Category Archives for "Owners Pay"

Three Tasks to Include in Your Quarterly Financial Routine

Three months can fly by—especially in your business. It’s that time again for your Quarterly Financial Routine. You do have a quarterly financial routine, right? If you do, awesome! If you don’t, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled our top three tasks that should be a part of every business’s quarterly review.

In addition to the quarterly tasks, we strongly recommend using your quarterly quiet time to review the progress of your yearly goals. Revisiting the goals you set back in January every three months allows you to stay on track, reflect on your priorities, and hold yourself accountable.

Now let’s take a look at the top three quarterly tasks we recommend in your business.

Task #1: Profit distribution analysis

You know your business is making a profit, but do you have a clear understanding of your KPIs? Key performance indicators are built into the Profit First model. By creating a spreadsheet for profit distribution every quarter, you can more quickly and accurately track the performance of your key accounts and begin to compare any fluctuation quarter over quarter.

If your business is growing, take a close look at your distributions from each account, then consider any notes you have made in previous quarters and adjust your distributions accordingly. If you’re finding that your operations expenses have increased, determine why and whether you need to increase your allocations there. Ideally, you have a good handle on your expenses and can ultimately increase your owner’s pay and profits instead.

Spending time with your KPIs will help you develop a broader understanding of your business operations, which leads to a positive impact on your owner’s pay percentage.

Task #2: Owners pay adjustments

The goal of Profit First is to make sure you are paying yourself what you need. A quarterly analysis is a crucial step towards ensuring you allocate the proper owner’s pay percentage based on any account fluctuation.

Take time at the beginning and end of each quarter to analyze and record any changes to the buffer in your owner’s pay account. The cushion in your account should be increasing over the quarter, meaning you’re allocating more to that account than you ultimately need. If you have a steady increase, it’s time to raise the amount you actually pay yourself.

However, if your revenue is down, you might be eating into your buffer. It’s natural to think the easiest solution is to adjust your owner’s pay allocation down—don’t do it! If you notice the drop mid-quarter, stay the course, trust the buffer, and look at your financial standing as a whole at the end of the quarter.

As I mentioned, Profit First’s goal is to make you money. If you are at your minimum lifestyle lock number, do not adjust down without referring to Task #3 or reaching out!

Task #3: Expense analysis report

Whether you’re practicing Profit First or not, running a quarterly expense analysis report by vendor will tell you everything you need to know about who you’re paying, how much, and when.

This report offers a comprehensive reminder of every vendor you’ve paid throughout the quarter. This is the time to evaluate if you are still getting value from their services. Is there another vendor who does the same thing that you can go with instead? Or do you have the potential to eliminate an expense?

Doing this analysis can also bring to light duplicate charges, increased subscription prices, or subscriptions that you no longer use. Identifying these will help you to save money in the long-term.

Bonus tip: If you are thinking about decreasing your owner’s pay (like we talked about in Task #2), don’t do it! Decreasing expenses is the key to keeping your allocation intact.

By creating a regular quarterly analysis of your business, you empower yourself to make educated decisions based on experience and expertise. Without trust in the system, you might end up making impulsive financial decisions that end up hurting you or your business in the long term.

You don’t have to wait for a special day to analyze your financial health. Schedule a quarterly date with your spreadsheets and make the most out of your relationship. Getting up close and personal with your finances will help you feel more confident, prepared, and empowered to develop your business needs’ money mindset!

Mindset of Paying Yourself a Living Wage

You are committed to the success of your business. Your business’s health and wellness allow you to live a full life, make your mark on the world, and help support the lives of your clients and team. You spend so much time taking care of the things and people who keep your business running, you forgot to financially support one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle—you!

The reality is that paying yourself a living wage is about MUCH more than dollars and cents. Creating a living wage for yourself (and paying it) reflects how you feel about yourself as an individual and business owner. Becoming aware of your money mindset and how it holds you and your business back is a crucial step towards your financial health, success, and freedom.

But do you know how to determine the right living wage for you? It’s important to examine why you’re waiting to pay yourself the big bucks and how to assess where you are now to create a brighter future.

What is a living wage, anyway?

The first step to finding out how much money you need to make a living is to know what a living wage actually is. We’re not talking Ramen noodle living; we’re talking about normal everyday living. Spend some time thinking about what living really means to you and how much you need to finance it.

Ultimately, your pay is about more than numbers and spreadsheets. Mindset shifts around determining your owner’s pay can bring up feelings of guilt and even unworthiness. Depersonalizing your salary is a great way to sidestep any residual emotional issues around money. Determine what you feel is a fair wage for someone else, and pay yourself at least that much—minimum!

Do you want to work in your business for the rest of your life? If you are like most business owners, the answer is probably no. But if you’re not paying yourself a livable wage to do your job, how will you ever be able to hire someone to replace you in the future?

You can’t.

Check out our blog to learn more about how to determine your Profit First owner’s pay allocation.

Why should you pay yourself?

As a mature business owner, you might be waiting to pay yourself until you can sell your business for the perfect ROI. The truth is many entrepreneurs who have waited for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow never see their payoff.

Living for what might happen in the future compromises your quality of life in the present. Putting Profit First in your business today helps you gain more financial clarity to help you reach future goals.

Fast forward to when you have your Profit First strategy in place. Your business fully supports your desired lifestyle, but you have “extra” money. Your first instinct might be to leave the surplus (the profit) in the business, but the best option is to pass the extra into your personal rainy day fund.

Transferring half of your business profits to your personal accounts on a quarterly basis and essentially paying yourself creates benefits to the owner. Moving your money out of the business and into your personal account creates a buffer if your business gets sued.

