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Looking at the numbers

Do you like numbers?

Personally I’m not really that interested.

But they can be useful.

I’ve just put together a projection for a personal trainer, showing how he can get to his goal of £6000/month take-home.

He puts in how many clients he expects to have each month and it tells him how much he is likely to be spending on wages, how much he needs to set aside to cover tax and how much he can afford to pay himself. On his current structure and growth rate, he’ll get to paying himself £5300 per month in February 2022, but no higher.

That shows him, quite clearly, that he’s going to have to raise his prices at some point.

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I went through and redesigned the dashboard for my business last week. I put my figures from March onwards into the new format, and got the graph below. It shows a correlation between the number of conversations I have (meetings, one-to-ones, LinkedIn messages) – the blue line – and the number of clients I have – the purple dotted line.

That shows me, quite clearly, that I need to start conversations with more people.

So knowing the numbers might not be exciting but it can give real clarity and show you what to do next.

Which numbers do you track and what do they tell you?

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Who is your ideal client?

Everyone has a type of client that they work best with. Sometimes we’re afraid to talk to them because we’re worried about scaring other people off.

But the world is a noisy place. To get noticed you need to focus.

If you were in a crowded car park and someone was yelling “hey” you might look round then move on. If they shouted “you in the green jacket” you might pay a bit more attention. But if they shout “Baz!” you’re going to think they’re talking to you (assuming you’re called Baz).

So don’t try to target “small business owners”. The US Small Business Association has companies up to $25m/year. In the U.K. a company with 249 employees is a small business.

That manufacturing firm with a factory and 150 employees is a very different place to the woman who works from her kitchen table who is very different to that family business with 45 subcontractors around the country.

All “small businesses”, very different problems.

If you want your potential clients to notice you, you need to be more specific. Understand who they are and what problem they actually have. Talk about that and they will feel like you’re yelling their name across that crowded car park.

So who is your ideal client?