Women in the Business Arena™ EP81: Are You Operating a Viable Business?

“It's so much better to fail fast than it is to perpetuate a bad business model for years and years. If you fail fast, then you can move on. You can try the next thing, you can try the next business and then you can get profitable more quickly.”

This week on the Women in the Business Arena Podcast we are discussing the viability of a business. Is your business viable? This may be a question that has been a persistent nagging feeling in the back of your mind for a while. So often we realise too late that our business model was never viable or if we had just made a few tweaks, we could have been successful. What if you could look at your business right now, and perhaps keep it from completely falling apart? Sometimes just a few adjustments to a business can get it back on track, and bring it into alignment with a viable, successful business model. 

“Sometimes, when a business model doesn't work, it doesn't mean that your idea wasn't great, but it still depends on whether the market out there is ready. Are people looking for that solution? Are they willing to pay for that solution?”

The main components to evaluate when trying to determine whether or not a business model is viable are the profitability and sustainability of that business. Both components are necessary to have a successful, long-lasting business. It is also crucial to recognize that a business that is viable now, is not guaranteed viability in the future. As solo entrepreneurs, we have to be willing to pivot and evolve with the market. Just because your business model is viable now, doesn’t mean that it will remain viable as the psychology of the masses shifts. This is one of the reasons that basic business skills are so important. 

“Part of viability is sustainability. You might have an amazing, profitable business model but if it's not sustainable, it’s not viable. It needs to be able to hold your attention and interest and passion for a long time. So, if you can't see yourself doing what you're doing in 10 years, then it's probably not viable.”

Sometimes a business just isn’t viable. There are times when all of the adjustments won’t turn your business idea into one that will be sustainable and profitable. Even the most brilliant people have ideas that won’t work. What perpetuates their success is their ability to let go of the ideas that won’t work, and move onto the next idea. Letting go of the non-viable idea will give the space and open the door to the next amazing idea. 

If you have a feeling at all that your business might not be viable, or you haven’t taken the time to look at your numbers to determine the profitability and sustainability, take the time, and find someone to support you in this process. Don’t wait until you are exhausted and feel that your business is falling apart. 

“As a solopreneur, our well-being is the well-being of the business.”

Some Topics we talk about in this episode: 

  • Introduction - 0:55
  • Finding an Objective Party to Evaluate Your Business - 6:57
  • Sustainability and Your Business - 11:56
  • The Most Viable Business Models - 14:25
  • Evolving with the Market - 17:01
  • When Your Business Isn’t Viable - 20:47
  • Start with Profitability - 24:00
  • Sustainability and Your Wellbeing - 32:51
  • Wrap-up and Takeaways - 39:47

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Sonya: 00:55 Hi and welcome to the Women in the Business Arena Podcast. I'm your host, Sonya Stattmann, and I'm here with my lovely co-host, Laura Shook Guzman. Hey, Laura. 

Laura: 01:04 Hello. Ready for some more conversation. 

Sonya: 01:08 I know today we thought we would talk about something that I don't think a lot of people talk about because so many people are gung ho on, go for it, leap into your business, succeed at all costs, but we want to talk about what if your business is not viable and what does that even mean? What is a not viable business look like and how do we let go of it if, if it is non viable. So we thought that this would be a good topic to kind of explore because I think there are people who are in non viable businesses that could be tweaked and turned, but some of them can't and I think they can exhaust themselves over years and years of trying to make their business viable when it's not. 

Laura: 01:51 Yeah. Yeah. And I think this conversation is often happening, kind of postmortem after businesses have not worked and really successful entrepreneurs will reflect back on those two, three, four ideas that never went anywhere. Right. It's like they'll just be like, oh yeah, and if I would have given up, but we really don't talk about what if you're in the middle of one of those ideas, what if, right, you know, you have a startup or you have an idea or you have a product, you have something you've launched or in maybe you've had it for years. How do you know that it is one of those things that you need to let go and move on to your next idea because that's like where something is really waiting in the wings for you. So I do think it's just something that we talk about, after the fact and kind of like what, you know, it's like, oh, we can process that really bad relationship now that we're out of it, but, but what do you do? What are the signs, what are the signs that the business, just like there are certain signs that a relationship isn't working, what are the signs that our business isn't viable, that it's not working and it's better to kind of cut our losses and move on. 

