Clarity on Profit First

As I wrote in my previous blog, I am now a certified Profit First Professional. As of January 2018, all of my clients will reap the benefits of my application of Profit First principles I have learned throughout my Profit First Certification. But what does this mean exactly?

Just around the time of the first Profit First book being released by Mike Michalowicz, I was struggling to grow my business rapidly enough to cover the expenses of a five-figure marketing coaching program and an additional full-time employee. I saw that having to cover the costs of these things in addition to my normal business expenses would put my business in poor financial health. After doing some research on Profit First and reading the first book in the series, I realized that Profit First was the answer for both my business and for my clients’ businesses.

Being a bookkeeper, I knew how to track the numbers, but wasn’t setting sustainable financial goals to guide my business decisions. Two of the main principles of Profit First are to be disciplined and thoughtful with your money. I was too busy chasing after revenue without paying attention to how much money was being spent by my business and the cost of this revenue chasing can really add up. With the principles of Profit First under my belt, I could really see more clearly how decisions based off emotion without due diligence can be a problem. 

Profit First will shift your mindset on how you view your numbers. You will have a better understanding of how your money goes in an out. You will discover new, creative ways to increase profits. There will be no more sleep lost over wondering if your business will have enough money to meet payroll. You will enjoy taking a quarterly distribution from your profit account. You will have the money to pay your taxes sitting in an account ready when you need it.

While Profit First is not a complicated system, doing it alone can be challenging. Clarity Finances will be there to walk you through the process, helping you choose financial goals that will improve your business and enable you to give in a BIG way.

We start with a Profit Analysis, providing a roll out plan and meeting with you regularly to track your progress all while providing encouragement as you need it to celebrate your successes.

When businesses get their numbers right through Clarity Finances and the Profit First system, they can play BIG and give BIG.

 

 

 

ProfitCON17, Certification and more!

This past weekend I attended ProfitCON17 in Morristown, New Jersey. This was my second time attending a ProfitCON and just like the previous time, I came away with such good insight.

I am also proud to announce that I have completed the certification process of becoming a Profit First Professional. Starting in January of 2018, all of my clients will reap the benefits of my application of what I have learned throughout my Profit First certification. To put it simply, with The Profit First System, the business owners will pay themselves, have their financial numbers to the utmost accuracy and all this will help accumulate wealth for themselves and their businesses. My foremost goal however is to have my clients give back, in a BIG way, once they accumulate wealth and have their numbers accurate.

I’ve found such inspiration in the stories I’ve heard from other entrepreneurs who have implemented Profit First into their businesses. Entrepreneurs like Mastery Member John Briggs who said, “The math is simple. One hundred percent of the Profit First Professional members who apply the organization’s benefits, grow. Period.”

Ultimately, I want to achieve my dream of having a successful business that gives back and clients who do the same. Mastery Member Lori Petersen spoke on how being a part of the Profit First Community helped her achieve her dreams saying, “I have more than doubled my company revenue since joining PF two years ago, but that is not the most remarkable part of my experience. I have been unequivocally supported every day by this great organization. I never before have had so much support in achieving my dream.”

In January I’ll be going on a mission trip to Jamaica with Creators of Hope. If you are not familiar with Creators of Hope, feel free to follow the embedded link to their website for more information and how you can get involved. According to their website, “Creators of Hope brings clean, dry housing to Jamaica’s most vulnerable populations-children, the elderly, and single mothers-in the most poverty stricken rural areas around Porus, and beyond.” I’ve wanted to help on one of these trips done by Creators of Hope for a long time now and I’m glad to be able to lend a hand. I’ll be there for about a week and most likely will post a blog post about my experiences, so stay tuned!

My First Hurricane

Shortly after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, we were bracing ourselves for Hurricane Irma in Florida. Where I live in Tampa was expected to get hit pretty hard. Having just moved to Tampa from Pennsylvania, this would be my first experience with a hurricane.

Since this was my first hurricane and not Florida’s first hurricane, they were as ready as they could be. Evacuations were arranged and I looked up where I would have to evacuate should the need arise. My evacuation point was the elementary school down the street from my apartment so I figured that I would ride out the storm at home. If things were to get really bad, I would use my bathroom as a shelter, seeing how it was the only windowless room in my apartment. Fortunately, things in my part of Florida did not get that bad. On Sunday morning the sky looked menacing and I, like the rest of the state, prepared for the worst and prayed for the best.

By the time Irma made landfall on Monday it was downgraded to a tropical storm and then to a tropical depression. A friend of mine on her blog summed up her thoughts on the whole ordeal as “feeling blessed, yet guilty.” The fact that the storm was not as bad in my area meant that other areas would not be as lucky. As of Wednesday when I wrote this blog, the Florida Keys, Miami and the southern most parts of the state are still reeling from the storm.

