How to Create a Generous Business: Leverage Your Profits

I’m a big proponent of using a money system in your business for many reasons. One of those is the way it can make giving away money, or donating, so much easier. Today, we’re focusing on how to use your profits to be able to give freely in your business. In my series on money mapping, I wrote about setting up a profit account like the Profit First system suggests. I’ve also written about how you might use that profit account to donate money. This post will be a more in-depth exploration of those concepts, so go ahead and read those posts if you haven’t already!

The Purpose of Profit

In my post “The In-Depth Guide to Mapping Your Money, and How it Can Fortify Your Business, Part II,” I describe the profit account in a money system this way:

The profit account accumulates and then is distributed quarterly. Business owners are encouraged to use their Profit Distributions to reward themselves for their hard work. This keeps the owner excited about and invested in the business. It also discourages any tendency to reinvest everything back into the business, or over-save.  Rewards can range from a day out to charitable giving, to really anything you want!

Note that last bit: charitable giving. Recently, I’ve made a couple posts about how to figure out what we really want to spend our money on. It has to do with our values – when we know what’s really valuable to us and we think about how to get that, we can spend our money in ways that are the most purposeful and fulfilling to us. We can spend in a way that brings us that feeling of “enough.”

Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, describes this phenomenon this way: “When people were able to align their money with their deepest, most soulful interests and commitments, their relationship with money became a place where profound and lasting transformation could occur.” Imagine doing this every quarter with your quarterly profit distribution! To create a generous business and get the most satisfaction from your profits, I encourage you to engage in some soul searching. Think about what the word “generous” means to you and what you might do with your money to embody this word.

A Generous Business is a Happy Business

One suggestion I’d like to make here, is sharing your profit distribution in the form of holiday bonuses for any employees or independent contractors you work with. Appreciate the work they do by sharing your profits. Receiving their thanks and building up a relationship of mutual appreciation can be one of the most satisfying ways to use your profit distribution. It can also improve the overall quality of your work life! Because I advise clients to use the money accumulated in their profit account every quarter, the last distribution of the year comes up during the holidays. This is the perfect time to show employees some appreciation.

Be For Your Community

This year has given us more opportunities than ever to show up for our community as small business owners. I encourage you to think about organizations in your local community or on a larger level that you would like to show visible support for with your business. I wrote a post about thinking about your business’s role in your community called “How to Step Up for Your Community as a Business Owner,” that you might like to read to get some more thoughts on this subject.

One way your business can give (that’s coming up soon!) is by participating in #GivingTuesday on Tuesday December 1st. Here’s their guide for small businesses who want to participate. For GivingTuesday, At Peace With Money is supporting Violence in Boston and Second Harvest Food Bank, just to give you some ideas!

I hope this post inspires you to be generous this season! If you would like to work with someone to develop a money system which enables you to feel abundant and be generous, schedule a curiosity call with me. I’m happy to chat and see if we can work together.

☮

Angela

Image: Kelly Sikkema 

How to Make Donating Money Way Easier On Your Finances

This time of year, many of us are thinking about giving. Traditionally, we come together to be thankful for our blessings and share generosity. While many aspects of the holiday season will look different this year, your giving doesn’t have to! I know many kind and generous people who wish to give money to organizations or causes they support, or simply other people in the community who are in need. However, sometimes being clear on how much you can really afford to donate is difficult.

To really clear this up, you need to develop a solid financial base for yourself. I’m talking about using a spending plan, a savings plan, and money mapping to really get clear on where your money is going. Let’s look at how each of these three tools can help you give way more easily:

Spending Plan

First, you need to know how much you’re spending and where it’s going. Take a walk through your income and expenses and figure out how much you’re saving, if you are saving. The point of developing a spending plan (also known by the less-fun-sounding-term “budget”) is to get clear on what your spending is like right now, and how it compares to your income. When you look at this, you can see what your spending priorities currently are, and you can start to think about that critically. Do you really want to eat takeout food every week, or would you rather be able to donate that $35 to a conservation campaign like Protect Juristac? Looking at your spending and weighing your priorities can make room for the giving you want to do. To develop a good spending plan, check out my article with ideas and strategies here.

