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Emerging from Hibernation- How to Adjust to Your New Reality

As you leave winter’s hibernation and the Covid-19 quarantine and you emerge into full summer with flowers and trees in bloom, you may also discover a new beginning for 2020; for you, your family, your business, the world, and how you decide to show up.   

   

Did your life change over the past several months?    

  • Were you busier or slower than pre-COVID?   
  • Did you enjoy virtual interactions and the time saved from not commuting?   
  • Have you realized that virtual communication is not enough and that you like, or NEED, to be in the energetic field of others?   

   

The good news, you get to choose how you re-enter the world!  

If you’re self-employed, or an aspiring entrepreneur, you can enter where you left off or you now have the opportunity to create new you. Did you realize that:  

  • Your business, which was formally your pride and joy, had become just a J*B?  
  • You spent too much time at work and/or on behalf of your clients?  
  • Financial changes occurred in your household?  
  • A large amount of the stress that you carried was from your business?   
  •   

Have you decided to:   

  • Reorganize your time and spend more of it with your significant other and children?    
  • Pivot what you do or how you offer your services and products?   
  • Expand your business and increase your income?  
  • Close your doors?

The key to moving forward is to keep in mind all that you have learned during the first half of

2020 and to move forward in life and business in a way that matters and is essential for you.   

For me, I realized that I put aside my own physical and spiritual health, and abandoned the quality time that in the past was reserved for my family. While my business grew, I was spending less time with my family. My time was going to guiding my clients to create harmony between their home/personal life and designing a profitable business that fits with their personality and desires.   

If you know or follow me, you’ve heard before that I do not believe that there is a real work-life balance. How can you possibly divide up your time equally in all areas of your life?    

Instead, we need to harmonize our time and our life. Some days your family will take precedence; other days, it will be your own spiritual needs, and still, others will be your business. It’s like listening to a symphony. At times the horns will have a solo, or the woodwinds, or even the percussion. But in the end, all the instruments play in harmony to create music that is moving, beautiful, and enjoyable.   

In the coming months, I will redesign my business to suit the lifestyle I wish to lead, and the person I want to embody. I will keep harmony at the forefront of my mind and use the program I designed for my clients, From Pillars to Profits; The Seven Stepping Stones to Design The Business of Your Dreams.    

   

You are invited to follow me on my journey as I share with you the steps and processes I take to pivot my Profit Mentorship and Accounting firm to its next level.   

May you enjoy peace and harmony in your mind, body, and business as you reenter 2020 and post-quarantine.   

Linda

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Bookkeeping You Can Do!

By Linda Brown, Spire Business Inc

Many people feel they are not good with numbers, so it’s no surprise that they tend to ignore their bookkeeping. In the past, accounting had a lot to do with compiling numbers; that is not true today.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners start their business because they have passion, knowledge, or skills to share with others- not due to their love of bookkeeping (unless you’re a bookkeeper or accountant). But even as an accountant, our books tend to get behind. It’s the adage about the cobbler’s children having no shoes.

With that said, we know the importance of why bookkeeping should be kept current:

  • It enables you to make sound financial decisions
  • You will have an idea of what you owe in taxes, before the due date
  • It makes tax time more relaxed and with less stress
  • To protect the business in case of an audit

During the 1980s, bookkeeping changed. As small businesses transitioned away from the green ledger paper and pencils to computer spreadsheets like Lotus 1-2-3 (yes, the dark ages to many of you), then to computer software such as Quicken.

With today’s virtual apps and programs, bookkeeping has become even easier and more accurate! It can be done anywhere there is a connection to the internet and little reason to let it lag.

By choosing an app that can connect to financial accounts (banks, credit unions, and credit card companies), it becomes less about the numbers or data entry, and more about the categories!

Confused?

With the advance in technology, many banks and credit card companies have created a secure, encrypted process to automatically download transactions from their institutions to the apps. You just have to set it up!