Sonya: 03:00 So, so good. Because I think one of the struggles I have with other business coaches is they will oftentimes take on anyone with a business and instead of looking at not every businesses viable and if you take on some of the business they're paying you to help them, you're not going to be able to help them because the business is not viable. The business itself isn't viable and then it's like, it just perpetuates this whole thing. So for me, this is one of the reasons why I have calls before I take on any clients I need to be sure, as sure as you can be before you're working with someone, that at least their business model, their service, their product. I mean I only work with services but you know, it's viable enough that there's something I can do with it. And I think this is where it's really important because, you know, viable does equal profitable. So you know, unless you're a nonprofit, okay, I'm not going to speak to sort of that nonprofit model. If you're getting funding from somewhere that you don't have to pay back we're just going to put that on the table. That's not the topic we're gonna talk about today because that's a totally different sort of conversation, but for most people they're not getting tons of funding they don't have to pay back. They're either getting loans, are they getting funding or they're investing their own money or they're just investing their sweat equity into their business and so for those people, a viable business model or a viable business is a profitable one. 

Laura: 04:27 And for most entrepreneurs, there's this desire to create something new that hasn't existed before, so that means there's high risk that you could put all of that time and effort into something that just simply, it's not that it's a bad idea, but it might just not be a very sustainable business model. Right. And because you're kind of doing it for the first time, your in what design thinking called sort of the initial prototype. You're in the feedback loop. It's, I think this is going to get sort of. I just can't help but we've in the topic of being okay with it not working or like being okay with failing fast and moving on because like this is a part of the creative process. The creative process is that you put something out in the world, you see how it's made or if it works and sometimes it's the business model just isn't sustainable because it's too much output and not enough money that comes in and compensates for all of the time and effort. I mean, one of the ways that the co-working business models still continues to search for viability. It's 13 years in the making, but most co-working spaces are still asking like, is this really viable? Because it's based on real estate and if the real estate market goes up and um, the market is not willing to pay more for what, not just the space, but for what coworking managers and operators provide, then you don't have a viable product anymore. If the market doesn't want. If your current target market doesn't want to pay, it doesn't see value in what you're offering and that can change. So you can have business models that outgrow their market or their market outgrows them or you know, there's all sorts of different ways and I think coworking is an interesting one because it's, you see big corporate coworking companies getting funded. So when people see companies like We Work, they're getting funded but they still haven't proven that they're necessarily that profitable because they still have lots of money coming in. And so one thing you have to consider if you're a small entrepreneur and you are self funding or using self sweat equity, you may actually find out more quickly than someone who's received say $10,000,000 in funding. You may find out that your model flips more quickly into like, oh this isn't sustainable, this isn't working for me. So I think that there are different types of, of why models don't work, right? 

Sonya: 06:57 Yes. And I think you're exactly right and it's so much better to fail fast than it is to perpetuate a bad business model for years and years and years and years. Because if you fail fast then you can move on. You can try the next thing, you can try the next business model or the next business and then you can get profitable more quickly. It is not worth sustaining a non-viable business model. And so you know, this is where you really should get expertise. I mean we'll talk about some of the ways that businesses are not viable, what that means that we can look at some of that, but I also think this is where you're better to get an expert in more quickly if in any way, shape or form. You think your business model is not viable that you should get an expert in to look at it. Because I know that for me, like I can look at a business pretty quickly and determine whether or not the model itself is going to work. And so if you don't have someone who can expertly look at that, then you can keep going and going. It's hard, I think for ourselves to discern because we're attached to what we want to create or to what we see, or the need we see or, you know, feedback we've gotten. And so you need someone who's really honest and transparent to say, hey, honestly, that business model's not very viable and you know, I tell people that all the time, they don't like me very much. They, I think they appreciate me, but they're like, oh. And sometimes they are like, why don't care what you say, I'm going to do it anyway. And that's totally cool. But at least you know, if you can have someone you trust or have someone who can, you know, really honestly tell you whether or not your business is viable. I want to just say that's very important. 

