The art of bootstrapping your Lifestyle Transformation Business. Save money while working to realise your vision.

The Art of Bootstrapping your Lifestyle Transformation Business
Baron Munchausen  pulls himself and his horse out of a swamp by his pigtail.  Bootstrapping , the term appears to have originated in the early 19th-century United States (particularly in the phrase “pull oneself over a fence by one’s bootstraps”) to mean an absurdly impossible action. (Wikipedia)

Baron Munchausen pulls himself and his horse out of a swamp by his pigtail. Bootstrapping, the term appears to have originated in the early 19th-century United States (particularly in the phrase “pull oneself over a fence by one’s bootstraps”) to mean an absurdly impossible action. (Wikipedia)

Bootstrap your Transformerpreneur Journey.

Bootstrapping means different things for different people, in different contexts. It isn’t just for tech startups. It’s for anyone trying to create something new from next-to-nothing (we always start with something) without external funding or a bottomless personal savings account.

Bootstrapping is building a company from the ground up with nothing but personal savings and, with luck, the cash coming in from the first sales. The term is also used as a noun: A bootstrap is a business launched by an entrepreneur with little or no outside cash or other support. (Investopedia)

If you aren’t full-time in your Lifestyle Transformation Business you may be managing with your existing salary if you still have a job or freelance work, or from ongoing clients, workshop, or retreat revenue that you’re already generating. And, of course, you may be pre-launch with your business or a new product or service and not yet generating any income at all.

The art of bootstrapping often applies to both your life and business. For Transformerpreneurs these are often so interconnected they feel inseparable.

Here are a few scenarios where bootstrapping is essential, if not critical:

1. You’re starting a business and don’t have any or many clients or customers.

2. You’re creating a new offering and don’t know if it’ll be successful.

3. You want to lengthen your research and launch phase runways.

4. You want to be more profitable so you can be more selective.

5. You’re struggling, spending, and losing money, faster than you can make it.

Bootstrapping is about keeping things simple, especially when it comes to personal money and business finance. I’ve included mindset and day-to-day, month-to-month behavioural changes you can adopt gradually or quickly to help you bootstrap your way through any or all of the scenarios listed above.

The art of bootstrapping a Lifestyle Transformation Business is not always about spending the least amount possible. But, it is about being extremely mindful about what you spend money on and when in your life and business to ensure you’re getting the most value over time, not just in the moment.

Energy Exchange

Perhaps the most obvious foundation of bootstrapping is to beg and borrow. Or, as Richard Branson once said, ‘borrow, rent, or lease, rather than buy’.

The essence, of course, is to minimise or cut your expenses completely by borrowing or exchanging. Doing this is a perfect opportunity for learning and honing your Transformation Craft with free practice. At the same time, you can also get some of those essential elements of your Transformation Business up and running without paying directly with money or cash.

For example, you might give a bodywork, or yoga session in exchange for someone helping you set up your website.

If you can forge connections in your online or offline community you’re uniquely positioned to explore ways to help each other move your businesses forward. Or, if you’ve hit an unexpected or prolonged difficult patch, you can create new collaborative projects that could help turn your business around and widen your skills and experience at the same time.

Exchanges, especially when business is challenging, are a solid foundation that can help you continue to do what you love doing while developing long term partnerships and relationships with your peers.

They allow you to focus the often limited financial resources you do have to solve your business problems strategically rather than just fire-fighting issues by haphazardly throwing money (away) at them.

Think Longer-term

If you can buy in bulk, or pay annually, you can save money on some of your larger regular expenses. For example, if you know you’re going to be using a particular piece of software on an ongoing basis opt for the annual payment.

I pay for all my subscription-only services including Squarespace, Dropbox, GetResponse this way and regularly save 20% — 30% against paying monthly.

This can save you $100’s of dollars a year. This is a no-brainer if you’re sure you will use the software regularly and it’s a major part of your workflow.

There is software out there that offers an unlimited lifetime access option, especially if they’re a new business in the early product development stages.

Are you interested in self-publishing books or making your marketing lead-magnets available on Amazon, iBooks, iTunes, or other eBook retailers to reach a wider, larger audience? If you are Vellum is an easy-to-use, elegant tool which offers an unlimited licence option so you can publish as many eBook titles as you want forever more.

As an added bonus, Vellum now has some beautiful paperback templates that can easily be exported for uploading to Amazon for sale. Vellum requires minimal effort and no technical know-how to produce professional results.

This is amazing value if you’re a prolific writer and harbour an intention to publish your blog series as a growing series of Transformation Books that you could sell at your sessions, workshops, retreats, and training. Or, you could publish your blog as the proverbial calling or business card book to help build your Transformation Business profile and personal brand.

Ditch Your Subscriptions

If you haven’t noticed the world is shifting to a subscription model and mostly for good business reasons. Adobe, who create Photoshop and InDesign and Creative Cloud, have massively increased their profitability after moving to a cloud subscription vs a buy-once and upgrade later business model.

They’ve saved money and increased profits significantly by not having to waste resources supporting their legacy software. And, because customers rarely leave the Adobe ecosystem, and they now have a more predictable revenue stream, they can channel marketing and advertising funds effectively and efficiently to maintain and grow their core business.

I know Adobe is a huge enterprise, but there’s something to be learned from bigger business. By paying attention you can distil strategies that might enhance your Lifestyle Transformation Business in some small or big way.

However, being tied into a $10 or $25, or $60 a month subscription model just to produce some simple marketing material for your website, blog, or facebook page is not a great return on your investment (ROI).

Unless you’re creating artwork as your Transformation Craft and selling it, or you create and manage marketing and advertising material for many clients you’ll rarely, if ever, get the value back from this recurring expense.

I was a long-term Photoshop and InDesign user until a few years ago. I, reluctantly at first, made the change to Affinity Photo.

Affinity also creates Affinity Designer (similar to Adobe Illustrator), and now Affinity Publisher (similar to Adobe InDesign). The buy-it-once (I haven’t had to upgrade yet) price was $49. So far that works out at only $2 a month and will only get less as time goes by.

That’s over 80%+ saving versus Adobe subscription services.

On top of that, if you use services like Canva, which is easy-to-use but limited, you can change to using Affinity software with very little learning and effort and you’ll save another $13 a month in the process, that can be put to better use in some other mission-critical area of your Transformation Business.

Over a year that’s another $150 saved. You get the picture.

Money Mindset

With smaller Lifestyle Transformation Businesses, in particular, it tends to be easier, simpler, and more likely that you’ll keep track of business expenses. That’s because they can be less frequent and are normally more substantial ‘noticeable’ amounts. Think of buying a laptop, or replacing your phone, or booking a shala for a yoga retreat you’re running.

However, when it comes to personal expenditure, we can be, and usually are less than mindful, when it comes to our spending and money management.

Admittedly, in an ideal world, you don’t want to flow through life looking at the right-hand side of the menu when you’re choosing your meal while dining at your favourite restaurant, especially after a long, hard day.

But, if you’re bootstrapping this is the money mindset you must live by, maintain and refine so you can get to the point where you don’t have to price-check all the time, as quickly as you possibly can for obvious reasons.

Question Your Priorities

Bootstrapping is also a question of priorities.

What’s more important to you in the medium to long rather than the short-term instant gratification pleasure response? The creative freedoms that running a successful, profitable, sustainable, Lifestyle Transformation Business can offer may be more valuable to you than always doing and having what you want when you want it. It’s your call.

