I just want to help people. I really just want to make enough to take care of my family. You know?
That was me.
In fact, I said those exact words all the time years ago when starting my first business. I couldn’t find any part time jobs in my field, so I started a private practice in order to be home more with my children.
I never expected to enjoy it so much. In fact, I quickly found that I liked running my own business – even though I wasn’t very good at it yet. And it didn’t take long before I wanted to help others do the same thing.
I envisioned a practice that offered help for all kinds of problems, provided by highly skilled people I trusted, and respected. I wanted to be able to say, “I can’t help you with that, but I know someone who can. She’s great – and she’s just down the hall.”
That became the foundation of one of the most respected counseling practices in my area, and I’m proud of that – for good reason.
My co-workers are exactly as I imagined them so long ago – compassionate, competent professionals who love what they do, and do it well.
But even then, I wasn’t thinking about profit.
“Oh, I don’t care about that,” I’d say to myself and anyone who’d listen. “I just want to support women who are in business for themselves.”
Oh my goodness, I had so much to learn!! If I wasn’t comfortable making money myself, how in the world could I help them?
Today, things have changed. No longer do I wince when someone mentions the P word. No longer is “profit” some shameful concept that I have no business thinking about, much less, (gasp!) wanting.
Because here’s what I’ve learned.
When you do good work, your people, your clients and customers, won’t mind paying you what you’re worth.
And when they do, ideally, you should be making a profit, above and beyond what it takes to run your business.
Because profit is the heart beat of your business. It’s your most important vital sign, the number that proves you’re still alive.
Without it, you are barely meeting your costs. Worse yet, you’re losing money.
And just like a body without a heartbeat,
a business without a profit can’t survive very long.
My coach often says, “Your life’s purpose may be to make the world a better place,
but the purpose of your business is to make money.”
And she’s right.
As a business owner, you have certain costs you have to cover, right? Office rent. Utilities. Payroll. Software. Insurance. (And more insurance.) Training. Product development. Travel. Taxes.
And your salary.
(Too many of you forget that part!)
When all of that’s covered, what’s left is profit. And the strength of that number shows the strength of your business.
If there’s little or nothing left, you’ve got a problem. Either there’s not enough coming in, or there’s too much going out. Usually, it’s both.
If you’re not sure (and sometimes, it’s hard to tell!), find a CPA to help you figure this out. A good one will understand small businesses, will speak to you in plain English, and will help you translate what the numbers have to say.
And here’s the best part.
No matter where the problem lies, YOU have the power to do something about it!
As the CEO of your own show, creativity and clear-headed thinking is all you need to get your business healthy again.
That’s what I love most about being an entrepreneur: whether I make it, or not, is totally up to me. And personally, I’d rather have it that way.
If you’re a heart-centered entrepreneur, you provide your clients with a service that makes a huge difference in their lives. And that’s a (very) good thing.
But are you making any money? And if not, what can you do to change that?
If you’re not sure, reach out to me. This is exactly what I help my clients figure out, and I’d love to help you, too.
Photo Credit: Nicki Mannix on Flickr