Cash Management: It’s Not About The Numbers

The vast majority of business owners I know don't want to bury their heads in Spreadsheets, Profit and Loss Statements, and Balance Sheets every day. Or even at all.

Yes, it's important to know some key financial numbers when you own a business. Having objective data that answers our financial questions and helps us make good decisions is more than just helpful, it is crucial to long term business success. But if you are like me (and I like numbers), you don't want to live your life by the numbers.

The financial plan for your business needs to answer your "Why?" and serve you, not be your boss.  

Why did you start your business? What do you hope to accomplish by owning your own company? How do you want to spend your time and energy? What do you want to use your money to enjoy?

Answering questions like these, and then creating a business financial plan around the answers is ultimately why Fit For Profit exists.

My goals for Get Fit NH, the personal training company we sold last year in a seven-figure deal, were very modest when we first started out in the first decade of the 21st century.

I just wanted to find a way to work myself out of a job I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in, and find a viable business model to do what I wanted to do and enjoyed doing; helping people lose weight, get in shape, and feel better.

What we were doing worked, and we started growing outside of my capacity to serve my clients by myself. As I started to hire trainers who had the same mission and passion I did, my goals changed. I saw an industry that was churning through people, good people, at a crazy rate because they had no career path. In our area it wasn't uncommon for a trainer to work at 2 or 3 different gyms, because that was the only way they could make it work financially. Benefits were non-existent. 

My new goal become to provide the coaches that worked for me a viable career; a good salaried position, health care benefits and retirement. And there is a practical side to all this as well, of course. Happier employees stay longer, and employee turnover is a killer to any business.

My question became "How can we as a company make all that happen, continue to be profitable, and still support my personal financial goals as the owner?"

The answer was to create a business financial plan, and support it with a cash management system and strategy that allowed us to incrementally accomplish every one of those goals.

It didn't happen overnight. It took several years until the entire full-time team was on salary, we added a 401k, and finally company sponsored health insurance. All while maintaining profit margins and paying ourselves a market based wage.

That story is not to brag or tell you how great I or my company are. The reality is I could not have done it alone, or without a system that had the configurability and flexibility to support those goals.

Your story is no doubt different, and that should excite you.

Like the gym owner who wanted to take his entire team to the Arnold Classic every year.

And the business owner dad who was getting crushed by tens of thousands in debt, but still wanted to take his family to Disney World.

They both created a plan that worked for them, and both made those things happen.

The point is to create a strategy that makes your story possible, by wisely allocating current resources, creating a sound plan for growth, and preparing for your future and the future of your business.

So you can have a business that means something to you.

And enjoy the freedom that comes with being a successful entrepreneur, no matter what your definition of that is.

Without having to live with your head buried in a spreadsheet all the time.

If you want to get started with a plan like that, I'd like to invite you to reach out. Get in touch with me here, and let's talk about what you want to accomplish with your business. If you have questions, I'm here to answer.

To your best success,

Dean

You’re Only Truly Free When You Have Some Rules

We all have rules that govern how we live life. Even the freest countries on earth have laws, rules and regulations. I had rules growing up and living in my parents household. Some I was ambivalent towards, some I despised. It didn't matter. I understand now that for the most part they were put in place to protect me, usually from myself. 

It's like the yellow and white lines on the highways. I don't know about you, but I want the guy coming the other way to stay between his lines so I don't get wiped out. And I'll return the favor. Rules like this really keep us not only safe, but alive. I can chafe against the restriction of my "freedom" to drive on the other side of the road if I want to, but it's probably going to get me dead.

And the rules of the road don't mean I have to drive in a straight line. If I find I am not headed in the right direction, or there is an unforeseen obstacle like a traffic accident in my way, I can always change my plans and take another road.

That's exactly the function of a good cash management system. To put a set of guidelines in place so your business doesn't wind up in a head-on "cash crash", while giving you the flexibility to pivot when you need or want to.

And the freedom part?

Look at it this way; would you like to be free to pay your taxes on time every time, and have a way to make sure you have enough put aside as your business scales?