Laura: 08:33 Yes, yes. And I do like what you're saying as far as having a professional or expert come in because it's great. You can get feedback from friends and family, but they're also involved emotionally. And so their experience of you and your business, they're going to, they can't help but have their own feelings about that. Like if it's your spouse who really wishes you would let it go, because he wants your attention back, might not give you a very fair answer or someone who's just doesn't want to disappoint you may not tell you that you got to let this thing go. So getting someone who's more neutral, that can really look at. So you know, let's look at your financials. Let's look at energy input and output. Is this a business that can be run by one person or is it a business that needs to be run by a team, but financially it only brings in enough for one person. Okay, that's a challenge with the model. So can we fix it or is it something just inherently that won't work with this particular product or service? So that's really important and I can't help but bring the parallel again back to relationships. But when you're in a abusive relationship or often an unhealthy relationship, you often won't see it as quickly as other people around you will see it. So it is helpful to talk with someone, neutral person, preferably who can kind of see the red flags, you know, and red flags in our business can be like where were depressed and anxious a lot, not just because we're in an entrepreneurial startup but because there's something out of balance with our quality of life. You no longer have time for self care, you no longer have time to spend with your family, you just got divorced because your business is taking everything from you. Right? So there's like red flags, just like when relationships aren't working that we can have in our businesses as well. 

Sonya: 10:23 Yes. Yes. And so two things I want to sort of break out from that. So one is just to clarify, yes. Anybody who is not neutral or objective are not good resources for having them look at whether or not your business is viable. So, so definitely don't go that route. And the second thing is don't go look for market research. In terms of the survey, I see this in Facebook groups all the time. Hey is this product viable? Don't do that like a survey, a mass question that lots of people answer, no one is invested enough to give you a real answer so you, you will not get correct market coverage, and we've talked about this before as Laura and I did with them because we totally were like, oh child care. And everybody was like, yes, I would love childcare and we wasted a lot of money. Nobody paid for it. Although they all thought it was a great idea. Exactly. So don't go to people who are not objective and don't go to sort of a mass market survey. All of those things. Neither of those are good for helping you determine whether or not your business model is viable. So let's just sort of wrap up with that. And then the other thing I wanted to say is, you know, off of what you were saying is I think we have to look at sort of two components with regards to a viable business. One is profitability, which we've mentioned the other sustainability because if we're not able to sustain what is happening in our business are what we've created or what we're doing, then that also is not a viable business model. So see they're both important because you could have a profitable business model that's not sustainable and you can have a sustainable business model that's not profitable and so you know, either way you really have to look at both aspects and I don't think a lot of people talk about both. They talk usually about profitability and it definitely from the masculine viewpoint they're there. You know, if you go to say say a masculine, like a man, sort of traditional ways of looking at business, they're just going to be looking at profitability. So you definitely want to sort of. 

Laura: 12:29 Yeah. I'm really, I'm glad you're mentioning that balance because yes, like that sometimes the end all be all. If you're just really profitable, everything else will come into place. Now it has to fit your needs, like how do you want like this and what is sustainability? Sustainability means that it can sustain, like you can sustain your energy, your, work life, integration and balance, whatever it is that, that is your quality of life like that it can happen while you run this business while you operate this business. And yes, the first couple of years of any business, Three to five years. Three, they say, to expect for any business to get off the ground. Five, if it's an innovative business. And I can definitely contest to that, definitely five to six years to figure out what was going on. And you know, so you put your time and energy into some of these models, but you have to constantly be assessing. And I did that even along the way as I looked towards my model not being as profitable as I wanted, I was still like, but is it a profitable enough? Do I still have my needs met? Okay, maybe it's not making enough money, but it pays for itself now. So, okay, I can continue forward. Now what's the next thing? Can I make more money? Or if I'm going to make more money or take, if I'm going to make less money, can I give that money to someone else to run the business so that then I have higher quality of life and more sustainable energy. Right? So there's like different ways. And I think that one of the things that I want to speak to when I was saying like there's different business models, they, it's not personal sometimes, like when a business model doesn't work, it doesn't mean that your idea wasn't great or even the problem that you're trying to solve wasn't so admirable and really a problem. It still depends on whether the market out there is ready. Like are people looking for that solution? Are they willing to pay for that solution?

