Sure you love your business, and you love helping people, and you can’t stop the creativity from pouring out of you and into the products you create, but at the end of the day, will your business make you money?
Most women entrepreneurs start their businesses because they enjoy doing the work, are passionate about it, or because they see a need for it in the world. They are looking for a sense of fulfillment along with some freedom and flexibility, rather than the opportunity to make the most money possible. (If they had only wanted to make a lot of money, they likely would be better off working for someone else.)
I strongly believe that doing work you love goes a long way towards being successful (and making money) at it. However, every woman business owner must consider how to match her business to the best business model that will yield the money she wants to make.
What is a business model exactly?
It’s simply the nuts and bolts of how a business plans to make money. It details your long-term strategy and day-to-day operations. There are many ways to make money doing the same thing. But not every method is the best way.
For example: I’m a business coach, and my target audience is mom entrepreneurs. My major offering is coaching in one form or another. I can provide private coaching in person or over the phone, or I can offer workshops and teleseminars, or I can package up my expertise and provide it in the form of books, workbooks, CDs or a variety of info products. I can speak for organizations or write for various syndicated outlets. And these are just a few of the options that could form a business model I design that makes me money.
So many consultants, coaches, designers, assistants, experts, etc. limit the growth of their business (and thus create a business model that eventually loses its viability) by always trading their time for their money. In other words, they have to spend their time (coaching, consulting, logging hours doing client work) in order to generate their income. And the one thing we are guaranteed to run out of is time.
If your business model requires you constantly spend your time to make money, you’re going to hit the ceiling of your earning potential at some point. If, on the other hand, you create a business model that allows you to generate income without spending more of your time, you’ll be able to grow your business. And that makes it much more viable. An example of this is offering more group coaching, live workshops, teleseminars, info products and the like rather than one-on-one consulting. You can make more money in the same hour of time when you serve multiple people at once rather than just one individual client.
Steps to determining viability
So how do you figure out whether your business model is viable and likely to make the money you want to make? Here are five steps to get you on the right path.
1. Define your niche. Your niche is what you do, and your unique way of doing it.
2. Choose a narrow target audience. Your target audience is who you serve. The more focused this group is, the better you’ll be able to get to know them and understand what they really need, want, and are willing to pay for.
3. Create solutions to the problems your audience has, based upon your personal expertise. Any time you can demonstrate how something you offer solves a problem or reduces a pain for your clients, you are creating a product that’s more likely to sell.
4. Determine how much money you want to make. Is money not the bottom line for you? Or would you like to add a few thousand per month to your savings account? Or are you moving into the breadwinning role for your family? By declaring your financial goals, you’ll be better able to choose the appropriate business model to get you there.
5. Figure out all the ways you can make money, but focus on leveraging your time. Get off the “time-for-money” treadmill. How can you make every hour you put into your business serve multiple clients/customers, rather than just one at a time?
After reading this post, do you feel you’ve created a business model that’s going to make you money? If not, what are you going to do to change it? Please share your comments below. I promise you’re not the only one trying to figure this out!