After all, what is this doing, getting, and having all about anyway? Check-in with yourself to make sure your spending habits aren’t just a mechanism to satisfy some elusive deeper-seated insatiable urge. Are you just distracting yourself from an uncomfortable feeling or thought pattern that needs to be inner-worked out of your system?

Think about this marketing scenario for a moment.

Is it worth spending one hour to think of ways to reduce your spending by just $50 a month or to spend 10+ hours a month trying to get your Patreon support channel, that after a year or two may eventually reward you with only $50 a month in revenue, up and running?

An Integral Part

As a Transformerpreneur you are an integral part of your Lifestyle Transformation Business. You’re the most important employee, team member, manager, and leader. You fulfil many roles, working ‘in’ and ‘on’ your business.

It’s easy to forget, with all this hard, relentless work you’re putting in, day after day, week after week, that you’re the biggest cost to your business as well as its most valuable income-generating asset.

When you’re bootstrapping a Lifestyle Transformation Business or a new product or service you are the cost base and income generator you’ve got to manage the most closely to get where you want to go. When you master your self (the inner you) and yourself (the outer you) in relation to your Lifestyle Transformation Business and its activities you can start to realise your vision and live life more fully on your terms, more consistently.

In the first instance, this means tracking what you’re spending and minimising your costs where you can so you can maximise them, where appropriate, when you need to, within your life and business. When you do you can squeeze the most juice possible out of your money and edge closer to living what I call your Fully Featured Lifestyle without compromise.

Realise Your Vision

These are just a few examples of how to bootstrap your Lifestyle Transformation Business. I utilise many more strategies and techniques like this while building Transformerpreneur.com as efficiently as possible.

They cover time, money, space, and weight. Whatever these words mean to you right now they are, in all their contextual forms, important considerations for every Transformerpreneur, especially the nomadic variety.

Mastering them makes the process of building and growing a business less overwhelming, less stressful and much more enjoyable. They give you much more time and space to get things right more often. You don’t have to rush around chasing your tail in an attempt to beat the system or cheat the game.

You can finally stop playing catch-up and start directing and leading your business from a grounded, confident, and unbreakable position.

Building a successful Lifestyle Transformation Business is about putting the time in, working hard, patience, persistence, maintaining a sense of humour, and making your money last as long as humanly possible.

Download my Lifestyle Transformation Business Bootstrap Checklist and Field Guide to discover more ways to start and continue bootstrapping your Transformerpreneur Journey so you can save and make more money while continually enjoying the work of realising your vision.

You need to regularly repurpose your life and Lifestyle Transformation Business to be happy and fulfilled. Here’s why and how to do it.

You Need To Regularly Repurpose Your Transformation Business + Life To Be Happy

Firstly, allow me to define some essential terms that go some way to describing the overarching components necessary to the ubiquitous, yet still very personal, search for a truly purposeful, meaningful, and successful life.

Creative Core

The source of your truth. Your insights, inspiration, ideas, intuition, and intentions spring forth from your Creative Core.

Real Work

Your most important Work in life and of the moment. Work, at our edge, beyond our comfort zone, rooted in giving, to and of ourselves, aligned with the deepest truths of our Why, How and What of the moment is Real Work. The insights, inspiration, ideas, intuition, intentions of your Creative Core are manifested and realised through your Real Work.

You Outlook

Your You Outlook is your vision of a future you. A you that is made more powerful through unlimited, unrestricted access to your Creative Core and multiple, interconnected channels of Real Work. Your You Outlook sits at the centre of a real-time creative feedback loop. It is a more connected you.

Real Work Centre

Your Real Work Centre is that grounded sweet spot through which your Creative Core, your You Outlook and your Real Work align. You’re at your Real Work Centre when you feel on purpose, even though you may have doubt, uncertainty, or fear.

Planning To Get

Our attitude and state in the moment are fully loaded with a skewed intention to get, in the future, that which we already have access to now, in the present. Our Selves.

Planning To Give

Our attitude, in the moment, is fully loaded with aligned intention. Our present thoughts, behaviours and actions inform and impact our present and future as well as others, positively.

Forced Feedback

If we pay attention and intervene the continual cycle (micro to macro) of cause and effect in time to break its cycle we can use the effects, which may be perceived as negative, neutral, or positive, as Forced Feedback. This helps us change the patterns of perception and behaviour that keep leading us to events that we experience as negative.

Limited You

Your You Outlook held back by limiting beliefs. The version of you that is limited only in a specific area or at a certain time of your life. Today I am unlimited. Tomorrow I’ll be limited and will have a limit to free myself from.

Unlimited You

Your You Outlook is unhindered by limiting beliefs. The version of you that is unlimited in a specific area or time of your life. Today I am limited. Tomorrow I’ll be unlimited until I recognise and overcome my next limit.

Secondly, I’ll explain how these parameters influence our unique life driven purpose, without which we’ll continue to struggle to live a consistently happy and content life individually and collectively.

Why Repurpose

In life, we have ‘loves’ and ‘interests’.

Our loves represent the past, whether that was last week, last year or only a few moments ago. Our memories, experiences, and attachments anchor us in the familiar, and for the most part, allow us to feel safe and secure.

Interests, on the other hand, reflect our ideas and excitement about the future. They draw us forward, to learn and experience more of life both in the bigger picture and the detail.

We might say that we ‘feel’ our loves and that they are to some degree inexplainable. They relate very much to positive emotional experience.

Conversely, we ‘think’ our interests. They are intellectual, more understandable and explainable. We often engage with our interests somewhat wantonly. We can become attached to the promise of multiple positive outcomes that maintaining a broad range of interests purports to offer.

The degree to which these internal and external factors overlap we have, feel and express passion.

However, experience tells us that even strongly held passions do not automatically inspire corresponding creative action. Instead, without meaningful Whys our passion would have us continually trying to understand and make sense of the past.

We’d be relentlessly chasing our tail in a never-ending attempt to prepare for or take advantage of an unpredictable future. One coloured by our limited past and that will most likely never see the light of day.

When we become conscious on a feeling and a thinking level of the reasons we love something, or someone, whether they are internally (we feel better) or externally referenced (someone else feels better, so we feel better), we have a purpose or many purposes.

Similarly, when we interrogate the Whys behind our interests, we determine our potentials.

Why Exercise Template

Take a moment to note down some of your loves and interests adding a priority score out of 1–10 (1 being the highest priority) in brackets and adding the most meaningful Why to each.

You can have multiple loves, interests, Whys, purposes, passions, and potentials. Prioritising each possible combination is key to arriving at a shortlist of potential Real Work Whats.

Use the Why Repurpose example below to get you started.

Love / Cooking (1)

Why = To help family and friends stay happy and healthy.

LOVES + WHYS = PURPOSES

Interest / Longevity Science (2)

Why = I want to go on giving for a long time to come!

INTERESTS + WHYS = POTENTIALS

Cooking + Longevity Science (1)

Why = To help people live longer healthier lives so they can enjoy their life while happily giving their gifts.

LOVES + INTERESTS = PASSIONS

Ideal Outcome

PURPOSE + POTENTIAL + PASSION = REAL WORK

Presence Balance

If we focus our time, energy and attention on where our passions, purposes and potentials overlap in our lives, we will find presence, balance, direction, integrity, growth and the candidate What’s of our Real Work.

Our Real Work Centre aligned, we are Planning To Give, and through positive Forced Feedback, we are creating and amplifying an Unlimited You Outlook.

Presence / Balance

Presence / Balance

Unstable Non-Presence

The less aware and connected we are to our present moment Whys and the more disconnected our loves are from our interests, the more we remain ignorant of our passions, purposes and potentials.