Additionally, the act of transferring your money into a personal account has the potential to make you more money in the future if you do decide to sell. On paper, a large portion of the financial value of your business is determined by the amount you have paid to yourself as the business owner. Typically, sellers can determine the sellable value of their companies by doubling or tripling the amount of income they received as the business owner.

By implementing Profit First and adjusting your money mindset in the short term, you are increasing the value of your business in the long term—and improving your quality of life!

If you’re ready to implement Profit First but aren’t sure where to start, reach out.

We’re happy to help.

Prepping Your Wellness Business for the Summer Slow-Down

Summer is getting closer. Days are longer. The sun is shining, and people are out!
With the pandemic (hopefully) in its last legs and the increased availability of vaccinated friends and family to hang out with, your business might once again be susceptible to the dreaded summer slow-down.

Granted 2020 threw any “normal” business pattern out the window. Still, if owning a business through a pandemic taught us anything at all, it’s to always be prepared—even for the unexpected. Of course, maintaining a solid paycheck is important, even when your revenue is on a roller coaster.

By prepping your business today for the future, you’ll be ready for next summer and all the summer slowdowns after that!

Utilize your time

While an influx of free time in your business is a nice change of pace, it can also come with the anxiety-inducing stress of being uncertain of when and if the business will come back.

The best way to combat any down-time anxiety is to get busy. Having a slow season is a perfect time to get those project ideas off of the shelf and put some work into developing your business instead of always working in your business.

Utilize the time you have to create new revenue models—which leads me to my next point.

Adjust your revenue models

The most failsafe way to ensure you never have a summer slow down is by creating a monthly recurring revenue model. When your clients take a week or two off to vacation with their families, you still get paid.

But how do you incentivize your clients to pay even if they aren’t using your services? You might be thinking of a discount, and you’re right. But we are NOT talking about discounting your services.

There are many ways to entice your clients to capitalize on a pre-pay model: retail discounts, faster response time, exclusive access, add-on bonuses. The list goes on.

We have worked with massage therapists who offer a regular monthly massage to their pre-paid clients. If they don’t use their massage that month, they can have two the next month. This type of model was HUGELY helpful during the pandemic—clients were racking up unused credits, and business owners could count on the monthly revenue.

You know your business better than anyone else, so get creative. The important part is to create a way to have an income you can count on even when the lean times take hold.

Create a summer account

You’re still coming up with the perfect monthly recurring offering for your business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t proactively prepare for slower summer months.

Many dance studios will run camps, or gyms can run summer workout initiatives. Those are great ways to keep income flowing. If you find yourself without monthly recurring offerings or the ability to run camps, the next best way to help over the summer is to set up a summer savings account.

Figure out the bare necessities you and your business need to get through the summer. You know you’ll need rent, AC, insurance, admin payroll, etc., so after totaling your amount needed for necessities, divide that number by nine and allocate it into your summer account the other nine months of the year.

By creating an extra summer account, you know your basics are covered. Any additional revenue that comes in is “extra” and will cover payroll. If you have a camp over the summer, your basic needs are covered, and teacher payroll will be covered by camp revenue.

It’s hard to enjoy time off with your family if you’re constantly worried about how rent is getting paid. Ensuring your operating expenses and owner’s pay are accounted for no matter what the season brings, you create a more substantial, more sustainable business for you and your clients.

If this all seems overwhelming, reach out. We’re happy to help.

How To Set Sales Goals That Make Sense

What are your company's sales goals?

You have one, right? Ok, I am going to go out on a limb here and say you do have a sales goal for your business. If you don't, no problem. I am going to explain to you the best way to set it.

For those of you who do have a sales goal, how did you arrive at that number? Was it based on past or current performance? What you have seen others achieve? What you thought sounded good? Something else?

I'll be totally honest. When I set the revenue goals for our gym, it was driven by nothing more than ego. In fact, in the beginning, it wasn't a revenue goal at all, it was the total number of clients. I figured when I hit 100 clients I'd be golden, never even taking the time to think what that actually meant revenue wise for the business. Or even more importantly, for me. (Yeah, I like to eat too). 

It wasn't until I actually got to the "cord-cutting" stage until I considered it. In other words, I had been working another job that I relied on to pay the bills. I knew my take home and what I was making from that job. But how does that translate to the business? After all, $10,000/mo in revenue didn't mean I was going to be shoving $10k into my pocket. But what did it mean?

And that's where Lifestyle Congruence comes in. Fancy term, simple concept.

All it means is "How much does the business need to be generating for me to take home what I need to?"

In reality it's probably the simplest of all the Fix This Next questions to figure out. But that doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

First you need to figure out the personal income you need to support your personal level of comfort. This is a need based number, not necessarily wants - not yet. For instance, when I calculated this number, I found I actually needed less than what the old job was paying me which meant my goal could be lower.

After you have calculated your personal income number, you need to know how much business sales income you need to be able to do that. Here's an example:

You find that your personal comfort number is $5,000/mo - a nice round number. 

Then you calculate how much you are paying yourself as a percentage of your business sales income. 

Let's say your current revenues are $10,000/mo and you are paying yourself $2,000/mo.

That means your Owner's Pay% is 20%. (($2,000 / $10000) x 100%)

So to pay yourself $5,000/mo at that percentage you would have to generate $25,000/mo in sales revenue ($5000/20%)

$25,000/mo = $300,000/yr. You now have a sales number that is congruent with what your personal lifestyle number is. It is a realistic calculation of what your sales goal needs to be. Not a guess, or a hope or a dream. Real Life.

And of course that number can be adjusted and modified. Think of what can happen if you run your business leaner, and now can pay yourself 25%, or 30% or more? That is where the magic happens.

But you gotta know your numbers first. We have the tools and coaching to help you make that happen. Let's talk about it.

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.


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