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TUNE IN TO HEAR ABOUT
- Why many entrepreneurs avoid their numbers
- The impact of not being across you numbers
- Must dos for best practice budgeting
- Must dos for best practice forecasting
- How budgeting & forecasting go hand in hand
- The impact of pricing & your pricing strategy on your bottom line
- Why you need to be across your YOY performance and ROI at all times
Eliza is a Financial Coach for small business owners who provide professional services to their local communities.
She specialises in programs that shift the mindset of owners around budgets and financial strategy so they feel a sense of optimism for the future. I empower them with simple tools, structures, systems and processes to become more commercially savvy and build a scalable business that sees them – and their business - flourish.
CONNECT WITH ELIZA
Anna Jonak [00:01:19] Welcome to Episode 55 of the Raising Her Game podcast. Anna here today talking with financial coach Eliza Ludwig. Now, if any of you know me, then you know that I love my numbers and I'm so excited to be sharing the air with someone who perhaps likes them even more than me. That will certainly be the test for it today. Let's see who loves them more. Now, Eliza specialises in programs that shift the mindset, yes I love that bit, of small business owners around budgets and financial strategy. So, essentially, they get to the place where they're feeling much more optimistic about the future. Now, she's all about empowering business owners with simple tools, structure, systems and processes, essentially to become more commercially savvy and build a business that essentially is going to be scalable and is going to see them flourish on all fronts. And I say a massive amen to that. So welcome!
Eliza Ludwig [00:02:09] Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
Anna Jonak [00:02:12] Well, I cannot wait to dive into all of this stuff with you. Now, I'd love to know first of all like the journey to you kind of becoming a financial coach. Like your background, your history, and basically, what led you on the path that you're on now. Please share.
Eliza Ludwig [00:02:26] Yeah. Well, it's quite funny. I originally wanted to be a farmer and I went crazy and I did an agri-business degree and I moved to London because I thought "let's just move to the city, get that out of my system before I live rurally for the rest of my life". And, got a job in accounting and just never looked back. I've just always loved numbers and yeah just sort of seem to really suit me. I suppose that really gave me the next push though was after I had my first child. Between my children, I got put on a mini group I suppose and there was somebody from procurement, sales, marketing, and myself as the finance lead, and we basically created a product line and we launched it nationally into Woolworths and Coles. And, although corporate always sort of say that the financial people are business partners to the departments we were supporting, I didn't always feel that the way that the business was set up would really enable true partnering. [Anna agrees] Whereas this project really did enable that. And, I just loved it. You know we worked together. We had an amazing product in the end. Yes. So I really like that. I suppose the other side to that is when having children, I was really lucky to get a part time role. But, I found that because I wasn't there all the time I didn't get really very interesting projects. I was sort of put on the stuff that wasn't that important. And, I was a bit bored really. And, I know of a lot of mothers who were in the same position. So, I really wanted to support those women if they wanted to go off and start their business and use their brain and have the flexibility. I felt that there was a need for them to have some financial support. So yeah, that was sort of the business idea I suppose. And, four years later I'm still here doing it.
Anna Jonak [00:04:12] I love it. Well, first of all, farmer's wife. Farmer's wife, I want to say farmer's wife probably because actually I wanted to be a farmer's wife. I kid you not. When I was like in my heyday, when I was younger, I was always like I'm going to be a fat farmer's wife. Now, I don't know whether I envisage myself to be fat on a farm or my husband was going to be fat but that was just the words I used to say when I was younger and I was gonna go and live outside in a rural area too. So, I'm with you. I love the fact that you obviously had a view of where you wanted to be and then you kind of got shifted as we often do on the journey to a role in accounting and then when you own kind of business projects and now in a position when you're doing things on your own. And, as you say so rightly that women need business coaching. I don't think that they always realise that they needed or that they lean into it. And, we'll get onto that more in a minute. Tell me what it is that you love about what you do, like specifically what is it about being in this space helping women and specifically with their numbers. What is it that like lights you up?