There is little, if anything, holding the different aspects of our life together. We become unstuck, unstable, out of balance, directionless and purposeless.

Instead of being lifted by our loves and interests we are weighed down by them, conflicted and unable to discern that which is important to us and that which isn’t.

Non-Presence / Unstable

Non-Presence / Unstable

Future Hope

If we overemphasise our interests and in the process neglect our loves, we lean more heavily toward the future.

We become detached, preoccupied and distracted trying to pre-empt everything we can so that our expectations are met.

We live in the hope that we’ve done enough so that nothing ‘bad’ will happen, that we won’t miss out, and that everything works out for the best.

We are detached and Planning To Get free of our emotional and creative reality in the moment.

Future / Hope

Future / Hope

Past Regret

If we overemphasise our loves and in the process neglect our interests, we lean more heavily toward the past.

We become needy and limited, trying to control everything and ensure it stays the same and conforms to our old and outdated attachments.

We live in regret because change is inevitable and to the extent, we avoid it nothing ‘good’ can happen to us.

We are attached to the status quo, limited, always Planning To Get or keep hold of comfort and security by living in the past.

Past / Regret

In both these states, our Real Work Centre is out of alignment. Through Forced Feedback our You Outlook is diminished and compounded negatively to become Limited.

Creative Pains

In any creative process, there is a level of pain, struggle and momentary or long suffered limitation. Perhaps it goes without saying that I love the struggle more when I like what I’m creating and less when I don’t.

I have to be vigilant and pay close attention to my emotions during my creative process, no matter how short or drawn out it is. I must ascertain whether there is really something wrong with me and my life that I need to change or I just don’t like what I’m creating on a particular project. Are these one and the same problem, co-existing at the same time?

I love architecture and feel that love in my process. However, on reflection, outside of that I don’t think I was very interested, or interested enough in it.

I am feeling resistance as I write this.

When I compare this to writing, I see similarities, but in my current Ideal Context, I can decide what I write about and Why. I am in control of the content as it were.

Rare Overlap

There were only a few Real Work moments during my architectural career where my loves and interests overlapped. On the rare occasion they did, I was in a position to decide both what I design and Why. When my love and interest do overlap, I feel passionate about what I’m doing.

In these moments it’s as if the Why is self-generating and the creative process takes on a life of its own, untethered.

I am present. I become excited about what the future may hold. I feel purposeful and happy. I start to imagine how my ideas and creativity can grow, expand, spread and positively impact more people.

Opportunities open for me to continue doing what I love, and that which interests me the most on a much grander scale.

Work Your Why, your You Outlook will become unlimited, and you’ll live a happier, more fulfilling, and enjoyable life.

This post is an edited extract from the ‘Work Your Why’ chapter of ‘Master The Seven Works — Repurpose Your Life : The Holistically Simple Way to Create Conscious Change and Work Your Why’ by Richard Conner (Combination Coach CEO @ Transformerpreneur.com).

How to price your sessions, classes, workshops, retreats, and teacher training holistically and profitably.

Holistic Session Class Retreat Workshop Training Pricing

It’s not unusual for Transformerpreneurs to start pricing their sessions, classes, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings after researching what their nearest competitor is charging for the same or similar transformative offerings. 

If the likely costs associated with giving, hosting, facilitating or delivering your Product Service is less than what you’re intending to charge for a minimum number of sales it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming you will or are making a profit.

This approach isn’t a bad start but it is only part of the Profitable Pricing story and doesn’t guarantee that your business will make a profit over the course of a year, i.e. a timeframe that is longer than the duration of your specific Product Service offering.

Beware of modelling your products, services, and business on your competitors without knowing their specific financial goals, cost base, advertising budget, and number of clients, enrolments or attendees. To do so can be misleading and risky.

By setting a price you are attempting to convey value. Your intended market will tell you if it values what you’re offering by paying the price you’re charging, or not, regardless of how much it costs you to create, offer, and transfer that value.

So, if you want and need to know that what you are offering and working hard to deliver will make a healthy profit your pricing must work holistically, I.e. at a Product Service level and at an overall business level.


What is a holistically profitable Product Service?

It’s an exchange of value that generates enough Gross Margin (Price - Costs of Sale CoS) in sufficient quantities (Sales Volume) to cover (single product business) or part-cover (multiple product business) your Business Overheads while generating a surplus (Operating Profit).


Get to know your Holistic Pricing Variables.

Successful Transformerpreneurs MUST know and work with the following Pricing Variables in order to arrive at their Minimum Viable Prices (MVPs) for their suite of Product Services.

  • Enrolments (e.g. 1 for private sessions, 10 for group classes, 15 for teacher trainings)

  • Instances (e.g. 200 private sessions, 100 group classes, 4 teacher trainings per year)

  • Variable CoS (e.g. instructor fee per student, wellness package, certificate printing)

  • Fixed CoS (e.g. advertising, space rental, specialist instructor fee, team travel expenses)

  • Business Overheads (e.g. your salary, marketing fees, subscriptions, equipment)

  • Operating Profit % (the profit your business wants to make on its product service sales)


How do I use these variables to calculate MVPs for my suite of Product Services?

If the instructions below look a little too daunting for you sign up your FREE copy of the Transformerpreneur.com ‘Profitable Product Service Holistic Pricing Tool’ at the end of this post and the hard work and calculations will be done for you!

(1) From your records (or estimates) note down your yearly Business Overheads.

(2) Decide what your Target Operating Profit % for the year will be (20% is a healthy profit).

(3) Name and list your Product Services.

(4) Add the Minimum Number of Enrolments alongside each Product Service.

(5) Add the total Variable Costs of Sale (CoS) alongside each Product Service.

(6) Add the total Fixed Costs of Sale (CoS) alongside each Product Service.

(7) Add the Minimum Number of Instances per year alongside each Product Service.

(8) Add together the Variable and Fixed CoS for ALL Product Services and note it down.

(9) Calculate Budget Income by adding (1) + (8) and dividing the answer by 100% - (2).

(10) Subtract (8) from (9) to get Gross Margin and note it down.

(11) Calculate Gross Margin % by dividing (10) by (9) and note down the answer.

(12) Calculate Operating Profit by subtracting (1) from (10) and note down the answer.

(13) Multiply (4) x (7) to calculate Enrolments per Year for each Product Service.

(14) Multiply (4) x (5), add the answer to (6) to get the Total CoS for each Product Service.

(15) Multiple (7) x (14) to calculate the Total CoS per year for each Product Service.

(16) Divide (15) by 100% - (11), divide by (13) to get the MVP for each Product Service.

Click below for a Multi-Product Service suite Transformation Business example.

Adjusting your Pricing Variables will generate updated Minimum Viable Prices for your suite of Product Services that allow you to assess how your intended audience, students, and clients will value your offerings.

For example, if your adjustments generate an enrolment price for Teacher Training that is double what your competitors are charging you’ll have to seriously consider making some more significant changes to your Pricing Variables.

Likewise if your pricing is coming out significantly lower than your competitors you may have to check that you’ve thought of and included all related Costs of Sale (CoS) and Business Overheads in your calculations.

Are you already, or intending to offer any of the following non-exhaustive transformation modalities as sessions, classes, workshops, retreats, or teacher trainings to your clients, customers, and community?

