One of the most important aspects of maintaining a small business or nonprofit organization is effective financial management. This concept of financial management is especially true in the current economic climate. In 2021, the inflation rate reached 7% (Bloomberg), which is the highest it has been in nearly 40 years. Due to this, it is more important than ever before to take an active approach of protecting your assets. Listed below are a few strategies to help improve your financial position as a small business or nonprofit.
Diversifying revenue streams involves leveraging various opportunities to bring money into an organization. Typically, for nonprofit organizations, 88% of total money raised comes from 12% of donors (Bloomerang). This funding breakdown typically causes many organizations to become extremely dependent on a small subset of their target market. and thus, diversifying revenue streams allows an organization to become more flexible for unforeseen circumstances. For a nonprofit organization, a diversified channel of revenue could consist of a variety of individual donors, foundation grants, corporate partnerships, government funding, fundraisers, servicing fees, and more. As a starting point, having more than one stream of revenue is great, but the ideal position should be to have upwards of 5 revenue streams.
Accurate financial records allow an organization to better understand their previous financials, analyze trends and forecast their financial future. While it can be easy to push off maintaining accurate records due to time or money constraints, it is extremely important that these stay up to date. A few great ways to manage financial records are to consider hiring a freelance bookkeeper, who can provide service for a few hours a month or on a consulting basis. Proper records allow an organization to maintain confidence in decision making, as records provide organizations with concrete data of previous decisions that led to success.
In line with maintaining proper financial records, organizations should ensure to separate business and personal accounts. According to a survey conducted by Clutch, over 25% of small businesses owners do not separate business and personal bank accounts. This lack of separation can become challenging when it comes time to determine cash flows. Separation of business and personal bank accounts means allows lenders to better understand your organization and makes taxes less of a headache.
Mentorship is a very important piece when it comes to the development of an organization. Finding a mentor with prior experience and industry knowledge can help you guide your organization into the right direction. A mentor can work with you to stay accountable on goals and provide additional tips for managing the finances of your nonprofit or small business. Another way to discover a mentor is in the form of a consultant. For example, Flyer Consulting provides guidance and mentorship for nonprofit organizations and small businesses to help them achieve financial stability.
While the concept of planning may seem simple, it is not something that should be skipped out on. Planning for the future of your organization will in turn bring about better financial management. Planning allows for flexibility when the unknown arrives, such as a pandemic that can bring about sudden changes and high costs for organizations. Take a look at the historical trends of your nonprofit or small business and use these trends to plan. Do donations or expenses fluctuate during different seasons or holidays? Do specific donor groups tend to be more active in various points throughout the year? What events and tactics correlate with higher success, or led to inefficient funding? Asking yourself these questions about your organization and extrapolating the answers to the future can be pivotal for structuring the growth of your organization. Different tools can assist in the process of answering these questions, such as Tableau (data analytic software that donates software to qualifying nonprofits upon request).
Overall, for nonprofits and small businesses, new information isn’t necessarily the most important tool for financial success, it is the historical data that really matters. It is vital to maintain an active approach in applying strategies to maintain and better the finances to secure organizational-wide financial health.
John Bentley and Brendan Ours
While it’s imperative for nonprofit organizations and small businesses to set reasonable financial goals, it’s also important for individuals to remain in good financial health. Flyer Consulting recommends setting financial goals to maintain this financial health. Upon reading the 5 tips below, individuals will know how to set a good financial goal and how to make progress toward that goal.
1. Categorize your financial goals as short, mid, and long term. Different financial goals will have different time frames, so it is important to allow for flexible periods to meet these goals. A helpful guide is to categorize short-term financial goals as those to be met within six months to five years. Mid-term financial goals are those that can be met in five to ten years. Long-term financial goals are those that are longer than ten years, and are commonly associated with life goals such as building a retirement account.
2. Prioritize your financial goals in categories of critical, need, or want. Everyone will have basic critical life and money goals, such as buying a car, building a savings account, paying down debt, and buying a home. By prioritizing your goals and physically separating them on paper or on a spreadsheet, it can be easier to visualize what goals need to be met first. Other financial goals may include financially planning to raise a family, paying college expenses, and possibly leaving an inheritance.
3. Examine your situation. As you begin to set your goals, take a step back and look at what kind of goals you can set that will realistically be achievable. Assess your financial position by looking at your current income, tax situation, and net worth. From here, you can begin to set up goals like creating a budget, building an emergency fund, paying off debt, and saving for retirement.
