Have you ever stayed at a hotel and then returned, finding that they have stocked your room with everything you asked for the last time you were there? Your special allergenic pillow was already waiting for you, you were asked if you would like a dinner reservation made just like you always do the first night, and there were even extra hangers because you always need extra hangers. None of this would be possible for the hotel if it didn’t have a CRM, customer relationship management, system in place.
Would your clients be impressed if you remembered all of the details about your last conversation, their last purchase, or their preferences? If so, your business might benefit from a CRM system.
Businesses that have more than 30 or so clients may benefit from a system that allows you and your employees to enter detailed information about each client interaction that they have. It can work for both current and future clients, i.e., prospects. A CRM is basically a great big customer database at its core. It contains master file information on a customer or client, such as name, company, address, contact info, and custom fields. It is also transaction-driven in that you can log activity such as calls, meetings, proposal dates, and more.
A good CRM system is also integrated with your other internal systems, such as your accounting or POS system or both. In some CRM systems, you can see invoice and payment history, so that when a client calls in, you can also peek to see whether they owe you money or what goods they ordered that they may be calling about.
Imagine creating content that is specific to your clients and their needs and then sending that specific content to the people who can use it the most. This is possible when you utilize a CRM for your fitness business!
When you utilize a CRM, you can keep important information about potential clients in one place. All of this information will help you convert more clients, because you know what their specific needs are and you can then find a way to fulfill those needs.
A CRM can help you support your clients in many ways, which will grow your business without too much more effort on your part. The best part about a CRM is it will allow you to get to know your clients even better than before.
There are literally hundreds of CRM systems to choose from. The gold standard for large companies is ActiveCampaign.com; however, some small businesses use it as well. This CRM offers you the capability to accomplish the three things listed above and so much more.
One of the most important aspects of profiting from a CRM is to make sure it gets used, and that takes some habit-changing from you and your staff. Once you have Active Campaign in place, you and your staff can begin to fill out the information you know about each one of your clients. Yes, this will take some time, but think of the potential, and business growth, you are gaining from what will be one of the best business moves you have undertaken since you opened your doors.
When your clients start talking about how great your service is and how much attention you pay to the details they care about, you’ll know your CRM is paying off for you.
If you have any questions about Active Campaign, or using a CRM, let me know. I can answer all of your questions and give you a few pointers to make this a seamless transition for both you and your staff.
As a fitness business owner, you know that your main job is to ensure the health and wellness of your clients. However, do you know how to make sure the needs of your business are met, so you can provide your clients with everything they deserve?
This is one of the biggest challenges business owners like yourself face when running a business. After all, you are the person in charge of making sure your equipment is in excellent condition, you have a full staff that engages with your clients, and your clients are happy.
However, if you have deteriorating equipment, staff that comes and goes with the wind, and unhappy clients, you need to face the facts soon and make a few changes. While you may be ready to rush in and attempt to fix everything at once, please be aware that never works!
You need to choose the item that is of highest priority so you are not fixing the wrong problems at the wrong time. Yes, I know every problem you have needs attention, but by focusing on your business needs’ hierarchy, you will find the success you desire much faster.
We use Fix This Next, which is a system that utilizes the Business Hierarchy of Needs. This hierarchy allows you to see which problems need to be fixed first and which ones can wait.
There are five different levels within the Business Hierarchy of Needs. They include sales, profit, order, impact, and legacy. Each one is part of a successful fitness business, but only if you have them working together seamlessly.
Sales is the base level of the Business Hierarchy of Needs for your business and this is the level you will always want to have met right away. Your business needs cash flow and sales if you want it to thrive in the future. Once you have the sales level in a good place, you can easily move up to the next level of your business needs’ hierarchy.
Profit is what every business owner like yourself wants to see because it means your business is becoming more stable. Of course, so many businesses have issues with their profits because they are focused on sales and not the true profits. Make sure you have built profit into every transaction so that your profit can build as your sales continue to grow.
At this point in the hierarchy, you will want to focus on creating systems and processes that will have your business running smoothly without you. The more you have automated, the less you will need to do when it comes to focusing on the less favorable parts of your business. This will allow you to spend more time with your clients, finding out what their needs are, and creating solutions that will allow your business to grow even more.
