Life Beyond the Profit & Loss Statement – Do You Know Your Lifestyle Ratios?

Each month, you may anxiously await the reports that provide the numbers that help you manage your business.  Revenue, net income, total expenses, and payroll costs are just a few of the items that you may be monitoring on your profit and loss statement.  Those numbers will help you meet and improve your business goals, but the question is, what numbers are you using to determine if you are meeting your life goals?

It might be fun to come up with a few lifestyle ratios to help you measure and move toward your personal goals.  Here are a few for your consideration:

Passive vs. Active Income

If you’d like to work less as time goes by, then you’ll want to create your passive vs. active income ratio.  Make a list of all of your sources of income (not just business) in a spreadsheet.  You might have interest income, rental income, and investment income along with your business income or salary.

Then write down how many hours you spend working to earn each type of income.  For interest income, it is likely to be very little.  Investment income will only include the time you take selecting your investments and managing your portfolio. If you are active in your business, this will be the lion’s share.

Income is passive if you spend almost no time earning it.  Income is active if you spend time earning it.  (These definitions correlate to your time spent, not the IRS definitions.) Put the income in the appropriate column, passive or active.  You can allocate if necessary.

In the example below, this person is well on their way to retiring.  They also might question why they are spending so many hours working so hard for a fraction of their monthly income!

Income Monthly Hours Passive Active
Interest Income $5,000 0 $5,000
Rental Income $6,000 2 $6,000
Investment Income $20,000 1 $20,000
Business Income $10,000 167 $10,000
Totals $41,000 170 $31,000 $10,000
Passive/Active ratio 76% 24%

 

The “aha” comes when you see the numbers.  The numbers often drive people to action.  You might decide to be more intentional about moving your income to passive sources so you can do the things you want to do.

Leveraged vs. Unleveraged Revenue

Leveraging your business revenue is a way to work less while making more money.

Measuring leverage is business-specific.  Examples of revenue that are not leveraged include seeing clients one at a time and selling hours-for-dollars services without a staff.  Revenues that are partially leveraged include group programs such as classes and events like webinars and conferences as well as hourly consulting that your staff performs with your limited oversight.  And revenue that is fully leveraged includes product sales.  Once the product is developed, it takes little incremental time to sell (unless you’re in retail).

Here’s an example, assuming this business owner has a staff of five people.  Both hourly consulting and training classes are partially leveraged because the business owner spends time teaching, consulting, and supervising.

Revenue Leveraged Unleveraged
Book sales $500,000 $500,000
Hourly consulting $3,000,000 $2,500,000 $500,000
Training classes $2,500,000 $1,500,000 $1,000,000
Total $6,000,000 $4,500,000 $1,500,000
Ratio 75% 25%

 

If your revenue streams are flexible, you can work on moving more of your business income over to the leveraged side.  To create more leverage in the example business, the owner could sell or develop more products, hire another teacher, hire an additional consultant, and/or hire someone to review the consulting work of the employees.

Days Off vs. Days Worked

This ratio measures how much time we are able to spend away from the office.  It’s simple to compute, and you can estimate it if you don’t track your time.

Assuming a 5-day work week, there are about 250 working days in a year, not including about 10 holidays.  Estimate the numbers of days you were off, and divide by 250.  For example, if you took 5 1-week vacations from work last year, that would be 25 days, resulting in 10%.  This assumes you worked the rest of the year.

Your Lifestyle Goals

What’s on your “bucket list?” (This is a list of things you want to do in your lifetime before you die.)  Figure out the metric that will get you thinking about doing your dreams sooner rather than later.

You can have fun with metrics and ratios in and out of your business.  Here are some more ideas to think about:

  • The number of customers you have that really fit your ideal client and how many more you need to go.
  • How many countries (or states) you want to visit each year vs. how many you’ve already visited.
  • How many volunteer hours or dollars you spend vs. how much more you like to.

When you put your goals into numbers and on paper, they seem more real and achievable.  You can get an “aha” just by computing these ratios.  Hopefully, life beyond the profit and loss statement will get you closer to your dream life.

Core Performance Consulting Now an Intuit Premier Reseller for QuickBooks Products and Services

We’re honored that Intuit has named Core Performance Consulting an Intuit Premier Reseller. Only about 175 companies in the United States qualified for this top tier based on our QuickBooks solutions expertise, sales volume, and customer support. The Intuit Premier Reseller status replaces the Intuit Solution Provider designation, which is being phased out at Intuit.
We look forward to our continuing strong relationship with Intuit and we look forward to serving our QuickBooks customers at the high level they have come to expect from Core Performance Consulting.