4. Make sure your goals are SMART; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Whether you set one goal or many goals, it is important to make them realistic and achievable. You want to be able to map out how long your goals will take and pinpoint how close you are to completing them.
5. Treat yourself. It should not feel like a chore as you are working towards your financial goals. Make sure to reward yourself as you continue to make progress reaching your goals. After completing a goal, whether it was a long or short-term goal, reward yourself by briefly shifting your focus to more exciting goals, like saving up to buy a want like a new laptop or car.
Trevor Casmere and Connor Ilyavi
Using Facebook to promote your business has a variety of benefits including being a low-cost marketing strategy, and sharing information about your organization. Facebook is also a great way to engage with both existing and potential customers. According to Hootsuite, over 2.8 billion users use Facebook each month. The most popular age demographic of Facebook users are those between the ages of 25-34 based on research conducted by Statista as of December 2021.The second most popular age demographic for Facebook users is ages 35-44. If you are looking to target consumers in these age groups, Facebook could be especially important for your business.
Facebook offers a variety of different post types, including status post, photo post, video post, live post, linked content post, and story posts. According to Hootsuite, the most popular in terms of engagement rate among these various types are video and photo posts. Facebook video and photo posts act as great attention grabbers for potential customers as they are scrolling. An important thing to note is that content should be short and sweet. Most social media users visit their social media sites like Facebook many times throughout the day but for short periods of time, so content creators must create posts that grab viewers attention quickly, before they lose focus. According to Hootsuite, “our attention span is only eight seconds long.” To make your video content count, share it in small bits.
Here are six ways to develop your strategy for marketing on Facebook:
Define your Audience: This is a seemingly simple step that can make or break your success in marketing on social media. By knowing your audience, you will be able to gain a sense for what your users are interested in and create content that engages this audience. A good starting point for defining your audience is creating a buyer persona.
Set goals: When setting goals for your business on social media, you must define what success looks like for your specific organization. Pick things that are specific, trackable and measurable as your goals so that you are able to determine your progress.
Plan your content mix: In planning your content mix, you should determine what type of content will be most effective for your audience. Some examples of this could be educational content, entertaining content and promotional content. According to Hubspot, “a good rule of thumb is to use the “80-20 Rule”: that means using 80% of your posts to inform, educate and entertain, and the other 20% to promote your brand.”
Optimize your Page for engagement: Of the most important metrics a business can track is engagement. This is how much interaction users are having with your content. It is one thing to get users to your page, but getting them to like, share or comment on your page can really help to optimize your visibility to other people who could take an interest in your organization.
Consider using other Facebook tools: Facebook provides several useful tools to help accelerate your business using their platform. These include, Facebook Business Suite, Facebook Groups and the Facebook Chatbot. Of the most important for beginners is Facebook Business Suite. This program allows content creators to plan and program posts ahead of time, view metrics and even create organic and paid search campaigns. This is a very useful tool especially for organizations who are just starting out because of its accessibility and ease of use.
Incorporate Facebook ads: Incorporating ads to your Facebook for business account can help accelerate content in Facebook's algorithm. According to Hubspot, “the algorithm prioritizes posts from users’ friends and family. This means that businesses and brands sometimes just can’t stand out from the crowd.” By boosting posts with ads, users can extend the reach of their content even beyond the organic reach.
Many organizations have had success using Facebook as a tool for business and it is only getting easier! Facebook provides a variety of free tools that allow users to level up their business at any point in their journey without a ton of added costs and fees!
According to Hootsuite, “LinkedIn is the world’s premier business network with 722 million users as of January 2022. 25% of all American adults use LinkedIn, and 22% of those use it every single day” LinkedIn is popular with 45-55 year olds with millennials growing their presence and is currently in a period of growth. This shows just how important it is to have a LinkedIn presence for your organization in 2022. LinkedIn has the power to increase your brand awareness and community engagement through its search and networking capabilities. Here are 5 reasons why your company should consider utilizing LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is truly a one-of-a-kind platform that has the potential to take your organization to the next level. Flyer Consulting recommends highly considering joining LinkedIn for your organization in 2022 if you haven’t already. Stay tuned for more tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile in a later post!
There are many different social media platforms an organization can use to increase visibility and connect with potential donors, volunteers, and clients/customers. It is important to know which platforms to use to attract maximized attention to your organization. Instagram is the second most used social media platform because of its photo sharing and social networking application. If your organization is wanting to join social media and is researching if Instagram is the right platform to use, then you’re in the right place. Flyer Consulting will highlight how Instagram can help bring attention to your organization.