At this level of the hierarchy, you will finally realize that you should never have focused on sales in the beginning. While your business needs sales to survive, you should be looking at your business as a solution for the needs of your clients. Once you reach this conclusion, you will begin to focus on the rest of the people in your community and can then determine how you can help them as well. This is where you will truly see an increase with the number of clients you have because you will be focusing on solving problems instead of how many transactions you can make each day.
The goal of every business owner is to leave a legacy behind. While a personal legacy would be wonderful, imagine the impact you will have if you simply leave your corporate legacy behind instead. Your business can provide solutions long after you are gone and that is the way you are going to want to be remembered.
Now that you know your business needs’ hierarchy, you can make better decisions to solve your current problems. Simply start at the lowest level, which is sales, and fix those issues before climbing up the ladder to the next level.
It is important to note that you will find yourself at different levels over the years. While you may have reached the order level a few years ago, you may have slid back to the sales or profit level recently. This will happen as your business changes and even grows. All you need to do is get back to the basics and start working from the base of the hierarchy up once again.
As you get used to your business needs’ hierarchy, it will be easier to see where your focus needs to be at different times. This will allow you to act faster when making decisions and knowing that you are making the decisions that are the best for your business.
Don’t worry if you do not have these skills yet though! It takes time to understand how to manage the needs of your business the right way. Our program, Fix This Next, can help with that and we can always set up a time to chat, so you can get moving in the right direction with your business immediately.
Sales tax laws are constantly changing, and sales tax audits have increased since states and local agencies have become creative about finding new ways to generate revenues. If you haven’t made any changes in your sales tax procedures in a while, you are probably at risk.
The taxability of services has grown rapidly as states look to balance their budgets after Federal cuts and other shortfalls. Some states have smaller jurisdictions such as counties and municipalities, making for a total of 10,000 jurisdictions in the U.S., not just 50. Alabama, Colorado and Arizona are just a couple of the states that have statewide rules as well as taxability rules for localities within the states.
A prime example of a difference would be that data processing services including web hosting and graphics are taxable in Texas but not California. Because of these intricacies, it makes sense to consult an expert in this area. Some states have been taxing certain services for many years now.
The new buzzword in sales tax is “nexus,” which simply means presence.
Globalization and technology together have produced dramatic shifts in the way businesses can look today. Not only can we access a pool of local talent to staff and grow our businesses, we can employ almost anyone around the world to work for us. Hiring employees or contractors located in other states can stretch our nexus to include that state.
If your business has a presence in a state, then certain items you sell could be taxable. “Presence” is a little gray, but here are a few examples of some characteristics that the courts have decided prove nexus.
You might receive a form that looks like a survey and asks innocent-looking questions such as how many employees you have and what state they work in. The surveys don’t look like they are from a state government but they might be. It’s their way of getting you to admit nexus. Please do not let a worker fill these out; it could expose you to a huge liability.
If you fail to collect taxes where you should, the risk is easy to calculate. Take the potential taxable sales times the sales tax rate, and add any penalties. The numbers get scary if you’ve been in business for several years.
Let’s say your annual revenues are $5 million. You didn’t realize that your Texas sales were taxable, and this amounts to 10% or $500K. Your tax liability is $41,250 per year. If you have been doing it wrong for five years, well, you can add it up. Add penalties on top, and it’s not a small amount. It can wipe out your entire year’s profit.
Sales tax liability becomes more important if you plan to sell your business. A traditional valuation will always include a sales tax risk analysis. Even if you don’t plan to sell, the odds of you getting audited or a disgruntled employee blowing the whistle can be too much to risk.
Because of the high dollar impact on the profitability of your business, it’s best to get a sales tax professional involved in helping you determine the taxability of your items as well as interpreting nexus. Many states are hiring auditors and aggressively pursuing businesses, so due diligence in this area is prudent.
If we can help in any way, please reach out and let us know.
If you are old enough, you know that this isn’t the first recession we have had in the last twenty years or so. Yes, this one may seem a lot worse, because most of our country is shut down, and the impact may be greater than the others if you are not reacting the right way.