Are You Fully Supported in Your Business?

Whether we run a large company with dozens of employees or run our own solo business, we rely on a support team of vendors, customers, employees, contractors, and other associates that help us carry out our business goals.  Here’s a fun exercise to discover the strengths and weaknesses of your business support team and how you can increase and strengthen the support you have.

Take out a blank sheet of paper, and draw a small circle in the middle.  Write your name in the circle.  This represents you.

Draw a little larger circle next to your circle.  Write your employees’ names and major functions in this circle.  Draw a similar circle for contractors’ names and functions.   If you have partners and/or affiliates, include them in a big circle.

Draw a small circle for your five largest clients, and write their names in the circles.  Draw another small circle for your five largest vendors, and write their names in the circles.

Draw one more circle for your business mentors and coaches, and write their names inside the circle.  If you have any more major groups related to your business, draw them now.

These circles represent your business and all of the people you rely on to get your job done.

Now, think about what groups you belong to that relate indirectly to your business.  It could be a professional association, a licensing agency, or a networking group.   Make large circles for each of the groups you feel connected to, and write some of the key names you know that are part of each of the groups.

Add a few more circles in the same way if you have more business associates to list or other groups that you didn’t add above.  If you want to, you can also include your personal support team:  the nanny, cook, gardener, esthetician, wardrobe consultant, makeup artist, nail artist, hair stylist, nutritionist, personal workout trainer, butler, chauffeur, masseuse, travel agent, and water boy.  Okay, maybe listing the water boy is getting a little carried away.

The sheet should now represent all of the important people in your business that support you in one way or another.  It’s a lot, isn’t it?

Now is where the aha’s come in:

  •  Take a look at your to do list and see if there are holes in your team that you need to fill.  Are there job openings or are you ready to bring in more support?  Mark the openings or potential openings with a yellow highlighter.
  •  With a green highlighter, mark the people who are most positive and supportive to you.  You may want to let them know how much you appreciate them if it’s been a while.
  •  With a red highlighter, mark anyone who is costing you more than supporting you.  It may be time for a change in team members.
  •  With a purple highlighter, list the five people you most look up to and can count on for great advice.  These people should either have expert advice or be ahead of you in business.

We’ll stop here, but you can continue selecting colors to evaluate the relationship of the people in your circles.

When you take a look at your social circles, what do you notice?

  •  Where are you fully supported?
  • Where could you use more help?
  • Where do you need to make some replacements?
  • What else do you notice about your business network?

Make a list of action items you can do to strengthen your business support network.

This is a great exercise to allow you to consciously evaluate and improve the ever-important support system in your business.  When you have a great team, you can accomplish so much!

Twelve Low-Cost Employee Perks for Fun & High Performance

It’s always a good idea to help employees stay motivated, and there are many things you can do besides the traditional cash bonus.  Here are twelve ideas that cost little yet go a long way with employees, contractors, and other business associates.

1.     Compressed workweek. 

Employees love getting Friday afternoon off, or even a full day a week.  Providing weekday time off cuts absenteeism since the employee has a window to run errands that need to be done during business hours.

 2.     Social activities. 

Create social events that become a tradition in your company.  The employees will look forward to them.  If you’re not sure what to do, consider the hobbies of your employees, plan an event based on a holiday or anniversary, or simply have a meal out.

A business owner who offers training classes can have movie showings in their training rooms complete with popcorn on Wednesday evenings.  The cost of the movie and popcorn is minimal compared to the fun everyone will have.

3.     Telecommute part-time. 

If possible, consider allowing employees to work from home one day a week.  They love the flexibility, often get more done without constant interruptions, and save road time.

4.     Customized recognition.

Every employee likes to be recognized for a job well done, but each may differ in exactly how the recognition is expressed.  Instead of guessing, ask at the time the employee is onboarded whether they prefer gift certificates, time off, sports event tickets, cash, or public recognition.

5.     Bring a child to work.

Last-minute emergencies can come up regarding child care, and the question is whether the employer can help out.  Create a policy around when employees can bring little ones to work.  You might also want to have a list of childcare and/or eldercare referral services handy.

6.     Education. 

Education is always a great perk.  Here are some ideas along those lines:

  • Cross-train employees on job duties other employees do so you have a deeper bench of knowledge to pull from.
  • Consider reimbursing for professional memberships or allowing employees to attend professional association events.
  • Bring in an instructor who can teach self-defense.
  • Have on-site fitness yoga classes.
  • Encourage employees whose first language is not English to take English as a second language or accent reduction classes.
  • Send employees to learn a foreign language.
  • Bring in a teacher for CPR and first aid training.