Hypnosis
Meditation
Music
NLP
Past Life Regression
Photography
Poetry
Reiki

Acupuncture
Art
Astrology
Bodywork
Breathwork
Coaching
Ecstatic Dance
Film

Satsang
Shamanic Ceremony
Tarot
Theatre
TRE
Writing
Yoga

Save your time, effort, and brain cells learning how to holistically price your sessions, classes, workshops, retreats, and teacher training by signing up above for your FREE copy of the done-for-you Transformerpreneur.com ‘Profitable Product Service Holistic Pricing Tool’ Google Sheets template (as shown in the example screenshot above).

Creating an intentional, empowering, liberating, and financially rewarding Lifestyle Transformation Business that serves you as well as your clients.

TCC - Blog Post - Template - 0011 - Creating A Profitable Transformation Business - 800px.jpg

Are you already building, or are you seriously thinking about starting, a transformation business as any of the following?

A yoga teacher, breathworker, ecstatic dance facilitator, astrologer, reader, or coach?
An artist, craftsman, designer, author, poet, musician, or teacher of your unique craft?
A practitioner of one of the many transformative modalities blossoming in the world today?

Are you working hard to create, develop and deliver sessions, classes, workshops, training, retreats, and related products and services that transform people's lives?

Is your Transformerpreneur Life Business ‘kind of working’ but you just know it could do so much better for both you and your clients? Do you feel like you could begin making significant positive changes to your life and business if you only knew exactly where to start?

Do you become overwhelmed, confused, frustrated or lost when trying to start, fix or develop your business so that it works consistently and predictably for you, rather than against you, most of the time? Do you sometimes brush your business issues under the carpet, telling yourself to worry about it later?

Is this you when dealing with business numbers, maths, models, money, and finance?

Transformerpreneur Small Business Finance Health Check Frustrated Lost Woman

Do any of these ‘symptoms’ or ‘effects’ sound familiar?

You rely on your bank balance as an indicator of your personal and business financial health.
You’re not sure how much you should be working ‘in’ your business vs ‘on’ your business.
You don’t really know how much you earned last year, or what you’ll earn this year.
Your pricing is based on how much you can get or what your competitors are charging.
You’re unsure how many of your services to sell to survive, thrive, and meet your goals.

Your go-to reason for why business could be better is that you need more clients.
You don’t know which of your services makes and which loses you money in the long run.
You think you and your business are making a profit but not really sure how much.
You’re starting to realise you need to know what you don’t know about your business.
You’re not clear what your breakeven point is or what to do to ensure you’re always above it.

You have no reliable way of knowing if something in your business is helping or hindering you.
Your idea of working to a budget is doing less of what you want and more of what you don’t.
Your record-keeping starts and stops with tracking hits, likes, views, or shares.
You take a weekend or more to pull together basic information about your financial position.
You struggle with cash flow, leaving it to hope, chance, a wing, and a prayer, to survive.

You get by earning just enough to live an ‘edited minimum version’ of your dream lifestyle.
Your business decisions tend to be short-term, spur-of-the-moment, and gut instinct.
You rarely consider where you want to be financially, in one, three, five, or ten years time.
You don’t have specific financial goals for your life or your business.
Or, if you do you don’t know how to get where you want to go from where you are now.

If one, any, or all of the above reflects your reality, there is a more intentional, empowering, and financially rewarding way to start, build, expand and run your transformation business.

Transformerpreneur Small Business Finance Health Check Freedom Happy Woman

Fuelling your vision.

A vision, mission, purpose, values, and a powerful why are essential business prerequisites.

These keystones give meaning to your business, its products and services, by colouring how they interface with and relate to your clients. They help you describe what your business should look like, how it might feel, who it will support, and the problems it solves.

Thankfully, they also serve as a strong foundation platform, grounding and anchoring you to what matters most, during times of inevitable change, upheaval and transition. They remind you of your overarching loving intention and enduring creative direction whenever and however you’re thrown off course.

This platform is needed as you refine each and every aspect of how you create and deliver value to the clients that you have and will come to know and love. It is these clients, your family, your tribe, that you are co-creating your business with around its shared meaning.

However, this platform alone, despite your best intentions, will not build and maintain a successful, thriving, and robust transformation business; A prosperous living, breathing, loving entity that serves, supports and sustains its owner, team, an expanding client community, and your charitable endeavours, consistently, predictably, profitably, and with longevity.

It’s the fire, but it’s not the fuel.

Transformerpreneur Small Business Finance Health Check Purpose Vision Fuel Fire

How to thrive in longevity.

The structure of your business is made up of you, your team, your clients, your products and services, and all those fortunate enough to benefit from the ripple effect emanating from this, your most important work.

In an ideal world these structural elements are synchronised, acting in unison, speaking the same language, while working together toward a common goal. As an holistic, healthy, living, and loving entity they’re strong and powerful, able to overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of your mission to help others.

Working together, the keystones, the foundation, and the structure, reflect how the ‘building’ of your business and its component parts looks, feels, and behaves.

But, there’s something missing from this picture, without which a building could never come into being. This critical component is often overlooked or forgotten once a building is complete and open for business.

When you’re developing a building you need scaffolding to help erect it as it’s being constructed and to extend, maintain, and repair it on and off throughout its lifetime. Its purpose is to provide safety, protection, stability, access, and critical information about it’s physical and operational condition so that essential changes, updates, and upgrades can be made as efficiently, effectively, and quickly as possible.

It’s literally the framework required to construct and maintain a piece of architecture so that it fulfils its function and serves its purpose for as long as it’s designed to do so.

Transformerpreneur Small Business Finance Health Check Numbers Scaffolding

Weathering the storm.

In your business, the scaffolding is your systems, data, records, and reports. It’s shorthand for the invisibles, or the intangibles. These invisibles are your business numbers, and they are essential if you want to understand, secure, refine, enhance, grow, and expand your business, and safeguard your livelihood.

More specifically, your business scaffolding alerts you to what’s working and what isn’t with timely up-to-date financial information that’s imperative to the management and operation of a profitable business; A successful business, regardless of its size, that not only meets your needs but helps you achieve your goals, while it, and you, adapt to expected and unexpected changes as and when they arise.

Despite our efforts to deny, avoid or control it, a business is always expanding and contracting with varying degrees of intensity. Its success and longevity depends on whether it’s flexible enough to react, respond, and adapt to the competitive nature of the market and the cycles of the perpetual economic storm.

However, unlike a building, to weather the storm, a transformation business needs scaffolding in place constantly so that vital and relevant information is readily available when and where it’s needed most. With your business scaffolding erected you are much more able to navigate what can quickly become business life or death financial decisions with confidence.

This is essential when building your business.

When up, running, growing, and serving clients, it’s critical.

Transformerpreneur Small Business Finance Health Check Numbers Systems Support

No more flying blind.

Numbers let you see the invisible aspects of your business and show you what needs fixing inside and outside it, and by when. They direct you where to look to strengthen or replace part of your business structure and how to make regular adjustments and improvements.

Numbers, when you know and understand them, shed light on your business reality, no matter how simple or straightforward it may seem, giving you the power to amplify what’s working and let go of what isn’t.

They give you clarity, certainty, and confidence.
They bring order to unwanted chaos and show you the truth about your business.
They help you organise your business so that it saves you time, money, and energy.
They release you from exhausting ‘dog chasing its tail’ mental and emotional loops.
They let you be more proactive and less reactive.

They open the door to new opportunities and collaborations.
They quantify the necessary actions required to prioritise and achieve your goals.
They allow you to set realistic goals and track your progress over time.
They provide the information to help you reach difficult and complex decisions.
They have the power to forecast and predict problems before they happen.

