The Secret to a Sustainable Business, Part 3
The main reason you started a business was to achieve financial freedom. To ensure that you get there, you need a plan. October begins fourth quarter and it could be significant for your business. According to the National Retail Federation, sales in November and December account for 20 to 40 percent of U.S. retailer annual revenue. Even if you’re not a retail company, mapping out a 12-month revenue plan will help deliver value to customers and bring in money.
If you’re not aiming for any sales, you’re guaranteed to hit what you’re aiming for. Here’s how a revenue plan will help your business:
Focus work load and reduce overwhelm: Have you ever felt all over the place when it comes to choosing what gets tackled first on your page-long to-do list? A revenue plan creates an immediate sense of clarity on how to allocate time and activities daily. I like the idea of putting dollar signs next to the tasks related to achieving financial goals.
Using the dollar tagging method makes important things stand out. Gain additional clarity by adding more dollar signs next the items that have a high return so that they get the highest priority.
Inspire and activate your team: Great leaders attract people who are inspired by their vision. Your team should understand how their role in the company impacts the bottom-line.
Zingerman’s, a community of food-related businesses, practices an open-book finance management style. Every single employee in the company understands the revenue numbers that they are responsible for generating and they are trained to manage, report and provide creative ideas for influencing those numbers.
Create longevity and growth opportunities: Too often, we chase immediate revenues – trying to figure out how to bring enough funds to pay ourselves and cover the expenses of the company. This shorter-sighted way of thinking will keep you always on edge, feeling like you’re drowning and fighting to live. A revenue plan makes you step back and think of the business in a long-term view by preparing for what’s going to bring in sales six or twelve months from now and not just next week.
It’s time to think more strategically about what activities to focus on to reach sales targets if you want to reach financial sustainability. Here’s how to get started: Determine a revenue goal – the amount of money that you need to make to the cover your salary and business expenses for the year.
Once you know what you’re aiming for, make a list of monthly activities that will help get you to that target. There are no bad ideas; write down every solution you could potentially offer and later narrow down to the three that meet the sweet spot of offering the highest value of solving the customer’s pain point, a favorable level of income and the minimum commitment of time.
We have put together a tool called the Double-Sided Business Plan to help you create a revenue goal for the year based on your desired income and develop the revenue plan for your company. Take advantage of this resource so that your business can achieve sustainability and provide the financial freedom that you deserve.
For more resources on building a sustainable business read this whole series:
Pay Yourself First: The Secret to Sustainability Part 1
Determine Your Sustainability Number: The Secret to Sustainability Part 2
Now we would like to hear from you. What methods have you used to grow or sustain your business?