Would you like to be free to make a pay off your debts, build up cash reserves, and take a profit distribution on a regular, systemized basis?

Would you like to have the freedom to pay yourself a market based wage?

From a business standpoint, that's my kind of freedom.

Every year in our business June is filled with all sorts of fun expenses. Property insurance on the gym building and professional and business liability insurance are due. Quarterly Federal, State and Partnership taxes are due. We had some equipment that needed to be replaced. It adds up into multiple 5 figures, which to us is not chump change. My wife Nancy, who is my business partner on the fitness side of things said to me; "Isn't it nice we don't even have to break a sweat about that stuff?"

Yes. It is nice. REALLY nice.

One of the objections to even having a cash management system, which I have heard more than once, goes something like this; "I got into business because I don't like being told what to do", or "I want the freedom to spend my money like I want to." I totally understand where that comes from, because that's me too.

But I got over it.

Because far from being restrictive, the Profit First system makes sure all the "have to's" are covered so I have more freedom to do the "get-to's".  I'll give you an example. One of the principles of Profit First is to allocate a percentage of business income into your Owner's Pay account every month, but only pay yourself a fixed amount from that account each month. This helps cover your pay if you have a lean month, and if that account keeps accruing money, you then have evidence that it's "safe" to give yourself a raise. Pretty smart. 

The cool part of this story was that I never really paid attention to the "excess" that was in there. It was "my" money in that it was methodically and specifically allocated to my compensation as the owner, but I hadn't touched it. When Nancy and I decided it was time to upgrade to a little more comfortable motorcycle we could do longer rides on, I knew I didn't want to borrow money for it. Instead we "found" the money in the Owners Pay account and used it for its intended purpose - to compensate the owner. I like getting paid in motorcycles. I love it when one of my clients tells me he paid his debt off, or took his entire team to the Arnold Classic, or created a profit sharing program for the entire company. That's the freedom that comes from "staying within the lines".

You have probably heard the saying "Freedom Isn't Free" as it applies to the privileges we enjoy here in the United States. As a veteran with an active duty son, I get it.

That saying applies here too. I see too many business owners make financial decisions in a vacuum, with no guiding principles that act as guardrails. If you want the freedom that comes with a high performing business, you need to make the relatively short-term sacrifice of time and effort to make sure that happens. Build some guardrails, configure them in a way that works best for your business, and stay on the road. It really is that simple.

Look, I didn't invent Profit First, but I have implemented it into my own business as completely as anyone I know, and now I get to show business owners like you how to do it as well. It doesn't make me any smarter than the next guy, but it does give me the peace of mind and yes, freedom, that comes with running a good business.

Most of us start our own business because, at least partly, we want what we just couldn't get working for someone else. Freedom to create, to innovate and to impact. Profit First can help. Profit First will help.

The sooner you get started, the sooner you can make it happen too. Let's get after it!

KPI’s You’ll Profit From

KPI

If you been in business for any length of time you have heard the term KPI - Key Performance Indicator.

But exactly what is a KPI, and why do they matter?

Investopedia defines a KPI as:  a set of quantifiable measures that a company uses to gauge its performance over time.

You can have many different types of KPI's that you track; financial, marketing, and quality metrics are just a few examples.

I like what Klipfolio, an app for creating dashboard, reports and visual analysis contends makes for effective KPI's - a KPI is only as valuable as the action it inspires

In other words, all the data in the world doesn't do any good by just sitting there looking pretty, you need to know what it is telling you and by extension, what you need to do about it.

There are 5 KPI's I have adopted and call "Healthy Business KPI's".

  1. Profit Allocation %
  2. Owners Market Based Wage Target
  3. Tax Allocation %
  4. Labor Productivity Rate
  5. Total Debt

Each of these KPI's has a goal attached to it, and we track monthly progress toward goal, and review and adjust goal as necessary. Note also that each KPI corresponds to a Profit First Core Account.

Here is a brief overview of each and how they align with the Profit First cash management model:

KPI 1: Profit Allocation % (Profit Account)

This KPI is as simple as it sounds. How much are we allocating into the Profit account? 

