Those who give strict advice but do not follow it are often confronted with the Biblical retort of “Physician, heal thyself” — in other words, get your own house in order before you start sending forth criticisms of others. Certainly, when you’re running a health and wellness brand, it’s important that you set a good example by maintaining your health and wellness.
One overlooked aspect of doing that, however, is looking after the finances of your business. To do otherwise is to risk your operation falling into disrepair, and saddle yourself with great stress and even anxiety about what the future may hold. If you truly care about your brand, you must protect its health just as fervently as you do your own.
But how do you accomplish that goal? Primarily, you need to establish a strong financial structure — one that can keep everything in line and be reasonably easy to maintain for years to come. Let’s run through some pointers for how you can achieve this:
Appoint a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Assuming your brand is larger than a solo operation, one of your key hires needs to be a CFO. After all, even if you feel comfortable dealing with financial matters, you have other things to be spending your time doing — the more split your attention gets, the more exhausted you’ll become, and the more likely you’ll be to make mistakes.
When reviewing candidates, look for stability, trustworthiness, and honesty. You may well get sufficiently busy that you go several months without finding the time to review financial figures, and if your CFO isn’t completely reliable, you run the risk of discovering much too late that you’re in dire monetary straits. Here are some tips for finding someone perfect.
Set up a clear cash flow calculation
If there’s one financial matter you need to keep a close eye on at all times, it’s your cash flow: the route of money in and out of your company. As long as you have enough coming in to account for your regular expenditure, you can keep going — even through periods of diminished profit, or even loss. But if you hit a cash flow crisis, everything can collapse very quickly.
First, you must painstakingly note down all your predictable incoming and outgoing payments: for instance, every subscription fee you get versus all your rental and software costs. To do this, you can simply use a basic spreadsheet (Google Sheets will do just fine), or — if you lack the technical skills — you can use a suitable accounting tool.
Wave Accounting is 100% free, so that’s a solid starting point. If you’re relying on a host of software solutions for things like email marketing or customer relationship management, however, you might want to find something that will integrate: Zoho Books and Xero are both supported by SyncApps, and aren’t enormously costly, so they’re worth checking out.
Find money for insurance and an emergency fund
It’s all too easy to discard the utility of insurance and emergency savings when you haven’t yet encountered any major obstacles — you can assume that you’re too clever to ever need them, or even write them off as scams to collect money from paranoid business owners. Doing so is a massive mistake, of course. Disaster can strike any business at any time.
Here’s a good rundown on types of business insurance to give you some valuable context. If you’ve chosen a good CFO, they should have a lot more insight into viable providers — or you could do some investigation for suitable providers in your area (local insurance providers are generally preferable since it’s useful to be able to visit them in person).
As for an emergency fund, the amount is up to you. Think carefully about what might go wrong and how much money you might need to endure it. In general, saving enough money to cover your regular business costs for a month is a solid goal to pursue.
When ready, grow at a steady pace
Business growth is important, but it’s also dangerous. Growing when you aren’t fully prepared, or trying to move too quickly, is likely to damage your financial situation, ultimately setting you back instead of getting you ahead. A strong financial structure sees only measured growth, calculated to minimize risk and maximize the chance of success.
Remember that running a business is a long-term project and not something to be rushed. If you get an unexpected leap in customer/client interest, don’t assume that it’s a sign of things to come — take your time, and review your performance metrics across the weeks and months. Only when you’re sure that your current operation is at capacity should you seek to expand it.
Focus on customer/client loyalty
As a general note, it’s vital to consider the role that customer/client loyalty plays in sustaining and developing a health and wellness brand. The industry gets to justify solid profit margins because it understands people’s needs — why they prefer certain products, what they’re looking to achieve through their fitness journeys, and what makes people feel good.
If you make the mistake of forgetting this (entirely possible while seeking expansion), it will have a dramatic effect on the performance of your brand. The customers/clients you can rely on to buy from you or work with you on a monthly basis are the most important — lose them, and you’ll be left relying on fresh (and thereby unpredictable) interest.
The specifics of your financial structure are for you to decide, but these key suggestions warrant serious consideration. If you do nothing else (not recommended, obviously, but even so), then watch your cash flow — you can get through a lack of profit, but not a dried-up cash flow. Good luck!