+ Always running out of money in your business?
+ Wish you didn’t need to rely on discounting?
+ Sick of creating new stuff to make sales?
The dreaded feast-famine cycle, oh how I wish women could see what this is really doing to their businesses. You might recognise this cycle? The pure heady bliss when a chunk of cash comes in and then the painful crash of self-confidence followed by a surge in overwhelm, panic and self-doubt when the money runs out.
Is it just business right? Wrong!
It isn’t ‘just’ how business is. It isn’t the seasonal ebbs and flow of sales. It isn’t that customers only buy when you discount. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can control the panic and overwhelm without resorting to desperate measures like discounting.
What the Feast/Famine Cash Flow Cycle Looks Like
1) You notice there are no bucks left in the account…uh oh…
This can happen by surprise when you don’t keep a list of the expenses that your business has each month and you’re not tracking sales.
2) Panic, fear, and anxiety set in
This is where the dangerous decisions are made. You get desperate and start veering off your plans. You no longer have time to follow your schedule or stick to your weekly marketing.
3) New products, services and discounts
You start to rationalise having a sale or creating something new to make some money. Discounting slashes your profits (hopefully you know your pricing well enough to know how much you can discount or you’re really screwed), or you launch new products and services (that are usually underpriced) with no plan or strategy.
4) Customer overload
In a frantic bid to get people buying you send out emails and start feverishly posting on social media. You feel gross about it… It affects your self confidence and pride.
5) You make sales! Problem solved! For now…
You make some money and you can breath for just a moment. You get excited about getting back to your business plans, although you now have a heap of new products and services to add to your marketing list or you have a butt load of discounted services to provide
6) Time to be quiet
You take a step back from any promotions or marketing because you feel like you have been slamming people with your sales message and let’s be honest… you’re kind of tired from the hustle.
7) Then you notice… oh dang it!! The money is gone again
And now you’re back to square one. The cycle starts over again until the next time.
Not only have you potentially devalued yourself, your product and service, and your brand you will be exhausted. It will feel like you’re stuck on the money hamster wheel and there is no getting off.
So how can you fix it?
I have two words for you. Cash Flow. In Members Club we call it Money In/Money Out so it doesn’t feel so scary and complicated. This is a simplified version of a cash flow forecast. Often the templates banks or government run small business advisors use scares the pants off the average gal in business. They are often really detailed and not user friendly so business owners give up out of frustration. You can start with an easier version, once you have it under control you can uplevel to a more detailed version.
Isn’t cash flow forecasting just for big business?
Nope. The feast-famine cycle affects most businesses, regardless of size. You don’t need a massive spreadsheet with a million formulas like a big corporation does, but you do need something!
Can’t I just get better at marketing and find more customers?
You could, but that rarely ever fixes the problem. The problem isn’t the amount of money coming in and going out, it is the lack of understanding of the amount coming in and out. With more money it may take longer for the panic to set in but the cycle will still continue. Many women in business don’t know the numbers so when times are good they spend, when times are bad they panic.
Sorry, I don’t do numbers
It just isn’t a good excuse and honestly you’re robbing yourself of an amazing business and future by not being open to learning. Just because you didn’t understand bookkeeping in high school or you’re bad at maths doesn’t mean you can’t do this. In Members Club I break this right down to the simplest scenario so women can start somewhere.
80% accurate is better than zero clue!
The best way to learn is to start. Create a list of the money coming in each month and the money going out. Have a look at what is left over. Will it be enough to cover next months expenses? If you get it even 80% right you will be so much further ahead than you are right now. Keep it simple and as you get better you can include more detail.
Ok, I am convinced but how the heck do I get started?
There are a few ways to do this. If you use a bookkeeping program like Xero you can use the built in budgeting tools. I personally don’t use it. I don’t like it as much as I like using a spreadsheet.
I just find it easier this way even though I use Xero for my bookkeeping. I have a spreadsheet you can use as a template to get started. It will take a few months to really get your head around how the process works but once you do you will have complete transparency around your business feast famine cycle!