KPI 2: Owners Market Based Wage (MBW) Target (Owner's Pay Account)

Read this article for a discussion on MBW and why it matters. This KPI is tracked as a % of how much the owner(s) is actually paying themself compared to their Market Based Wage.

KPI 3: Tax Allocation % (Tax Account)

Again very simple. How much is being allocated into the Tax account? Don't be fooled into thinking lower is better. As Greg Crabtree says in his book "Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits", if you aren't paying taxes you are either not making any money or you are cheating. Take advantage of every legal and smart way to minimize your taxes, but understand that successful companies are going to pay taxes. The more you are paying, the more you are making. And that's a good thing.

KPI 4: Labor Productivity Rate (Operating Expense Account)

This KPI tells you how much Gross Profit you are making for every dollar of labor you are spending. As payroll is most likely your biggest expense, you need to be tracking this number carefully. This KPI can be used in forecasting what effect additional employees will have on your bottom line and what productivity (eg. more dollars earned) will need to be reached to regain your target Profits. An important note:  we always calculate this two ways; actual Labor Productivity Rate (LPR) and True LPR.

True LPR is the rate when the owner(s) Market Based Wage is added in, which is a critical difference.

Here's an example:

In April company X had $25000 in Gross Profit and $12,500 in Total Labor Cost. In this case their Labor Productivity Rate is $2.00 ($25,000 Gross Profit/$12,500 Total Labor Cost). But this doesn't take into account the owner is paying herself $5000/mo, while her Market Based Wage is actually $7500/mo. To get the True LPR, we need to add the additional $2500 to the Total Labor Cost, which gives a True LPR of $1.66 ($25,000/$15,000). Ok, I'll stop with the acronyms already! In chart form it looks like this:

Why does this matter? Read this article, "Stealing From Yourself" for more detailed insight.

KPI 5: Total Debt  (Operating Expense Account)

Debt reduces profitability, creates higher risk in an economic downturn, and less flexibility to direct your cash when opportunity arises. The unfortunate truth is many of the business owners I talk to know this, but do not have a system to pay it down. It starts with calculating and tracking your total debt load. You have to stop paying expenses with debt, and live within your means. The goal is to have this KPI as ZERO!

We keep these "Healthy Business KPI's" all in one place on a scorecard. At a glance we can detect patterns and trends, and take appropriate action when one is off track. The beauty is they all work together, so usually taking action on one effects the others positively as well. For instance a strategy to pay debt off more quickly will free up cash to get me to my Market Based Wage, which in turn makes my business more valuable to investors and/or buyers. 

If all these numbers make your head spin, I get it. But I promise this is not as hard or time consuming as it looks. A few key pieces of data entered on a monthly basis will make these KPI's you can truly profit from. We can show you how.

Stealing From Yourself

Here's a dirty little secret about business that I learned pretty quickly - most entrepreneurs and business owner's aren't nearly as financially successful as they appear to be. 

Early in my career I remember going to fitness conferences where we were regaled with stories how this or that business was producing record sales, had hundreds of training clients, and was moving into bigger and better real estate. Looking back now I don't remember profit ever being talked about, or how much the owner was actually taking home as pay.

The topic of owner's compensation remains a huge problem in most small business. It doesn't matter how much you are producing in sales if you are living in a van down by the river (RIP Chris Farley).

Here's the bottom line; the owner of a business needs to be paying themself a market-based wage. 

The simplest way I have found to determine what a market-based wage in your industry and for your role is to ask yourself this question:

"What would I have to pay someone else to do the job I do?"

market based wage

If you aren't making that, you are stealing from yourself.

I get it. Your business in new and you can't afford to pay yourself that much - yet. You actually have an advantage over a more mature business, as you most likely don't have the overhead that comes with a lot of employees. You have more control of the situation, but you still need a plan to close the gap between your current salary and your market-based wage. And you need to be tracking all this.

Now to the "not so new" business owner. What is your deal anyway? Why do you continue to add overhead (more employees, fancier "stuff") and leave yourself scrambling for scraps?

