A Money Plan and Your Creative Business – More Than Just Figures

If you are a creative-artistic entrepreneur – your need for a Business Money Plan (or commonly referred to as a Budget) is a necessity for your best business creative good. This isn’t just for reasons of some business advisor or accountant telling you that you need it – you should want to need and rely on it as part of your “creative stream.”

While I know it sounds like a cliché to “have a budget for your business” but all too often it is not clearly understood why a money plan for your creative business money needs to be in place.

Consider some of the more profound reasons of why a business money plan should be central to your entrepreneurial path and your creative well-being… please especially note that it goes beyond just the actual figures…

Allow yourself to experience the fulfilling aspects of your business money plan to allow yourself to:

Connect with having enhanced confidence about handling your creative business money

It is challenging to have confidence about something you know little about – right? Planning, whether personal or business is so misunderstood but it truly is one of the most important.

In order to have real, true confidence, you need to should have the business skills that will make your creative business run smoothly – your money plan is one of those facilities that you should have a basic understanding of.

Bring about command of your business destiny through understanding proper money handling practices

While many creative and artistic entrepreneur’s cringe at the idea of “bookkeeping, accounting and anything number related” it is through these systems that you keep your business on a good course. Proper money handling practices is part of this. How do you intend on dealing with a payment system in terms of accepting payments, matching them to billings and reconciling the bank every month? It sounds easy enough, but to put a system in place that is manageable, practical and that can be kept up on a regular basis, takes an awareness that needs to be learned.

What you have set-up for money systems in your business are primary to enable you to get the information out of your business that you require. This will greatly help your ability to make operational decisions, allow for the proper filing of various tax returns while placing you in a strong position to best make future (strategic) plans for your business.

Achieve better money and financial results

It is important to be able to measure how your creative business is performing financially. It is impossible to keep it in your head! In order to see if you can improve, you need to know exactly what progress the business has made over time for both the benefit of short and long term decision-making.

Become faster at making decisions in your business

You can make more expedient decisions if you know the optimal earning point for your business along with the types of spending and investments that are being made along the way. In order to assess different vendors, suppliers and other players (stakeholders) in your business, you need to know your numbers and be able to place your hands on this information at any time. Also in order to take advantage of opportunities – you need to have quick and accurate access to the financial performance of your business.

Cultivate the feeling of being in control of your money

You can’t feel in control until you are actually in control. You can’t just make believe “control “, it has to be the result of actually having a money handling plan that is tailored to your business. It must take into account your aspirations, risk tolerance and other aspects of your being in business. The money skills that you learn are instrumental in moving you along to really knowing your money and connecting with the number aspects of your business. Once you have determined that, then you are truly in control of your money and can start to gain momentum and the true feeling of control.

Have the time to create and promote your entrepreneurial offerings

As a creative-artistic entrepreneur, you have many hats to wear (oh goodness!) and to that end you need to balance your time between the management and strategic side of your business, together with working on your creative offerings and marketing and promoting what you have to offer. While this sounds exhausting, it doesn’t have to be once you have enough in place to feel at peaceful about your business and its money dealings.

Encourage your creativity through not worrying about your business finances

If you have a money plan in place for your business, then you have a course to follow. You can find peace in knowing that you have a strategy in place and this can help you creatively. How? You can relax and encourage your creativity and not be so pre-occupied with what is occurring with your business finances. If you can’t do this – then something needs to be fixed.

These are just some of the more important aspects. I don’t want to insult your intelligence by listing the obvious, however they are worth mentioning and repeating:

  • Keeping your expenses down to improve your bottom line
  • Earning to your business potential
  • Pricing strategies
  • Identifying opportunities

This is just to name a few, but these are all gleaned with your business money plan. I want you to think beyond the traditional number reasons and consider the intrinsic and in my view, ultimately more persuasive reasons for having a business money plan.

Remember, as I have said: This is not just one of those “need to haves” ideas that entrepreneurs are told by every money and business guru, it truly is one of the few important items that should be created as early as possible in your creative business.

Business Identity Theft – Three Keys to Protection

Imagine discovering you are the co-owner of your business instead of the sole owner, or that you have a satellite business you didn’t know about operating in a different state, or there is a business with a similar name using a similar address to yours pretending to be your business. How would any one of these scenarios impact your business? This is what business identity theft looks like. It can happen to any business large or small. It could happen to yours, too.

Most small to mid-sized businesses don’t understand what identity theft can do to their business until it is too late.

Business identity theft doesn’t target individuals, instead, criminals look for ways they can take valuable information fro legitimate businesses. They are looking for bank accounts, credit card numbers and passwords, and sensitive intellectual information.

