Sylvia Inks knew she had a gift in financial management and wanted to share her knowledge with small business owners so that motivated, but financially illiterate, entrepreneurs wouldn’t have to close their businesses due to mistakes that could have been avoided. Read our interview with the lovely Sylvia below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I grew up in a family that loved to talk about money. It was a common topic discussed at the dinner table, so I learned good money management at a very young age. I realized that many others did not have that same upbringing, which I believe has led to a problem of financial illiteracy. I see very smart and intelligent people start businesses, but fail due to poor money management and not building a solid foundation. It is heartbreaking to see motivated and driven entrepreneurs have to close their businesses due to mistakes that could have been avoided.
Tell us about your business.
I help entrepreneurs manage their money better. I provide the education, tools, and encouragement to put into practice the business and financial fundamentals to build a profitable business. My goal is to educate and empower small business owners to turn around their business and make the profits that they need and want.
Yes! I am launching the book, Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur, which will be available on November 1st for 90% off! It will be available at this special price for this one day.
Where is your business based (city/state/region…)?
Based in Raleigh, NC (United States) and can serve out-of-state clients through virtual coaching.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I took a financial coach master series training through the Dave Ramsey’s team to confirm that this was indeed what I wanted to do for a business. At the time, I was trying to decide between two business ideas. I was 100% convinced that this was what I was meant to do after that training and mentorship program. I also took a business planning course to ensure that I created a solid business and financial plan. Through that course, I also gained a mentor who coached me through the critical first year. Not having a solid business plan is one of the top reasons why small businesses fail. Often, people make the mistake in thinking that if they don’t need financing, that they don’t need a business plan.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Attending conferences and networking events with like-minded business professionals and building a referral network. Writing and promoting my book has also been a great way to raise awareness.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Time management! I have this big drive to help as many business owners that I meet, but have to balance that with my family obligations and schedule. I have two young children under the age of 5, so it’s a little bit of challenge to manage a good work/family balance.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I leverage family for help with childcare. I also hired someone to help me one day a week to cook, fold laundry, and do various cleaning in the house to free up time that I can spend on the business.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I get motivated when I get client feedback on how I’ve helped them decrease their stress and anxiety around their business finances. I recently had a client who was laid off from her corporate job, and she said that had she not worked with me to calculate the numbers beforehand, she would have panicked and not known if she could make it.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I provide a step-by-step process with tools that allow my clients get started right away and case studies to make it relatable. It’s not theory like you see in many other books… it’s a ready-to-use program.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Front-load the work! Do 80% of the work ahead of time.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs. Seek to find those who target the same types of clients as you, but are not direct competitors. Having a referral partner network will save you time and money from having to chase down clients and having to find clients at networking events.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Office 365 for a cloud storage system of all files and business receipts, which are accessible anywhere I go and travel. It also allows secured access when sharing files and ensures that I don’t lose any critical business files in the event of a computer crash. Freshbooks is another great tool that I find to be a lot easier to use and manage than QuickBooks for small business owners.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Website www.smallbusinessfinancebook.com and www.smifinancialcoaching.com
Hashtags #busyentrepreneur #profitablebusiness #moneymanagement #smallbiz
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
Beyond Travel: A Road Warrior’s Survival Guide by Marcey Rader. This book is full of practical and specific advice on how to be more productive and be healthier, especially if your job requires a lot of travel. This is a book that I wished that I had when I was working 12-14 hours days and traveling between 75%-100% over 5 years ago. After going through Marcey’s tips, I have become more productive and have been going to bed two hours earlier than I have in over two years! Time is money, and most entrepreneurs struggle with having enough time for their business and personal life. If this sounds like you, then I highly recommend this book.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
How to build better email marketing campaigns to engage with the customers and readers and provide value so they want to open and read the emails.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Get the book in the hands of as many entrepreneurs and small business owners that I can and help them start building a solid, profitable business. My referral partners will be helping me get the word out about the book on launch day and I will also be doing workshops and talks. My 2017 goals include creating online courses based on the fundamental principles described in the book for those who want and learn better though visuals.