There are five stages during a recession and the very first one is where a business owner like yourself will simply freeze. This is understandable, because you are in shock since this all came on so suddenly. I mean, it’s not like you had months of advance notice, where you could create a plan for this massive struggle in the business world!
The worst thing you can do right now is stay in the grief-stricken phase where you are frozen and have no idea where to turn. Doing that will mean the end of your business, which is the last thing you want after all of your hard work.
It is common to go through the second phase of disorientation for a little bit too. I am not telling you that you shouldn’t have a million different scenarios going through your head in the beginning. However, I urge you to not just jump in headfirst and do the first thing that comes to mind or try to work multiple angles without any clue of whether it will work or not.
This reactive phase will usually have you doing the wrong thing, even if you are thinking you are doing it for the right reasons. This is not the time to incur a ton of new expenses, because it will cause you long term agony. The impact of those types of actions can cause your business to fail before you have the chance to rebuild.
Out of the five phases, the third stage is going to be where you want to have your focus sooner than later during this current recession. Not many businesses are there yet, so don’t feel concerned if you are still a little disoriented. However, now is the time to get busy and start evaluating the data you have available.
Now, it normally takes between two and four weeks to get a real trend from all of the data you collect. This is the time when you are going to need to ask some hard questions before creating a plan that has appropriate actions with a positive impact for your business. Most of the time, your action will be only one thing, but it is the most important item when it comes to moving your business forward.
This is also the time when you will see many of your competitors closing up shop. Do not begin to panic again, or start ignoring all of the data you have been collecting. Instead focus on the fourth phase, which is the action that you came up with using all of your data and nothing else.
The last phase that every business goes through during a recession is the burst. If you keep your business moving forward with actionable plans, your business will be around when the burst happens! I know that we do not know when this burst will happen yet, but it will happen. It always does!
That also means that you must be prepared when it does! Many of your competitors will not be around when the burst occurs and that means you will have even more clients headed your way when they are ready to spend their hard-earned cash. Therefore, you must be working on actionable actions before the burst happens.
This is the time to determine how you will meet those higher demands. Now, you shouldn’t go out and hire a bunch of employees or order a ton of supplies just yet. But, you should create a plan that will allow you to obtain those supplies quickly when you start to need them and allow you to hire the employees you need when the time is right.
These are unchartered times, but I cannot stress the importance of evaluating your business’s needs now, so you can be ready when the upward curve towards the burst happens. If you are struggling, and need some help, let’s set up a meeting to chat.
When your business begins struggling, whether it is a simple downturn in income or the downfall of a recession, you are going to feel so many emotions. After all, your business is like your baby. You worked hard to get your business up and running and you have spent hours honing your skills, so your business could grow and thrive.
Once unchartered times, like our current recession, hit, you are going to want to instantly go with your gut when it comes to making all of your decisions. However, I want to urge you to ignore your gut and focus on the data you are collecting. This will allow you to create actionable plans that will help, and not hurt, the future of your business.
The 10-10-10 method is what I love to use when things are on a tailspin, because it allows you to focus on the next ten minutes, ten months, and ten years. This is excellent, because what may seem like a fantastic idea right now, could be the worst decision for your business’s future.
In the beginning, you may only want to focus on the first ten minutes, but you will want to determine what the long-term results will be from those actions.
For example, laying off an employee now may make you feel horrible emotionally, but when you think about ten months from now when you can rehire them, you will feel much better. Creating a new offering for your business might seem like a ton of work right now, but in the long term, all of that work will allow you to reap the rewards later on.
One of the best things that the 10-10-10 method can do is stop you from taking out a loan. While a loan may seem to be your best answer for the next ten minutes, in ten months, and even ten years, from now, you won’t be as thrilled when you are struggling to make the payments when they are due.
Of course, during this recession, you do have options when it comes to loans and they are the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and an SBA loan. You can also take advantage of the emergency disaster funds that are being distributed.
It is important to note that you must place any money you receive from the three funding options above into a separate account from the rest of your business’s finances. The reason for this is that the above loans can be forgiven, but only if you use the money for what it was designated for. Therefore, you must keep track of everything, even if it appears to be a small purchase like hand sanitizer.
