How to Infuse Financial Resilience into Your Virtual Assistant Business
Being a resilient person is often talked about in business. As virtual assistants, we need it just as much as anyone else. What is not often talked about and just as vital to your VA business, is financial resilience.
During the month of March, the Association of Virtual Assistants is going to focus on the topic of money and the different areas we must look at in order to ensure financial stability. You could say that financial stability and resilience go hand in hand because it does take preparedness to be resilient.
Our guest expert this week is Alisa Barcan, a financial coach and business mentor who specializes in creating strategic business models and part of that teaching includes financial resilience.
You might be familiar with savings and investing. How much knowledge do you have in the area of financial resilience?
Here’s what Alisa has to say.
Running a financially resilient business is something all business owners ultimately aim for, but few prioritize. Until something happens…say a pandemic.
Fair enough, there are many plates we need to juggle when we start our business, and financial resilience is not top of the list. Costs and revenue – absolutely, but stress testing our business comes later and usually uninvited.
This article will discuss how to prepare your business to withstand financial pressure.
Build a solid foundation
Your business’s systems, processes, and procedures can greatly impact its ability to endure difficulty. Do you have a clear and (ideally) automated way to accept payments? Is it convenient for your clients to book a meeting with you and how easy is it for them to pay you? Are you familiar with the customer journey once they have their first contact with your business and are you guiding them through the buying process?
Convenience and ease of use are front of mind for clients and they should be for you too. Especially during difficult times, you don’t want to risk losing prospects at the last minute because they need to jump through hoops to work with you.
Buying is not a single act. The buying process starts with a first contact, followed by several other ones, along with the client making an evaluation and having an intention to buy before the purchase happens. Guiding them through that process and making it as easy as possible for them to move from one stage to another will make the difference between closing a sale and losing one.
Having a separate business bank account and saving money for taxes also help. A tax bill can seriously test your business if you are not in the habit of regularly setting money aside based on your actual profit figures rather than the estimates from previous years. For more information and an example of how I manage my small business finances, please watch this video.
Don’t rely on one asset
An asset is a resource that can generate money, either now or in the future. As a service-based solopreneur or small business owner, you are the biggest asset in your business. If you are not there to deliver the service, the business cannot run.
That is a flattering position to be in, but it is also a huge risk. Not only will your business operations stop if you’re not involved anymore, but it also puts great pressure on you and on your mental health to always be present, exchange time for money and essentially act as an employee working IN your business, not as a business owner working ON the business.
In order to prepare your business to withstand uncertainty and change, you need to look into creating more assets. Books, programs, courses, digital products – anything that can generate revenue without your involvement or with as little intervention from you as possible.
The good thing about creating assets is that it requires a bit more effort upfront, but once you get the first few sales in, your involvement will be limited to marketing, managing the process, and updating the content every once in a while. This means that you can continue to do and deliver work yourself if you want to, but there will be less pressure on that activity to produce 100% of your business revenue and therefore less pressure on you.
Meet your clients where they are
During challenging times you might notice that you are not getting as many inquiries as you used to, or that people start to cancel or postpone working with you.
It’s normal for people to be reluctant to invest in something during difficult circumstances because they don’t know if they can afford it and are unsure about the ROI of their purchase. Offering a bespoke package can help mitigate that and keep your business going.
Your clients will likely have the same or even bigger problems during these difficult times, therefore working with you will potentially be even more beneficial for them. However, you need to be able to articulate that and let them know exactly how you can serve them and the results you can help facilitate.
A tailored offer gives your clients the possibility to solve their problems while staying within their budget and it’s a great alternative to discounting your core package or going rate.
- Guide your prospects through the buying process and make it easy for them to move through the different purchasing stages.
- Build digital business assets to complement the services you offer and take the pressure off always being present and delivering the work yourself.
- Put together tailored offers that meet your clients where they are financially and problem-wise.
Having a strong foundation, a pool of assets, and the agility to tailor your offer to your clients’ needs will take your business a long way, especially in times of change and uncertainty.
As a financial coach and business mentor, Alisa helps coaches build financially viable and sustainable coaching businesses. Her clients and audience are individuals who are passionate about coaching and wish to make a great impact but don’t know how to turn their passion into a business.
Her approach to building a business revolves around financial viability – can your business support you and itself financially?
Alisa teaches business fundamentals at The University of Cambridge and regularly runs courses and workshops on business in collaboration with the Association for Coaching and other coaching bodies and training providers.
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The Association of Virtual Assistants’ mission is to become the most trusted source of information in the VA industry. We provide resources, education, and training for virtual assistants at every stage of their career, and for clients as well in a like-minded community.