WIBO Week 12 ~ Financing Your Business Growth: Cash Flow & Credit

WIBO
So this week’s lesson was pretty intense! On one hand, we learned about using credit in our business: for ourselves, as well as with our customers.

On the other hand, we had to create a CASH FLOW PROJECTION for our business. This took me a while to complete, but it was beneficial as it forced me to plan for the next year. Not only did I have to come up with projected figures for my earnings, but I also had to project next year’s plans for my business.

It was incredibly helpful for me to write down what I needed to earn, as well as how I needed to plan my time. Projects that I assumed I’d start immediately had to be pushed back because of other projects that would be due.

It seems to always come down to time for me. And after all, time IS money. I realize how much stuff I’ve piled on my own plate, which makes it tougher to complete things on time. While I often juggle multiple tasks, I also understand what I lose in terms of quality of life. By creating a better plan ahead of time, I can make money, and still be able to stop to smell the roses. What a concept!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Breakeven Analysis Coaching Session

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After spending three weeks learning about breaking even, WIBO offered a Saturday coaching session for those who wanted more help with this topic.

I felt okay with Breakeven Analysis, but I wanted to get more coaching on it, so I could feel solid about it. I’ve been asked to volunteer as a WIBO backup course leader next semester, so extra coaching will prepare me to teach this subject when the time comes. I want to be able to share this skill with my music students and clients too, but ultimately, I want to make this work in my own business!.

For Breakeven Analysis coaching, we were asked to submit questions ahead of time, which enabled the WIBO folks to set up small break out groups of WIBO students with similar backgrounds with an entrepreneur coach. As the other students were from locations other than my own, this was also an opportunity to meet other WIBO students before our graduation in January.

The other two members of my breakeven “break out” group was a real estate broker, and a video producer. Like me, both of them were already working in their industry, and seeking to grow their businesses. Our coach, Zahra, was an experienced entrepreneur with an MBA, and she was fantastic in asking the right questions.

I have to say, though, that my breakeven “break out” group produced a BREAK THROUGH for me! 😉 During the past three courses on breakeven analysis, we chose one “unit of sale” that we based our numbers on. For example, that could be one CD for $15, or a monthly house concert that generates $500. Whatever the basic unit of sale is, we have to calculate how much of it we’d need to sell in order to break even.

If my basic unit of sale is a 99 cent MP3, and I need to make $2000 each month to break even, that means I’d need to sell over 2000 MP3s each month. That would also mean that I’d have to do a lot of marketing to sell that many MP3s. Frankly, that would not be the best use of my time, so the goal would be to choose a unit of sale that costs more, so I could sell less units, and make more money.

Since starting the Breakeven Analysis class sections, I’ve thought a lot about lifestyle design, and how I want to spend my time. I started this WIBO course with an eye to build my consulting business, but ironically, I’ve found myself questioning where music and performing fits into it all.

As much as I love helping others market their music, I feel out of sorts when I’m not singing or performing myself. Continuing to perform is what makes me a relevant music marketing consultant, so I wouldn’t be happy if I spent all my time consulting. While discussing my options, Zahra asked how much time I want to spend on a particular task, and my mind screamed “None at all!” I realized immediately that I had to change my basic unit of sale. Again.

But that was exactly what I needed. I went back to the drawing board to create my ideal life (which includes MAKING MUSIC!), and figure out how much it would cost to break even. I didn’t need to be a genius to know that selling CDs or eBooks could not be my main unit of sale. I’d have to think bigger.

In related news, I’ve also been working on a grant application for the International Women in Media Foundation (which is sponsored by the Ford Foundation). It has been consuming and exciting to create a new project that could be funded with a grant, but everything went to a new level when I asked myself, “If I won the grant, would I be happy following through on the plan I’ve created for myself?”

So I’ve decided to start the Rock Star Life Lessons TV show! My main unit of sale will be advertising. This will enable me to make and perform music on a regular basis, while also teaching others as I go, using video. I’ve also created a plan that will work whether or not I receive the grant. But working on the grant application is what forced me to think about the possibilities!

This idea was unexpected, and very exciting, so stay tuned as I learn how to bring this to life!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 11 ~ Investing in People: Human Resources

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One of the lessons that keeps coming up for me is that I cannot do it all myself. In order for my business to grow, I need to replace myself so more work can be done, and more money can be made.

As resistant as I am to getting help, I finally understand that this is a necessary investment that will free me up to do other things.

During the breakeven analysis coaching, the video producer in my group taught me an important tip: In video production, you’re only as fast as your Grip (the person or people that move the gear from one location to another). In post-production, you’re only as fast as your video editor. If I’m doing all of these things myself, it takes longer to get them done. As I’m still editing my Music Success and Taxi videos, I’m painfully aware of this truth.

So if you know any video editors, please send them my way! 😉

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 10 – Making a Profit: Purchasing

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This week in WIBO we plan for the next investment that we’ll make in our businesses.

Whether it’s staff or equipment, we’re reminded that we have to evaluate the potential return for that investment beforehand:

* How much will we make as a result of purchasing an item, or hiring an employee?

* How soon will we get that money back?