If you think you will qualify for forgiveness of a loan mentioned above, that might be the only way it would pass the 10-10-10 method for being good ten minutes from now, as well as ten months and ten years from now.
Looking past the immediate future can be very difficult, especially if you haven’t been able to start focusing on what is truly important. However, making rash decisions will not help your business, so start using the 10-10-10 method to see how every decision you are considering will affect your business now and in the future.
If you have no clue where to start, or have so many questions, please give me a call! I want to help you figure out what the best options are for your business.
Download the PDF for the for the best guide I've seen yet to decipher the CARES Act for business owners. Thank you to Verne Harnish for sending it over, and to Greg Crabtree of Simple Numbers, for sharing this resource.
Produced by our partners at MikeMichalowicz.com, The Recession Response is an action plan for small businesses to implement now to preserve and manage cash flow. I appreciate Mike and the team for responding so quickly to the current conditions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic
If you do business outside your office walls, you need remote access to QuickBooks Online. You now can have it with Quickbooks Online’s Mobile Feature.
One of QuickBooks Online’s most compelling benefits is its portability. While its desktop counterparts remain chained to your desktop PC or notebook (with limited remote capabilities), many of the features found in browser-based QuickBooks Online can be easily accessed via iOS and Android smartphone and tablet apps.
These apps don’t look and work exactly like QuickBooks Online, and they don’t do absolutely everything you can do in the browser-based versions, but the most common accounting tasks you’d want to do away from the office are supported.
These mobile apps give you and your staff the freedom to manage numerous accounting tasks away from the office, whether you’re at home, a customer’s location, a conference or convention, or any event where you can sell products or services.
You can, for example:
You can do all of that on a smartphone. The iPad version offers more, including reports and account registers.
QuickBooks Online mobile apps take advantage of the capabilities of whatever device you’re using, so it’ll be easy to jump in and start using them by clicking on links or buttons, entering data or choosing from lists, and returning to previous screens when necessary. Their user interfaces and navigational tools are very similar.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the free app, you’ll simply sign in using your QuickBooks Online user name and password. Your accounting files are then automatically synchronized with the mobile app, after which you can open the navigational menu, which appears in the left vertical pane.
The apps are arranged slightly differently on each device, but they’re roughly comparable. The iPad version offers the most options out of them all, which isn’t that surprising knowing how functional iPads are in many ways.. They all have a link to an Activity screen, which is an audit trail of sorts. It displays transactions entered in QuickBooks Online on all devices.
Say you’re working from home and you need to create a customer invoice. You’d click on that menu item, then on the “+” sign, and fill out the form similarly to how you would back in the office. You’ll have access to your existing customer list and your database of products and services, or you can add your own.
All data that you enter, modify, or delete is periodically synchronized and you can also refresh it manually.
QuickBooks Online’s sales forms – invoices, estimates, and sales receipts — all work similarly. You can record payments in the mobile apps, as well as expenses you incur outside of the office.
Of course, if you’ll be selling away from the office using one of QuickBooks Online’s mobile apps, you’ll want to be able to accept credit and debit cards. We can help you get set up with a merchant account that will allow you to do that. Remote payments are sent to QuickBooks Online, so your bookkeeping tasks will be greatly simplified.
If you use any kind of mobile device, there’s really no reason not to use a QuickBooks Online mobile app – unless you absolutely never work away from the office, never meet with customers at their sites, and never sell anything remotely. If you do any of those things ever, you’ll find that the convenience and flexibility of mobile apps can help you save time, manage your workflow better, and increase sales.
Think of the Quickbooks Online’s mobile feature as an added bonus like the app for your personal bank account. The app for your personal banking allows you to see how much money you have and where it goes every month. Well, the Quickbooks Online’s mobile feature will let you see where your business is at wherever you are, so you can make those quick informed decisions that will keep you on track with the growth you desire.
Download this app today and see how it can help you transform your business in ways you couldn’t see before. After all, you will no longer have an excuse as to why you didn’t have time, or access, to keep track of all of your accounting needs. Now you can simply open this app, type in the proper information and all of your Quickbooks platforms will be updated automatically.