Sonya: 14:25 And, and that's just it. Like, I mean sometimes I can just look at someone and say like, take away your particular beautiful gift or whatever it is, just your business model is not viable period. And I think that's the thing. I mean there are several components. If you look at the profitability or even sustainability, there's part of it which is just based on the business model and when we talk about business models, you know, we're really looking at how do you make money, how do you sell things, how do you deliver? So there's like, there's all these components to a business model, right? So who's your target market? What is the offering or service that you're doing, how do you deliver it so that it's sustainable, and how do you repeat, and what does that all sort of look like? And that's a business model, right? So it's not just the profitability in my opinion, although some people believe it is. But one of the reasons why, like for instance, in my business, I will only focus on one particular business model and if someone isn't aligned with it, they don't become a client of mine. And the reason I focus on that one solid business model is because it is the most profitable and sustainable business model that I've found for service businesses at this point. So I think, you know, I know that the business model itself will work for anyone that fits the criteria that I'm looking for. So then it becomes the person has to do the work for that to be profitable and sustainable for them, but at least the business model is solid and that sort of why I look at it. But there are a lot of business models that are just never going to be profitable. You know, I'm one of those things that I think is becoming that way right now is online programs just like passive, you know, online programs where people are trying to make money and it's low cost and they're selling membership sites or whatever for this low amount of money and there's no real coaching involved. That's one of the business models that I think is, you know, moving and approaching the area of non viability. If you really look at how many people have put out online courses now hoping to have passive income, which there's no passive income. We've talked about it many times, but hoping to have some kind of passive income or freedom or sit on the beach while selling. You'll see that very few people are succeeding with that anymore and they might get some of that in to then convert and they're good if they're good at conversion to a higher profitable model, but they're not making high profit or have a sustainable model with just the course itself. And so, you know, there's, doesn't matter how good your course is it's more of a non-viable. 

Laura: 17:01 We've kind of tested that market because everyone thought that Oh, people are online so often that they're going to want to just pay like a smaller amount and get all the goods. But actually people kind of overwhelmed by everything online. So once they're done with just the basics, they want to hop off. And we're also finding more and more people seeking in-person connection. And so if they're gonna join a group, they are now actually starting to go back to more traditional gatherings. Like I'm going to go join a book group. I'm going to go and find like a circle of women in my community and go to that every Tuesday night or go to a yoga studio so there's a little bit more, you know, a change in the market. Again, that's about the viability. Something might have worked for a few people for a certain amount of time and it was great. There was no contesting it. It worked. But then things change. Technology changes. The psychology of the masses changes what people want, what's trending, and you see very successful businesses that have been, you know, behemoths in a certain industry and in recent years we're seeing like a lot of the big box retail spaces are closing. They're going out of business, or they're having to change and pivot their models drastically. Not because that wasn't a viable model at some point, but because it had to evolve. And so that's the other thing is we as solo entrepreneurs or not, I'm going to escape from that same conundrum. We have to also be looking at, okay, I'm viable now. What trends are happening? What's shifting? What is my ideal client want and can I pivot? And I can, I do things differently in my business. So I think that's speaking to a second issue of just keeping your business viable, so maybe you have been, but you're struggling and you're like, gosh, it's just not viable anymore. And in some cases it just may not be viable because it's not sustainable or profitable or it may be time for a drastic shift, and are you okay with that? Because you may not be, you may not want to make that change. Um, I know like for Whole Foods to be bought out by Amazon, that was a huge thing for their culture and they had to decide are we willing to stay alive, you know, to go online because they knew that that shopping and grocery shopping is becoming a delivery service. So they had to decide, you know, are they going to pivot or do they just go ahead and close because they wanted to stay true to their original, which I miss the old Whole Foods foods. I will say that. But, you know. Yeah, yeah. But you gotta do what you gotta do. Yeah. And look, I think this is absolutely true. 