Let me put it to you this way. You have a job opening in your company which is slotted for a salary of $75,000. You decide you want the job, but only if the owner (you) agrees to pay you (the employee) $30,000. How long do you think a new hire would be satisfied in their $75,000 role if they were only getting paid $30k? 

Why are you?

"But I'm NOT satisfied", you may be thinking. Then what are you doing about it? An owner who finds themself in this situation has some hard decisions to make, and too often just never gets around to making them. Getting serious about things like overhead, debt, and excess employees and wages is necessary for long term viability, not to mention your sanity.

But there is more to this than you just being your most underpaid employee, as bad as that is.

You are also severely devaluing your company. No matter the size of your business and how big you want to grow it, you need to think about the value of your business in the terms of an outside investor. Would I want to buy your business today? Why or why not? 

When I sold my first service based business its value was directly linked to "benefit to owner".

In other words, what could the new owner reasonably expect to draw as salary, profit distribution, and other wage related benefits after purchase? Numbers don't lie. Your business is going to be far less valuable, if not practically worthless, if you can't show you have been making good money.

And realistically, these are just a few things in the "market-based wage" discussion. There are potential tax implications in paying yourself too little (in the eyes of the IRS). From a practical standpoint, if you can't pay yourself General Manager money, how will you afford to hire a GM and have anything left over for you? 

You wouldn't put up with an employee stealing from you. How long will you put up stealing from yourself?

The first step to paying yourself a market-based wage is actually sitting down and doing the work of defining what roles you are currently filling and how much they are worth. What's the number you came up with? What's the gap between that number and what you are currently paying yourself? What are you going to do about it?

And one more pet peeve. You are just fooling yourself if you aren't adding in Owner's Compensation when you calculate your net income and margins. As we discussed before, the value of the business is related to how much benefit it is creating for you as the owner. An audit will reveal that. But beyond that, what would your net income be if you were paying yourself a market-based wage? I have seen margins drop below zero if you run those numbers. Not cool, and dangerous to the health and long-term viability of your company.

Actions Steps:

  • Calculate your market-based wage, and your wage gap. 
  • When you calculate net income, make sure you are adding in Owner's Pay. For instance if you are an LLC and take draws, that won't usually show up on your P&L.
  • Calculate your net income again, this time using your calculated market-based wage. How do things look now?
  • Formulate a plan to close the wage gap, and track your progress monthly.


Fit Pros: Earn CEU’s with this Cash Management Course

If you are a fitness professional you need accrue CEU's on a regular basis to keep your certification current. One of the very positive trends that many certifying bodies are adopting is allowing business courses to be CEU eligible. All the technical knowledge in the world on health, fitness and nutrition does the fitness entrepreneur and business owner very little good if they can't actually make a profit and stay in business.

My course "Maximize Your Profit Starting NOW", co-created with Jane Curth of FitFixNow.com, not only will help you understand the basics of a good cash management system in order to increase profitability, but you will also earn CEU's upon completion. A win-win for sure. Enroll now and get your knowledge on!

CEU Recertification Course: Maximize Your Profit Starting NOW

CEUs-NASM: 0.2; ISSA: 2.0; NCCPT: 0.2; NAFC: 0.2; ACSM: 2.0

Can you really make money in the fitness business? If you have ever asked yourself that question this course will help you gain the confidence and peace of mind that success is not only possible, but probable, when you have a winning cash management system in place. We will identify the common obstacles fitness entrepreneurs face, and examine why what you have been taught about business finance may actually be the root of the problem. You will then learn a step-by-step system that leverages the habits and behaviors you already have to manage your cash easily, create profit immediately, and grow your company more quickly.

Fitness Business, MRC, Dean Carlson, Jane Curth


Who Needs A Cash Management System?

First of all let's get this off the table.

Accounting and Cash Management are not the same thing, nor does having a cash management system in place mean you don't need to keep your books in good order.