Eliza Ludwig [00:05:11] I think I suppose it's really that we're working together. You know it really is a partnership and I think when they see the penny drop, when they realise that, I know in your Financial Module you talk about people who've been told they've been bad at maths. I think so many people think that they hit fractions freak out and think that's it I can't do maths but then they start their business and I'll show them a few things about the financials in their business and they're like "Oh that makes sense" and "oh I know that" you know and I think that really lights them up and it really empowers them really to go forward and to make a success of, you know, build on the successes that they've already had. And yeah, I'm a very empathetic person I suppose so really feed off their excitement and their achieving their goals really helps me achieve my goals and working together just lights up my life.
Anna Jonak [00:05:59] I think it's awesome that you talk about it as a partnership. It's like you're going on a journey together. And I think that that's a really nice thing because it's like you really get involved in people's businesses. You want to see them succeed. It's much more that than just going through numbers and educating them. It's about helping them to as you said feel empowered and then take that into their business and their life and then you know things will change. I mean on that note like so kind of, on average what kind of business owner do you tend to work with? Are you talking to people who like are kind of in the early throwsof business? Or you find you’re speaking to people who are a bit farther along and realising that they need like some financial savvy in their life.
Eliza Ludwig [00:06:32] Yeah, the latter, totally. I think myself included when you start out, you sort of think oh well I really need... Oh first and mostly, service businesses but then yeah about two years into their journey because when you start you think oh really I'm a service, all I need is a laptop and a website you know and I'm good to go and then you sort of realise oh my gosh either I'm absolutely, frantically busy but I've got no money in the bank or jeez I could be a bit busier and I don't know what to be focusing on. I don't know what my next stage should be, what my investment, what I should invest into to grow my business. So yeah, it's really when they're a bit further along and sort of realise that they need a bit of help. They want to go that next stage and not quite sure how to get there.
Anna Jonak [00:07:11] So tell me about like some of your biggest successes like the kind of moments when you know like you said those pennies dropped and you've been able to kind of help someone kind of transform what they're doing or kind of like help them kind of raise their profit and all those kind of things.
WORKING ONE TO MANY
Eliza Ludwig [00:07:23] Yes. I suppose one example would be a personal trainer. So, I've worked with a few personal trainers and I think it's one of those things where you think OK well, I charge 80 dollars an hour to train somebody whereas I could do group classes but it's 15 dollars. I charge each person 15 dollars so they focus on the personal training aspect without recognising that the turnover is really high that you're gonna get a lot of cancellations, that you really can't scale that. Whereas, if you've got a group class you know people fall, people are growing as well. It's easier to get people to spend 15 dollars on the class than 80 dollars on personal training. And, if you grow that. If you double the numbers there, you sort of doubling your profit essentially whereas you don't have that flexibility with a one on one training. I think another area that I see as I work with a lot of service businesses is that they don't like quoting. You know, quoting takes a lot of time. It's not always an exact science. It feels like it should be and that goes back to either you know you're so busy, you're getting every single quote that every single person you pitch to you're getting it but you're just finding you're sort of behind the eight ball all the time. So, it's around getting some systems and some understanding around quoting to make that a quicker process, a more failsafe process and just changing some things within their business that can speed things up and make that sort of a better process.
Anna Jonak [00:08:46] I love it. I love the whole thing about being essentially being strategic. Like you said, rather thanworking one on one with a lot of problems with service based businesses is you can't scale it and helping people to see that they can actually work one too many and lots of different ways and actually the impact that can have on their profit and minimising their time all the way through as you said implementing systems and processes to save people time and eventually money as well. So, like you know, you're speaking my language. [both laugh] So, what do you think it is like from your experience, I mean I'll give you mine, but what do you think it is about why people fail to stay on top of theirnumbers? From your experience with people, is it that they're just scared?
WHY PEOPLE FAIL TO STAY ON TOP OF THEIR NUMBERS
Eliza Ludwig [00:09:24] Yes. I would say that and I would say also it's that mindset. That's where the mindset comes in. It's ‘oh numbers’ don't know. You know, I don't want to know. I'm gonna shove that in the cupboard and shut the door. That's what my accountant does. I think the frustration then comes when they go to their accountant and they say oh you know am I charging enough. What should I be doing within my business and also they get sort of a blank stare because the tax accountant is really focusing on their tax, not really necessarily their entire business and their business strategy. So, I think people don't recognise how much they do know and just run from it. But, once they jump in and have somebody sort of help them along a little bit and guide them and empower them to realise oh you do know what your most popular product is and you do know roughly how much you're making on each service that you're delivering and how long they take in things like that. So yeah I'd say fear is probably the biggest one. Yeah.