Guest post by Mike Michalowicz, author Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan, and Clockwork
What is the next problem you must address or opportunity you must meet in order to grow your business? Do you know the answer? And, can you be sure that you have the right answer, the one that will truly move your business forward?
In the past, I repeatedly fell into the trap of fixing whatever problem was in front of me. Whether I was saving the day, or just trying to get my company to the next level, I rushed to the apparent problems. You know, the obvious stuff and the squeaky wheels. At any given time there are always a boatload of problems that need your attention. So, trusting my gut instincts, I would just pick the one that felt like the most urgent and focus on that. In this process of addressing the apparent issues, I disregarded the most impactful one. What resulted was a continuous run of problem solving, and yet my business remained stuck.
The biggest problem business owners have is that we don’t know what our biggest problem is. We can’t be sure that we are focusing on the area of our business that, when addressed, will yield the best results.
To solve that problem, I developed a model based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which states that there are five categories of human need. From the most basic and essential needs for survival to the highest needs for happiness and fulfillment: physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. In order for us to attend to something higher on the list, we first need to make sure that our needs are met in the categories below it. So, for example, before you can focus on meeting your needs for love and belonging, you first need the basics: air to breathe, adequate hydration and nutrition, and a safe place to sleep. It’s pretty tough to deal with your self-actualization when you’re hangry and tired.
Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I realized that it has a direct correlation to entrepreneurial progress: what drives your business, what keeps your company trapped, and how you fix the roadblocks along the way to achieve the highest levels of success as you, the entrepreneur, define it.
The key to climbing the hierarchy is simple: fully satisfy your business’s current level of needs, not by rushing to the apparent daily demands, not by addressing advanced needs before basic needs, and certainly not by trying to fix everything at once. To do this, we will use what I call the Business Hierarchy of Needs.
Sales: At this foundational level, the business must focus on the creation of cash. Just as humans can’t survive without oxygen, food, and water, if you don’t have sales, your company will not be able to survive for long. Heck, without sales, you won’t have a business at all.
The five core needs at the sales level are:
• Lifestyle congruence
• Prospect attraction,
• Client conversion,
• Delivering on commitments
• Collecting on commitments
Profit: Here, the company’s focus shifts to the creation of stability. Here, our businesses’ needs line up pretty closely with our human needs for health, financial stability, and a secure and safe environment. Massive revenue doesn’t mean much when you have no profit, no cash reserves, and are drowning in debt.
The five core needs at the profit level are:
• Debt eradication
• Margin health
• Transaction frequency
• Profitable leverage
• Cash reserves.
Order: At this level, the focus is on the creation of efficiency, and the needs are related to ensuring that everything runs like clockwork. With all of its organizational efficiency needs met, your business can run—and yes, even grow—no matter who is on your team. It can even grow without you, the entrepreneur.
The five core needs at the order level are:
• Minimized wasted effort
• Role alignment
• Outcome delegation
• Linchpin redundancy
• Mastery reputation.
Impact: The focus now is on the creation of transformation. Many businesses never properly address the needs at this level, because they either don’t know this level exists, or misunderstand what it’s all about. When we think of impact, we think of how our business impacts the world. However, the needs that must be addressed at this level are related to client transformation, and how your company aligns with your staff, vendors, and your community, not to the wider world.
The five core needs at the impact level are:
• Transformation orientation
• Mission motivation
• Dream alignment
• Feedback integrity
• Complementary network
Legacy: At this highest level, the focus is on the creation of permanence. Ensuring that your business and the impact it delivers will live on after you move on requires that specific needs are met. If you want your business to continue to thrive for generations to come, you’ll have to consider the big questions, such as your long-term vision for your company is, and how your business will adapt to changes in your industry, in consumer demand, and in the world.