Then when you log into your bookkeeping app, all you need to do is let the app know why the money came into or went out of that account.

Does this sound doable? It can be!

Although it can be confusing to set up a bookkeeping system, as it should be individualized to a specific business, the workflow to maintain the business should be quite simple to master.

I recommend that you invest in yourself and your business. Hire a good accountant or bookkeeper that knows your industry to set up the app and to train you on how to use it. A good side benefit, if you hire an accountant, they will be an excellent guide for you and a resource that has your back for when you get stuck.

Fair warning, there will be a learning curve- the same with any new skill you develop- but the more you do it, the easier and faster it will become.

Concerned about the time it will take?

The majority of service-based small businesses that I’ve assisted in establishing a bookkeeping system (using financial downloads) can stay current by dedicating 5 to 15 minutes a day.

Are you intrigued and want to learn more about how to manage your bookkeeping in minutes a day, we will be happy to chat with you.

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3 Money Mistakes That Keep Your Business Broke

The cause of more business failures than any other single issue is money (or rather, the lack thereof). And honestly, it’s no wonder, we aren’t born knowing how to manage money – most of us aren’t taught how to handle it either. It becomes a case of trial and error and we figure it out along the way.  Those same mindset issues, and bad habits that wreak havoc in our personal finances can plague our businesses as well if we’re not careful.  

Catching Shiny Object Syndrome 

Some things are just hard to resist—especially when your friends and colleagues are all jumping on board! New tools, training, group coaching programs, and even business models can all have a strong pull, and if you aren’t careful, these shiny objects can quickly distract you from your current goals while depleting your bank account!  

If you find yourself catching Shiny Object Syndrome frequently, try this two-step plan instead: 

  • For “too good to refuse” offers, make a plan for achieving a positive ROI before you purchase. If you cannot find a (realistic) way to make the purchase pay for itself, don’t buy it.  
  • For exciting new business ideas, create a “someday” list. Jot down your idea and a basic outline, then get back to the task at hand. Now that great idea won’t be lost, but it also won’t join the ranks of half-finished business plans that litter the internet.  

Falling for the Sunk Costs Fallacy

If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’m not using this subscription, but I can’t give it up! I’m still paying the launch price and now it’s much more expensive!” Then you’ve fallen for the sunk costs fallacy.  

This common mistake is famous among economists, and we all fall victim to it from time to time. Simply put, the sunk costs fallacy is what makes us justify investing more money or time in something—even though we’re not seeing results—because we’ve already spent so much. It’s what encourages us to repair the car one more time (after all, you just put new tires on it), eat a meal we don’t enjoy (simply because you’ve paid for it), and yes, continue to pay for tools and resources you’re not using.  

Take a few minutes and examine your current business expenses. What are you paying for month after month that you’re not using? Either make a plan to put them to work for you, or cancel them. Stop falling for the sunk costs fallacy.  

Not Spending Enough 

You thought this was all going to be about overspending, didn’t you? Here’s the kicker: Spending too little is just as bad for business. When you’re constantly on the lookout for free and low-cost tools, or working 16-hour days because you “can’t afford to outsource,” you’re not doing your business any favors. Sure, it looks like you’re bootstrapping and working really hard to make something from nothing, but what you’re really doing is digging yourself a rut it will be nearly impossible to climb out of. Not only that, but you’re reinforcing a scarcity mindset that will continue to plague you for years if you let it.  

Rather than pinching pennies, learn to spend money strategically. Buy what you need, when you need it. Invest in top-quality products and programs rather than settling for the low-ticket, half-baked plans. Just like quality clothes, cars, and furniture, quality services and software last longer and work better.  And unlike that car, good quality business tools will pay for themselves. Do you find that you do better being held accountable? Find a spending buddy, someone that you need to contact and have a second opinion before you spend over a certain dollar limit. 

If you’re needing added support around your finances and numbers, let’s connect! We offer FREE consult calls to review your goals and questions and create a plan that supports you! For more information, email us at hello@spirebusiness.com!