These looters gain access to key accounts and drain them, many times, before the bank is aware of the act. The cost of business identity theft can be enormous. It could take hundreds of hours and a large sum of money to repair the damage. Some businesses never recover and go out of business.

Business identity theft is still a relatively new type of crime. Most business owners haven’t heard of it. So there is a temptation to ignore it. Steve Cox of the Better Business Bureau says, “Business identity theft is a very real concern in today’s marketplace. From a criminal’s perspective, it’s significantly more cost-effective to steal business identities than consumer identities.:

The criminals act quickly. They know they only have a short period of time before the act is discovered. The Ponemon Institute says that 84 percent of the cases money was stolen before the fraud was detected by the bank.

Many small business owners don’t think they have much that a thief can take from them. But the truth is that you don’t have to have more than a good name. The thieves can use it to get loans, order products and ruin the businesses good name. Dun and Bradstreet’s Senior Risk Analyst Robert Strezze states, “What is particularly disturbing about this trend is the significant dollar amount involved. It’s not unusual for the losses to be in the mid-six figures by the time the criminal activity has been detected.”

The unfortunate truth is that most businesses don’t take the time or steps to safeguard against the crime. Most are too busy doing the daily activities to keep the business going. It isn’t until the damage is done that a business realizes the trap it fell into.

What are the keys to business identity theft prevention?

There’s good news for businesses who are willing to put some time and effort into business identity theft prevention. Many times preventative measures can mean big savings and a better image in the community. There are three keys where a business can lessen the likelihood that identity theft will happen:

The first key is to establish a position on the leadership team that is in charge of monitoring for business identity theft, establishing procedures for data breach prevention, and protect against other criminal activity. This officer could be called the Chief Security Officer, for example, and should have the power to check banking, credit card and other key accounts. The officer would be wise to establish “best practices” for information security including employee training, password protection and more.

The second key is to set up monitoring services that watch your back for you. A businesses personal information is everywhere. It is nearly impossible for one person to keep an eye on every aspect of the business. A business identity theft protection service that includes business credit monitoring and internet surveillance, identity theft alerts, and whole business recovery can be a valuable asset for identity theft protection.

The third key is to set up credentials monitoring in the Dark Web. This is where criminals do their business buying-selling-trading stolen information. Credentials monitoring will alert a business when stolen credentials, IP addresses and, for banks, BIN card numbers appear. Businesses can take proactive steps to prevent the stolen information from harming them, their employees and/or customers. Millions of stolen credentials, email and login information, show up every month. Stolen credentials is a major player in all forms of business fraud.

Business identity thieves are clever and determined. They can take advantage of businesses and business owners that do not take precautions to protect their business.

I ask nearly every business this question: “If someone started representing himself as an owner or officer in your business, how would you know? How soon would you want to know?

Are Small Business Plans Really Needed?

Writing a business plan or even thinking about doing it drums up feelings of dread. It is a bit tedious and takes some dedicated time. You may even think it isn’t really needed for your small business. But, you are wrong!

Your business will not reach its full potential if you don’t know where you are headed. You need to have your business goals written down so you can see how far you have come. It is so satisfying to look at your business plan (or goals) one year later and say, “WOW, I surpassed all of my goals!” If that is the case, it’s time to write a new business plan with bigger goals. It is an evolving thing.

Most of the time, the only reason small businesses prepare a business plan is out of necessity. They need to show it to their banker or investor to raise funds for their small business. That is fine, but this report should be a priority when starting your business. You have to AIM for something and make a plan on how to make it happen. That is what all successful entrepreneurs do.

This applies to all small businesses. You can be a blogger, an independent home consultant for one of the many companies out there selling essential oils or beauty products, an auto repair shop, or a professional attorney or accountant. It doesn’t matter which business you create, you need to have a plan in place for your growth.

What is a business plan? It is simply a list of answers to questions that people might have about your small business. It is also a forecast of where you hope to be financially within the next year, two years, and five years from now. Your business plan should include a description of your service or what products you will offer. Once you know what your business will do, the next thing you need to know is whom you are going to be doing it for. What makes your business different? You need to explain what makes your business different from other businesses in your market. How do you plan to make the business succeed? You will need to forecast expected income and expenses. This will be a bit easier if you have solid financial numbers and have been in business for a while already. It is a lot harder if your business is brand new.

This has been a brief overview. If you need more help with your business plan, doing a quick search on the Internet will bring up several ideas and templates to use. The Small Business Administration has this great tool to use. Remember, if you are truly determined to build a successful business then you must have a business plan written and in place to help you measure that success.