium.
  7. Track your conversion rate.

    1. What good are leads if you don’t close them. They are absolutely no good. As a matter of fact. They are costing you time and money. If you’re not converting leads you may not have set clear expectations. Or you may just need to just get better at closing the sale. If your prospect decides not to buy ask them why. Be sure to explain that you’re collecting this information to improve your message in the future.
  8. Wash-Rinse-Repeat


Are You Tired of Always Playing Catch Up with Your Business Finances? Stop Juggling and Start Projecting Cash-Flow Today!

Yes, cash is important. However, cash-flow is imperative! Do you find yourself always playing catch up financially? Do you seem to have more than enough cash some weeks and not nearly enough others? Are you constantly juggling your financial resources? But somehow you always seem to manage or just make it through? You’re not alone. And that can stop today!

Cash is important but cash flow is vital to the sustainability of your business!

Would you consider a business that generated $150,000.00 in revenue, had expenses of $134,000.00 (including owners draw), with an 11% profit margin and net income of approximately $16,000.00 over a 90 day period to be a financially sound and successful business? Did you answer yes? You may be right. However, you may be very wrong. Many businesses fail, not because of cash, but because of cash flow.

This business while generating $150,000.00 in cash over 90 days, did not project cash-flow and ultimately almost closed it’s doors several times within the 90 days. Thankfully, the owners had family and friends that believed in their business and provided loans to fund the cash gaps. Otherwise, the show would have been over within 3 short months.

Let me give you a very high-level brief example.

Business A generates 2,500,000.00 per year. There expenses total 2,000,000.00 per year. Half a million dollars in profit sounds great. Doesn’t it? Think again. Let’s look at Business A again from a cash-flow perspective.

Business A Generates $280,333.00 per month, every month for 12 months ($2,500,000.00 in Gross Revenue). $2,000,000.00 of the expenses are paid by September 30th of each year. By September 30th the business has only generated $1,875,000.00. As a result, this company could be out of business by September. This is an extreme example. Most businesses have income and expenses throughout the entire year. However, break this into a weekly cash-flow scenario and we could end up with the same result.

You must project cash-flow for the health AND SUSTAINABILITY of your business. Sure, you can balance your accounts. You can calculate what income and expenses you have each month. You can review your P&L and Balance Sheet. But the bottom line is when cash comes in vs when cash goes out can make or break a company very quickly. You must project it weekly. Too often businesses project monthly. That’s not good enough. Let me show you why.

The example below is a prime example of the power of cash-flow, not cash.

This business generated $150,000.00 in cash over a 90 day period. Their expenses were only $134,000.00 for that same 90 day period of time. Again, if we were looking big picture the business looks profitable. However, look at cash flow on a weekly basis and the business probably won’t succeed. This business has such swings in cash flow that it’s sustainability without a line of credit or another form of working capital, or a means to manage their cash flow, is little to none. That’s the difference in balancing your books and projecting cash-flow.

Reviewing your balance sheet or P&L will give you a snapshot of the health of your business. However, it will not give the insight to the sustainability of your business!

If you want a sustainable, healthy, and profitable business projecting cash-flow is a must!

So, project, adjust, and project again. Then wash, rinse, and repeat! Understand the financial health AND sustainability of your business! Are you ready to start projecting but aren’t sure how? Get our free 90- Day Cash-Flow Projection Workbook by emailing me at Crystelsmith1012@gmail.com!

cash flow pic

 

 


Give them the pickle

Do You Give Your Customers the Pickle?

Give Customers the Pickle!

In Bob Farrell’s book Give ‘Em the Pickle, he discusses a letter a restaurant owner received from one of his lifelong customers who decided that he would no longer be a patron of his establishment. The reason? The customer asked for a pickle on the side.

“Read More”

Goal achieved

Seven Proven Steps to Achieve Any Goal

Let’s face it. Most business owners don’t set a goal. So let me ask you this: if you don’t set goals, how do you know where you’re going? If you’re not setting goals you’re just showing up to work every day.

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Learning + Doing = Success

How Do I Change My Habits?

Change Your Habits

Let’s face it. We all have what we would consider good and bad habits. In order to create good habits, a few things have to come into line.

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