Anna Jonak [00:10:17] Well, I think it's interesting what you said about the tax accountant because I don't know whether people are aware of the fact that you might just have an accountant who does your tax at the end of the year and there's some people have an expectation that they're going to give them advice or you know when they pay them on top. Because we have a tax accountant and we've got a bookkeeper and a tax accountant and they obviously do a great job but like never once that they've really given us any advice. We kind of get summary at the end of the year but for us obviously, we've really empowered ourselves with understanding our numbers because of the fact that this data provides us with so much insight. And obviously we're going to talk today, actually. We wanted to talk today kind of co-partneringbudgeting and forecasting because they're two really big parts of your business when it comes to you understanding first of all the outgoings and managing them so you're not hemorrhaging money and making sure that you're kind of managing what's going on versus the actual kind of setting yourself goals and forecasting where you want to take a business whether it's month to month or across time. I mean I certainly know that I forecast monthly and then over a period of time and you're looking at data but having that kind of transparency you know it's so empowering and I think that's the word you've used a few times and certainly we want people and women out there to not put the head in the sand and feel that it's something that their accountant should do or their partner does. Even in businesses, when I see people who co-partner, they just give the numbers to the husband and that really annoys me. Because I'm like I'm all for you having different roles, but like Flori and I have different roles, but we're still across things. And, you need to understand them because you are not understanding a fundamental element of the business which actually feeds into so much to just hand over and not be across it. So, yes, that's my little rant. [Eliza says "Yes absolutely with you" and both laugh] But, let's talk a little bit about these two areas in budgeting and forecasting. And, between us we're going to share you some tips and Eliza is going to lead the way with this. But, let's start with budgeting and just a bit of clarity sake so you guys understand what we mean by budgeting. But, essentially, this is looking at you outlining what you're going to spend your money on over a period of time and ultimately, where that money's coming from. Well, you're making sure there's money to do it. And it means you're in control of stuff. It means you can fund all your current expenses and what you know is coming in and out versus also thinking about you know meeting objectives and all the things that you want to do. Do you have enough money to kind of fund them? So, that's kind of like a bit of an overview of what we mean when we talk about budgeting and you want to share some tips around your view on best practice budgeting and how people can kind of be really savvy when it comes to making sure they're across the ins and outs of business like budgeting?
BUDGETING BEST PRACTICE
Eliza Ludwig [00:12:41] Yes. The first thing I sort of have a bit of a three-step process which I often talk about which is look back, look forward, and look down. So looking back is about saying OK what did you do last year or last month or whatever sort of length of time you're looking at and having that sort of as a baseline. There will be a lot of things that will be similar from last year like Christmas or End Of Financial Year if you’re in my area.So, there are key times that will be the same year on year. Then, in terms of looking forward it's things that are going to change. So, you know your children might be starting school or they might be starting day care or we might be having another baby or whatever it might be, there are gonna be also some things in ahead that you're going to change. And then, looking down is about saying OK so I've got my baseline and I've overlaid what's going to change for next year and then it's about saying OK, so when I look at that it's actually going to quadruple my business. Now, looking down is around the mindset piece and that around OK, have I got the capability to do that? Have I got the hours in the day to do that? If I don't have the hours in the day, do I need to get some extra help? Do I need to outsource? So, it's around making sure that those two things aren't incongruous and that you can actually get from your previous results to your future results.