Thankfully good accounting software, bookkeepers, and accountants exist. I look at accounting this way; it is necessary for me to maintain legal requirements, such as paying my taxes. It provides records that allow me build a credit history for my business. When I sold one of my businesses, the fact that we kept immaculate records eased the process of valuation and allowed us to prove what the business was worth. Accounting also summarizes business performance into quantifiable measures - sales revenue, profit, expenses, etc.

Well if it does all that, what else could I possibly need?

Here's the main problem with accounting. It wasn't designed for humans, it was designed for rational, number crunching robots (eg. Accountants)

For mere mortals like you and me, accounting fails miserably. For example when you look at your Profit and Loss Statement, and it shows you made, say, $7500 in profit this month, it doesn't always square with the reality of what is in your checking account, right now. 

How can that be?

Because you already found a way to spend it, that's how. And that just means you are human. 

The reason I love (no, that's not too strong a word) the Profit First cash management system is because it works WITH human behavior, not against it. 

By allocating my profit FIRST, in a separate account from my primary checking, it doesn't get caught up in the "backwash" of my (over)spending, which is what we all tend to do too much of.

Remember Parkinson's Law?

"work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion"

In other words, if we are given 30 days to complete a project we will take 30 days. If we are given 7 days to complete the same project, we will figure out how to get it done in those 7 days. 

The same thing applies to your finances. If we have $500, we will spend it. If we have $1000, we will figure out how to spend the extra $500, even if we don't really need to.

By putting away my Profit FIRST (that extra $500) I am using behavioral psychology in my favor. Out of sight, out of mind, and no longer in my account to spend.

The same applies to the other core accounts in our cash management system; Owner's Pay and Taxes. The best way to make sure I pay myself and have the money to pay the Taxman is to be putting it away BEFORE I have a chance to spend it on other things. The biggest benefit to this is the peace of mind that comes with earning a regular paycheck and keeping taxes up to date.

Once we have those things taken care of - profit, paying ourselves, and taxes, then and only then do we address our operating expenses. This forces you to think hard about every spending decision. You have to get serious about streamlining processes and systems to produce the same or more quantity and quality of work, with less resources. This is a GOOD thing, because it's going to make you more money.

So who needs a cash management system?

Business owners and entrepreneurs that struggle to understand their basic cash flow, don't want to waste time poring over accounting reports (and/or don't know what they are looking at when they do), and those who lack discipline in their spending. Yeah, that's pretty much everyone, including me.

If you haven't read the book Profit First, you can get the first two chapters for free right here, and get started on your permanently profitable business today.

How Taxing was Tax Season For You?

One of the most stressful times of the year for many business owners is "tax season" - that frustrating period of time between about the end of January and middle of April, when your accountant or tax preparer is performing some kind of alchemy on all the receipts, documents and records you sent them from the past year, coming up with your tax bill for the year.

And You?

You spend that period of time hoping and praying (and maybe doing a lot of sweating) that you don't owe a bunch. Because you don't have any extra cash just lying around waiting to send to the government.

I've been there. 

And it's not always about just sticking your head in the sand and hoping that taxes just get abolished so you don't have to pay them. One of the big mysteries surrounding taxes for me was how to know if I was putting away enough as our business scaled. We grew really fast over the period of three or four years, and the privilege of earning more is you get to "contribute" more to the tax man.

And while you aren't going to get out of paying your taxes, April 15th (or 30th my Canadian friends) doesn't have to turn you into a stress monster every year. 

Implementing the Profit First Cash Management System in your business will ensure that will not be left scrambling at the end of the year coming up with money you don't have to pay a tax bill you don't really want to, but have to. You can delay paying your vendors, or yourself, but the tax man is GOING to get his. 

NOW is the time to get your tax situation settled for next year, and once and for all. 

Contact me today and let's get working on getting your taxes taken care of for next year, as well as creating your permanently profitable business.

Let's Do This!

Dean

Do You Need To Change Your Mind About Money?

Over the last several years, the fitness industry has begun to understand how important mindset is to helping people achieve lasting change. We work hard to understand our client’s motivations, then assist them in overcoming obstacles, real and perceived. We pour our hearts into coaching each one to become the best version of themselves; mind, body and soul. Did you ever think about how we got here? When simply knowing how to coach sets and reps become inadequate?