* How else could we use that money?

These questions and others help us to decide how to spend our money wisely.

Our workshop leader says that it’s all downhill now that we’ve completed the breakeven analysis sections.

I am doubtful… 😉

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 9 ~ Making a Profit: Financial Decision Making

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Now that we’ve learned how to “crunch the numbers”, this week we use those numbers to solve a problem or evaluate an opportunity in our businesses.

I love how this course is so practical, meaning we apply everything we learn to our own businesses. Doing the math may feel tedious at times, but when you you’re doing it for your own company, as opposed to some random case history of people you don’t know or care about, it makes a huge difference in your motivation level. Onward!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

Carla on Joyce Barrie & Friends Internet Show!

On today’s Joyce Barrie & Friends show at 11am, I’ll be speaking on

“How to Win Friends and Influence People Using Social Media” – Of course this totally feeds into my new book with Ariel Hyatt, The Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook & Twitter: Your Complete Guide to Being Liked, Followed, and Heard

Tune in at http://BlogTalkRadio.com/JoyceBarrie where you can also log into the live chat room.

joyce-barrie
About Joyce Barrie & Friends:
Stimulating talk, news you can use and ways to stay home, have FUN and make more money. Motivation, inspiration, and education. Positive, happy thoughts to improve your life, health, and finances. Take positive actions to create a gratifying lifestyle. Life Lessons from me, your host, Joyce Barrie, straight from the Coach’s Corner and some valuable insights and specific recommendations about having a lucrative, home business. And not to be missed, our special friend(s)each and every day to motivate and inspire you to have what you want in ALL areas of your life.

WIBO Week 8 ~ Making a Profit: Pricing Strategy

WIBO

Now that we’ve learned our breakeven numbers, this week we learn to calculate the OPTIMUM PRICE for our products and services.

It’s important to break even, no doubt, but the ultimate goal of this class is to learn how to make a profit. Your optimum price may stay low, but understanding how much you could charge to make greater profits offers an important perspective.

Thank goodness WIBO has 9 course locations in the NYC area: Harlem, Downtown Brooklyn, Lower East Side, South Bronx, Washington Heights, Central Brooklyn, Long Island City, Southeast Queens, and Yonkers. Since I’ll be in LA for Taxi’s Road Rally next week, I made up the lesson by attending this unit’s class in Washington Heights (four blocks from my house!!).

I volunteered in class to get help with my profit planning, and wrote my company’s breakeven analysis on the board. The Discussion Leader helped me check my numbers (which I’m constantly revising!) on the board, and it was just like being in math class again – but better. This time math class was showing me how to make money with my music business. SWEET!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 7 – Making a Profit: Costs

WIBO

This is the week where we begin to learn about creating a Breakeven Analysis for our businesses. In other words, we learn to do the math that determines how much money our businesses need to generate to be successful.

Without a doubt, this is the part of the course that separates the dreamers from the doers. This section is the reason I put off taking this course for 3+ years. This also is the week that people start dropping out of WIBO. Yeah, it’s all fun and games to visualize your ideal day, and create vision boards, but put numbers to paper?? Ha!

It’s not enough to have products and services to sell. We also have to sell enough in order to pay our expenses, to break even.

I will say, though, that creating a budget for my “ideal life” in black and white makes things DO-ABLE! Like, it’s no longer a dream if you can figure out how to do it on paper. It’s a great feeling to see what can be accomplished. I just have to do it!

I recently read a quote from a successful entrepreneur whose company was sold for 2.8 Billion that inspires me: “I still work 100 hour weeks,” says Harry Gruber, “but it’s not really work. I find something fun to do and then get someone to pay me.”

As scary as this week seems at the outset, it’s important to know what we need to earn in order to break even. I’m in this class to win, so I’m sticking with it (wish me luck)!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 6: Helping People Buy

WIBO
The main lesson of this unit can be found in its title: We cannot make anyone buy our music. We can only help them to do so.

When we are in the position to sell our music after a performance, for example, we can help a potential fan to purchase our music by:

– Having our CDs there to sell (!)
– Making an authentic connection with him or her
– Asking for the sale!

It is not enough to have CDs for sale. You gotta sell ’em too!

For more information about the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) course, visit WIBO.org

WIBO Week 5 – Searching for Customers: Prospecting

WIBO
This week at WIBO we learned about prospecting for customers.

Guess what? Not everyone will buy what you’re selling.

Prospecting is about learning who is interested in buying your music (or other product), so you don’t waste time with the folks who aren’t.

In our class this week, there were technical difficulties with the audio equipment that plays our weekly case study, so this week’s visiting discussion leader offered role play instead.

Whenever my coursemates attempted to woo her with the features of their product or service, our discussion leader would stop them to remind them that they hadn’t asked her the first question about her needs.

This role play was quite eye-opening for me. I was able to understand how important it is to get into a prospect’s mind, find out what they need, and build rapport with them.

As helpful as the recorded case studies (and their related discussions) are, participating in role play helped me understand how to ask the right questions.

Even if you have the persuasive ability to sell ice to an eskimo, your ice business will improve if you aim for thirsty people in the desert.