Having lived in Pennsylvania for most of my life before moving here to Florida, the hardest weather I had to deal with was blizzards. The snowstorms we got in the Northeast pale in comparison to the devastation of a hurricane. The worst we ever seemed to have it was back during the Blizzard of 1995 when the snow came up and literally blocked out doorways; even then we were stuck at home for a couple of days. In fact, I don’t even mind shoveling snow that much since I can’t stand getting cooped up inside and I always had help from my two energetic, young sons.

So my first hurricane is in the books. I’m still here and I still love Florida. I was never afraid and felt safe which I am sure is because of some wonderful friends and family up north praying for me! Also helpful were my Florida friends who have been through a hurricane or two are tough and were up for the challenges a hurricane can bring. Some give credit to mounds built by the Tocobagan tribe that they built along the Pinellas Peninsula for protecting us from the storm and storms in the past; Tampa hasn’t taken a direct hit from a storm since 1929. All I know is that I am thankful to be here for another day.

My church is putting together a clean up effort and I will help once things settle a little more and they just need able bodies, rather than first responders or professional contractors. Next weekend I will be flying back to Pennsylvania to see family, clients and to attend PROFITCon17! Last year’s conference was amazing and I can’t wait for this year’s event and the opportunities that it will bring.

Due to the storm, our series on Giving Back Through Business was put on delay. Check out the blog in two weeks for our next piece in that series.

Giving Back Through Business Part 2

In continuation of our series on giving Back Through Business, I’d like to talk today about the meaning of social enterprise. A social enterprise in terms of business can be categorized as for profit or nonprofit. An article by the Stanford Social Innovation Review pointed out how social enterprises are becoming more popular because they combine the charitable aspects of nonprofits with the revenue generation of for profit businesses.

Companies that are social enterprises are sometimes registered as B-corps, which are “for-profit companies that are certified by the nonprofit B-Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.” According to bcorporation.net there are more than 2,100 Certified B Corps from 50 countries in over 130 different industries.

Some of the fine folks from Inside the Box Cafe & Catering

I recently got to see first hand how this business model could be implemented in my local Tampa area at Inside the Box Café & Catering. ITB is a social enterprise of Metropolitan Ministries. At the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce I got to hear Chely Figueroa talk in detail about what ITB does. ITB provides culinary training to those in the Tampa community transitioning from poverty and homelessness. Proceeds from ITB food sales go directly to feeding the hungry and helping the participants in the program improve their lives. ITB has a vested interest in giving and the results are clear; it works. I liked the story of Inside the Box so much that I scheduled a tour of the facilities for later in September. Stay tuned for updates and check out ITB for yourself.

If you’d like to learn more about social enterprises visit socialenterprise.us to read about a movement of over 1,000 social entrepreneurs that span 16 chapters across the United States.

Giving Back Through Business

If you read through a few of my blog posts, you’ll notice that I cover various subjects. I try to write about things that are current and relate to the world of finance. I pick topics that are not only of interest to just me, but also you, the reader. In the past there have been blog posts as part of a series in a larger project. A couple examples are the series of blogs that I wrote on Traction by Gino Wickman and the blog posts on Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. The next blog series will be similar to the previous posts yet different. These posts will be in relation to the world of finance but will be on something even closer to my heart: giving.

Over the next few weeks I plan on talking to a few different businesspeople who, like myself, make giving a big part of their business model. We may give in different ways and to different places, but what matters most is consistent giving be it donations of dollars or time. We all worked our way to where we are now and those are positions of power. Whether quoted from the Bible, the French Revolution, or in Spiderman from comic book icon Stan Lee, the quote, “With great power comes great responsibility;” I feel this quote describes our situation best. Our companies are of various sizes and work in various industries, but as business owners, we have a responsibility to our clients to give them the best service we can and to serve our fellow man, regardless of them being a client or not, to make the world a better place.

After our previous blog post on microfinance, my mind really started to race…in a good way. Seeing how possible it is to help others, whether they live in your neighborhood or on the other side of the world, made me want to find out more. I figured that I could talk to clients and fellow business people on how they give and why. For me, some of my favorite places to give are Rotary International, Unstoppable Foundation, SheIsSafe, YoungLife and my local church.

For this project to be a success and to reach its ultimate goal, I’ll need your help. If you are interested in talking to me about how and why you give, leave a comment on this blog post or email me at Julie@clarityfinances.com.

Microloans

Since I work in the finance industry, I like to stay abreast of as many things in the financial world as possible. Recently, I have had an interest in learning more about microfinance or microloans. According to the US Small Business Administration, “microloans provide small businesses with small short-term loans for working capital or the purchase of inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and/or equipment.” The US Small Business Administration Microloan Program was established in 1992.

