Why is it that so few entrepreneurs are able to achieve the financial success they dream of?
According to recent statistics, only about half of all small businesses survive beyond their fifth year. Somewhere between starting their business and now, the dream of financial freedom somehow gets lost. For many entrepreneurs, the challenges of managing finances, attracting customers, and staying ahead of the competition can be overwhelming.
In today’s world, where money can seem scarce and the economy uncertain, entrepreneurship and financial success for small businesses may seem further away than ever before. But the truth is with the right strategies and mindset, it’s possible for entrepreneurs to climb the money pyramid and achieve their goals.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most effective strategies for breaking down the money pyramid and reaching the top. We’ll discuss how successful entrepreneurs have navigated the money pyramid and made it to the top, the importance of account keeping, marketing and investment, and where to find further reading and information.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur and achieve long term financial success.
Understanding the Money Pyramid: A brief Overview
The concept of the ‘money pyramid’ is a way of visualising the distribution of wealth in our society. At the top is the 1%, the super-rich.
Just under them is 4% - if you like those that are very comfortable.
Next down is 15%. Those that are getting there and doing very nicely for themselves. Next one down is by far the biggest section, 60% who at any point are struggling to make ends meet with 20% at the bottom whom are essentially broke.
While the exact shape of the pyramid can vary depending on the specific context the basic idea remains the same. It is largely seen as accurate within a small margin covering all communities and countries and even business owners and different sectors within the business community.
The theory that everyone sits somewhere within the pyramid is taken as fact for the purpose of this article and we all must decide where we reside currently. It is important to note that although the majority sit in the bottom 4/5’s of the pyramid, we don’t of course all have equal wealth and resources as each other. There will be those towards the top of the 60% section with more wealth and resources than those at the bottom of the same section.
It is important to gain anything from this article to understand where you sit on the pyramid. As a visual draw a quick sketch and put a dot where you believe yourself to be right now.
The next – and in my opinion more important step – is to accept that you can climb the pyramid and move around within it. The idea that you can change your financial position is a crucial one to grasp for you to take anything from this article.
Breaking through the plateau: the real path to financial success
Achieving financial success, according to Jim Rohn, is within the grasp of us all. His 70/10/10/10 rule is widely respected and well known. In a nutshell Mr Rohn argues to achieve financial success we should allocate 70% of our income for living expenses, 10% for savings, 10% for investment and 10% for personal development.
It is not the purpose of this article to make arguments for or against Mr Rohn’s approach but it is highly recommended that you should make further investigation. His lectures and books on his teachings are easily found by a simple search.
Mr Rohn’s very simple approach to wealth building can be easily inserted into the money pyramid and with it you can start to build a strong foundation for financial success. If only it were that simple…he himself accepts that what is simple to do is also simple not to do and it certainly does not cover other aspects that make it difficult to stay on track. Common challenges facing the entrepreneur such as self-doubt, lack of motivation, and fear of failure can hinder your progress and prevent you from achieving your goals altogether.
I think though that this simple approach is perhaps simple enough to grasp and can be implemented immediately in all of our businesses. The main point is to remove the money from your grasp from day 1, put away to a place you can’t get to it. If you can’t afford 10% yet, start somewhere. Even 1%. Using the formula 97/1/1/1 is a great place to start and will make it more manageable for our reader. It is, though, the suggestion from this article that you should aim for 70/10/10/10 over time.
There are a number of strategies to building your own personal and business wealth and in this article I have given just one. It is the responsibility of the entrepreneur to find and execute the system that is best suited for themselves and it is way beyond the capabilities of this article to delve into them all. It is crucial to understand though that the financial success of your business is not coming with the next big order, the next customer or some imaginary magic bullet.
The financial success of your business and the entrepreneurs personal wealth creation relies solely on smart investment of the assets you already possess – no matter how small you must start.
The top financial trait of successful entrepreneurs – and how you can develop it
Perhaps I’ve heard it said well over a thousand times from business owners in all sectors, ‘I just don’t know where it all goes!’
Or maybe ‘it just gets away on me’
While there are many factors at play, one key trait that consistently stands out for the financial success of any business is basic money management. Or, to put it another way, keeping tight accounts.
While the majority of business owners live day-to-day based on what is in his account at the time, the smart entrepreneur is aware of every transaction, every expenditure and every item listed on their statement. Although it can be widely regarded that the amateur business owner looks at their account every day, that is not to say the professional pays no attention to what is happening. Indeed, quite the opposite.