Savings Plan

Saving money gives you serious options, whether you’re saving for an emergency fund or a big purchase. You can also decide to dedicate a portion of your savings directly to giving. Maybe, you decide to save 5% of your income every month and donate it to the COVID-19 Hopi Relief Fund at the end of the year. Whether the giving comes out of your savings or your spending plan, having both gives you a fuller picture of how you can spend, give, and save for your goals. You can read more about creating a savings plan for yourself here.

Money Mapping

Once you’ve got the spending and the saving figured out, you can put it all together into a money map! Money mapping is a visual tool for organizing your own money system. It’s super helpful for both your business and personal finances. I’ve talked about the how-to of money mapping quite a bit on this blog, so I won’t go into detail. I recommend reading my full series on money mapping, and especially How to Use Money Mapping to Give Back.  The big pro of money mapping is that you can visually parse out how you will allocate for giving money. Whether it’s coming out of your business finances, your monthly living expenses, or you’re saving a big sum, creating a money map helps you see that and stick to it.

Want to Give? Get Organized!

The bottom line here is that donating money from a solid financial base requires getting organized. You need to go over your financial priorities and see what kind of money you have to work with. From there, you can make an informed and generous decision about where to put your money, without putting yourself in dire financial straits. I hope you found this article helpful. Currently, I have a few openings in my practice for some personal finance coaching clients, so if you’d like to work closely on your personal finances and develop a giving plan with support, reach out to schedule a free consultation!

 

 

Happy giving!

☮

Angela

 

How to Use Money Mapping To Give Back

At this moment, we are being called to give money to many different places. Community organizations need resources to respond to COVID-19, and so do many different non-profits, scholarship funds, etc. On top of that, the worldwide movement for Black lives has sparked a renewed need for donations. Last week, I discussed how a business owner can leverage their business to rise to this moment. Today, I want to talk about giving. Specifically, how to use money mapping to know how much to give!

Money Mapping: A Crash Course

If you’re not familiar with the term money-mapping, it’s essentially a visual way to track and create a system for your money. When I work with my clients, we create these systems for their business together. By figuring out how much money you need to cover taxes and business expenses, you’re then able to see what’s left over. How you allocate that money is up to you. Typically it’s split between profit and pay for the business owner. In this article, I’m going to discuss how you can carve out a chunk of that money for donating to organizations you want to support. Earlier this year, I wrote a series on how to implement money-mapping for your business and personal finances; read that here. Here’s a diagram to give you a better picture of what I’m talking about.

Factoring in Giving

There are several different ways you can factor giving into your money map. If you’d like the donation to come directly from your business revenue, perhaps you decide that the 5% in the profit account will go to a certain organization. Depending on your flexibility, you could also simply choose to add another account altogether, and split up your revenue five ways instead of the four outlined in the diagram above.

If you’d prefer to give from your individual finances, your options are similar. Perhaps you can carve the donation from your savings allocations (perhaps replace “new mattress”). Or, you can choose to make room in your living expenses, provided you have that flexibility.

Sticking to a Timeline

When using the money mapping system, it’s good to use a timeline to know when it’s time to examine your accounts and move or use money that’s collected there. In my work with clients I usually suggest that they move or use the money in their profit account on a quarterly basis. If you’ve decided to use this money for donations, perhaps you can set up a system in your business to switch up where those donations go every quarter of the year.

Why Use This System?

Using money-mapping and seeing your donation as a percentage of your overall income strengthens the power of your giving. It helps you see exactly how much you can afford to give, and helps you make mindful choices about amount, rather than purely emotional ones. It can be helpful for people who are prone to over-spending and those prone to over-saving. Looking at your money as a full system also helps you assess your values and re-structure your priorities if needed. If you decide you’d rather donate to Black Lives Matter than eat out in the month of June, referring to your money map can help you make and track that choice.

If you’re looking for places to donate money to in order to support the movement for Black Lives, please consider checking out these organizations:

Happy giving!

☮

Angela

Image By:  Milada Vigerova