Speaker 3: 19:34 I work with so many people who've been in business for years who what they did years ago was viable, that they could, you know, get referrals and word of mouth. But, the way that they functioned prior is no longer a viable business model in today's marketplace. And see, that's the thing is that, and this is why I say get expertise because you need someone who is across what's happening in the marketplace. What I did five years ago even is no longer viable in today's marketplace. And so, you know, I think this is the key component is you have to be really understanding that sometimes it's just not a viable business model. Sometimes it's because of the market. Sometimes it's because of the shifts and changes that have happened, you know, but either way we've got to look at and begin to more quickly assess when what we're doing is not viable so that we can save ourselves. Because what I do see constantly is women exhausted. Women beating themselves up. Women struggling. Families struggling, all of the struggle because they just didn't recognize early enough that either they could pivot, which is what I do with a lot of people, is pivot them. Or whether they just need to let go, get a job or something and start something else. 

Laura: 20:47 Yeah, let it go. Let it go because the sooner you can let it go, that frees up your energy for the next thing and sometimes we are under obligations and we have to ride those out or pay the bills or whatever you gotta do. If you have a contract or something you're still in. You've got clients that are in contracts, but start thinking about if you start realizing it's not viable, how do you start letting go? And once you know, the sooner and it is again like a relationship once you know that relationship isn't working, it's better to just end it quickly and let that person know and move on rather than to just draw it out and go back and forth and back and forth like that. It's the painful stuff and it's the same in our business and I think that also something like I wanted to say because you started talking about you're exhausted. It's like, how do you know? One of the things that I just want to speak to you is when you start checking in with yourself, so not just looking at that profit loss statement because yes, you can read the numbers, their roadmap, they do tell you whether something is going well or not, but also just put the books to the side for a little bit, check in more internally with how are you feeling in this business? Are you still excited? You know, do you still have that hope, that buzz? Does your energy lift or do you just feel completely burdened? Do you feel discouraged? And just like this weight on your shoulders. Every time you think about your business, notice little unconscious slips. Like when you're talking about your business and saying things, you're like, oh, I just said that about my business. You know, it's like listen to those unconscious cues in your emotions in your body because you may not want to hear those things. But if you slow down and listen to your wise self, you may get some clarity there that might not be something you've noticed before and you may have just been focused on like the actual, you know, the paperwork and the function and form of your business. But check in intuitively with what you're feeling in your body, what's going on with your own energy levels, because that can tell you right there if something is working, you know, working or something is off. 

Sonya: 23:01 Yeah. And it's tricky because I think sometimes it's just a few tweaks that could happen that would really change that energy level that you have. But sometimes it's just not sustainable what you're creating. And so, if we break it down to a few areas you can look at. I do think that where a lot of women need to start is the profitability because, you know, although men are way more apt to look at their profit and loss and to look at their numbers, women are not. And so many business owners that I know and the women that come to me and the women that I talk to on the phone, they don't know any of their numbers. They really don't know how much profit they're making. They really don't know how much their expenses are, their sales, they really have no clue. And, and I've been guilty of this for years.

Laura: 23:49 I remember I was like, I think a couple of episodes ago, it was like, it would have been helpful if I didn't wait until like three years ago to actually start looking at all my reports, understanding how to read my financial. 