7.     Stress reduction.

Who isn’t stressed out?  Treat employees to a massage, or bring in an instructor who can teach stress-reduction techniques like meditation.

8.     Casual dress.

On days with no client appointments or perhaps every Friday, offer a casual dress day.  It cuts down on dry cleaning, and employees are more relaxed.

9.     Errand concierge services.

Cut down on absenteeism and long lunch hours by bringing the errands to the employees.  I suspect local businesses would love the business.  Find a nearby dry cleaner that can pick up onsite and maybe even throw in a discount.  Do the same for car wash services, take-home meals from a caterer or local restaurant, prescription refills, postal services, banking, and more.

10.   Transportation.

Offer a subsidy for carpooling, public transit subsidy, or purchasing a hybrid car.

 11.  Discounts on products and services. 

Provide discounts on your services or merchandise for employees.

12.   Time off. 

Offer a creative twist to holiday pay.  Instead of the standard holidays, allow employees to have their birthday or job anniversary as paid time off.  Consider also providing pay while philanthropic employees volunteer their time and talents to nonprofits.

Try one or more of these twelve employee perks to rev up the motivation on your team.

Cutting Expenses Key To Profitability, But How? Some Tips

It may seem like a no-brainer – cut expenses to make more money – but many small changes can result in significant savings.

It looks like the economy may finally be looking up. Still, this is no time to loosen the purse strings in terms of your business expenses. Rather, why not re-double your efforts to cut costs and boost your profitability?

Excessive expenses cause debt, which in itself can be very costly. So any money-saving actions you take will be doubly rewarding.

 More Effective Money Management

 To cut expenses significantly, poke into every corner of your company’s finances. Inventory is a good place to start. If you sell multiple units of the same item and reorder regularly, you should be using QuickBooks’ inventory-tracking tools. Go to Edit | Preferences | Items & Inventory | Company Preferences.

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 Figure 1; Make sure that these settings are correct. If you need advanced features like FIFO costing, serial number and lot-tracking or inventory management at multiple locations, contact us about upgrading to Enterprise Solutions.

 

You should be stocking your inventory to match the pace of sales. You don’t want to be caught short, nor do you want to be sitting on too much and tying up money unnecessarily. QuickBooks can help, but you’ll need to calculate the sweet spot for each item. Several built-in reports can help, including:

  •  Inventory Valuation Summary. Displays the current asset and retail value of each item and inventory as a whole
  • Inventory Valuation Detail. Shows how individual transactions have affected the value of your inventory
  • Inventory Stock Status By Item. Helps you set up smart reordering procedures
  • Open Purchase Orders
  • Outlines each purchase order and its expected delivery date

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Figure 2: To maintain profitable inventory levels and minimize expenses, you’ll need to study QuickBooks’ related reports regularly. When you’re making buying decisions, consider factors like reorder turnaround time and seasonal sales upticks.

 

Ratio reports, like profit over sales, can also be very telling. QuickBooks does not supply these, but we can help you create them in Excel.

Using Available Tools

The efforts you make toward reducing expenses in other ways can result in more savings than you might think. Here are some actions you can take that will accelerate your cash flow:

Use QuickBooks’ budgeting tools

. This doesn’t need to be as onerous as you might expect – you can start by pulling in your real data from the previous year as a base. Build in line items for ongoing accounting support like QuickBooks maintenance. Click on Company | Planning & Budgeting | Set Up Budgets

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Figure 3: Selecting this option simplifies your task.

 

Minimize your April 15 obligation with year-round tax planning. Work with us throughout the year on the next year’s taxes to, for example, make smarter quarterly payments, and we’ll help you reduce your tax bill by making better decisions every day.

 Get discounts by paying invoices early. Set up a custom field in vendor records to track this.

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 Figure 4: Get to know which vendors offer early discounts – and take advantage of them.

 

Analyze the cost-effectiveness of your transportation. Can you replace some in-person sales calls with web-based communication? Make sure that your delivery routes and sales call paths are efficient.

Change product/service prices to build in your own cost increases. Do it across the board, in small increments. It may not even be that noticeable to customers.

Talk to us about establishing a line of credit. We’ll help you determine if this is a viable option for emergencies. It’s cheaper than using credit cards.

Cross-train employees. Have employees train each other on their tasks where it makes sense. You can avoid costly temp help and relieve overworked departments.

 Don’t try to change everything at once. Establishing these new procedures will require some extra work. And you may not notice a reduction in expenses immediately. But over time, you will see a positive change – one that will give you extra dollars and hours to invest in making your company flourish.

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