In Gratitude,

Linda Brown

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Preparing for 2020

As we near the end of a decade and prepare ourselves for the next year, there’s a lot to consider as an entrepreneur. For many small business owners, this is a time to evaluate their accomplishments and set the course for what’s ahead.

Every small business has a different end of year checklist, I get it. That said, there are common threads to consider as you ready to wrap up your year. Some of these tasks may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many are overlooked. While small, they’re still very important and they can make all the difference for accomplishing your goals in 2020.

Here are three small things you can do to prepare your small business for the new year:

  1. Review last year’s revenue goals: Many business owners start the year by establishing revenue goals. They also review those goals every quarter to determine how they are tracking toward them. This allows entrepreneurs to enter their last quarter of the year with a pretty good idea of whether or not they are on track or not. With less than a month to go, it’s a good time to take one last look to determine if you’re on track, need to adjust, or are within sight of your goals with a little push. Whatever the results are, be sure to ask yourself: “What worked? What didn’t work? What do I get to add for 2020 to produce the results I want?” Learn from your 2019 fiscal year and grow from it!
  2. Run year-end financial reports: I know, I know, this doesn’t seem very exciting. And yet – running your financial reports for the end of the year gives you an opportunity to look at the big picture. Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day humdrum of running a small business, so taking a deep look at your primary financial reports for the year is always a good idea. They should definitely include a Profit & Loss Statement, your Balance Sheet, and a detailed Cash Flow Report. If you’re interested in some of the other critical financial reports, you might be interested in booking a discovery call with us.  We’ll go over the financial reports every small business owner should understand. 
  3. Goals: Evaluate your goals from last year. Now that you know where your business is, it’s time to take a look at how it got here. Pull out your business plan and any other planning documents such as last year’s action plan and review last year’s goals. Did your business accomplish what you set out to do? Why or why not? Make some notes on your thoughts about the successful accomplishment of your goals (or lack of it). These will be handy when you do your business planning for the current year.

In all the hustle and bustle of business and crunching numbers at the end of the year, don’t forget to take some time to do some small business housekeeping—it will be time well spent. And this checklist is a great place to start.

If you’re needing added support around your finances and numbers, let’s connect! We offer FREE consult calls to review your goals and questions and create a plan that supports you! For more information, email us at hello@spirebusiness.com!

Happy Holidays + Happy New Year from all of us here at Spire Business!

In Gratitude,

Linda Brown

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Why Connection is Important for Business Growth

Before Spire Business grew to be a team, it was just me running things. For years I was a solo-preneur and for years it was fulfilling. Until I began to notice that I wasn’t excited anymore and I couldn’t wrap my head around why.

I felt like I was in a slump and it didn’t make any sense. My clients were great, I was making money, I had built the business I envisioned…so where was the eagerness I used to feel? It began to dawn on me that connection was missing, that I was feeling isolated – I likened it to finding myself on a deserted island.

I had gotten so caught up in the “doingness” – building my business, volunteering at my kid’s school, sitting in meetings, driving to after school activities – that I sacrificed “beingness” somewhere along the way. I wasnt being fulfilled or inspired anymore. From the outside in, my life was perfect. But something felt so off to me, and I was not going to back off until I figured out what it was.

Over the next several weeks, I began to restructure my business. I believed that if I moved my business to the next level, these feelings would dissipate. I signed up for a business conference hoping it would support me in reclaiming my excitement and vision.

My first night at the conference, I was walking to dinner along a pier when a woman asked if I was attending the conference. “Yes, are you?” I replied. This fateful exchange became a powerful conversation that would shift everything for me. We agreed to have dinner together and we spent over two hours connecting over our lives and businesses. We discovered that we had so much in common, it was like she was feeling everything that I was.