Filling the “mindset gap” in fitness coaching started happening when we realized we can write the best training programs and our clients don’t consistently show up. We can craft healthy and balanced nutrition plans, and they keep hitting the drive-thru. We can faithfully teach stress reduction techniques and the importance of adequate sleep, only to have our clients drag in the next morning after the latest binge watch.

Until a client changes their mind, it’s hard to change their health and fitness. As fitness professionals, we tend to be exactly the same way, but in a different brain space. We have a serious “mindset gap” when it comes to money, as we often struggle to reconcile our true value in the marketplace with our self-perception of that value.

Problem: We think we don’t deserve money. Because fit pros tend to be caring, selfless, generous people, we settle for earning less while giving more.

Solution: Accept that you provide one of the most valuable services on earth. You create healthy and happy human beings. Pay yourself first, every month, no exceptions.

Problem: We equate money with greed. We are bombarded with stories of corrupt businessmen and unethical businesses, and we don’t want to be viewed that way.

Solution: Conduct your business honestly, every time. If you make a mistake with a client’s billing, fix it right away. The reward is trust.

Problem: We don’t know how to manage money. Even when we see steady sales growth, we have no idea where all our money goes every month. Shouldn’t more sales mean I have more cash in the bank?

Solution: Implement a cash management system. Adopt a structure that allows you to know your cash position at a glance, anytime, anywhere. Be intentional, understand that money is a tool to be used, then use it wisely.

Changing your “money mindset” is possible, but just like your clients, you have to put in the work!

This article first appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Personal Fitness Professional Magazine. 

The Top 5 Tips to Get Your Gym “Fiscally Fit”

As a fitness professional, you are a world changer. You do some of the most important work on the face of the earth; you create happy and healthy by helping people move better, perform better, look better, and probably most importantly, feel better. You are a superstar.

But, you say, if the work I do is so important and so many people need it, why am I struggling to get ahead? Why aren’t I making what I am worth? Why can’t I seem to attract the people who need me into my business? Why do more sales never seem to add up to more money in my bank account? I love what I do, but all this “stuff” always just seems to get in the way.

I get it, because I have been there. The good news is all these questions and all these current challenges you are facing absolutely have answers and are solvable. But be prepared to do the work. There are many parallels between Physical Fitness and Fiscal Fitness.

Imagine your clients who want to lose weight or get stronger. They aren’t going to lose 50 pounds of body fat or gain 100 pounds on their bench press in a month. And just like them, it’s going to take you time and effort to build the business of your dreams.

Let’s take a look at what five successful fitness business entrepreneurs and coaches who know what it takes to build a “Fiscally Fit” business have to say about it.

The Top 5 Tips to Fiscal Fitness

Tip 1: Learn How To Scale and Build A Team

Doug Spurling, President and Founder of Spurling Fitness, and author of “One Percent Better” knows the power of building a great team. “If you are a one man or woman operation you are always going to be capped at how much you can make, because you’re trading time for money” he explains. “In order to scale and make more, you have to build a really solid team.”

Spurling outlines his 3-step approach:

  • Get clear on your vision. How big of a business do you want? How many team members? Biggest is not always better, and there's no right answer but we need to know that first.
  • Hire people that complement each other. Don't hire a bunch of duplicates of you. Become very clear on what your unique abilities are and hire the areas that are not those.
  • Be a student of leadership. Building your team, leading your team, is all about giving them the support they need and being seen more as a "mentor" and not a boss.

Doing this allows you to be tied to the business, it allows you to scale your time, make more money, and have more personal freedom.

Tip 2: Learn How To Be An Effective Marketer

Ryan Ketchum is the Executive Director of Fitness Revolution, whose company provides business coaching programs to fitness studio owners who want to scale their business.

Ketchum sees the number one challenge preventing fitness business owners from making more money as effective marketing, and an overall marketing strategy.

