An entrepreneur needs to know how to handle money and wealth in order to be successful. However, many women entrepreneurs are good in business, but not in handling money. In fact, there are some women small and home-based business entrepreneurs who are downright lousy at managing personal wealth and business finances.Belinda Fuchs, President of Own Your Money LLC , sees this problem everyday. A certified public accountant and wealth coach, Belinda helps thousands of small business owners learn how to manage money and wealth. She offers financial seminars, as well as one-to-one coaching to help individuals and businesses understand that it is ok to have money, and how to handle wealth to help them live the life they want.
WomenHomeBusiness.com interviewed Belinda to share her advice to women entrepreneurs about handling finances:
Success in business requires mastering a number of skills, foremost of which is handling money. What do you think are the financial obstacles women commonly face?
There are two main obstacles most women face:
- The first is that women are never given a financial education growing up and we face emotional challenges—like worthiness and receiving—that make handling finances especially tough. But we’re natural savers and good, careful investors. So with a little bit of confidence and education there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.
- The second obstacle is that women are starting with less. We only earn 75 cents for every dollar earned by men and spend an average of 11 years out of the workforce. That means, if we’re trying to start a business in our early 40’s, our savings (which you need as a buffer, loan guarantee, or seed money) will be as much as $50,000 less than an average man’s
In your experience working with various clients, how do entrepreneurs differ in terms of looking at money (and attitude towards money) from those who do not own businesses?
The idea is to look at money in terms of potential. Look at your money and ask yourself what can you turn that money into—how much can you grow it. Most successful entrepreneurs will look at money that way, but that’s often not where they start out.
When they start, they tend to take everything very personally- because they own the business they think they are the business. This confuses their actions with money.
Most entrepreneurs (especially women) will also ‘give themselves away’ at first—and for too long. They struggle to quantify, articulate, and charge what they are worth. A new client today expressed exactly this problem when she said, “I’ve been ripping myself off for a while, and I feel bad about it. I haven’t been valuing what I have to offer.”
One of the biggest mistakes I see way too frequently is the commingling of personal and business finances. The thinking is that ‘it’s all me anyway’, but these people miss out on accurate profit/loss information, huge tax deductions, and even get into trouble with the IRS more often because they are not tracking the complete business expenses.
What are the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face in terms of money — from finding money, access to capital to handling finances?
The biggest challenge is learning to separate your personal and business finances, and then being disciplined enough to stick with it. You really have to look at the money in the business as belonging to the business, not to you.
New entrepreneurs get blocked here by their lack of education and their psychology. So these issues need to be worked on together. The education part is easy, if you find a good teacher—including supporting you to establish different bank accounts, lines of credit/ credit cards, and a thorough basic accounting system—and start tracking every dollar in and out.
The psychological part is a little tougher for most people, especially if money is tight. Sometimes you will get a big influx of cash and you’ll want to celebrate, but that money is not yours, it belongs to the business. Denying your psychology and any non-supportive beliefs you carry around money contributes to self-sabotage and under-charging. Interestingly, my coaching has evolved to address both of these issues, as I quickly found that addressing one without the other was providing inconsistent and unfulfilling results.
Why is it important that women entrepreneurs learn how to manage money and understand the financial condition of their businesses?
To put it simply: that’s the only way to succeed.
Entrepreneurs need accurate information to make good decisions. Any money you spend on your business needs to either save you time or make you money. This means that you need to know—for every dollar you spend—how much time you’re saving or how much more money you’re making.
You need to know where your best clients are coming from and how much they are costing you to acquire. You need to know what activities are taking up most of your time and how much money those activities are making for you.
This information can only come from having a thorough accounting system. And it’s the only way to guarantee that all of the time and money you spend on your business will return a profit.
What advice do you give women entrepreneurs in terms of learning how to manage their finances?
Ask for help. Financial independence does not mean you are doing it alone. Setting up support and systems often makes the difference to allow women entrepreneurs the benefits of managing their money without feeling overwhelmed.
The key is to just get started. Often the first step is the scariest—as you admit publicly that you haven’t been doing all you could to support your own success. No one is judging you except for yourself though. The good news is that once you start, you build momentum and quickly enjoy the increased confidence and improved information.
Remember that other entrepreneurs have been there, done that, and written a book about it. This means that you are not alone and the information you need is available.
Your company offers a Small Business Program. Can you describe this program and what they can learn from it?
Sure. I can talk a little bit about it. For a full description, I included a link below to what I call my no hype, no pressure sales page. You can check out how the program works and how to get started, and there are comments from a few students, as well.
I believe that having a successful business is about more than being great at what you do. It’s about becoming great at running a business. That’s why I created the Small Business Success Program—a highly interactive coaching program that teaches you the core business building skills you need to create a thriving small business. Here are the 6 big changes that everyone makes, right away, once they join the program.
- Stop Haggling Immediately. Start selling on value and pick the price that works for you.
- Learn how to let people know that they need what you do—and they need it from you! (all in 30 seconds or less)
- Never let technology get away from you again. (you don’t need to turn ‘techy’, but there’s great tools you can easily learn to use that will save you time and bring in more money)
- Stop spending money on advertising that doesn’t work.
- Start investing in marketing that brings in orders, gets your phone ringing off the hook, and drives paying customers to your door.
- And approach your business like a business person (finally make the ‘business’ part fun and profitable).
I have a couple of guarantees. One of them is ‘Guaranteed to Meet Your Schedule and Your Budget’. We made sure there are different options available to meet the time commitment and financial investment you can make.
Here’s the link: http://www.ownyourmoney.com/SBS.html . Go ahead and take a look at how the program works. It’s a pretty short read, 5 minutes or so, and if you decide the program is right for you, or if you have any questions at all, I’d love to talk to you about it.