While the SBA is not actually the one that does the lending, they do connect businesspeople with specially designed intermediary lenders. These intermediary lenders are nonprofit organizations that have experience in lending.

The average microloan is around $13,000 with the maximum reaching up to $50,000. Larger banks sometimes may be unwilling to loan amounts of money less than $50,000, which makes microloans fill an essential niche in business development. When starting a small business, the owners may not have the past experience or credit rating to be approved for loans.

If you are looking into becoming a microloaner yourself, there are resources for that as well. Websites like Kiva will help parties come together for lending. The lending can even be as low as $25. Kiva has a transparent business model that enables the microloaners to get in touch with the small business owners with whom they are loaning money. And according to their website, there is a 97 percent loan repayment rate. There are many services like Kiva out there, so do your research on what you think fits you or your business’s interests best and get out there and engage in some small scale business development!

It can be quite simple to become involved in microloaning, no matter what side of the equation you are on. If you are a small business owner in need of some capital, the application process seems to be straightforward and if you have the right mindset and a professional business plan you’ll be on your way. If you wish to loan small amounts of money like on websites like Kiva, it is only a few clicks away. Like qualifying for any sort of loan, it depends on your financial situation, credit rating and more.

If you are interested in finding a microloaners in your area, check out the list on the SBA’s website. In my opinion, entrepreneurship in its best form is when both parties benefit and after doing my research on microloans, this seems to be a solid avenue for that kind of business.

Let me know what you think of microloans, if you have ever been involved in microfinance or if you have any services that you recommend to those who have an interest in getting involved in the world of microfinance.

 

Julie

Independence

I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day! This federally recognized holiday gives many people across the country the day off. While we use this free time to reconnect with friends and family, attend parades and watch fireworks at night, we should also be reflective.

We are fortunate to live in this country. Compared to other countries, our country could still be considered in its infancy. In a relatively short period of time, the United States has risen to its current status. In a country of 300+ million people, we will not agree on everything. In today’s climate, things seem particularly divisive. No matter for whom you vote or what is in your Netflix cue, I would like to think that the majority of us still love this country.

As I’ve highlighted in a few of the most recent Clarity Finances newsletters, there seems to be a shift in consumer culture. Over the past few decades many of the Mom & Pop stores were replaced by the chain stores and strip malls. Now there seems to be more emphasis on patronizing local businesses. As a fellow small business owner, I love to see other small businesses get recognition.

I love the freedom that comes with having my own business. I am free to create the culture I want for my business, free to add services to my company, free to decide to donate 10 percent of revenues to charity, free to choose to which charity I donate, free to choose who I work with, free to be flexible with my schedule and free to travel without the boss’s approval just to name a few. It also means I am responsible for any results good or bad; but I am ok with that!

When I was a kid the Fourth of July varied from year to year but only between two options: spending the weekend with family at Long Beach Island, New Jersey with the days spent on the beach and watching people set off fireworks at night or staying in Narberth, Pennsylvania and hanging out with friends at events that went on all day at the playground. I think Narberth still has some of the best fireworks in the area.

My immediate future holds a lot of traveling. I’ll be back in PA from July 13-16 to celebrate my birthday. From June 16-19 I have a business retreat at Bay Head, NJ. I’ll be back to Downingtown, PA from July 20-24 to celebrate my son Tom’s birthday and to see some clients. The last week of July will be a lot of catching up back in Tampa.

 

Here’s to a fruitful rest of the summer,

Julie

A Hot Start to My Summer

I hope everyone’s summer is off to a hot start because mine sure is. On June 12 I attended Profit First’s Convocation a their headquarters in Boonton, New Jersey. While there I was able to talk with Mike Michalowicz, the creator of The Profit First Method and the author of some of my favorite books on financial advice. I was also able to meet with Rob Saharyn, the co-founder of Profit First. About a dozen of us were there for the event and were given a private tour of the headquarters, which was on the third floor of a repurposed factory. The building was beautiful with exposed brick and a modern design throughout. I also got to network with other Certified Profit First Professionals like myself. In fact, there are less than 200 individuals who are Certified Profit First Professionals but part of the event was discussing how we could get the word out on this program. Speaking of Profit First, I will be attending ProfitCON in September. This will be my second time at the event.

Earlier this month, I attended Scaling New Heights. This was my fourth time at the event and I am already signed up for next year’s event. Scaling New Heights is run by Woodard, a company that advises small business owners. This year’s event was “Face the Yeti,” which focused on facing your fears as a business owner. We had five different areas that we could focus on improving such as keeping up with technology and finding and retaining the right clients. I also learned more about an automated receipt bank used for data entry and T sheets.

