I am passionate about sustainable social enterprises. The ones who have a strong business model and consistent income every month. But we don’t all start out like that and too many social enterprises I come across are failing to do the basics to secure consistent income.
If you’re in this second category of getting to the end of each month and falling short again (!) not knowing what you’re doing wrong or how you can re-group and achieve your goal next month then this blog is for you.
To many social entrepreneurs and clients and I speak to aren’t doing one or more of the following things. But once we start working on them they see immediate shifts in their business and income.
So, here’s 7 reasons why you’re not reaching your income goals and why they’re stopping you attracting valuable customers and cash-flow.
1. Fear and staying in your comfort zone
There’s two things here. Fear that we just can’t reach our goal and fear of stepping outside our comfort zone to do the things that will truly transform our business.
You may have noticed I’m a super optimistic and positive person. I believe the impossible is possible (oxymoron, I know). But this is probably what makes me a good coach – I can see the possibility in things when clients can’t.
However, even I find it hard to set a stretching income goal sometimes and truly believe it’s possible. Why? Because doubt and fear set in.
And it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy because when I listen to those doubts and fears about why it isn’t possible, I’m not focussing on doing the things that could make it possible or pursuing the positive intention to make it happen.
Successful entrepreneurs aren’t lucky, they’re persistent. They learn from their mistakes. They face their fears and they consistently step outside their comfort zone.
What scares you? What would stepping out your comfort zone look like? What do you need to overcome in order to move forward with your income goal?
2. Limiting beliefs about what’s possible
This is linked to the above but encompasses so many other things.
Limiting beliefs hold us back from achieving greatness. They’re embedded subconsciously over months and years. But they can be overcome.
In all my courses and 1:1 coaching we always spend time exploring limiting beliefs, because they’re always there, lurking in the background preventing you from taking the next leap in your business.
Some of the most common beliefs I hear from Social Entrepreneurs which limit their ability to attract customers and income are:
- I can’t make a profit I’m a social entrepreneur
- Money & profit is bad, I don’t want to be like other wealthy, profit-making businesses OR We can’t do good and charge money for it
- I can’t charge that much
- People don’t value what we have to offer
- We have to secure funding before we get started OR Funding is the easiest way to generate income
- I do this for the passion, I don’t need to be paid
It’s not surprising that if you believe these things, you’re going to struggle to reach an income goal or attract customers.
What limiting beliefs are you telling yourself about your business, prices and products/services? Where do these beliefs come from? Where could you find evidence of the alternative narrative?
3. You don’t value your own worth
Such a common issue for Social Entrepreneurs. I don’t know why (as it’s the one thing I’ve never had a problem with defining and the one thing my clients find the most powerful thing to work with me on), but most people I speak to don’t value what they uniquely have to offer.
Rarely, this can be an indicator that what they’re offering if not unique, or good enough (so this is worth looking out for). But generally, it’s just a lack of awareness and confidence in their own unique abilities (if a service provider) or value of their particular product(s).
Notably, your value is not just about price, it’s about the difference you make to people’s lives as a result of them buying and using your product or service.
Sometimes the best way to get help with this is discussing it with someone else or hearing it from a previous customer.
Do you value what you have to offer? Do you have confidence in what you offer?
4. Your prices aren’t high enough
Your price should reflect the value you provide, the cost of creating or providing your product/service and the profit you need to make to stay afloat (and expand).
We live in a world where rock bottom prices don’t reflect the true value or indeed cost of creating and distributing most of the products we buy. This in turn has contributed to many of the social and environmental challenges we as social entrepreneurs are trying to tackle. You only need to think of a simple cotton t-shirt or bar of chocolate to know that the pre-dominant business model globally has got it wrong.
We therefore as consumers have to accept the cost has to go up. And as business owners of socially responsible, ethical and environmentally conscious brands we need to have confidence in setting prices that not only reflect the true cost (value and profit needed) but trusting that there is always an audience out there able and willing to pay – it’s just about communicating the value to them in a way that makes sense to them.
I also want to add in a caveat here to those of you who are resistant to the idea of profit. When I talk about profit I mean profit for the business not for the owners (as shareholders or directors).
Profit in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s what you do with it that determines whether it’s purposeful, aligned to your values and makes a difference.
Remember we’re all about changing the status quo and this also means challenging the pre-dominant way business have been run for the past 200+ years in a capitalist system.
As the business owner you can choose to do things differently and decide what to do with any profit made. This could be to reinvest back in to your core mission or impact projects; it could be to pilot a new product or service; it could be to develop your team or grow capacity; it could be to bring in new technology or simplify our operations. It could just be to provide a buffer for when things don’t go to plan.
But please don’t hold the simplistic attitude that “profit is bad”, it’s not!
Have you worked out your prices based on cost, value and profit needed?
5. Ignoring your finances
Argh! It goes without question that if you’re working towards an income goal but haven’t looked at your finances this week then you’re going to struggle to a) stay motivated b) know when you need to pivot or keep doing more of the same thing and c) how close you are to achieving your goal.
So many Social Entrepreneurs I speak to in my Facebook Group – The Impact Entrepreneurs Club expect customers but have never worked out their costs, written out a budget or created a simple plan for how they’re going to achieve this goal.
If you’re ignoring your finances it’s very difficult to reach an income goal. Entrepreneurs serious about income generation know their numbers and know where they’re at.
This doesn’t have to be complicated and if you stay on top of it, it doesn’t become overwhelming.
So don’t ignore your finances missy! Check your bank balance. Write down your goal. Work out how you could achieve it. And create a plan of action.
6. Not having a non-negotiable goal (or working towards it consistently)
Is your goal non-negotiable?
This is one of the most powerful things I learnt from my first coach (Sarah King back in 2016). It’s all well and good having a goal but unless you make it non-negotiable there’s always scope for it to slip.
When it’s non-negotiable you do everything in your power to achieve that goal (within a specified timeframe).
This may mean making sacrifices in other areas of your life or business but it only needs to be for a short while.
For me that’s why it’s really useful to have a monthly income goal, a good period of time to focus on achieving it so you can stay motivated.
Are you willing to make your goal the main focus for a specified period and non-negotiable?
7. Not connecting with potential customers everyday
This may seem obvious but I’m always surprised how little connection people are making daily with their target audience (and potential customers). If you do nothing else in your business you should reach out to potential customers everyday.
You can do this in all sorts of ways, my favourite approaches and the ones that get me the best results (in terms of sales, for me) are:
Emailing my mailing list
Doing a Facebook or Instagram Live
Posting in Instagram Stories
Posting in my Facebook Group or FB Page
Including a sales / opt-in link to my email signature
sharing my blogs as pins on Pinterest
Making sure my website and sales funnels takes people on a journey of value
responding to emails, messages and requests from potential customers (within 48 hours)
having one focused offer I know people want and need (don’t bombard them with everything)
Are you reaching out to customers everyday? Daily journal prompt: What one thing could you do to connect with your customers today?
If you found this blog useful you’ll also find my 3-in-1 FREE resource on how to achieve your monthly income goal just as useful.
Share Impact helps organisations measure and communicate their social or environmental impact so they can confidently communicate: why they exist, the difference they make and why others should care.
We provide research & evaluation services; training; consultancy, business mentoring and communication management with a focus on social impact measurement and reporting.
Want to find out more about how we could help your organisation? Get in touch here