Sonya: 24:00 Totally. And so I think, for you to look at is your business viable. I think a good place to start is your financials, so and you don't have to whip out your zero or your, you know, quickbooks and you know, go through massive tax stuff. Like you can just make it really simple. You know, you can go look at your bank account. What money did I bring in last month? You know, maybe look at the last six months. Okay, what money did I bring in each of those six months and what were my expenses? And then you really have to look at it in terms of the business model that you have. So for instance, for service businesses, I work on a high profit model because I want my women to be sustainable. So for me it's about having more profit and hadn't spending less time. So I look at sort of high value programs are way more impactful programs that you're creating what you're doing some one-to-one with people and that's, that's what you can do sort of the next thing down from that and services as say workshops. So I talked to a lot of people who love doing workshops and that's great, but it's a less viable business model and so you know, when you, when someone comes to me and they're like, oh, but I can make this much money, you know, in a couple hours. And I'm like, yes, but you have to market for this long before you can get people in. If those people aren't converting to a high value program, then you're just, you're just trying to make money off of that. You might make say a thousand dollars even in a day, but you might only on a viable level be able to do, say one workshop a month with all the marketing involved. So then that's just a thousand dollars profit a month. That's not doable. And so I tell people like if you break it down and look at how many workshops do you have to have, how many people do you have to have in the workshops in order to make it a viable business model? Most people are like, oh wow. Like yeah, that's not, that's not sustainable for me to do a workshop every single weekend as an example. So you know, you just. And, and same with when people are doing say like the online courses, they're selling $79. I'm like, how many people do you have to get in there to make it? Well there's about 5 million other people offering the same thing or similar to what you're offering. So you're vying with all these people in online programs, you know, getting that many people in on a constant basis also requires a huge amount of marketing. And so, you know, these are some of the things. So starting with sort of like your profit and expenses and the viability of just the financials is a really good place to start 

Laura: 26:30 And so many therapists are guilty of this, where they don't even ever look at their overhead before pricing. So what they'll do, it was just like, well everybody here charges between $85-$225. okay, so I'm this experienced, so I'm going to charge right here in the middle. And they just set their price based on what other people are charging in their community, but they don't look at, well, but how much is it going to cost? So you, your overhead for your rent and your utilities and your website and your marketing and hey, you've got that lifestyle shoot that you're going to do for your new website. Then you've got your business cards and then you've got your massage. And your own therapy. So it's like those are all really important starters. How much it's going to cost to run a sustainable business for you. So then what would you have to produce every month to be able to meet those needs? And I think that, you know, for a lot of health and wellness practitioners, they don't, they go the other way with it, they just set pricing. They start looking at how much that they're going to make and then they tried to make choices about how to spend for their business expense. That's not sustainable because any sustainable business you need to be able to count on what that is every month. You kind of need to know how much am I going to be spending just to keep this thing alive to keep it out in the world. 

Sonya: 27:54 Exactly. And, and I think the other thing you have to look at in terms of sort of the profitable business model and in the numbers and all of that is you have to look at, don't sort of look at it at the top percentage of, you know, what you can hold. So in other words, like I think Laura and I made this mistake with Aveda. We're like, okay, what's the max capacity we can have? Let's base our projections on the max capacity. Right? And, and not really taking into account that very rarely do you have a max capacity? Like do you get that many? So for instance, if you're like, oh, I can hold 10 people, you know, will then base your financial projections. Is it still profitable at seven? Right. You know, because I think that's same with people who are filling workshops and things like that. They're looking out, oh well if I get, you know, all 20 seats filled in the room and this is my profit model. Yeah, but what if you don't, you know. And so like I think you have to look at isn't viable at 70% of capacity versus a hundred percent at capacity. So I think these are all things on sort of a profitable business model we have to be looking at. And you know, we're talking very simplistically. I mean, and I, and this is the way I functioned, like I'm not really someone who's going to analyze your financials and look at every detail. We're not just financial advisors. We're going to, we're going to outsource that one, but what I can do is just be able to sort of tell you this is what you could find someone else to do, you know, is ultimately, that's a really hard model to work with, right? It's a really good model to work with. 