With my birthday in July, I decided to get myself a little gift that is good for me personally and for my business. I am attending a business retreat at the Jersey Shore from June 16-19. This oceanside retreat has been dubbed “Mediate & Mastermind” and we will be staying at a bed and breakfast on Bay Head Beach.

Also in July I will be graduating from the Ignite Your Business Program. This program is offered by Asentiv, a company that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners like myself improve their networking and referral marketing.

Here’s to a fruitful and fun summer!

Back in my day…

Generational differences are nothing new.

While there are no exact dates to confirm who is a Millennial, the general understanding is that someone who was born during the early 1980s and the early 2000s is a Millennial. The generation that preceded the Millennials was Generation X and the generation coming after the Millennials is Generation Z. Millennials are the children of the baby boomers and older Generation Xers. The term “Millennial” comes from the link to the graduation dates of those born during the time period coinciding with the new millennium, expected to graduate in the year 2000.

As the demographics of our country change, so does the workforce. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Millennials are now the largest generation in the US labor force and the largest living generation in the country. One out of every three workers is a Millennial. As the Baby Boomers retire and those from Generation X age, the Millennial generation will take up more and more of the labor force. Millennials are not just adding to the ranks from those born in the US. According to the same study by the Pew Research Center, immigrants coming to the US are usually in their prime working years. The study states that over the past five years, over half of newly arrived immigrant workers have been Millennials.

While Millennials may be the most educated generation, they are the most laden with student debt. Unlike in many other countries that have higher education costs offset by taxes, in the United States students are pretty much left out on their own. When funding gets cut, colleges and universities must fill the gap by raising tuition, cutting services and cutting staff. According to an article from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “over the past 20 years, the price of attending a four-year public college or university has grown significantly faster than the median income.” American students owe more than $1.3 trillion in student loans. That is the second largest consumer debt only to mortgage debt. Student debt also may not be discharged by bankruptcy, unlike mortgage debt.

As someone with two Millennial sons and a small business owner who employs a Millennial I’ve had plenty of opportunity to interact and observe people of this generation. They seem to seek value and purpose in what they do, whether it is their personal lives or in their occupations. I don’t recall this sort of idealism being around so prevalently when I was growing up. My generation had its ideals; they just didn’t seem as pervasive as of those of the Millennials. As different generations we will have different values that may cause conflict and create a sense of misunderstanding. I think Millennials have gotten sort of a bad rap and from my first hand experience, they’re not so different from every other generation.

Memorial Day

This weekend summer “unofficially” arrives. Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial kick off to summer all across the country. Now that I live in Florida, I can think back to my times living in the Northeast where Memorial Day carried more weight for being the start to summer. Despite signaling the start of nice weather, beach trips and BBQs however, the true meaning of Memorial Day is to honor those who served in our country’s armed services. Without their sacrifice we would not enjoy the freedoms we may take for granted every day. Many people may wonder what the difference is between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, both holidays in which we honor our armed servicemen and women. The difference is quite easy; Memorial Day honors those who died while serving in our armed forces while Veteran’s Day honors all military veterans. So while many of us will enjoy a cookout or simply a relaxing day off, keep in mind the sacrifices made by those who served in our armed forces.

My summer is starting to get busy already. I’m looking forward to a few events I’ll be attending throughout the season. I’ll be attending Scaling New Heights in June on the 6th and 7th. Scaling New Heights will be held at the beautiful Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando. Scaling New Heights is run by Woodard, a company that specializes in helping small businesses grow. They help people like me who run small businesses improve their networking and much more. Joe Woodard and his team do an amazing job putting on this annual event. This will be my 4th time attending Scaling New Heights. Shortly after that I’ll be going to a Profit First Event on June 12th. This event will be at their headquarters in New Jersey. I will be racking up the frequent flyer miles this summer!

I’ve written about my journey with Profit First in previous blog posts, but if you have not had a chance to take look at the book, here is a link to the first two chapters for free: https://s3.amazonaws.com/ProfitFirstProfessionals/Portal+Downloads/Certified+PFP+Marketing+Templates/Profit+First+Rev+2017+PFP+2+chapters.pdf

Another great free resource is the Profit First podcast available wherever you get your podcasts. (or just Google it!)

If you like the first two chapters and you have questions about using Profit First in your business, I’d love to talk! Please schedule a call with me at www.clarityfinances.com. Profit First has helped so many businesses be more profitable!

I just got back from attending my son AJ’s graduation from Cabrini University in Philadelphia. It was great getting back to Pennsylvania for a little bit. He’s already been putting his education to good use working as a social media consultant for Clarity Finances. We’re happy to have him aboard!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!