For wealth creation in your business and for you to make your way up the money pyramid, keeping tight accounts is the single most important factor. Where most business owners might have their accounts given to them once a year in order to pay the tax, the smart owners are aware of everything happening on a daily basis. They know what is coming out in advance and they have taken their money first, using the 70/10/10/10 model (or whichever model you’ve decided upon) we discussed earlier.
Do you know what is in your account now? Have you any idea what’s coming out this week? Month? Do you know how much you’ve saved or invested in the last 12 months? (if this is nothing, knowing this is not a good thing!) Have you taken your money before paying all other bills?
Keeping control of your finances as simple enough. And yet most business owners are so terrified of their own accounts they leave them for as long as possible, taking a tiny peek at the tax bill when it’s due.
My advice is to employ the services of a bookkeeper or an accountant. You need access to the software too, so you have the ability take a business snapshot on a regular basis. Ensure your accountant/bookkeeper is switched onto the idea you’ll be taking your money first and how the distribution of your should be spread. If they don’t do this, get rid immediately. They should be giving you monthly management accounts, aiding you to your goal of wealth creation.
A great book to start is Mike Michalowicz Profit First which goes into great detail about the spread of your finances. I don’t believe it’s too strong to say without complete control over the accounts you have no control over your own business.
From Idea to Execution: The Brave Route to Advertising
For the purpose of this article it’s going to be assumed that you have a marketing budget in place for your business growth. If you haven’t or you rely on word of mouth you are frankly putting the fate of your business in the hands of someone else. It is beyond the purpose of this article to discuss marketing and advertising suffice to say that all smart business owners have a marketing budget and strategy to build their business.
It is difficult though, with a limited budget, to know where to place your finances to get the bet returns for your money and climb the money pyramid.
I’m afraid I don’t have a quick answer for you. Entrepreneurs looking for an easy route and fall for the newest ‘shiny object’ are destined to remain on the bottom of the money pyramid until they change the way in which they view their marketing.
Firstly, all entrepreneurs should see their marketing budget as an investment, not a cost. This very simple mindset shift will completely change the way in which you see your marketing. It’s also important to point out that once your marketing is regularly bringing in returns you should churn the same money back into your marketing machine. For example, if you invest £1,000 on your marketing in a month you should take £1,000 from the returns and reinvest the same money the next month. That way a £12,000 annual budget is actually the same £1,000 reinvested. The same can be done with much smaller and larger budgets.
Secondly; you should not do what your competition are doing. If you do the only thing your guaranteed is remaining at the bottom half of the money pyramid.
Let’s say you run a pet shop. You see your competitors advertising on Facebook so you do the same. Same info, same pictures, same copy. Trouble is, your competitor likely did the same thing and copied someone else. Eventually you all look the same and all your prospects skip past all of you. That is the very real danger of doing the same as your competitors.
Now let’s say you recorded a series of videos instead, posting them on your website as well as Instagram and various other outlets. These videos are of you and your team explaining the pet food you have in store and why it’s particularly good. Anyone who loves their pets will take notice of you, instead of the humdrum of doing what everyone else is doing.
I am not suggesting that everything you do is going to be a raving success, even if you are breaking the mould and doing different to your competition. I am, though, saying that sticking to the industry norm is a sure-fire way of remaining in the bottom part of the money pyramid.
The topic of different marketing is a massive one and cannot be discussed in detail here. My article “Creative marketing on a budget: Making a BIG impact with limited resources” will give you further information to explore
Conclusion: Building a strong foundation: essential financial management tips for small business owners
The Money Pyramid is one which can be frustrating, the feeling that whatever you do you never feel that any progress is being made. This is likely a result of trying to get to the top quickly with get rich quick schemes and the next bright shiny object.
To make any progress up the pyramid it is in fact, in most cases, a much slower process. Starting right here right now by putting away some money each month and managing on the rest. Start with 1%, next month do 2% and so on.
A tight grasp on your daily, weekly and monthly accounts will serve you well, as will watching closely your ROI on your marketing investment.
It is possible for all entrepreneurs to climb the money pyramid. In fact I don’t think anyone set out in business to struggle with too much month at the end of the money.
Further reading: Mike Michalowicz: Proft First, Darren Hardy: The Compound Effect and Jim Rohn, How to Live Your Best Year Ever