Laura: 29:26 Yes. Yeah, and just looking at logistics, like I know some entrepreneurs who go into products. They're really talented, really creative, create just these beautiful hand made products, but then they start into distribution, manufacturing. I mean that world is big and it's got a lot of pieces, so you can't just simply look at well, this is how much it costs me to hand make this item and I'm going to go sell it here online. If you're going to grow that business, you need to think, well, where will I manufacture that and how will I just distribute it, and how will that, how much will that cost? And I think that these are, like you said, reasons why you don't have to do all that work yourself, like finding and if you, if you're really at the beginning stages of, of something and you're not sure it's as viable or not, I don't have a lot of money. You've probably even have friends in your network. You probably have someone who is good with numbers. You probably have some people. And this goes back to, you know, not speaking to your spouse to get an opinion about it being viable, but you know, there's people within your community that might be able to help her. Even just organizations here in the states, there's something called SCORE, which is a entrepreneurial like mentorship program where a retired corporate execs tend to like give back to small businesses and those people have a lot of skills. So there don't feel like asking for help is just another expense because there are creative ways to make sure that you're getting that, getting that help for not having to spend crazy amounts of money. And then the other thing I was going to say about that was, um, something similar about resource, just remembering your resources, remembering to ask for help and the other thing we'll come back to me. 

Sonya: 31:14 Yeah. And look, a lot of business coaches will do a free call before you have to hire them. And so they can also is an example like offer you a free resource. Like I'm not going to take on any client who doesn't have a viable business model so you know, I get to give that free advice and be like yeah, you don't have viable business model and then they can go off and do something. So there are quite a lot of people that can also help in that area. But I think you're just better off, you know, really getting someone. I mean, it's great if you can bring your numbers to a meeting with someone, right? So, you know, getting your numbers done first are really helpful even in a very simplified way for yourself. Because I do think what you don't often realize in the service industry, the people that are charging the least are usually those who don't have a viable business model. 

Speaker 2: 31:56 That's why they're charging the least that they haven't really thought about what that is longterm. They haven't thought about their expenses and the ones charging the most, they've got a more viable business model. And of course there's exorbitant amounts of services these days. But I think really smart business owners, smart and entrepreneurs, they've calculated their costs. I mean, I have a huge amount of costs every month they calculate their costs in their product, in the way they deliver, in the impact they make, and they're able to price their services accordingly. And this is why you shouldn't always go for a low cost service, or product, because oftentimes they're not viable. They're not sustainable. They haven't had the research or the experience. So for instance, with business coaches, if they're cheap, then they're probably not been in business very long, in which case they really don't know how to help you. In a, in a good way. So I think, you know, we, we, there's, there's of course other facets to this, but I think that's really important. So we've sort of talked now about the, the profitability and the numbers and all of that, but maybe let slide now because we have talked a little bit about this, but then the also part of viability is a sustainability. So you might have an amazing, profitable business model but it's not sustainable and there is a lot of components to that in one component that I teach that I think's really important is it needs to be able to hold your attention and interest and passion for a long time. So if you can't see yourself doing what you're doing in 10 years, then it's probably not viable. 

Laura: 33:31 Yes, yes. And then we get back into more of the emotional and like relational piece of it to your business or is it something that you feel really connected to that you're passionate about? And we're all going to go up and down. We've talked about ebbs and flows. There are different seasons to how we feel about our business. Just because you have one day where you're exhausted doesn't mean that it's not viable, but if you're having reoccurring days in which you're completely exhausted and overwhelmed and things aren't working, it's just time to reassess and reflect. And again, it's similar to when people come to me and they struggle with anxiety and depression, then I'm asking them how often, how often are you feeling this? Is it interfering with basic functioning? So you know, are you not sleeping, you're not eating, you're not able to get to work. So it's kind of the same thing with your business when you think, oh, this isn't viable, how often are you struggling? What are other areas in your life that it's impacting? So your health and wellness, you're on the verge of a physical breakdown. You've got some serious health problems that you're ignoring. That might be a time to look at the viability of the business or at least having someone step in and help you. So looking at those aspects of the sustainability because as a soloprenuer as well, many of us know our wellbeing is the wellbeing of the business. It's like we are a direct reflection of that. And if again, if it's something that depends heavily on you and you need to step out, you have something happening in your life, then it may be a model that needs to pivot to where someone else can come in and take over. Or you let that go, that integration go and you wait and you take your moment and do everything and then you come back fresh with your next. After that feedback loop, you've got a new prototype, a new and improved design for business that might be more successful or viable. So yeah. 

