9 Steps to a Financial Plan that Actually Works
by Connie Vanderzanden
It’s no secret that my passion is for helping business owners achieve lasting financial success. And sure, it’s easy enough for me to say things like Pay yourself or Take your profit first, but when your cash flow isn’t even covering the basics right now those suggestions are pipedreams. (And borderline insulting. I know as well as you do it’s not always that easy.)
Those pipedreams come out as wishes, as “someday when” conversations. But those somedays fail to materialize, and adjusting your financial plan gets pushed even further out.
So when does it finally change? When does enough cash start flowing in?
When you finally can draw a line in the sand and say loudly with your entire body, Enough is Enough!
That’s when you can take and call your power back. When you create that demand from the universe -- and truly feel it in your heart, mind, and body -- it allows you to shift the flow and control of money in your life and business, which ultimately allows you to create the life you truly desire.
That is the moment when we can experience and create change. When we end our tolerations for not having enough while living firmly in the land of lack, we shift our mindset and the Universe shifts everything to align with that new reality.
This one declaration is something we each need to do for ourselves! No one can pull us across that line. This is a line we must choose to cross ourselves.
CHOICE is the keyword here. You already have everything you need!
You don’t need divine guidance or a spiritual download to move forward. There is no additional training that needs to be purchased or consumed. And there is definitely no bowing at the feet of some self-professed “guru” to get the answer.
The first step is simply to activate your own inner power. To amp it up. To get turned on.
Come on, do it with me!
- Stand in your best warrior pose - feet apart, hands on hips -- think Wonder Woman; or
- Sing and yell at the top of your lungs channeling your inner Beyonce, Katy Perry, or Lizzo; or
- Let your inner goddess loose! (A little Kali warrior energy will do just nicely here)
THIS is where you make that declaration. THIS is where you draw the line in the sand, claim Enough is Enough!, and pull all your personal power back to you.
(WHEW! Feels great, doesn’t it?!)
Now you are ready to take action.
Now you are ready to craft your financial plan.
Whatever YOUR version looks like. Not mine. Not one based on someone else’s idea of success. YOURS!
Based on your dreams, your goals, and connecting those with a financial outcome.
Yes it can be a little scary.
Did you know that the same physical responses happen if we are scared or excited? The end result is determined simply how much of our ego that we engage or allow to take over.
Can you find and feel the excitement that comes with crafting that financial plan? The freedom?
It may feel a bit like you’re playing with Monopoly money at first. Or you may feel a little disconnected from the outcome still. That’s totally normal, because you haven’t made it a tangible reality… YET.
Once you have achieved that average monthly goal once, twice, even three times... there is your proof that your magically bad-ass manifesting skills DO EXIST!
What is a financial plan?
First and foremost, there’s no shame in not knowing what a financial plan is, nor in needing to ask this question. Also, you may already have heard of its “other” un-fun name: the Budget.
While the word “budget” has meaning and purpose in the accounting and finance world, it often carries some negative connotations in the real world. For some, it triggers a sense of deprivation (beans and rice anyone?) or of limitation (those of us who are natural spenders will feel this!).
I certainly felt similarly about having my own budget, and remember I have over 30 years’ experience in the industry! In order to surmount this, I reframed my personal definition of the word, and now refer to it as a Magnificent World-Changing Freedom Map (aka a Financial Plan).
Here’s my view point on a financial plan:
- It is a living, breathing document.
- It is never set in stone.
- It adjusts as your reality, situations, opportunities shift or show up.
- It’s a basic outline, a map outlining where you are headed.
- It allows you to see how far you’ve advanced on your journey
- It gives you the ability to measure and track your results.
- It defines the dollar amounts to ASK the Universe for. ( The Universe works best when we can have some definition around what we desire and need!)
- Estimates are good enough, especially if we don’t have all the information yet.
Ultimately it is a little like playing a game and putting the pieces together to get us from where we are today to achieving our Big dreams.
How do you start?
My guess is that all of THIS makes you cringe just a bit. In my experience, sometimes all you need is a little support around this area. It is your lucky day, because that is my gift! Jump to the end of this blog post to find out how I can support your efforts in creating a basic financial plan.
To get started:
- Prioritize time in your business to create the plan. Set aside 2-3 hours to give yourself space to do the actions and have time to craft your vision.
- There is no special tool or software needed. Pen and paper will work just fine. I need a little help with the math, so I prefer using a spreadsheet (Excel or Google). Plus it helps keep it neat and tidy.
- Pull your numbers together. Ideally you have them in an accounting tool that is current and beautiful. Reality could be very different. You are in luck! You can pull out your bank and credit card statements for the year and start pulling off the basics.
- Left column or side of the paper, group your expenditures and list them out. Like Office Supplies, Software, Meals, Parking, Travel etc. However much detail you need, use it. This is your worksheet.
- I prefer to look at the numbers using an average, even though some expenses only happen once a year. If you are feeling conservative, go high. We are just working on figuring out starting numbers. (Remember above, when I said that estimates are good enough!)
- Go back and make sure you’ve called out all the possible expenses. Review if there are any tools on annual renewal or contracts that may expire. This is also a great time to look at cutting costs, but I’ll save that for a future post.
These are not extra credit points. Don’t forget to include the following items:
- Paying Yourself - what amount do you need to contribute to your household without using the business as a bank? If you don’t know what that number is then start with calculating a financial plan for your household. (The process is the same, just with household expenses instead.)
- Creating a Profit Cushion - if you have growth needs or are paying down debt, setting a small amount aside from each deposit will help you slowly achieve those goals. I started with 0.5% of every dollar I received. It doesn’t seem like much, but energetically it can change everything.
- Save for Taxes - probably not the first six months, but eventually as you get more control over cash flow and create that profit cushion, not to mention fund your household, you will be profitable and that ultimately means having to pay taxes. Adult-up and include it in your plan.
Now add it all up. This is the start of your break-even financial plan for the business. Working backwards you can now create a revenue plan, which I recommend that you do with a business coach who can also evaluate the structure and team you are using.
However, it doesn’t help us to stay in the break-even zone forever! We also want to look at the numbers in our ideal Big Kahuna business (or at least what we want to grow into over the next 12 months). Use the same process to plan bigger.
The reason I recommend having two plans is that once we start to gather momentum the plan evolves and we need to know where we are ultimately headed towards to recognize the next money targets.
There is no right or wrong way of crafting this plan. Remember, what you are creating is a possibility, a target that you will be working towards. Don’t like where you are headed? You have the power to shift it, to change the numbers and to adjust your path.
A financial plan helps us keep focus and measure our progress. Consider how to gamify it - add stickers, post-it notes, create a reward system, find accountability, add color and fun to it. It is your tool, your dream, and you make the rules! YOU have the power to design your finances the best way that supports your family, the business, and your desires.
Congratulations! You’ve already made the first steps: making a decision and demanding a change in your current situation. By crafting a financial plan of where you are going, that will lead you to the next step.
I’ve created an easy-to-use worksheet to help you get started. If you’d like to get a copy (it’s free!) just hit the button below.
The “easy button” for those that need a little support in crafting their own financial plan is to start by having a free conversation with me. While I have a six month program dedicated to crafting, measuring, and supporting you in achieving your ultimate financial plan - I also have a two-hour solution that might be perfect for where you currently are at.
Here’s a link to my online scheduling tool or connect with me by email to get started with a free 30-minute conversation. Feel free to send me your “What I Want” Financial Planning Worksheet results once you’ve set your appointment!