Most of my clients are small business owners wanting to grow their business.  To help you do this, I want you to understand a little about the numbers behind success.  Keep breathing now – I’m not going to throw out spirituality and turn into a raving number cruncher.  Think of this post as what spiritual people need to know about the numbers behind a successful business.

Money and SpiritualityYour business is about being of service to the world.  And being of service requires someone to be of service to. In other words, clients sustain your business and sustainability means serving enough people to have a viable business.   What do the numbers look like for a viable mircobusiness?

The Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake most spiritual business owners make is underestimating how many people need to know about their products and services. This mistake causes suffering for both the owner and the client.  For the business owner who doesn’t have the strong base that she needs, life is tense.  She spends energy trying to figure out how to get the bills paid and how to attract the next client.  Under this constant tension, her ability to serve her clients goes down.

The client also suffers.  He is denied the full attention of the business owner, who has a good portion of her energy bound up in worry.   The services and products from a business in this situation are less powerful.

Creating a financially sustainable business allows your client to be served at a much deeper level.  And, you get to sleep better at night.  From a spiritual perspective, sustainability is important to both you and your clients.

An example of sustainability

Suppose you are a coach, therapist or healer wanting to earn at least $70,000 a year.  How does one go about creating such a business?  If you charge $100 per session, here’s the math:

  • 15 sessions x $100 per session = $1500 per week
  • 52 weeks per year total – 4 weeks vacation = 48 weeks
  • $1200 per week * 48 weeks = $72,000 gross income per year

How many people need to know about your business to easily average 15 sessions a week?  Understanding this allows you to plan for a sustainable business and serve your clients from a deeper place of ease.

1000 true fans

In 2008, Wired Magazine’s Senior Editor Kevin Kelly wrote a blog post called 1000 True Fans.  It has been a very popular post and still generates a great deal of conversation.  In it, he states that anyone who truly wants a sustainable independent business needs at least 1000 people who know what you do and feel passionate about it.

If the coach or healer in our above example had 1000 true fans, then only 1.5% of the people valued the business would need to come for an appointment on any given week to average 15 sessions a week.  Compare this to 150 fans.  In order to have the sustainability of a $70,000 per year income, a business owner with 150 fans would need to see 10% of his or her supporters every week.  In most cases, that’s not a sustainable expectation.

In today’s economy, I think 1000 is probably too low.  More realistically, I would say most service providers find that they need in the range of 2000-5000 people who know and respect their business to have a comfortable business.  Fortunately, with tools like email newsletters, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and other internet tools, it’s easier than ever to find and stay in touch with your fans.

It IS about the numbers – in a spiritual way

Getting clear about money and spirituality can be challenging in a highly materialistic world.  Many spiritual people shy away from looking at the mechanics of sustainability.  Let me be clear, I don’t believe in getting obsessed about the numbers.  Purpose, passion and being of service are more important.

At the same time, as a spiritual business owner it is important to understand that sustainability is a gift to both your clients and yourself.  Our world needs clear leaders who have the freedom to speak honestly and passionately offer their gifts to the world.  Having a strong community that understands and values what you do allows you to do this.

How to build a community of 1000’s of fans

For many spiritual people, marketing is a dirty word.  It implies a used car salesperson with a fake smile trying to sell a unreliable car.  The good news is that this kind of marketing is becoming less and less effective.

There is another way to build a sustainable base of people who care about your work.  First, you need products and/or services that you believe in.   Fortunately, most spiritual business people already have this or can find this fairly easily.  Then you need a plan to share your passion – honestly, effectively and with lots of people.  I call it your Integrated Marketing Plan and I’ll be sharing more about how to develop one in the near future.

There’s never been a better time

People are tired of being screamed at and lied to by marketers.  There never has been a better time to be a spiritual business owner.  If you are willing to build honest and heart based relationships with enough people, you can have a thriving business.  I’d like to support you in taking this step – our world needs more successful spiritual business owners.