Sonya: 35:36 Yeah, and I think you, we do have to look at our energy because I mean sustainability is about how long we can do it. And I think you know, ebbs and flows and up and down is totally normal. And so you're going to have times of busyness and you're going to have times where you're implementing something or you're doing something new and it's going to be more harder, more of a hard slog. But I think if that is continuing long into the future, you have to look at it not being viable. It's not sustainable that we're still running into the ground in five years and there are people who are doing it, you know, there are people who've been in business for years and years with no profit. And I think it's a really interesting sort of piece because one of the problems is we need to be able to diagnose what it actually is. Right? So when I'm looking at someone's business as an example, I'm having to diagnose, you know, is it that they're just misaligned so you know, a little, a little more alignment and they would be, it will be more sustainable to them. Is it a bad business model? Which just means like all that has to change. If the bad business model. Is it that they're, they're just not. They haven't learned to manage their energy, which is a totally different thing, so it's like you've got to apply the right solution to the right problem and you have to know what that problem is. So you know, I guess, you know, part of it's impossible for us to obviously be able to diagnose your business over this podcast. Or even to give you all the signs because it's going to be really different for each person. But what I hope we're highlighting in this podcast is that if you feel if there's a feeling that it's not viable or you haven't done your profit and loss and your numbers, that you'll take some time and some attention to really look at it and get support with it. Because what we don't want to to keep perpetuating is your exhaustion and your hope. And if this is what I see on social media all the time. It's like someone's like, oh, should I give up my business? And then everyone's like, no don't give up. Go girl! You can do it! And there's like thousands of comments that are just like, do it, do it. And I'm like, Hey, has anyone asked her if it's viable? Asked her if she's capable of continuing? So you know, what I want to do is at least highlight that if you feel like your business might not be viable, get some help. 

Laura: 37:57 And that it's ok. That you are more than good enough. And brilliant people have to let things go that weren't working in order to get to the next brilliant thing. And we live in that culture. That's part of that. You go, you've got this, do it, you know that it's great that we have that enthusiasm. But it's also because we have this culture of always going, always pushing, just keep, you know, race into that finish line. And both you and I are so much champions for take the break, feel amazing about it. No apologies, no judgment. Just do what you have to do because then you're that much closer to what it was like the really right thing. Like if it's not right, let it go. And yes, just like it's so hard to break up with someone. You invested five years of your life with and you're dating them and you're like, oh shoot, you're not the right person. I gotta let you go. There's a lot of grief and I want to speak to that too. You like letting go of something that isn't viable is never easy. It takes letting it go with an open heart. Get the cries out, ask for help, let people know how you feel, but then once you move that energy out, then you've opened the door to something really new and amazing and exciting to come in and then you'll be that person onstage talking about that fast fail that you're so grateful that you just did it and you let it go because now you're where you are and now you've learned the lessons that you're so grateful that you learned, right? Yes. 

Sonya: 39:37 Yes. I think that's amazing and I actually think that's where we should end today, so thank you all for joining us and we will see you next time. 

Speaker 1: 39:47 Thanks so much for listening to the show. You can dive into more as a conversation in our facebook group, women in the business arena. You can also access all of our episodes and some great resources out women in the business arena.com. Our mission is to arm more women tools, strategies, and know how to navigate the business arena with ease. They can create more success, more fulfillment, and more liberation. If you're enjoying this show and want to support our mission, it can write a review on itunes or share with your friends. A huge thank you to all of you who commented, reviewed, and shared our show. We are so appreciative of your support. Okay. Talk to you next week.


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