Ketchum analyzes the problem this way. “There's a wide range of issues revolving around marketing that I see, and it's not just for beginner fit business owners.  Specifically, fitness business owners don't have a strategic marketing plan that they can use to bring in new leads and then scale their marketing efforts when needed.” He then points out the problem. “Instead of a calculated approach to marketing, many fitness business owners perform random acts of marketing when they have time or when they think about it.”

Ketchum advises the strategic marketing plan be comprised of the following elements; Identifying your Ideal client, Identifying and communicating what makes your fitness business different, simplifying your marketing message, and a marketing calendar.

“Marketing cannot be treated as a side project in your business.” Ketchum warns. “It needs to exist as one of your responsibilities as a fitness business owner, with time dedicated every day to market.”

Tip 3: Track Your Numbers

Mark Fisher operates his ultra-successful “Ninja Clubhouse”, Mark Fisher Fitness, in one of the most competitive environments in the world, New York City.

Fisher says that tracking your numbers is the best way to know why or why not you are making the profit you want.

“If you don't have some kind of dashboard and you're just looking at how much money you have in the bank, you don't know where the issues are. Is it not enough top-of-funnel leads? Is the sales process wonky? Are people signing up but leaving because your services are subpar? Are you simply spending too much of the money coming in?” He goes on to say “A related point is that if you're not tracking, you don't know if you're off-track on any of your target numbers until it's too late.”

Fisher advises to keep it simple. “Just start tracking something. Pick 5-8 numbers, put them in a spreadsheet, and figure out how to track them on a weekly basis.”

Tip 4: Don’t Focus Solely on Facebook

Michael Keeler created “Business for Unicorns” with Fisher in 2016. Michael is a Certified Life and Business Coach, works with many of the leading fitness studios in the US and UK, and counts among his clients Sony Music and Sylvan Learning.

Keeler sees the number one challenge holding fitness business owners back from making more money as “the belief that Facebook is the holy grail of lead generation.”

He says that while some people can find great success with advertising on social media, “for brick and mortar studio owners Facebook marketing is not the only option” and encourages them to “invest in other lead generation strategies like client referrals programs, community workshops, business partnerships, and local advertising”, which he helps them do through his coaching.

---

Implementing even one of the tips above is a sure-fire way to create and increase cash flow into your business, and when properly managed, increased cash flow will equal increased profits. Which leads me right into Tip #5.

Tip 5: Get Clarity by Using A Cash Management System

When I owned Get Fit NH the number one benefit we saw from putting a cash management system into our business (Profit First is what we adopted and use) was clarity.

Why is this important?

Because nothing gives me more peace of mind and the ability to sleep at night than by knowing where your cash is and how it is being used, any time and at all times.

Here’s what implementing a good cash management system does:

  • Let’s you know at a glance how much money you have and where it’s going.
  • Ensures you have enough money set aside to pay taxes
  • Allows you to pay yourself what you are worth and feel good about it.
  • Provides a system for keeping your operating expenses in check.
  • Builds in an action plan to get and stay out of debt.
  • Establishes permanent profitability from day one.

Creating a more profitable business is not magic, any more than weight loss or strength training is. You are skilled at identifying the gaps in your client’s nutrition and training plans, then implementing a system to fill in those gaps so they can reach their goal.

Start building your “fiscal fitness” by carefully evaluating these five tips and choosing just one to implement in your business. Again, it’s like your weight loss client. You wouldn’t tell him five things to do at once, you would work on one habit at a time. Once that skill is built, you move on and layer the next highest priority in.

And remember, nothing happens unless you take action. Open your mind to the possibility that you can and will be more profitable; permanently profitable, and then do something about it.  The world needs you to succeed, so let’s make it happen!

What Are Your Expectations?

Seth is spot on here. 

In his blog post Relentlessly lowering expectations he writes:

"Over time, we embrace the pretty good memo or the decent leadership moment, because it’s so much better than we feared."

You will never get ahead by doing what "normal" people do to fit in or be accepted, or by accepting mediocre because it's better than it could have been.

Don't settle.

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