Anna Jonak [00:14:00] Nice. So, I think and we do this a lot with goal setting and I’m actually writing a webinar at the moment about goal setting. One of the big Ps that I talk about with goal setting is about perspective and I think is exactly that for you to budget or forecast, ultimately, you need perspective, right? You need to know where you come from, where you're going, what's happening right now, and as you said coming back that mindset is so key to understanding whether you're backing yourself when you're going to go all in. I mean, Flori and I've had these moments when we're like right we're going to go in and we're gonna do this big launch and we're going to double our spend and you know, oh my God should we do that? [both laugh] Is that a good idea? You know you have these moments and again looking back at your historicals, you can trust from past performance you're actually using up in your budget. And if you're tracking your numbers properly and you've got that return on investment and conversions and things like that, then we should be confident in making a decision to increase our marketing budget and so on and so forth because it should deliver the results. On that note, actually, when it comes to budgeting specifically, we do have a lot of questions in our program around people talking about their investment in marketing. Do you have a best practice on what you suggest a person should spend when it comes to their marketing versus their revenue?
Eliza Ludwig [00:15:06] Look, I don't have a set number because it depends a lot on where the business is, if they've done previous marketing, if it's a me-too product, if there's something very similar in the market. But what I do say, of course, is do the numbers and look at the return on the investment. So, how much do you believe that you'll get back if you're just doing something to get likes, you know extra people liking your Facebook page or you know your Instagram page then I think you need to have a very clear understanding of the relationship between how many people like your page and how many people are actually converting. So, I think that needs to be really paramount in terms of whether you're going to get that payback and if you know going back again to the course you guys deliver, it's around understanding what your marketing plan is. So, yeah, I don't have a set number.
Anna Jonak [00:15:55] I mean that is just an interesting one that a lot of people are constantly asking what their percentage is. For us, I think we're kind of averaging around 20 percent of our revenue coming in goes back out on marketing and it's certainly obviously our revenues increasing year on year and our kind of budgets are kind of seem to be going up when it comes to what we want to invest in marketing. But as you said, you know we do track everything when it comes to investment. And also, we're very aware and something for people to be conscious of as you were saying when people are looking for likes or something like that, it is a strategy for you to have a long-term approach to building a pipeline. So, being aware of and making some investment which might not have a return right now but that's why again when it comes to numbers analysis you need to really think about how long does a person needs take to convert your product? How long are they going to watch you? Because some people, like for us, followed us for two years before they take the leap because you know it's a sizable investment. It's an investment of time and a commitment on lots of different levels. But knowing that being the case you know it means that we have to fill a pipeline of people that maybe right now are thinking about starting a business you know and in a year's time we might be ready for them. And there'll be no direct return but it's a smart move to be thinking about investing in a pipeline for the future rather than getting in the trap of kind of like you know the hamster wheel of like just converting and doing things right now. [Eliza agrees] Sorry went off on a bit of a tangent. It's been a really hot topic of conversation over here at the moment about marketing and pipelines and all these things.
Eliza Ludwig [00:17:14] Yeah. No, no, it's a really good point. I should have mentioned that. Yeah.
Anna Jonak [00:17:18] And when it comes to budgeting, do you have any things that people should be mindful of like when it comes to them thinking about, especially in service-based businesses, some things that they should be across that people might be might mistakes around or they've been bitten on the bum before?
Eliza Ludwig [00:17:33] I suppose I've sort of touched on it a little bit before but it's just really understanding how much time each service takes you if you're in the service industry. So, it's around, you know, if you are focusing on your higher end product, understanding that's probably going to take a lot more time and you're going to have fewer conversions because it is a bigger commitment for people. So, in the example you've just given, do you have sort of a smaller product that can lead in to, can fit in nicely at a later date when they are ready for the larger investment. It's just around focusing on what you need at that time and what your customers and your clients need at that time also.
Anna Jonak [00:18:12] Awesome. And, do you have a best practice approach like GST? Because I've seen that come up a lot with people when they like start in the business. Should I register for GST now or not and we certainly got bit in the bum a little bit by that in that we didn't register for it and then we ticked overinto a new financial year and we had to pay back on some of it because we hit the threshold, basically.