When determining the optimal social media platform for your organization, it is important to know your target market, a particular group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed. If your organization is trying to attract millennial (ages 25 to 40) and Gen Z (ages 9 to 24) demographics, then Instagram may be the right platform for your organization. According to Hootsuite, Instagram users are predominantly women under 30 and live in the United States. It is good to use Instagram to reach the younger generation and provide a more visual representation of your organization, because Instagram is all about getting existing and potential customers excited about what you do.
Instagram is used by organizations for many different reasons. On Instagram, organizations can share their story through photos and videos to increase visibility and connect users to your mission. Storytelling is a way to invoke emotions and emotion invoke reactions and reactions help your organization. Organizations should post frequently on Instagram in order to keep people interested and involved. Instagram allows organizations to share news in real time. Your frequency of posts can depend on what your organization is focused on such as selling products, services, or asking for donations/volunteers. Instagram offers different features that can be used to highlight different aspects of your organization and help build viewership.
If your organization sells products, then the Instagram Shopping feature may be beneficial for your organization. The Instagram Shopping feature can allow your organization to promote products and sell them directly through instagram or link it to your website. It is the best way to convert followers to shoppers. Your organization can tag products directly in post and bring followers or viewers directly to your shopping page. It is the best way to create a seamless shopping experience for your customers and allow for a quick and easy checkout.
If your organization is not selling products but selling services the best way to bring followers to your website is to have it linked in your bio. Instagram allows anyone to provide links in their bios that can take them directly to certain pages. This is another effortless way to bring followers or viewers to your website and create an awareness of your services. Flyer Consulting encourages all organizations to link their websites in their bio because it is such a good way to bring people to your website.
Third Instagram feature that is good to utilize is Instagram Lives. Instagram Live is a good way to show your followers what you are doing at a certain moment. If your organization focuses on making your own products, then it may be beneficial to start an Instagram Live of you making a product. This can be a good way to show your followers all the effort that is put into creating a certain product and connect them to the product. If you are wanting to encourage people to volunteer, then it can help to create an Instagram Live on what a day as a volunteer looks like and answer some questions that come up. Instagram Lives can be used in any way that can show followers what you do, how you do something, and connect them to your organization in real time.
Instagram stories is a tool used to create “stories” about content that is open for viewing for 24 hours. Posting stories of your organization allows viewers to have real time news. This is in hopes to attract followers, gain donors, and bring awareness to your organization. Another feature that is similar to Instagram Live but allows followers to view content any time of the day and not only when a Live is going on. Instagram Stories can also help to retain information by using features such as Poll Stickers, Slide Stickers, Question Stickers, and Quiz Stickers.
If Instagram is right for your organization, it is important to make a business account rather than a common account. When you create a business account on Instagram, you gain access to analytics such as follower growth, impressions, reach, and engagement. Your organization is capable of tracking engagement on your page and providing insights on what people enjoy and what they don’t.
If your organization is already using Facebook, then adding Instagram is a click away. Facebook and Instagram are linked platforms and content can be posted on both at the same time. There are many perks to creating an Instagram account for your nonprofit, but it is important to know its uses. If your organization is looking to increase engagement with 18-35 year olds and provide a visual representation of your organization then Instagram is right for you.
Introducing our first blog series… social media for beginners! In this series, we will give an overview of the features offered by each platform and which platforms may be best for your organization.
In this series, we will be providing an overview of the following platforms: LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. According to this research, ⅔ of B2C marketers (businesses marketing to customers) share that Facebook is their most effective platform, with LinkedIn being very popular for B2B marketers (businesses marketing to businesses) and Instagram slowly growing its role within marketing strategies.
Through this series, we hope to make your decisions easier when choosing the right platform for your organization. Following this series, later blog posts will also include best practices for each platform to help your organization best utilize each platform for growth. In the meantime, check out our social media microsolution to learn about all the different platforms offered.
Hello everyone! Thank you for coming to check out our blog! We are Flyer Consulting: a student-run organization based at the University of Dayton providing complimentary business consulting to nonprofit organizations while promoting economic growth locally and around the world through business development, entrepreneurial mentorship, and loan pipeline management.
Throughout this blog, we are hoping to broaden our impact beyond our local community. We aspire to be an ongoing resource for past, present, and future clients as well as for those interested in our solutions.
Over the next few months, we will be providing educational content within the following topics: social media, financials, data processing, search engine optimization, branding, and more. Each month will be a series of 2-3 blog posts surrounding one of the topics above. Stay tuned for our social media series coming in January 2022. In the meantime, check out our social media microsolution. Stay connected with us on social media through the links below!