Over the next several days, I kept running into Dina in between workshops and breaks. We’d excitedly pick back up where we’d left off and share what we’d learned and what we’d gained. I was gaining so much from this friendship and the excitement and understanding that we were creating together.

I finally realized that while I may work alone in my office every day, that was no reason to be on a deserted island. I get that many of the people I work with are solo-preneurs doing, enjoying, and struggling with the same things that I did. It is not the education we have, or the size of our business, it is about our willingness to put ourselves out there to share thoughts and ideas and connect.

As you journey through your life and business, I invite you to lean into community and connection, especially if you’re feeling like you’re in a rut. Community can be with folks in your town or halfway around the world (Dina lived 1,800 miles away from my hometown and yet – we remain connected even now, years after that conference). There is no “one way” to make connections – it can happen over coffee, at conferences or through Internet groups. If you take the time to connect and step outside of your comfort bubble, you too may find that you receive inspiring ideas, share your knowledge with others, receive assistance when you need it, and your energy level may go up. All of these were true for me and it completely revolutionized my business. Now I have designed my business to include connection and community and it keeps me fulfilled and recharged.

If you’re looking to connect with like-minded visionaries and entrepreneurs, I invite you to join our Facebook group @SpireBusinessInc! Wishing you success as you continue your path as entrepreneurs and conscious business owners.

With love,
Linda Brown

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How to Grow Your Business

Can we all agree that it’s been an intense year? This year has brought many shifts, breakdowns, and certainly plenty of breakthroughs. In the midst of so much movement and transformation, it’s important to reflect on your business goals and check in. Ask yourself:

In these last 6 months, what worked? What didn’t work? What do I get to add?

Rather than beating yourself up for what you didn’t do, acknowledge yourself for what you did do. Reflect from a neutral perspective and see everything as an opportunity to improve or learn. Grow from your past, allow it to foster your future.

Here are 5 empowering resolutions to consider as you keep building your business:

  • Learn how to delegate and do it accordingly.

Being an entrepreneur can be exhausting and time-consuming. It’s easy to get caught in the belief that, “I have to do it all by myself.” Delegation is the key to a healthy work-life balance. Consider outsourcing the tasks you don’t desire to do. Whether you bring on an intern from a local university or you hire an employee – make sure they are trained enough, to the point where they can take over some of your tasks. The next step is to clearly communicate the objectives and deadlines, so that you don’t end up micromanaging.

  • Manage your cash flow more efficiently.

This is a great resolution for small business owners who have drastic ebbs and flows in their cash flow. Learn to understand your cash flow and manage it. What are your busy months and your slow months? Budget accordingly and ahead of time. Strategize around the ebbs and flow of your business.

  • Take steps to improve your digital presence.

If you haven’t taken action to make your online presence mobile-friendly or if digital isn’t part of your marketing strategy at all, it’s time to add this to your business resolutions. Your online presence is how you begin to connect with potential clients and audiences. This is an effective way to build your client base and grow your business. 

  • Schedule weekly time for business strategizing.

Planning is vital if you want to foster a growing business. But running a small business can be chaotic and it’s easy to get sucked into the day-to-day humdrum. Business strategizing allows you to take a step back and highlight what worked and what didn’t work. It also allows you to adjust  goals and set new ones. Set aside time each week to review your strategies. This will help you stay on track and allow you to have a clear hold on your business. 

  • Promote your business regularly and consistently.

Since small business owners wear a lot of hats, you might not always have “marketing” at the top of your to-do list. To attract new clients, though, you have to make promotion a priority. Take the time to create a marketing plan or, even your funds allow it, hire a marketing expert to help you set it up. 

Wherever you’re at in your business, begin practicing some of these resolutions and see what impact they have on your business. If they’re effective, keep practicing them. Find what works for you and remain committed. 

Happy reflecting, everyone! And, as always, if you need any added support or guidance, we are always here to help. You can reach us at hello@spirebusiness.com.

In Gratitude,

Lin Brown, Founder of Spire Business