Tap Into Your Inner Business Wisdom

As a holistic entrepreneur, you know how important it is to listen to your heart. You wouldn’t be in business if you hadn’t taken the leap to listen to your heart and follow your dreams.

But I’ve noticed a funny thing happens to wellness professionals and holistic practitioners after they’ve been in business for awhile.

You forget how to listen to your heart!

I know, how sad.

Something strange happens to holistic entrepreneurs sometimes….

Once you go into business for yourself, you suddenly find yourself wearing many hats. You’re not just a practitioner or a coach, you’re also Owner, CEO, Decision-Maker and most likely when you start out your also Bookkeeper, Scheduler, Client Followup, Web Editor, Head of Marketing….the list goes on and on.

And all of this “role playing” can become exhausting. So exhausting that you don’t feel that passion anymore for your business. Or you feel discouraged and confused. Or even if you still have hope, you’re not sure which way to go to change your current state of affairs. And let’s face it, it’s sometimes hard to listen to your heart on what you should do next when you feel tired, worn-out, alone or frustrated.

I know that every holistic entrepreneur has the power to re-ignite their passion by tapping into what I call Inner Business Wisdom.

Be 100% Confident

I define Inner Business Wisdom as being able to stop at any moment during your day to check in with yourself and your business and find out if you are headed in the right direction. It’s a habit that you start to practice so that you can feel 100% confident about everyday business decisions and big business decisions, too.

Allow your Inner Business Wisdom to guide you to:

Make decisions about what to focus on each day
Take a step back from your busy work and make sure you are leading your business where you want it to go
Ask yourself any business question and know the right answer (because you’re so clear about your business and your direction)
Know when you don’t know the answer and need support (we all need mentors to show us the way)
Trust big decisions that you want to make to grow, even if your “head” is trying to talk you out of it

Here’s the thing: You already have Inner Business Wisdom…even if you don’t consider yourself a business expert. I know this because I coach my clients weekly on tapping into what feels right for them as they build their business. Sure, you have to use proven business tools and have someone to guide you to implement them, but as soon as you realize you can trust that inner “Yes!”, then you move gracefully forward everyday in creating the business of your dreams.

I also know this experience firsthand because I made a decision several years ago to “Go For It” and listen to my Inner Business Wisdom. It meant not playing small, not surrounding myself with people who didn’t get it and committing to my Big Vision no matter what.

Remember, as an entrepreneur, you have something very special at your fingertips: A literal pen in your hand to write your own story. Writing it how you want it to go means following your heart everyday and committing to your own big vision. Tapping into your Inner Business Wisdom will guide you in this process.

Keep in mind, following your heart means taking leaps into the unknown sometimes (or even daily if you’re on the fast track to a thriving business!) because your head might be saying “How?!”. You have to come back to your Inner Business Wisdom which is telling you to Trust and Grow to the next level.

If you’re struggling to trust your Inner Business Wisdom, then check in with yourself on the following:

Ask yourself if you are truly open to the possibilities in your business and your life – Are you committed to the dream you have for your holistic business?
Check in with who you surrounded yourself with, including people, things, and energy (even television) – Are they examples of how you want your life and business to be?
Do you have mentors and models around you who are committed to big visions and if not, where can you find some?
Are you caught up in the day-to-day stressors of your business rather than working toward something greater?
Do you have team members to support you so you can focus on taking steps forward toward your bigger goals?

Business Succession Planning

“In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes,” according to the famous words of Benjamin Franklin. That said, as a business owner, you should consider what will happen to your business if you die suddenly. You must prepare for the unexpected by communicating your wishes in writing regarding the future of your business before you die.

Specify whether your family members should retain, sell or liquidate the business. If you would like the business to continue providing a steady cash flow for surviving family members, who will manage the daily operations? Who will make financial decisions? What advisors can the family trust? How will management be compensated for staying on with the business? Has anyone expressed interest in buying your business?

Business continuity planning identifies business functions that are crucial to the business’ survival and helps the organization resume its most important suppliers, vendors and key contacts that keep the business running smoothly. By undertaking a periodic review of the business and writing a business continuity plan, you will be forced to consider who will run the business in case of his early demise.

To keep the business running profitably after your death, you must plan for retaining key employees who are indispensable to the business. If they leave, the business will be in grave trouble. The plan should provide key employees with a substantial pay increase to keep them on board after your demise.

Buy-Sell Agreement
If your business involves co-owners, a written and funded buy-sell agreement allows for orderly disposition of the business. It can be between shareholders of a corporation, partners of a partnership, or a key employee and a sole proprietor. The agreement obligates the surviving business owners, key employees, or the business itself to purchase the interest of the deceased owner.

