Living Paycheck to Paycheck When Running a Successful Small Business?

When living paycheck to paycheck, especially if the small business is successful, it’s certainly worth asking why isn’t your paycheck bigger?

There are a lot of questions that you have to ask yourself when you’re running and operating a small business. For example: why am I still living paycheck to paycheck? We here at ProStrategix know how massive a concern that can be for our clients, and we want to help. 

A recent segment on Small Business Radio covered some great material about how to manage your personal finances better.  But, it is missing a few topics. For instance, why isn’t your paycheck bigger? 

Why isn't your paycheck bigger?

When living paycheck to paycheck, especially if the business is successful, it’s certainly worth asking why isn’t it bigger?  While having bad spending habits should be avoided, for instance, it's not the only solution.  A successful small business owner, most certainly, would not have to live paycheck to paycheck if it were bigger.

First, check your business model

For many of our clients at ProStrategix, the issue usually comes a sub-optimized business model.  This happens because of two things: not having the time and/or the experience.

It’s not surprising. After all, the majority of successful small business owners went into business because they love what they do.  It’s that love that keeps a successful small business going, even when living paycheck to paycheck. 

Unfortunately, it’s the mechanics of the business which is the cause for a successful small business to have to live paycheck to paycheck, more often than not.

Next, try to optimize it

Clearly, this isn’t the most exciting part of the business.  But, even if you hate it, here are couple of relatively simple hacks to help optimize your business model.  Why bother?  Because, after some fine tuning, the successful small business owner can usually stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Key steps to increasing your paycheck

Are you spending the most effort serving the right customers?  

Who are your best customers?  How might you find more like them?  If it costs you the same to serve everyone, how might you change that?

Are you creating enough value?

Why do your customers value you?  What makes you special to them?  How might you enhance that so they might be willing to spend more, or come back more frequently? 

What are all the necessary steps to service your customers?

Can you list them all?  Are there any steps missing?  What does it cost you to complete those steps? Are there any costs you could easily cut?

Know how you are converting sales to cash

Admittedly, this is probably the least interesting of the hacks, but one of the most important. This is where many of our clients turn for help.  If you like spreadsheets, or you want to challenge yourselves, this simple analysis might help.

  1. Is Revenue/Customer (item) > Cost/Customer (item)?  For successful small businesses, this is usually true.
  2. Can you use numbers 1-2 to increase the Revenue/Customer without increasing Cost/Customer?
  3. Can you reduce the number of steps in number 3 to reduce the Cost/Customer?
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About the Author

Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkedIn profile

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