Eliza Ludwig [00:18:33] Yep yep. I say for product businesses, it's good to just do it immediately. In terms of budgeting and forecasting, if you do feel that you're getting close to that number then do it sooner rather than later. And, it's about engaging bookkeepers and accountants and things like that who can help you with the setup because it's quite complicated. Only some software packages will support that. I definitely suggest getting off excel if you're getting close to that threshold. I think you know that's when you need to invest in a better accounting package. That's when you need to have a really good bookkeeper who's going to partner with you and do that and understand the costs around all of that. So yeah, I think that the product-based businesses I think it's a really good idea because then you can claim the GST back on the purchases that you're making. For a service-based industry, it's not necessary so soon.
Anna Jonak [00:19:22] Until you get to that point. [Eliza agrees] And what about like tax? Do you see a lot of people getting stuck like coming in and stuck with taxes and they just go hey I'm just going to take all this revenue and then to spend it and use it and then come tax time they're like little bit screwed? [laughs]
Eliza Ludwig [00:19:36] Yeah absolutely. Absolutely. And I think another thing that we might see sort of further down the future is retirement as well. Again, for the same reason, I mean that just seems forever in the future. I generally say save 40 percent of what you're earning regardless if you can and put it in a separate bank account and just see that build because that's actually quite nice as well. Quite a nice motivation to see that number built and yes you might be needing to pay that back in tax but at least you know that you don't have to suddenly run a fire sale to try and meet your current expenses.
Anna Jonak [00:20:08] Yeah. I've definitely seen people becoming unstuckwith tax. I can say I portion a certain amount and have done pretty much as soon as we start each new financial year because I know there's obviously an eighteen-thousand-dollar threshold when you don't have to pay tax. But pretty much from the moment we start moving into next month is like skim a percentage off the top, put it aside and then you've got it. And, we now have regular payments come through. We've got to pay every three months. And, I've got to say like I'm so glad that I've got that there. But it's also interesting because the government obviously, they are looking at your numbers based on last year. So, we're paying based on last year's tax. But then as a business, it's really interesting because this year we'll obviously be paid on our performance this yearbut like what happens if you take a dip or like you know it's that whole kind of it's a really interesting concept to be kind of paying tax in a way when you're paying it every three months I've got to say.
Eliza Ludwig [00:20:57] Yeah for sure. I suppose the nice thing though is if you do take a dip you should be getting some back. [both laugh]
Anna Jonak [00:21:04] Yes. Look at the positives. So, I like it. OK. Some good budgeting tips there. Things for you to be need to be mindful of when it comes to tax and GST and obviously thinking about kind of like the regular stuff that comes in and out every month and looking backwards and looking forwards. Now, in the same vein from kind of budgeting and kind of making sure that you are covering all your outgoings and you've got enough money to sort of like fuel the things you want to do. Now, let's talk about forecasting because whilst budgeting is all about planning and everything else, forecasting is very much about working towards a predictive outcome for the future or looking towards where you want to get to. So, it's a bit more airy fairy. It's a bit more out there, a bit more finger in the air but equally, I think it's a really good exercise and one that we have like in our spreadsheet pack that we have in our program. We have the whole goal setting tab I encourage people to play with so they can have a feel around. They sell certain volumes, what kind of net profit they're bringing in so that they can actually start to kind of I guess give themselves something to aim towards. Do you see a lot of people forecasting at all? What's your experience in this space with how people managing forecasting? Was it ad hoc month to month fly by the seat of their pants?
Eliza Ludwig [00:22:11] Yes pretty much that. I suppose the main things that I see are people saying they want to hit a particular number which is great. But it's around building up some numbers around the number I suppose or some strategies around that number. So, it's been a difficult conversation when somebody says I want to hit one hundred thousand and we put everything together and they're getting to twenty five. So, it's around saying look I love the goal. I think it's great but it's not going to necessarily happen this year. Let's build it up. So, I think it's often just a single number as opposed to sort of loftier plans in terms of I want to be say I want to speak to you know I want to do a TED talk or I want to write a book or whatever like that. But there was another thing in terms of forecasting... Oh in terms of investment, I think people tend to invest sort of just on a whim doesn't always make for the best future for their, you know the best strategy for their business and in terms of hitting their financial or future goals. So, I can't think of an example off the top of my head but sometimes it's sort of like oh gosh oh this person is saying they're going to help me with this, it's just you know I'm just gonna launch into that, I'm gonna do that and then without actually realising that you know I suppose training in how to build a course, how to build an online course. I'm going to invest ten thousand dollars in doing that without sort of thinking actually is that the best strategy for your business at this time. And let's look at all the other options that you could actually invest in and what makes sense for you now and it's not saying never but maybe it is the best but you know it's around sort of understanding the stuff behind that.
