The last few years have been a challenge for many business owners, and the current cost of living crisis and the Government’s u-turns on tax cuts are leading to uncertainty and worry. At times like this it feels difficult to plan for your future.
It’s easy at difficult times like this to forget why you set up your business in the first place, and without realising it, you’re now working for your business, when your business should be working for you. But it’s not too late to take back control, to plan for the future, and take steps to boost your profits and bank balance while you’re at it!
Sharon hosted Enterprise Nation’s Lunch and Learn on 27 October 2022, giving top tips on:
- Remembering why you set up your business in the first place and how to take back control
- How to find more time to work on your business
- The key areas to focus on to make the biggest impact on your profits
Below we outline the key points, and make sure you take notes, as Sharon challenged all participants to commit to 3 actions as a result of our session.
Why did you set up your business anyway?
Just stop and take a moment to think about why you set up your business in the first place.
- Did you do it because you wanted more time for you?
- More time for your loved ones?
- To make more money? Be your own boss?
- Because you have a passion for your chosen area of expertise?
Is your business delivering what you expected?
- Or are you now a slave to your business, with no clear sight of your why?
- It’s not too late to get back to what you originally set out to achieve.
- Or indeed, review and revise the original plan. The thing you initially wanted may now be different.
It’s not too late to make a plan
- Even if you’re not quite achieving what you set out to, it’s never too late to make a new plan, and set new goals.
- Everyone has to start somewhere, and right now you have so much experience, and have learnt so much.
- Just think: Who’s steering the ship if you’re below deck in the engine room?
- If you sit back and really think about what you want out of your business, out of life in general, this will give you the first step towards making a plan.
All you need is Focus, Clarity, and Action!
Firstly we need to make time time to make changes
It’s all very well saying you need to make a plan, and make changes, but you may already be running around without enough hours in the day, and spinning too many plates.
So the most important first step is to free up some time for you.
Here are some quick wins for you:
Block out time in your calendar.
- Regular blocked out time is going to be so useful to you.
- When are you most productive during the day? This is the time to block out for working on your business.
- If you can, block out set times each week, so that you get into a rhythm, and a new habit.
- But at the very minimum block a day, or a half a day to get started on your plan.
- Block the time out, and protect if fiercely.
- Let your team and colleagues know that you’re not available during those times unless the building is on fire!
List out all the admin tasks you’re currently responsible for.
- We get all of our clients to do this, when we start working on a plan.
- It’s a little like therapy! You will be surprised at all the things you’re doing, and shouldn’t be doing.
- Work out how much time these admin tasks are taking up each day or week.
Stop for a minute: What could you be doing instead? Who could be doing these tasks?
- Could someone on your team take on these tasks?
- Or should you be outsourcing?
- If you’re spending any time on your bookkeeping, payroll and VAT that should be outsourced!
- Check out our blog on why you shouldn’t be doing your own bookkeeping.
How to delegate successfully
Yes we are suggesting someone else takes on some of your tasks, to free you up.
- “but it’s easier if I do it myself”
- “no one can do it as well as I can”
- “it’ll take too long to show someone else”
Could be valid reasons, but sound like excuses to me! Think of the time you spend delegating to someone else as an investment.
The 1-3-1 Method
It can be hard delegating to someone else, and you may feel like you’re still doing everything, or that they haven’t picked things up properly.
It’s all in the process.
The 1-3-1 method is a really good tool to help you to delegate effectively.
Check out our blog on getting your time back, which goes into the 1-3-1 method in more detail.
OK so now you’ve found time to work on the business. What next?
- Firstly you need to look at where you are now
- Then look at where you need to get to in the next 12 months (what profit and cash improvements do you need to achieve?)
- Now work out the gaps between here and there. It may be more revenue, more profit, improving processes
- Make that plan! You won’t get from A to B without a plan, so let’s build one together!
