SSS Mint + Marble 20

5 Ways to Maximize Your Money Before December 31

Lists are kind of my thing. If there are more than two of anything, I will make a list. So December, with its shopping lists, gift guides, and year-end planning to-dos galore, is my favorite time of year.

Speaking of year-end planning, I wanted to share a few things that you can do as a leader to potentially save on taxes and maximize your money, friends!

Many of our clients had a really strong 2020, meaning a large net income. That’s amazing and worthy of celebration, but also comes with a potentially larger tax bill. I like to look at my taxes with gratitude (it means it was a great year!) but I also want to maximize my money because abundance leads to more abundance! 

Here are some ideas to maximize your money:

  1. Max out your retirement accounts. I’ve had a SEP IRA for a couple years now and always aim to max it out as early in the year as possible – this particular account lets you contribute 25% of your salary which is awesome. It’s a deductible expense for your business AND tax deferred savings for your future. I know it sounds intimidating, but it took me about 10 minutes to open and contribute to an account. My SEP IRA is at Vanguard.
  2. Donate to your favorite charity. My biggest challenge in donating to charities is choosing which one! I’ve worked with nonprofits for over a decade so it feels nearly impossible to choose just one worthy cause. Charity Navigator and Guidestar are great places to start researching nonprofits if you aren’t sure where exactly to donate. Charitable donations are also tax deductible, so win-win (just check with your CPA on any limits).
  3. Pay all your bills. If you’re looking at significant net income (that’s the money you have left over after all expenses), that also might mean a significant tax bill. To reduce that amount, pay your bills! Examples: you owe your coach a few more installments of your annual coaching program or your second payment for your website design is coming up in January. Pay them all now to increase your 2020 expenses and reduce your tax bill.
  4. Make any large purchases. Okay, listen very carefully. I am, IN NO WAY, advocating purchasing things you don’t need just to reduce your tax bill. However, if you have the cash in the bank (after setting aside your 3 month reserve), and there are major purchases you were going to make in January anyway, buy them now to reduce your net income and tax bill.
  5. Delay your income. Again, this is a strategy for those business owners who have significant net income at the end of the year. If you were planning on billing a client at the end of December, perhaps send your invoice in early January instead, so the revenue is collected next year. In a sense, this is “kicking the can down the road” but who knows what the next 12 months will hold, so why not take the benefit now.

Did you have a year of abundance? Which money maximizing strategies are you using in the next two weeks? 

If you want to get on our calendar to maximize your money all year long, schedule a time to chat here >>> 

If you aren’t sure which finance pro you need on your team, and the terms bookkeeper, CFO, and CPA are confusing, take our quiz here >>>


Note: This is not tax advice. Please talk to your CPA for specifics on how this applies to your business and personal tax situation.

Caption Set #1

Should you take out a business loan?

Hold onto your seats because I have a potentially controversial opinion to share with you today:

Debt is not inherently bad.

I get asked the question a lot: Is it ever okay to take on debt in my business? Should I get a loan or use a credit card in my business?

We are conditioned to believe that debt in our personal lives is bad, and in many cases consumer debt holds us back from true financial freedom. 

Spending more than you make is only a recipe for disaster and the same is true in our businesses. It can be very easy to invest in our businesses too soon, hire the wrong people, get more software and systems than we really need, and dump money into strategies that haven’t proven themselves to work yet. 

I’ve found that overspending often leads to taking on debt with a false hope that the cash influx will magically change habits and solve all of your problems.

I think we can all agree that that solution never works.

However! Using a business credit card or obtaining a loan or line of credit can work really well in certain situations and is totally acceptable in my book. Now before you run out and apply for the first loan you can find, I am going to share when it’s okay to take on debt in your business, when it’s not okay, and what you must absolutely do first!


It can be okay to take on debt when…

    1. Timing is an issue. Many businesses have high months and low months. They know, based on historical numbers, that a particular month or quarter is slow in terms of revenue, but that the following quarter always picks back up again. They may need an influx of cash to cover operating or advertising expenses in advance of a big sales month and this is when it’s okay to take on debt. They know that sales are basically guaranteed, and are substantial enough to cover any debt they take on.
    2. You need capital expenses for production. Other businesses may need cash in order to produce a particular product or line in advance of sales, especially if there is not unrestricted or generating operating cash to fund manufacturing or production. This is another time when it’s okay to take on debt to produce products, provided there is a proven market to purchase the product at healthy margins.

On the flip side, it is not okay to take on debt when…

    • You don’t have a proven business model and/or a plan for revenue. I am only comfortable with a business taking on debt if they have already been successful with their current business model. People have already purchased your products or services and it isn’t a brand new, untested idea. The last thing you want is a boatload of inventory, no one to purchase it, AND a brand new debt payment you can’t make. So test that idea before taking on debt!
    • You haven’t tried other things to improve your cash flow first. If you find yourself short on cash, I do not recommend taking on debt before doing what you can to improve your situation first. Cut unnecessary and unused expenses, reduce those that aren’t generating a solid ROI, and increase revenue streams that ARE working. Debt is NOT the easy way out so work through your P&L before taking on significant debt.

