It's Always About the Money
I have a potential client who wants her company to be a seven-figure business. Currently she's grossing between $500,000 and $600,000 annually. Her revenue has dropped a little since 2014, but she’s been in this range for the last several years. I've known her for about two years and more than once I have mentioned my ability to bring women in business from six-figures into a seven-figure business. I've offered her my expertise and assistance and each time I bring it up she tells me “yes, I want to work with you, but… not right now.” She has told me more than once the timing isn’t right and / or she doesn’t have the money. We finally scheduled a complimentary consult so I could better understand what was in her way in addition to highlighting my super powers in the area of financial growth. What I gleaned during the conversation is that she, like many entrepreneurial women, does not have her financial house in order to the extent required to scale a business. At the conclusion of the call, she was non committal and she asked me to put something in writing outlining the cost and the time commitment. Even though I recognize her request as what I call a “soft no” I wasn’t willing to give up! When I see potential I am hard pressed to let go.
That being said, I wrote a one page proposal of what I would be doing, what I needed from her and her bookkeeper, and how much it would cost. I then had a gratis conversation with her bookkeeper (and the good news is she has a highly competent bookkeeper), who explained that the client does not get her the financial information she needs to keep the financials current. It turns out there hasn’t been a completed financial statement since the end of 2014! For those of you who know me, I consider this to be a sad state of affairs. Waiting until sometime in the future to know your financial situation doesn’t allow you to be nimble and quick as is often required for overall growth and to achieve or maintain profitability.
What I learned about this potential client is that the finances and the financial state of the company are not her priority, even though her goal is to grow her business to seven figures. Like many of us, she is focused on expanding her marketing efforts, developing more products and services, and leveraging her client base. There is no talk of cutting expenses, reviewing profitability, focusing on understanding what is working and what is not. This is not to say she is in the dark, she is a smart woman and I know she has a basic understanding of what is working and what isn’t. However, I don’t think a basic understanding is good enough to get her where she wants to go.
I followed up with the client after she’d had time to review my proposal. She told me she didn’t expect it to cost so much to work with me. I was laughing inside as this is a person who charges a lot more money than I do and my engagement cost about the same as you’d pay to work with her in a group setting, not one on one. In that moment, I lost some respect for this business owner as I don’t think I was being told the truth. If she had said “I hear you, I get it, and I am not up for the ride”, that would have been beautiful. The long and the short of my story is this: Dealing with finances is not the easiest or most fun aspect of running a business, but it is essential to sustainable growth and profitability, whatever size business you have.