Anna Jonak [00:23:46] A cost benefit analysis certainly and also looking at like again like a guaranteed return on investment or where you could get to. Forecasting from our perspective, and again, this comes back to you a lot looking forward back and everything else is that we do a lot of, like I have, I live in a spreadsheet and whilst we have everything done in Xero for me, I very much like the spreadsheet that I can go into and I've got like our performance over three or three and a half years old going on four years in November. So, basically, I've got like month to month every single thing that's happened when it's come to our revenue coming in. So, I can obviously look for seasonal trends but I can also look at the growth that we've had year on year and even things like child care rebate and things like that. Knowing our business growth year on year and going OK, so what's my forecasted business growth next year based on the last three years performance and then obviously inputting that from a child care perspective and all those things. So, we definitely look at the long term across, picture across period of time to forecast where we imagine the business will be and to set that big hairy scary goal. If we had 60 plus percent growth this year, what do we want to do next year? Like what do we think we'll get to if we push ourselves, what will we get to? So, we kind of like forecast in terms of what that big like, obviously we're just finishing this financial year now. So, we kind of got those final numbers just wrapping them up with the bookkeeper and accountant. And, it'll be like right, what's the aim for next year? Where are we going to get to? So we've got a big picture vision but then also working backwards from that point. What does that mean we've got to bring in a month or when we're running different strategies? Like when we do our big activations, what do we need to bring in there? What do we need to bring in an average month? It's kind of really like getting down to that nitty gritty of actually what that looks like. What does that number actually translate into with volume if sales and across months and things like that? And those are the exercises that take a bit of time when you play around with. But it's that that gives you the picture.
Eliza Ludwig [00:25:38] Oh absolutely. And, I would say overlaying that with what time you've got available. So, you don't want to suddenly go oh my gosh we're working 20 hours a day and we're not keeping up, I need to hire somebody. But you know what, I don't have the time to hire somebody because then I've got to… you know it's around going OK gosh in about six months’ time, I'm going to need to hire somebody so let's start thinking about writing the processes out, let’s put some feelers out. What is the type of person I want? What do I need help with? What don’t I want to do anymore? What can somebody else help me with? So yeah absolutely.
Anna Jonak [00:26:07] We've done a lot of hiring and kind of doing thingswhere we've kind of almost got the point when we need to hire them right now. So, we have to take the time in that month to write the standard operating procedures and even if we haven't kind of necessarily got the revenue in to cover them, it's almost like we know that we need them so we have to make it work. So, in some of those instances it's a bit fly by the seat of the pants but I think that as you said if you're budgeting properly and I guess thinking and planning and again looking at these numbers and I think it clearly shows that budgeting and forecasting really need to go together so that you can really see how the two entwine and what budgeting needs you're going to need to meet that forecast that you want to hit. Hence, playing in the spreadsheet. And, so we have a bigger picture of it then much like with goals, I look at three months forward, three or four months forward so I can see what's happening. And, it also that aligns with our marketing plan. So we have a twelve-month view of the marketing plan and we have three months of goals. We know what we roughly need to bring in those activations which then dictates our marketing spend because we know our return on investment. So, hopefully, just trying to give some examples so people understand I guess how this ties back in of all the things that need to be considered to get you to that place when you're like OK this makes sense. Because I've certainly done some exercises in the program previously with people where you know and this is product-based businesses as well is that they don't realise the margins that they have can be really quite low and then when they start thinking about the 10 percent discount they give to clients with the free shipping or the discount then the free shipping where their cost of goods actually get to what their margins look like. And, actually the picture for them to realise that for a ten-thousand-dollar revenue coming in, they're only making two grand profit. That can be quite like a slap to the face. [Eliza agrees] But it's so true that people need to kind of crunch back down to that. Same thing I've seen people doing it forecasting and then going oh my God I've got to sell like a thousand units and it's like yeah you do. So, again, this will then feed back into your pricing strategy, right? [Eliza agrees] Have you got any tips for pricing whilst we are on that topic?
