The Biggest Profitability Mistakes I See When Reviewing The Books for High-Earning Businesses

The Biggest Profitability Mistakes I See When Reviewing The Books for High-Earning Businesses

May 17, 20249 min read

“...when I say 'track your numbers' most business owners reply with a puzzled, 'which ones?'.” - Sarah Nicole Nadler

Do you ever wonder if there is more you should be doing to increase profits in your $6-figure business, besides adding more clients or cutting expenses?

I look at the numbers and bookkeeping of high-earning business women all. day. long. 

…and I can tell you: there is a lot of money left on the table simply because most entrepreneurs aren’t taught anything about the Financial Systems of a business. 

Whether you’re barely making ends meet in your business, or you’re just trying to increase profits so you can maximize the resale value when you sell your business and exit profitably, there are some common mistakes you can look for to increase your profit margin immediately.

So this week on Fierce Feminine Finance, let me take you behind-the-scenes for a look at the biggest profitability mistakes I see when reviewing the financials of high-earning businesses.

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With every episode of Fierce Feminine Finance, I like to empower you with a POWERFUL free resource that goes with the episode which you can implement right away to create some of the same results, if not better, in your business.

Profit Party

This week, since we are talking about how to avoid the most common profitability mistakes I see high-earning women make, I want to invite you to my Profit Party training to help you implement the strategies I talk about here...and a few extra I didn't mention!

After going through this free training you will be able to identify what is working (and what isn't) in your business right now. So you can take things to the next level!

You can download it right away by clicking here or on the photo above 👆

With that said, here are the biggest profitability mistakes I see when reviewing the books for high-earning businesses! 👊

Mistake #1. Not Tracking Enough Numbers

Most business owners track their income. Full stop. 

What they DON’T keep track of are the subsets of data that would explain in picture-perfect clarity why their income goes up or down. 

The problem with teaching this is that every industry is different, and even within a given industry, the strategies for attracting clientele can vary greatly business to business. 

So when I say “track your numbers” most business owners reply with a puzzled “which ones?”.

My answer is probably obnoxiously simple: The ones that will tell you WHY your profits aren’t performing the way you want them to!

Imagine these two scenarios:

Business Woman A hops on a zoom coaching call with me because her income is up but her profits are down. I ask her to show me her numbers. She isn’t tracking anything but income. We spend the next 2 weeks throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping we hit the right problem based purely on my extensive knowledge of her industry and guesstimating the most likely issues. 

Woman A vs Woman B

Business Woman B hops on a zoom coaching call with me because her income is also up but her profits are down. I ask her to show me her numbers. She is currently using organic social media content coupled with direct messaging conversations to drive traffic into her funnels. Because she is tracking her numbers:

  • Engagement, comments and link clicks on her posts

  • Number of Outbound Conversations

  • Number of Links Sent

  • Number of Inbound Conversations

  • Conversion Rate of the Funnel takes us just under 5 minutes to identify EXACTLY what changed, and why, so we spend the next 45 minutes crafting a step-by-step plan of how to implement the solution. A check-in a week later shows the profits have already come up and she expands into a whole new level. 

What I described above is a process known as “Business Intelligence”... the collection, storage and analysis of business data and subsets of data to understand your business’s trends. 

Without it, you’re flying blind.

Mistake #2. Adding More and More New Clients (Instead of Doing A Better Job of Selling To The Clients You've Already Got)

I see this mainly with recurring service-based businesses. (Think: doctor’s offices, lawyers, spas, cleaning companies, etc)

You have already invested sooo much energy into marketing and attracted these great clients. And sometimes… a quick survey of your existing clientele shows clearly that most of them have no idea that you also offer_____! 

If your existing clientele is completely unaware of the other services you sell, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table by just chasing new clients all the time. 

leaving money on the table

Don’t let your attraction to new clients go to zero…

Simply create a focused marketing plan that also heavily emphasizes increased product awareness to your EXISTING customers. 

(After all, they already know, like and trust you)

Here are a few ways to increase sale of products/services to existing clients in an offline business:

  • Role-play your team on how to bring up your other services in conversations they already have naturally in the office (Join Plan HER Profits to have one of our sales coaches do this for your team!)

