Smart thinking is required if you want to get rewards from your talents and it is essential to have a plan
Susan Hayes is the managing director of international financial training company Hayes Culleton. She is the author of The Savvy Guide to Making More Money which contains nine simple steps to creating your money-building muscle. It will propel you to monetise your New Year's Resolutions this year.
The following is an excerpt from chapter two of the book.
To stave off procrastination, write a plan and pinpoint exactly how many stages away from a finished product you are; and add a timeline beside each step – make the plan SMART. Next, do the following:
A> Write the steps in a calendar and look at it frequently to remind you how far along you are on your journey. If you happen to be dilly-dallying, you'll get a wake-up call.
B> Ask a trusted friend/acquaintance/ colleague to check in on you regularly. It's hard to ignore somebody who replies to your 'Well, I was just going to get around to it now' with disapproving silence on the other end of the line, especially if this happens on a regular basis.
C> Find a mentor who has knowledge of the market and ask to hear their opinion of the product; if they know of ways you could improve it; and if there are any methods you could use to test it.
Do your best to glean some of their marketing experience.
Have you heard of 'chocolate tasks'? These are the things that bring a lot of satisfaction but little, if any, value. I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that I would be delighted to spend hour after hour scanning invoices, creating separate folders, building spread-sheets, colour-coding them, etc.
But a different shade of purple for different customers is of no use at all. When thinking about your talents and the things that you enjoy doing, of course you should let your imagination take hold – I encourage you to do this at first – but after that it's important to ensure that the figures stand up. For example, you might like to give people facials and other beauty treatments in your home.
You're going to start off by charging €20 for an hour's treatment, after all, who could refuse? If you took care of 10 people every Saturday, that would amount to €200 per day, and if you could slot in the odd one here and there during the week, you could actually make an extra €1,000 a month. How exciting!
At this point, I would invite you to consider the realistic part of your SMART goal. Let's really think this through:
A> Ten customers on a Saturday means 10 hours' work, do you really think that people will come at 7am or 8pm on a Saturday for their treatment?
B> You'll need at least 15 minutes between sessions to refresh the room, take their money, have that little chat about their skin type, etc. Also, what happens if somebody is late? You need to factor in 10 sessions x 15 minutes = 2.5 hours.
At this stage, your working day is now 12.5 hours long.
C> Are you willing to give up every single hour of every single Saturday?
D> The price of €20 for an hour's facial will bring in lots of customers and certainly will undercut competitors, but how much profit is left after you've bought your supplies?
You might get fewer customers at €60 per treatment, but you might find yourself with a larger amount of money in your pocket as a result. That's the objective, isn't it?
E> If you have to buy lots of products up front, order music CDs and decorate a room, how long will it take just to make back your money on this outlay alone?
It's only after this point that you will start to earn anything at all. We haven't even brought up the prospect of your own salary yet.
F> What are the regular expenses that you will have? How much will you need to spend to top up your supply of products? Will you have an increased electricity bill? Will you have to pay a bookkeeper or an accountant?
My intention is not to put you off, but to help you see the pitfalls before you start, so that you avoid them.
Your head might be swimming from all the new information. Don't worry: this is exactly why we have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – to sum it all up and make it quantifiable. In short, to check whether your money-making idea has potential, sustainability and profit, you need to monitor these three KPIs:
i) How long is the sales cycle? How long does it take from the very first step of reaching out to people to let them know about your offering, to the day when they become clients?
ii) What is the profit in this activity? Remember to compare the revenue with your gross and net profits. Not all the money you make is 'take-home money': factor in all your costs and double-check that you haven't forgotten a cost somewhere.
Your time is a cost and if you want to grow your business in the future, you may need to hire someone to replace you. Know how much you are worth to your own business.
iii) What is the retention potential? Can a customer buy from you again?
How long before they buy from you again? Can they refer you to their friends?
Susan Hayes' The Savvy Guide to Making More Money is available at all good book shops, €12.99