Eliza Ludwig [00:28:16] Oh. Haven't thought about talking about pricing. I suppose, just going back to what you're just saying in terms of the product business. So, it can be a real freak-out for people when they do realise how low their margin is. But, what I also like is often they'll realise that one product is actually making a really good margin and they've been focusing all of their efforts on the product that's selling heaps and heaps and getting a 2 percent return whereas they could sort of swap their marketing to something that's earning 10 percent and the same amount of effort actually make a lot more profit. So, that's really fun with product-based businesses. In terms of pricing, I suppose there's so many different options. I like to sort of do a few sense checks. So, one of my first clients actually was a carpenter and he would charge an hourly rate or a day rate. Now, I can understand where he was coming from but he was very new to the trade so it would take him three times longer than somebody who had been doing it. So really, he was getting his clients to pay more because he was inexperienced. So, I sort of said, look you can't really do that and I know that that gets you the money that you need per hour but also you need to get faster and that's not you know it's not up to them to be paying that extra. In fact it should almost be the reverse when you really experience things won't take you all that long and you should be paying for that experience and that knowledge and that professionalism. So, I would sort of check against competitors. I would check against, not even direct competitors, like I find a lot of people who I speak to about working with. They'll often say oh look I've decided to go with a photographer. I need a photographer. So, it's a completely different thing but it's the same investment dollars and just being invested in different ways. I think something that I've learnt from your course is just set a price at which you need to have much more face to face interaction with them and a lot more in-depth discussions. It's not as easy as this is how much it is, sign away. Let's start. You know it's really a discussion and as you've said before it can be a conversation over two years. I think what I think is really effective is making sure in service industries that you do have the one too many and whatever that may be. And, even if you focus on your bigger end of town, your larger flagship program, I think it's also really good to have something where people can have a bit of a taster and to see if they like working with you before you know making that large of an investment.
Anna Jonak [00:30:42] On that note, that's a really good point and I think on the journey that we've been on is that we had kind of separate programs. We've consolidated them. We've kind of like you know tried different things on over time. As you know, we like to pivot and we learn to kind of grow and advance and kind of build the program they wanted and we certainly got to that point now with The Academy but interestingly enough and with what was alluding to now where a lot of what we're doing is looking at more like a long term strategy and now new product development because we've got to a point when we've got a hero product that’s kicking ass. We've got a Mastermind. It's doing really well but now it's about kind of opening up the doors to different price brackets for different people. So, as you said, people can have a taste. They can try things on. They can decide whether maybe at the first point it could be that the business is viable based on a program that we write for them. And then, they can decide where to from here. So certainly, I think that having different tiers of offering and we see that for service-based businesses generally to have several tiers and also to come back to thinking about those all-important sort of upsells especially in service to realise that you know think about the customer journey and how you can keep them for longer. So, oh my God this stuff is so exciting. [Eliza says "Yeah. I love it too" and both laugh] There's just so many different ways that you can cut it and think about things and just make things generally more profitable when it comes to adding in products or services or upselling or being strategic in giving people tasters and I think it's really important that people get their heads around all of this and get excited about it. And I think we obviously did a podcast episode, I cannot remember the number, a few weeks maybe a month or so ago, on the back of the Growth Challenge because we did three days and a lot of focus was on numbers and people thinking strategically. So, I really wanted this to kind of build on that because I think it's such an important conversation for us to have around numbers for it to be something that is at the forefront for people who are serious about business because generally and you've heard me say this in my days when I do stuff, if you're not serious about your numbers I just don't believe that you are going to make it in business because you can't rely on someone just doing your numbers at the end of the year with no advice, with not making strategic decisions and I don't want people to disempower themselves by avoiding something which is a skill that can actually be learned.