They set you free from making false assumptions and always having to use guesswork.
They lead you toward a healthier, truthful relationship with your work, craft, and business.
They empower more creativity so you can expand your business and life with confidence.
They provide a map of how to arrive where you want to go, when you want to get there.
They act as signposts on your Transformerpreneur Business Life Journey.

Without them you’re left in the dark, flying blind, feeling lost, battling through the storm.

Transformerpreneur Small Business Finance Health Check Planning No More Flying Blind

Heal your clients and your business.

There is truth in the Buddhist saying that we must help ourselves before helping others. This timeless and time-honoured modus operandi extends to your business

If you don’t do the work to look after your transformation business as well as you do your clients, you’ll all suffer unnecessarily. You won’t be able to serve yourself or those in need of your service effectively, no matter how well you create and deliver your value.

Things can and will go wrong.

You’re a master of life-changing transformation. You guide clients in person, or indirectly with your art and craft, to look inwards. Through your work, an insight, sufficient to facilitate a change of perspective, reveals their truth in the moment and prompts a desirable change in attitude, outlook, and behaviour.

Clients are encouraged to look to the past, present, and future to determine patterns of thought and feeling that are limiting their enjoyment of life or sabotaging their impact in the world, now, today. You can use the same process to transform and heal your business as well as prevent future ills, or dis-ease.

Your business numbers reveal countless untold insights if you know where to look.

Transformerpreneur Small Business Finance Health Check Training Coaching Support Kite Flying

Enjoy freedom, flexibility, and flow to create peace, ease and grace in your life business. 

Do you want you and your business to be more successful?
Do you want to own your business numbers so you can be more strategic about your finances?
Do you want your business financial outlook to be more informed and longer term?
Do you want to feel more in control of your time, money, creativity, and purpose?
Do you want to live life more freely, on your terms?

Transform your business to work fully for you and your clients, rather than the other way around; learn how to read, understand, know, love, and take responsibility for your numbers.

It’s time to power up your Transformerpreneur Life Business strategy with a new level of financial information, understanding, knowledge, and skill?

Transformerpreneur Lifestyle Transformation Business Finance Health Check Strategy Growth Money.jpg

Start erecting your scaffolding today and use your numbers to reach your goals and realise your vision.

How International Expansion helps you save, turnaround, and grow your struggling professional client service consultancy, design, marcomm, PR, digital or creative agency business (checklist).

Save Turnaround Grow Your Struggling Consultancy Practice Studio Agency Business International Expansion

A twelve-part blog series outlining how to save, turnaround, and grow, your struggling or failing professional client service consultancy, architects practice, design studio, marketing communications (marcomms), PR, digital or creative agency business.

Click to listen to the audio or read the full transcript below and sign up for my Creative Core newsletter and I'll send you a quick-start business turnaround email course complete with 96 point action checklist and business turnaround strategies you can start using today.

Total Business Turnaround
Part 12 | International Expansion and
Developing Business Abroad

One of the advantages of tackling new markets abroad is that it allows you to reinvent your business approach, offering a more holistic service overseas and generally being more successful. You will have to be more specific about what you do, of course, but that can only improve your business. 

Before you dive into any new market, you need to do enough market research to understand what is really needed in your target market. That way, you can tailor your marketing efforts so they will do the most good.

However, when you are entering foreign markets, your research needs to encompass far more than just the market. You need to develop knowledge of the culture and the bureaucracy you will have to deal with. 

Appointment and Insurance

Before setting up shop in some new foreign market, you have to take care of a few things first. Begin by extending the geographic limits on your professional indemnity insurance (PII) to include target area, providing the necessary appointment and scope of work documentation when you do.

PII normally only covers your immediate and neighbouring regions, for example UK and the EU, so these regions need to be expanded. Try to use standard forms of appointment, but be mindful that despite your target regions bureaucracy, these forms may be deemed too onerous.

If that is the case, you may have to resort to countersigned letters of authority with accompanying schedules of work and responsibility matrices.

Aspirations and Expectations

Depending on the market, the client may be expecting your innovative new solution to be cheaper than their traditionally produced solution. You need to manage these expectations. It’s a good idea to visit your potential clients, their offices, factories, outlets, and developments, and to take an interest in them regardless of the differences that you may experience.

Your goal should be to introduce new ways of doing things that can give your clients a greater edge over their competition and meet their expectations in ways they may not have considered before. You also need to make sure that the product you are planning on designing or producing in the local target market area can be delivered.

You should have someone skilled and experienced in the local culture and working processes leading the production of your service or product, or construction site.

This is all about building the team. 

Communication

Communication here is a key to success. Without it, things will bog down terribly. Remember that the way you do things and the issues you have to deal with at home may not hold true in your client's country.

Some of the things you need to watch out for include illogical or corrupt bureaucracies, conflicting trade rules, client aspirations and expectations, your client's accounting practices, their decision-making processes – even the actual number of clients involved and the consultant team available!

Question everything, including client decisions and requests. It’s best to continually remind the client and his team of the values and aspirations all involved.

Rules and Regulations

Part of your market research should be devoted to fully examining the local and national rules and regulations you will have to abide by when you do business in your foreign market. You do this to give yourself a broad understanding of the issues you’ll face and the processes you’ll need to go through.

Expect conflicts and contradictions. You want to know how strict the rules are, whether they more guidelines or if they are rules that must be followed to the letter. It’s best to try and get written confirmation to proceed with a change, especially if it’s related to a change that is affected by the rules and regulations of that region.

Make sure you have people fluent in the local language. It also is a great help to have a local attorney with command of both your language and his own. 

The Benefit of Competitions

Events and opportunities of this sort promote you as an international business and expose you to judges, clients, consultants, and journalists in your target market.

They also give you relevant material and experience to utilise in your marketing and PR campaigns and they show your flexibility and understanding of different cultures, especially if you win or are placed in them.

Participating in these events demonstrates your interest in the issues faced by your target market and helps to build your authority within your target network. You might even consider these events to be the the beginning of your network.

Attending Conferences

Conferences offer another important PR and marketing opportunity that you should not pass up. Attend, enter awards, and speak at conferences to get your name known. You can be part of a larger group, host an exhibition stand, a party or some other event to help with your networking and socialising.

Be sure to return favours, helping them out with competitions, judging, news items, comments, and seminars. Also, conferences and conventions always receive coverage and you want to take advantage of that. Befriend and network with journalists, publishers and media partners, as they can introduce you to many more people and may be willing to tell your story.

Enter New Markets Through Collaboration

Another way to work your way into a new foreign market is to work as a consultant or team member with a local established company. This will give you valuable experience that you can take to the next project. 

The Dos and Don'ts of International Business 

Here are the lessons, the dos and don'ts we learned while pursuing business in Europe, the UAE and India. They are based on our experiences, but the underlying principles will work wherever you are. They include:

  • Do be prepared to be patient!

  • Do learn how to negotiate fiercely – but work towards win-win results.

  • Do actively seek out contacts you know from your home network.

  • Do make sure that you have someone skilled to run works locally to ensure quality.

  • Don’t assume working in the Middle East is anything like the same as working at home.

  • Don’t ever indicate you can drop your price. Clients like to haggle, so let them work at it.

  • Don’t take it personally when you’re kept waiting for 4 hours, or a verbally agreed contract falls through. It's normal practice. Just make sure you’re aware of the culture and be prepared so it doesn’t throw you off your game.

And many more!

How New Business and Sales help you save, turnaround, and grow your struggling professional client service consultancy, design, marcomm, PR, digital or creative agency business (checklist).