Its advantages are:
• It creates a guaranteed market for the business interest.
• It allows for those who are interested in continuing the business to do so without interference from the owner’s heirs.
• It provides liquidity of the deceased owner’s estate by turning the business interest into cash.
• It establishes the value of the business for federal estate tax purposes.

This agreement needs to address all transfer issues. It must be kept up-to-date and always reflect the current value of the business. The agreement needs to be adequately funded with life insurance, employee stock ownership plans or other vehicles to guarantee that there will be funds to execute the transfer.
Business-Owner Life Insurance

Your business will incur financial losses upon your death. By purchasing inexpensive term life insurance, you will bolster the company’s cash position. When determining your life insurance needs, be sure to consider any costs, expenses or liabilities related to your business and how they will be handled when you’re gone. A financial consultant can advise you how much life insurance coverage you may need.

By providing this protection to your family members, you will give them peace of mind and there will be funds available when creditors come knocking. The life insurance proceeds also can secure ongoing capitalization for the business. Purchasing life insurance is only one way you, as a business owner, can prepare for death. Money cannot buy happiness, but it makes your departure easier for your survivors. And by having committed succession management in place, your business can continue smoothly in your absence.

Your Business Plan: A Road Map to Success

Remember when you were a kid and your allowance was just never enough for all the hockey cards or bubble gum that you wanted? So like any normal kid, you came up with creative ways to make more money. Maybe you tried selling an old broken toy to your little brother, or perhaps you decided to take on a venture like the iconic lemonade stand. Perhaps, you would try poaching supplies from the kitchen, only to be run off by a parent. Or maybe, you had a more organized approach. Maybe some of you knew you would have to have a plan before the parents would let us get into something so involved. You would make a list of what was needed, what you would charge per serving and how you split up the money. It would have been your first business plan – albeit a little undeveloped.

No matter the size, age or purpose of a business – it needs a plan. Even if you started your business years ago with the intention of just running it out of your garage, you still need a plan. So what is a business plan, aside from a list of supplies and prices? It is a formal statement of goals for your business, the reasons they are attainable and a plan for reaching them. Some business plans are hundreds of pages long, others begin as notes on a scrap piece of paper. No matter how it begins, the end result will bring your business closer to success. Below is an outline of the main components to your business plan.

Executive Summary

The executive summary summarizes your business plan. The most important component of it is your mission statement. It will sum up the purpose of your business, what you will tell your clients to make them understand what it is you do. The executive summary will not contain any technical language, highlighting the most important components of the business and how you plan to make it succeed. Basically, if your reader does not wish to go over every detail of the entire plan at that particular time, they will be able to read the executive summary and still have a good grasp of your venture. If you are drawing up a plan for an existing business, include how many years in operation, the existing legal and financial structures. The document will make recommendations on how you plan to meet your goals, but the step by step details will be in the body of the business plan. If there are multiple sections in your business plan, the executive summary will summarize them. If you are seeking financial assistance, this where you would sum up your needs, the reasons you need the money and how you plan to pay it back. The document will end with a conclusion summarizing the overall executive summary. The executive summary should be located at the front of your business plan, but it is best to write it after you have written the rest of the plan first. When all the research is done and you have thought about every little detail of the past, present and future of your venture, the executive summary will be much easier to write.

Business Description

Here is where you describe your business in more detail. Some very small businesses do not include this section because the information is already adequately listed in the executive summary. For mid to large ventures, this section is very important as it gives the reader a much clearer idea of the day to day operations. If you are an existing business, list the details on your corporate structure, the size of your work force, key product lines, physical locations of assets (such as real estate and large equipment) and the annual sales figures. If you are a brand new business, your business description will be more simple. List employees you expect to hire, projected sales figures, the products you expect to push the most revenue, location of facilities (where you plan to do business), at what stage of development you are in and your corporate structure (if you have one). The management team is also outlined in this section, as well as their responsibilities.

For larger more comprehensive ventures, there will be sections on business environment analysis, industry background and competitor analysis. These are very important issues to cover, especially when asking for financial assistance. Any one defect in the above assessments could mean the failure of the venture, so be realistic in your research and conclusions. For smaller businesses, old or new, these sections may not need to be covered at all. If you feel they are relevant to your plan but do not require their own section, simply include them with the business description portion of the business plan.

The business description will probably be the first and easiest part of the business plan to write. It is a great way to begin, as it gets you thinking about all the details you may not have considered before. If we continued to use the lemonade stand as our example business for drawing up a business plan, then the business description would probably be very simple. We would describe whose house our table would be in front of, if a parent was supervising the operations and what we have already done in preparation to open. In part two of this series, we will look at the core of our business and how to document it.