Eliza Ludwig [00:32:55] Yeah. Yeah. Totally. And even the reports that you say from accountants you know that can be overwhelming in and of itself without having somebody sort of just show you a couple of key things to look for. Yeah absolutely. I think rather than see it as something that's going to be holding them back, I think it's really important to see it as something that's actually pushing you forward because you have that data. Like you said, you have that data. With that data you can make decisions. With those decisions you know your business can grow and you can get to the next step and you can stay in business for longer which is ultimately what I want. I want women to be able to, well predominantly women, I don't only work with them but I want them to stay in business. I want them to have successful businesses. Yeah. I like this movement of women starting businesses and continuing to grow and use their brain and..
Anna Jonak [00:33:41] Do something in around their families. [Eliza agrees] But equally, you know everybody's success is different. Some people want to have something low level they can run from home. Others want to build companies because that's what floatsfor them and I'm in complete agreement. And, I think you're right about the accountant's reports. When my bookkeeper sent me stuff to begin with us like woah there's like about 17 reports you're sending me here. But, to be honest with you, the most thing I keep my eyes across is a cash flow. I just live in cash flow. Knowing what's coming in and going out and how much we can pay ourselves and we can pay our people and I kind of look back at the profit and loss and make sure that it kind of aligns because obviously the slightly different snapshots based on when invoices fall and things like that. But ultimately, there’s the odd moment when I like kind of go wow this looks really off and it’s because she sent me last year rather than this year. Do you know what I mean? [Eliza says "oh wow that's great"] Just doesn't look right. You know just as a real good sense check but that's as familiar as you get with your numbers, you know what you're comfortable with. You can kind of tell pretty quickly when you run your eyes of report. And in our Mastermind, I mean these are business owners who are all doing like you know hundreds of thousands of dollars. And in our Mastermind, the first thing I do with everybody and I still have to do it is like right send me your PnL. Let me see what your numbers look like. Let's see what's going on. Let's see what's going out and I want to do a cost analysis. I want to have a look at like with you know what things are costing you. And, seriously, honestly, most of them are still not across it even at that point. And that's where I was like OK guys, I'm gonna give you a big slap of wakeup right now because we need to be across this stuff. Come on! [Eliza laughs]
Eliza Ludwig [00:35:17] Yeah. I think the other thing is in terms of how it links in with forecasting is it sort of like I know or you know for most businesses it would be easier to sell a smaller price point product. So, if you do find yourself in a bind in terms of cash flow or if you're having a really slow month and you're not actually making anything, that's when you dial up your marketing on the lower cost items and then whereas if you've got too much work that's where you sort of dial up your marketing on your Masterminds and you can focus on that and not be sort of run quite so ragged and go deep rather than just doing sort of this level stuff with people. So [Anna agrees] and that's fun too.
Anna Jonak [00:35:53] Awesome. Well, look, I trust that there's lots of food for thought from this episode and that people are going to have lots to think about. And, I look forward to hearing what everybody thinks and whether they've had eyes opened and whether it's got them thinking about something or whether it's encouraged them especially if you're a student to go back into Module Five and get into this spreadsheet. But, anyone out there listening whether you're part of our program or not, seriously empower yourself with knowledge. This data is power. It can change everything. And, I think as soon as you step into it, this is you stepping into the future of your business. And we've got two parting thoughts today because there's a few things we want to get across. Eliza, you do the first one and then I'll do the second one.
Eliza Ludwig [00:36:32] Yes. So, I suppose the catch phrase from my business is it starts with a budget but it's so much more. And this is a quote from Dave Ramsey which says "a budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went".
Anna Jonak [00:36:47] Perfect. This is back to my mindset and really hitting home that you guys need to do this is “that those who don't manage their money will always work for those who do.” And you know, I like to end with something hard hitting and you know wake up ladies. If you want this, get on top of it. All righty. Well, thank you so much for today. It's been an absolute pleasure. I've so enjoyed chatting on this.
Eliza Ludwig [00:37:08] Me too. Thank you for indulging my love of numbers too.
Anna Jonak [00:37:12] I'm sure though like I said we're going to make everybody love... We're going to make women everywhere love numbers. All right ladies, thank you for today. Catch you soon. And remember, elevate your game in business.
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