- With your plan in hand, you can set out on your journey, but you must regularly measure how you’re going against the plan, and make any changes necessary.
The most important thing here is someone to hold you accountable.
It could you be your accountant (us!) a colleague, or a friend or family member.
As long as they can give you tough love when you need it, to keep you on track!
This is a very brief way of showing you how to build a plan.
Boosting your Profits and Cash
As part of your plan, and the improvements you’ve identified, you’ll be looking at small actions you can take to start moving towards your goals.
Anyone can say they’re going to increase their profits by a set amount, but nothing is going to happen if you don’t make changes.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”
There are so many areas that we can tweak to create the biggest improvements, and every business and situation is different. Below we share quick wins that might be useful for you.
We would always advise that you arrange an Action Plan session to help you identify what you need to do, and come up with no more than 5 priorities, otherwise you’ll just end up being overwhelmed, and you won’t do anything!
Find out who your ideal customers are
- What do they want, what keeps them awake at night?
- Then create a marketing plan to attract these customers
Look at ways to increase leads
- You may need more or better content and blogs.
- They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan is a fantastic book to look at content, and answering your potential customers’ questions before they even get in touch with you.
Look at ways to improve your sales process and get more customers to buy
- Are customers slipping through the net once they’ve contacted you? Could you do more to get them on board?
Consider price increases
- You may feel like you can’t increase prices at the moment, as everyone else is, but if you’re not covering your costs, then you will have to.
Review your products and services
- Are clients/customers buying the right products or services, or could you offer them more?
- It costs 6 times as much to sell to new customers, than to existing ones – you know what you need to do.
Don’t do work for free!
- Easier said than done, but have processes in place so that you’re not giving away your time and products
- Have a good pricing menu or calculator in place so that you have the confidence to quote for your work
Review your suppliers
- Negotiate with suppliers for better deals or discounts
- Look at alternative suppliers
Don’t let stock sit on the shelf, make sure it’s selling quickly.
- If you have a lot of old stock, consider promoting a sale, to get it moved, and get some cash in quickly.
Review all your costs and see where the return is.
- If you’re not getting anything out of the cost, then why are you spending it?
Check processes, and how you’re using technology.
- Are there improvements you could make to how you’re working, to free up time an costs?
- Are there apps that can automate some of your processes? We love working with apps like Xero to free up your time!
Are you making the most of your employees?
- Make sure they’re working efficiently, and consider whether you have any spare resource.
- They may have ideas for better ways of working, or how to attract or upsell to customers, so pick their brains!
Make sure you invoice quickly!
- Invoice as soon as you have completed your work, or better still, ask for discounts, or stage payments.
Review your credit terms
- How long are you waiting to be paid? Are customers adhering to your terms?
- My blog here goes into more detail about why there used to be 30 day payment terms, but it just isn’t needed any more
Make it super easy for customers to pay you
- You can set up online payment services like Stripe, GoCardless and IWOCAPay to make it seamless.
- More info here on how to get paid quicker.
Don’t pay suppliers too quickly
- If your suppliers give you 30 days to pay, then you don’t really need to pay them any sooner.
- But make sure you look after your suppliers, and maintain good relationships, so if you do ever need more time to pay, they’re on side
Consider refinancing if you have loans
Is it worth looking at a better financing deal if your repayments or the interest is too high?
You may benefit from looking around at better deals, and we can help with that, so give us a shout.
I am hoping that you have taken some top actions that you can go away and work on, and start making a plan.
Remember to make that first small step. It is the first step on your journey to plan for your future, and boost your bank balance!
If you haven’t read James Clear’s Atomic Habits, go and do that first! It’s full of inspiration about making tiny habits stick.
Get in touch with us to book your Action Plan. We will give you a complimentary 30 minute action plan which will give you a brief plan for the next 12 months, and 3 top priorities that you can work on right now!
Check out How We Work if you’d like to be a client of Kinder Pocock’s and benefit from all this awesome support!