Save Turnaround Grow Your Struggling Consultancy Practice Studio Agency Business Clients New Business Development Sales

A twelve-part blog series outlining how to save, turnaround, and grow, your struggling or failing professional client service consultancy, architects practice, design studio, marketing communications (marcomms), PR, digital or creative agency business.

Click to listen to the audio or read the full transcript below and sign up for my Creative Core newsletter and I'll send you a quick-start business turnaround email course complete with 96 point action checklist and business turnaround strategies you can start using today.

Total Business Turnaround
Part 11 | New Business and Sales

If you have been in business for any length of time, you already appreciate that there is very little in life that isn’t a new business opportunity. It really comes down to keep your eyes open and accepting the fact that if you are prepared to turn up, pay attention and contribute something of value, new business will come to you. 

Personality Types in Sales

Some people are inherently able to sell, others are not. What sets those who can sell apart is that they,  quite often without realising it, are able to identify with different personality types and respond almost instantly. This permits them to build rapport with their prospects, which leads to continued new business opportunities and sales.

In simple terms, if you wish to build rapport with someone, the fastest way is to respond or approach them with the same mix of personality traits – dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

Giving Value before Offering Value

Think about how you can give value ahead of offering value, or being asked to provide value. Provide regular articles, talks, and consultations, and you not only hone and perfect your expertise and business offer, but you also give value to potential and existing clients who will then come to you for the more complex problems that they are facing.

If people know who you are before you network with them, you are ahead of the game. It’s a lot easier to network and meet new people when your reputation precedes you. It’s then no longer about you, but about what you can find out and discover about the other party and how you can help them and give them value.

The Importance of Networking

You have to have the right people around you to support your efforts and to keep you on an even keel; people to bounce ideas off of, people to point you to new business, people to turn to when things get tough.

That is what your network is all about and you to get about building it as soon as you can. Show up at events and participate, meet people within and outside your industry, and remember that everyone you meet can potentially help you in some way as long as you are willing to help them as well.

Making the Pitch

The pitch is where you make it or break it. Whether you leave them wanting to know more—and open their wallets to you—or just wanting to show you the door depends on how you approach them in the given situation and on the way you communicate your message.

You want the person you are speaking with to want to take the next step, whether that is a purchase or a meeting to discuss you products further.

Effective Negotiation

If you are negotiating fees and you need to agree on a price, there are three rules of thumb you need to follow, and if you prepare properly you can’t go wrong. That is, of course, assuming you have the opportunity to prepare. Wherever possible, always give yourself that opportunity.

You also need to understand your cut-off points, and make sure you don't get put on the spot and commit to something you can’t deliver.

Authority and Expertise

The client is considering your firm for a potential project or relationship because, to this point, you have conveyed that you are experts within your field and can help them solve their immediate and recurring problems.

It’s important that your team establish what I call skill boundaries; it’s very easy for an unsupported new business person or project manager to fall into the habit of adopting the role of one of your more specialist staff, especially when they are very engaged with the process.

Obviously, this is very unlikely with highly technical expertise, but it’s something to be wary of in other areas of your business.

Tendering

When tendering, you need to have the background information about the project and your client. You could find out something your competitor does not know, and that might make all the difference. It also provides you with the information you need to create a truly tailored response to the client’s brief. Also, be truthful, but never include something that will create a barrier to you being selected for the job. 

After Sales – The Customer Experience and the Importance of Follow-up

Your ultimate aim is to leave the client delighted with the whole experience of your business. That means from the moment they come through your door to the moment you hang-up after the follow-up phone call, you are giving them the red carpet treatment.

Why? Because you want them to feel guilty that they are sending any work elsewhere. In fact, effective follow-up after providing solid customer service can turn your satisfied clients into cheerleaders for your business.

How Business Marketing helps you save, turnaround, and grow your struggling professional client service consultancy, design, marcomm, PR, digital or creative agency business (checklist).

Save Turnaround Grow Your Struggling Consultancy Practice Studio Agency Business Marketing

A twelve-part blog series outlining how to save, turnaround, and grow, your struggling or failing professional client service consultancy, architects practice, design studio, marketing communications (marcomms), PR, digital or creative agency business.

Click to listen to the audio or read the full transcript below and sign up for my Creative Core newsletter and I'll send you a quick-start business turnaround email course complete with 96 point action checklist and business turnaround strategies you can start using today.

Total Business Turnaround
Part 10 | Marketing and PR

Marketing and Public Relations are not merely outward facing disciplines. They should also be internally focused. The reality of the outside world is often a reflection of your inside world. This is the same in business; keep your employees, managers, shareholders fully informed and engaged with your mission and the good work you are all doing.

Doing this makes communicating with the outside world much easier because you’ve now got an army of people representing the business, not just a select few.

Seize the PR Opportunity

If you’ve taken the time to explore the longer term vision and plan for your business, even when it feels as if everything is collapsing in on you it will be clear that there is an opportunity to communicate this vision as the reason for the restructure.

You have the chance to change your business and how it is perceived by your clients, competitors, suppliers and employees and, indeed, by you—and all for the better. By telling your story, including your renewed vision for your business, you can eliminate rumours and quell the doubts lingering in the minds of your staff and clients. 

Redefining Your Business

Going through a business turnaround and restructure process is your chance to take advantage of the market from a much stronger position than you had before. However, you must redefine how you conduct your business and what your business does from now on. It’s said that the best way to learn is actually to teach, you must know your material in order to teach.

One of the best ways in business to instigate change is to lead from the front and communicate to the outside world how you want your new business to look and be perceived by your clients, suppliers and employees. 

Marketing Material Preparation

The marketing collateral you prepare is a very important part of the process of communicating your new business, products and services to all concerned and must be planned-for accordingly. You’re going to need to ensure you have a way of printing and delivering this new marketing material ahead of entering a restructuring process and having a pre-arranged payment deal to pay for thus material is critical to prevent you from having any downtime with your campaigns when you can least afford it.

Business Intelligence

Before entering new markets, whether locally or internationally, you should learn about your target markets. The business intelligence you will generate from this market research will be invaluable.  Obtaining as much structured information so you can in order to plan your campaign thoroughly before expending time and money will give you the best chance of success. The initial market research should identify:

  • Potential buyers

  • Competitors

  • Industry associations

  • Agents and intermediaries

Your Communications

You need to focus on maintaining a healthy business and one of the keys to this is ensuring that communication internally and externally is regular, timely and meaningful, conveying some value to the client. Make sure you actually deliver the communication when you said you would. If you say you’re going to send out a newsletter every month, you’d better do it.

The client expects it. The benefit of maintaining consistent communication is that it builds trust. Subconsciously, your client will begin to view your company as reliable and consistent. They will recognise that you have something to say and contribute, and will keep you in the forefront of their minds for any upcoming projects or opportunities.

Continuity – Encourage Repeat Business

It costs more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, while repeat business means attracting more revenue based on the original marketing and new business budget. The best way to ensure you have repeat business is to continually and consistently communicate with your existing clients and customers.

You must continue to give your existing network value, even when they aren’t paying for it directly. Don’t reserve your free offers or your speculative work just for attracting new customers and clients. Strive to keep updated with your clients concerns and issues.

Don’t leave it to them to tell you exactly what their problems are or may be, dig into their business and uncover future problems for them and let them know that you are equipped and have the experience to solve them. 

