3 Tips for a Creative to painlessly knock out their business numbers

As a creative small business owner, one of the trickiest things to master is striking that delicate balance between *doing the work* and *running the business*.

That’s because you’re precariously wedged between two wildly different roles: maintaining the Front of House vs. driving the Back of House.

The Front of house being anything that the customer sees– making the jewelry, selling the service, designing the florals, creating the branding, shipping the product…

While the Back of the House is everything behind the scenes that supports your work with clients. It’s the to-list that allows everything else to function properly that only you (or your team) sees.

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know the striking difference between the calm and chaos on either side of the swinging door. By 7pm on a Friday night once the people pour in–– the Front of the House will always grab your attention first, and you’ll catch up on that mount of dishes when its slows down later.

…and that’s where the BTS backlog begins.

The same is true in business, 

when it gets busy it’s all hands on-deck, and you get so wrapped-up with the day-to-day that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. 

And typically, the first thing that gets pushed until it slows down later is: keeping up with your numbers.

It’s all fun and games until you realize you did all that hustling and have little to show for it. 

A little secret:  it all starts with the numbers.
…and that’s just the beginning– from there you can create a custom strategy to dial up what’s working and dial down what isn’t.

Without taking the time to find the leaky buckets in your business, you’ll inevitably spring more leaks. So it’s important to prioritize the stuff behind the scenes that make it all run smoothly. 

Easier said than done, amiright?

Here are 3 tips to knock out your numbers, gain perspective, and get back to creating:

  1. Schedule it.
    Add it to your schedule and make it a non-negotiable. If not, things will just fill in its place.  I like to set aside one full day per quarter to dig into the numbers to look back so that you’re able to strategically forecast the future.

  2. Streamline it.
    You know what happens when you follow one process, you start to see patterns. And when patterns start to emerge from numbers, you can make more educated business decisions.

As you grow and the stakes become higher, your future self with thank you for using one streamlined system.

James Clear said it best in his book Atomic Habits–

“Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.”

-James Clear

Not to mention– every time I dive into my numbers, I can’t seem to remember how/what I did last time.

Just me?

  1. Make it work for you.
    As a creative, using visuals completely transformed the way I *see* numbers, decrypted financials, and allowed those handy patterns to rise to the surface. (think: colorful charts and graphs). 

That’s when I started designing templates for my own business and sharing what I do with others. My brain just doesn’t process accountant-style spreadsheets like other layouts, so I created my own.

Around here, I call them: Quarterly Critiques.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be sharing what things I track in my Quarterly Critique Method and why.  Spoiler alert: I *only* keep tabs on the things that help you find clarity and focus- then let your accountant do the rest!  So you can let your numbers help guide you then get back to creating.

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