Now that you’ve read the above and think your business still might be a candidate for a loan or line of credit, here’s what you must do first…

    • Create a 12-18 month forecast of revenue, expenses, and cash. Think through the future of your business and map out every revenue stream, every expense, and your cash flow for the next 12-18 months. This may seem like a long time, but you want to ensure that your business is growing in the right direction, profit is strong, and you will absolutely have the cash to repay the loan or credit card, when payments start to kick in. Need a template? Grab one here:
    • The forecast must include a realistic path to profit and debt repayment. The key word here is realistic: your forecast should assume the most realistic revenue, expense, and cash scenarios. Think about scale – maybe your product or service will sell a few the first month, more the following month, and be full-scale in month three. Think about timing – your launch may be projected to having amazing sales in November, but the cash might not land in your bank account until December.

So, to summarize my stance on business debt: I’m okay with temporary debt if you have a proven business model, revenue stream, and 12-18 month projections for repayment and strong margins. I’m not okay with debt if you’re using it to fund ongoing operating deficits.

Sometimes putting things on a credit card or taking out a loan is simply a matter of timing – if your business is cyclical, a quick cash infusion may help keep you in the black until revenue picks up and you’re easily able to pay it back. 

The key is knowing exactly what’s around the bend with a forecast.

What do you think? Are you anti business debt or do you believe it’s okay under certain circumstances?

Want help building your forecast to see around the bend? Schedule a chat with us!



Introducing The Purpose-Driven P&L


With every step of my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve learned to follow my heart rather than the money or where the market is, despite what some leading business minds might share.


I started by my business solely focused on serving nonprofits. It’s what I know and it’s where I spent a decade of my life and it’s where there is a huge need for financial leadership, so it seemed like a natural fit. As time went on, purpose-driven entrepreneurs started making their way into my world. I imagine that they probably saw a bit of alignment in their impact-focused work, regardless of how their financials were structured, so we mutually felt like a good fit.


These women (yes, all of my purpose-driven entrepreneur clients are women!) have inspired me this year in growing my own business and I am feeling called to play bigger in this space. I want to serve more purpose-driven entrepreneurs in 2019 – women who are building big businesses, making a big impact, and growing their empire while staying true to themselves, their purposes, and their families, because ultimately that’s what I want too.


I want to grow a business beyond myself so that 100 Degrees Consulting can help more purpose-driven leaders realize their potential.


That’s why I am so proud and excited to introduce…



The Purpose-Driven P&L™


What is the Purpose-Driven P&L™?


The Purpose-Driven P&L™ is a methodology to help purpose-driven leaders better understand and use their financials to make smart decisions for their business AND an impact on the world.


It is:

  • A decision-making framework based on the black and white numbers to help you assess which investments will provide the greatest ROI for your business

  • A way to build impact and philanthropy into your business model without sacrificing profit


We totally understand that our purpose-driven leaders are busy making an impact and don’t have the time to mess around with clunky Excel sheets and formulas and analyses. So we help you level up your business by creating a partnership with an experienced CFO. In my experience running this business for three years, I find that the greatest transformation is in the first two months of working with a new client. We review and often revamp financial reports to optimize them for greater visibility and profitability. Then after those two months, we have ongoing monthly calls to review your financials and help you lead your business to greater impact and more profit.


Now, if you’re a nonprofit and have come to know me as the nonprofit finance gal, I am not abandoning you. After working with nonprofit organizations for years, I’ve built this methodology to serve nonprofits too. I find that many nonprofits operate like a nonprofit, meaning we are immersed in the scarcity mindset and focused on how there’s not enough to go around. I talk about this in my online course for nonprofit leaders, that we need to figure out the impact that we want to have, then build our budget to show the resources we’ll actually need to accomplish that.


But the Purpose-Driven P&L™ provides a shift in that mindset. Using this methodology we are focused deeply on making an impact and serving the communities we serve BUT ALSO focused on creating a strong financial foundation to ensure sustainability. Nonprofits with no reserves or looming debt are unlikely to last beyond a few years, and at best will be operating paycheck to paycheck. That’s no way to scale the impact that we can have in this world!


So we use the Purpose-Driven P&L™ methodology to ensure we have a solid focus on sustainability by reviewing key financial metrics alongside your programmatic metrics to ensure IMPACT + PROFITABILITY.


At the end of the day, this isn’t a huge deviation from how we currently work with our 1:1 clients, both nonprofit and for-profit, but now we have a fun name for it and can talk about it in a way that makes sense to our purpose-driven leaders.


This isn’t a sales pitch by any means (stay tuned – ha ha ha!) but if you’re interested in learning more about how one of our CFOs can help you build profitability AND impact in your business, please reach out to grab a slot on my calendar for a chat. We have just a couple openings available for new clients in 2019 and I can promise that having a CFO on board who understands you and your business will be transformational – like, double digit growth, transformational.


I never envisioned working with entrepreneurs but I’m so grateful for the opportunity to follow my heart and serve more purpose-driven leaders in this way.


I’m ready to share the Purpose-Driven P&L™ with the world in 2019!


(Do you want a peek into one of the elements of the Purpose-Driven P&L™ process? Our Financial Statement Workbook shows some of the key metrics that we use to help build financial sustainability and profitability – AND it’s simple enough that you can drop your own numbers in yourself to learn more about your own financial health. Grab it here!)