Dealing with the Press

The best thing to do with the press is to get them on your side! A friendly journalist can be a lifesaver as you finish your restructure and step into a more profitable future. Just be careful because they will probably want more detail than you’re willing to give.

Of course, if you think you don’t have a story or an angle that might be interesting to the press, then review the changes you’ve made over the last few months during your restructure. How you’ve adapted and changed is a story in itself.

In difficult market conditions, stories of how businesses have adapted to new scenarios are of great interest to the press because they attract readers with useful and timely information and expose them to advertising.

Your PR and Marketing Campaign

The key to any marketing and new business campaign is having a good plan, implementing it, measuring it, improving and refining it and rolling the new version out again. This process is summed up in the acronym AIDA(S), which is used in marketing to describe a common list of events that are very often undergone when a person is selling a product or service:

A – Attention
Attract the attention of the customer. 

I – Interest
Raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits, rather than features, as in traditional advertising).

D – Desire
Convince customers that they desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs. 

A – Action
Lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing. 

S – Satisfaction
Satisfy the customer so they become a repeat customer and give referrals to a product. 

How your Business's Clients help you save, turnaround, and grow your struggling professional client service consultancy, design, marcomm, PR, digital or creative agency business (checklist).

Save Turnaround Grow Your Struggling Consultancy Practice Studio Agency Business Clients

A twelve-part blog series outlining how to save, turnaround, and grow, your struggling or failing professional client service consultancy, architects practice, design studio, marketing communications (marcomms), PR, digital or creative agency business.

Click to listen to the audio or read the full transcript below and sign up for my Creative Core newsletter and I'll send you a quick-start business turnaround email course complete with 96 point action checklist and business turnaround strategies you can start using today.

Total Business Turnaround
Part 09 | Working With Clients

Without clients or customers, you don’t have a business. It is as simple as that. Keeping your customers happy and coming back is key to your success. A disgruntled client is like having five clients who will never give you any work, projects or sales.

Never give a client reason to let their network know you’ve let them down. With less active clients around than in more buoyant times, your reputation is more critical to your survival and success than ever before. 

Clients and Their Effect on Continuity

Your existing clients, those with live projects or sales about to confirm, are your most crucial ones. They are not only the answer to your immediate cash flow issues, but will ensure you can take care of things in the coming months while you regain your footing.

Depending on how your restructuring process was carried out, and how quietly it was done, your clients may not even be aware that you have been having problems.

Whether they do or not, at the appropriate time it may be a good idea to give them at least an overview of what’s been going on. If you or your team has a strong relationship with your clients, then they will be supportive and trust that you’ll continue to do good work and provide them with excellent products and services. 

Copyright Issues

Upon hearing that you’ve restructured, your clients will be concerned over the copyrights of the work they have procured from you. They will be worried that they may not have the right to use the work or will they have to pay again. They will also worry about the copyright of any supporting material used within the product or service they have purchased.

Have an email or letter ready to be issued once you’ve instigated any restructuring process to show your clients that you are fully aware of their concerns and that you are proactively dealing with those issues. 

Ownership and Outstanding Invoices

If you’ve restructured through a liquidation, you clients will want to be certain that if they pay an outstanding invoice to the company in liquidation, they will own the product that they have paid for. In some instances, the client will argue that they don’t have to pay the outstanding invoice because the company is in liquidation.

Issue the invoice along with some kind of communication that proves the new company has purchased the old business assets, including the outstanding invoices in the debtor book. 

Rumour Control

You need to do your best to head off rumours before they get any traction and quash those that are making the rounds. Understand that your management, your staff, your creditors, suppliers, and your clients will experience or spread the rumours about you and your business, either knowingly or otherwise and while your clients may not pay attention to the rumours, it’s better to be certain and contact them directly.

Communicate your situation and reassure them that everything is moving forward despite the issues you are facing.

Building and Maintaining Trust

If your clients trust you, they will generally be more loyal and more likely to help you through this process, especially if they are aware of the difficulties you are facing. You need to maintain trust through communication. If your client is unsure about what’s going on with your business, and uncertain of your abilities and focus, they will most likely not trust you or your team to deliver their project. In that case, they will begin to look for some other provider they can trust, which will just make things more difficult for you. 

Trust is built through continuity. By continually offering great products and services in the past, by continually putting your clients first, you built up their trust in the past. You need to maintain and build-up that trust by reminding them of having been a great business in the past, and reassuring them that you continue to offer the same level of service, quality and creativity they have come to expect. Let them in on some of the details about how you intend to maintain and improve the standards your business adheres to.

Client Loyalty

If you have worked hard to develop solid, long-term relationships with your clients, they should be loyal to you. In many cases, this has been sorely tested by the economic problems we are currently facing, especially in the retail sector with customers doing everything they can to find the lowest prices, but for most professional relationships it still holds true.

It is up to you to be in your clients minds just enough so you’re the first company they think of when it comes time to show their loyalty, and that means you must make satisfying their needs—as much as you would any partner or vendor—your top priority. 

Make Your Deliverables

The primary concern of your clients, assuming that they are still willing to buy from you now that you are going through the restructuring process, is your ability to deliver as promised. This is especially true if it is a longer term project as there’s more of a chance of you going under if times are hard. If it’s a quick hit project and you have a good relationship they may not be as concerned, but they will be wary.

It’s up to you and your team to ensure that your clients are happy with progress you are making on their work and that your team is able to deliver. It can’t be the client’s problem or inconvenience that you can’t deliver for any reason. 

Quality and Price

The worse a market is, the more competitive it becomes until only a few are left standing. In order for you to be one of the ones left standing, you have to make some strategic decisions regarding price and quality to make sure that can happen. Especially examine market expectations and demand before you make any decisions.

How your Business Creditors help you save, turnaround, and grow your struggling professional client service consultancy, design, marcomm, PR, digital or creative agency business (checklist).

Save Turnaround Grow Your Struggling Consultancy Practice Studio Agency Business Creditors

A twelve-part blog series outlining how to save, turnaround, and grow, your struggling or failing professional client service consultancy, architects practice, design studio, marketing communications (marcomms), PR, digital or creative agency business.

Click to listen to the audio or read the full transcript below and sign up for my Creative Core newsletter and I'll send you a quick-start business turnaround email course complete with 96 point action checklist and business turnaround strategies you can start using today.

Total Business Turnaround
Part 08 | Business Creditors

Your creditors, on the whole, are really the suppliers who have helped you grow your business. Without them, you would have nothing to make or sell. No product, no income—nothing. They helped you when you first got started and have been there for you throughout. Therefore, you should do everything you can to return the favour and ensure that they are well looked after and treated at all times with the respect and professionalism they deserve.

Business Continuity

You must maintain your integrity, honesty, openness, and you must recognise your obligations and make good on your debts wherever possible. In extreme circumstances, especially when the future of your business is in the balance, you should look at everyone associated with your business as suppliers and creditors, and for your business to survive; you have to look after them all. You can’t focus on one to the detriment to the other; otherwise your business will quickly start to fall apart.

Statutory Creditors

The main creditor you will have, and in the UK probably the main reason why you may have had to reach the decision to liquidate your company, is the government; especially if they are pressuring you to pay overdue monies owed for VAT and the Employee Tax. Because of the length of time that it takes for communication to pass down the ranks within government agencies, they can always come in and demand monies owed. However, once you have gone into liquidation or administration, it is the responsibility of the insolvency practitioner to handle any enquiries from the tax collectors.