  • Place strategic attractive signage, literature and offers around the waiting area  

  • Advertise your services in a weekly email newsletter to existing clients

  • Create social media content targeted at existing clients/followers and incentivizing them with Flash Sales, discount codes, etc

  • Put on customer appreciation days in the office and invite existing clients to come. Throw in a brief educational presentation about a product/service you want to sell more of.

  If you own an online business, here are a few ways to increase sale of products/services to existing clients:

  • Track your sales closing % and drill any team members who fall below industry standards (including yourself!) You can also have one of our Sales Coaches do this when you join Plan HER Profits.

  • Create a new lead magnet (freebie) that leads to a video sales letter exclusively for existing clients

  • Add a redirect after your calendar booking page to a video sales letter

  • Add a multiple choice question to your website booking page that lists all your services and asks which one the client is booking today

  • Use banners and popups to make website visitors aware of a Flash Sale

  • Write a blog on your website answering commonly asked questions about your products or services, and include affiliate links to your funnels or products

  • Use email broadcasts to educate, inform, and entice existing clients to exclusive offers

The number of ways you can make existing clients feel special, make them more aware of the products and services you provide, and sell without seeming pushy or awkward are probably endless! Get creative and continue to interest them in how you can help.

Mistake #3. Ignoring Operational Inefficiency

One of the hardest profitability mistakes for coaches to notice when consulting remotely is operational inefficiency. 

Without a good idea of what goes on inside the business every day, it can be difficult to tell that lack of documented processes, redundancy and bottlenecks exist along the flow of clients through the business. These waste time and resources and thus overall profitability. 

One of my most popular and results-driven services is the Profitability On-Site Session. 

In this 2-day service, I fly out to YOUR office and hit the ground running alongside your team to see what is really going on! 

But often when looking at the books of a high-earning business, I can tell that operational inefficiency must exist. Payroll is high, but income is low in ratio to the number of employees. Costs are high but project completion is low. 

Stamping out inefficiency isn’t done by issuing orders. 

It’s done by rolling up your sleeves. Getting your own hands dirty! Find out what is really going on, what should be going on, who is untrained, who is willfully slacking off…and fixing it. 

And on that note…

Mistake #4. Waiting Too Long To Hire, Address Employee Mistakes... or Fire A Team Member

Handling employees can be a touchy subject. A lot of high-earning business owners I speak to say that managing a team is the hardest part of growth. 

Unless you come from an HR background, it can be tough to figure out when the right time is to add to your team, and how long you should go before tackling an existing employee who is making mistakes that cost the business money. 

bad management

A very common confession I hear when I analyze businesses is that the owner or manager isn’t good with confrontation and lets things slide when they shouldn’t. 

When the executive backs away from enforcing the rules and protocols, they lose respect from the team, particularly those team members who work hard and take offense at others who slack off.  

I hired my first employee before my 16th birthday. Being a business owner or executive my entire adult life, I can safely say this issue of troubleshooting behavior is the biggest headache of most $6- and $7-figure businesses.

The reason this happens is the executive has few or no tools for troubleshooting the employee or team member's behavior...and they quickly run out of said tools! 

So understanding when to hire, how to discipline or correct a team member, and when to fire are vital decisions relating to the profitability of your business.

Are you looking to hire a new employee soon? Check out this fantastic free hiring resource from my dear friend Brianna Johnson - a hiring expert with over a decade of HR experience.

5. Spending Every Dollar You Make To Avoid Taxes

A business needs reserves. A business owner deserves retirement. Both require saving some of what you earn and preferably, at least 20% of it. 

When you write off every possible expense and make an effort to spend every dollar you make to avoid paying taxes, you also severely limit the business’s ability to bounce back from a disaster… 

And even hinder your ability to invest and build wealth. 

A much better strategy is to master marketing and sales so you can more easily earn enough to pay yourself and your team well, while also having fat reserves, outside investments, and plenty leftover to pay Uncle Sam.

Looking for assistance with your business’s budget and spending plan? Click here to book a free no-obligation, zero pressure consultation with Sarah!

I hope this list of the most common profitability mistakes I see when reviewing the books for high-earning businesses has helped.


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Sarah Nicole Nadler

Sarah Nicole Nadler is a Money Coach for business women. She specializes in helping her clients invest in cash flowing assets, and turn their intellectual property into passive income.

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