Here are the five core needs at the legacy level:
• Community continuance
• Intentional leadership turn
• Heart-based promoters
• Quarterly dynamics
• Ongoing adaptation
To be clear, the Business Hierarchy of Needs levels does not represent stages in business growth. They are levels of needs. Your business will not climb the hierarchy in a linear fashion, but move up and down levels as it progresses. Like building and renovating structures, you don’t just go up. You go back down to the foundation, shore it up, so you can build higher. So, for example, while you may be dealing with a need in the SALES level, that does not mean your company is still in the SALES stage. You are simply strengthening the foundation.
The Business Hierarchy of Needs gets you out of guessing mode and into fast, impactful, deliberate action. It took me the better part of three years to perfect it, testing it out in my own business and with other entrepreneurs through multiple iterations. Once I figured out how to pinpoint what to focus on next, my businesses grew faster and healthier. Since creating the tool, I’ve stopped relying on my instinct alone and have started using this system to listen and respond to my company’s true needs.
Now, when you get stuck, all you have to do is start at the bottom of the pyramid and address the core needs you have not yet met. It’s back to basics, baby. Basic needs, that is. The tool never stops working. You can always return to it to pinpoint your biggest challenge, fix it next, and then pinpoint the next one after that as you build your beautiful business.
Learn more about the Fix This Next Eval or Fix This Next Book here: https://fixthisnext.com/
Small business owners have a lot on their plates and accounting mistakes can happen. Time simply does not allow you to become an expert in all the areas required for running a business. Here are a couple of common accounting mistakes that we see all the time. Correcting them will help you be more productive and profitable in your business.
Maintaining receipts are challenging for everyone, but the IRS requires that you have proof of business expenditures. Periodically, we come across people who feel that keeping the credit card statements are enough; unfortunately, they’re not. You’ll want to create a process to keep your receipts all in one place so they don’t get lost.
Receipts printed on thermal paper (think gas station receipts and many more) will fade within a year or two, and the bad news is the IRS could audit several years back if they come calling. Correct this by scanning them in or taking a clear picture of them using your smartphone.
Some accounting systems and/or document management applications allow you to upload the receipt and attach it to the transaction in your accounting system. This is a great solution, and if you’re interested in this, please ask us about it.
Ignoring the accounting reports
There are gold nuggets in your accounting reports, but some business owners don’t take the time to review them or are uncertain about how to interpret them. This is when accounting mistakes can happen. We can help you understand the reports and find the gold nuggets that can help you take action toward profitability.
Some of the things you can do with your reports include:
Being proactive with your accounting will help you spot opportunities in your business that you can act on, as well as spot and correct accounting mistakes long before they manifest into trouble.
Mixing business and pleasure
In your bank accounts and on your credit cards, mixing business and pleasure is to be avoided when possible. All businesses should have a separate bank account, and all business transactions should go through there. It takes an accountant much longer to correctly book a business deposit that was deposited into a personal account. Avoiding accounting mistakes in the first place saves everyone a lot of time and energy.
Taking out a separate credit card and putting all your business transactions on it will save your bookkeeper a ton of time. The credit card doesn’t even have to be a business credit card. It can just be a personal credit card that’s solely used for business. If you have employees making credit card charges, sometimes a separate card for them helps you control fraud.
The hardest area in which to separate business from pleasure is cash transactions. Be sure your accountant knows about these. The accountant can either set up a petty cash account or a reimbursement process so that you can get credit for cash expenditures that are for the business.
How did you rate on these three accounting mistakes? Avoid these three and your accounting department as well as your business will run a lot smoother.
Facebook Group: Profit First for Fitness Business Owners
**We help stressed and struggling fitness business owners transform from surviving to making a consistent paycheck. Learn how to improve your business finances with our Keep Your Money Method. Sign up now for our next FREE group by clicking HERE**
Shannon Simmons, a 10-year business owner, and 5-year Profit First Coach is the owner of Netbooks Accounting Services, LLC. She is one of the original Profit First Professionals when the concept was created by Mike Michalowicz.
NetBooks is your gym and fitness center’s business partner in achieving levels of profitability, accounting integrity, and financial reporting that will allow your business to do more than just thrive but to achieve the highest levels of profitability.
Our professionals are intimate with the fitness market and will guide you through creating the right plans, managing your operations and accomplishing your goals. Think we might be a good fit? Click Here to find out!