You as Creditor

You will probably have to forgo any money you’ve invested in the form of personal loans or through credit cards. If you must get paid back, the best you will be able to do is to pay yourself only the absolute minimum to help ensure the continuity of the firm. You may receive a dividend from the insolvency practitioner, but that is dependent on the amount of funds you have invested as directors loans.

That dividend, however, will not be enough to pay the regular day-to-day bills of your credit cards and personal loans. Moreover, if you do receive anything, you won’t receive it for about 24 months, or until you’re new company has fully paid for the old business. You may have to consider personal debt management to make it through.

Problem Creditors

There are many creditors who will, more or less, work with you. There are others, unfortunately, who will more likely cause trouble. This will happen through unprofessional behaviour, rumours, and bad mouthing. The best way to deal with these issues, not to mention the creditors behind them, is to communicate as openly and fully as you can.

Responsibility and Understanding

It’s good practice to always keep the other person’s situation in mind and to be as understanding as you can. Remember that to a greater or lesser degree, everything that is happening to you and your business has an impact on everyone connected. You must remain professional and helpful. You are part of the reason you and the creditor are in this situation, but so is he.

Be as honest and helpful as you can, since by doing your best to resolve the situation, they will respect that once they’ve had a chance to vent and feel heard by you.

Repayment Schedules – Preferred Creditors 

You’re not meant to give any creditor preferential status, but there are business-critical suppliers and creditors that must be paid for you to continue working. Prioritise as best you can, but in the short-term you should only pay business-critical creditors and suppliers to ensure continuity and keep them on a realistic payment schedule so that your month-to-month cash flow and payments are kept to an absolute minimum. 

Repayment Schedules – Other Considerations

On the whole, it’s best to keep any agreement to repay ongoing business-critical suppliers on a gentlemen’s basis. In other words, try to leave it at a handshake.

Any commitment above that at this stage will simply put you under stress while you are trying to get the business going again.

As long as your intention is to make good the relationship, and you keep in regular and professional contact, then you’re doing your best and doing the right thing. So many others wouldn’t go this far and your creditors will, for the most part, respect this even if they are upset that they aren’t getting paid straight away.

Software Licenses and Copyright Issues

When it comes to software license agreements that are not carrying over, things can become very complex. Check the terms and conditions as you may have to re-buy certain items you thought you’d bought and had value in the purchase consideration for the old company.

Some software license agreements restrict the license transfer to restructured companies. Often, these companies will invoke their terms and conditions and insist that you purchase new licenses.

Photographers and other suppliers who hold the copyright of their work will keep a tight hold on the  copyright until they’ve been paid and that can lead to client issues. They may even contact your clients directly and demand payment, as they may ultimately be the end user of the copyrighted material. Deal with these suppliers in as timely a way as possible.

How your Staff Team help you save, turnaround, and grow your struggling professional client service consultancy, design, marcomm, PR, digital or creative agency business (checklist).

Save Turnaround Grow Your Struggling Consultancy Practice Studio Agency Business Staff Employees

A twelve-part blog series outlining how to save, turnaround, and grow, your struggling or failing professional client service consultancy, architects practice, design studio, marketing communications (marcomms), PR, digital or creative agency business.

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Total Business Turnaround
Part 07 | Staff Team

Negativity can spread quickly among any group of employees; and although some people will always find fault with something and complain and spread rumours, it’s wise to take note of the situation and work to keep your business environment, systems, and staff development programs organised and always improving.

You must ensure that your communication is timely and focused and that your employees have a way to communicate their concerns to you. More than that, they have to know that when they do step forward, they are taken seriously and that action is taken if appropriate. Without your employees, you have no business, so treat them right!

Leadership and Motivation

Leadership is about far more than simply being in charge. That is simply being a boss and that won't go very far if you are trying to restructure your business. Leadership is about showing the way and facilitating everyone's journey so that everyone in the company makes it to the same end point at the same time. It means being true to the big picture vision while keeping an eye on the details and giving your people the tools they need to get you there. It means delegating responsibilities and trusting the people you select to do their jobs.

A leader's mood and behaviour impact on how group members think and act, a fact that is directly tied-in to how effectively the group works. Leaders issue verbal and written instructions, yes, but they also transmit their goals, intentions, and attitudes through their emotional expressions, and that cannot be ignored. The group members respond to this cognitively and behaviourally, and that response is reflected in the way the group works. 

A and B Type Employees

You are in business to earn profits and to grow your business. To be on this journey, you need the right kind of employees, but how do you know who and what you really have? You can divide your employees up into four different types: A,B,C, and D. The difference between them comes down to talent, reliability, and performance. A-Type employees are talented and they perform to expectations, at the very least.

Fakers make all the right noises and appear to be taking all the right actions, but their motives and methods are questionable, to say the least. B-Type employees deliver satisfactory performance, even though they lack in ability. All it really takes is a little investment in their development to turn them into A-Types.

C and D Type Employees

If the A- and B-Type employees are at the top of the heap, the C- and D-Type employees are at the bottom and they each present challenges of their own. C-Type employees are unsatisfactory in their work performance, failing to deliver the results expected of them. They are also lacking in ability, work knowledge, skills and values.

D-Type employees are talented, but they are not contributing or delivering and you need to find out why since many D-Type employees have left one Company to join another only to become A-Types. If you can answer the question you can help them evolve into A-Type employees that can be of immense value to your business. 

Employee Concerns

You should be aware of the many likely concerns that your employees will have once they become aware that the business is struggling financially. Threats to their integrity, their job, their pay-check and more all contribute to the worries of your employees. You need to communicate with your people and reassure them in order to keep these concerns in check. 

Employee Tolerance for Problems

Some employees have a high tolerance for problems – mainly because they are older and more experience, but the majority will not. Therefore, it’s advisable to be mindful of this when communicating change within your organisation. The important thing to remember throughout this process is that regardless of how hard it is for you, your employees are feeling it as well.

Their career paths have been very different – no doubt focused on specific tasks and responsibilities – so they are not exposed to the emotional ups and downs associated with a struggling business and the impact that it will have on them.

Dealing with Rumours

In times of intense difficulty, the last thing you want to deal with is an issue like rumours within your organisation. Unfortunately, when business is difficult it’s very likely that rumours will abound, especially if you and your management team are tied up with sorting out the problems and trying to get the business on track.

It’s best to try and spend as little time as possible determining what they are so you can spend your time putting them to rest by communicating regularly with your management and employees so they never grow bigger than murmurs that are quickly and quietly dispelled.

Regular and informative, yet reassuring communication should serve to eliminate rumours. Generally D- and some C-Type employees will propagate rumours with others following suit soon after, depending on seniority.

Communication with Your Employees

You need to communicate with your management team, your IP, the bank, your sales finance company, your solicitors and, just as importantly, with your staff. Depending on the size of your business, you could do it one-on-one, as a team or a department, or to the entire organisation.

Just remember if you choose to speak with individuals or teams, that as soon as the first few people have left the meeting, everyone else is up to speed on what they think is going on as opposed to what’s actually going on, so depending on what you want to say, it may be better to communicate to the team or company as a whole. 

TUPE in Practice

The purpose of TUPE is to protect employees if the business in which they are employed changes hands. Unless employees have been part of a larger corporation that frequently changes hands they are likely to be unaware of TUPE and therefore seek some assurances with respect to working for the new company and some guarantees that any money owed to them from the old company is paid to them.

Once you’ve completed the purchase, you must send a letter letting all employees know the obligations and responsibilities to them under law have now been undertaken by the new company. To put their mind at rest, you can let staff know before completing the purchase that this letter is going to be issued once the company purchase has gone through.