Many business do not know how they compare to their competitors. Few do strategic planning. While most have a business plan, the chances are this has not been looked at since they started the business.
Unfortunately, few companies have the management systems and management accounts in place to know where their business is and where it is going. This is the equivalent of driving blindfolded with no idea of where you want to get to. Both cases will end in disaster.
Business Support Sessions
We recommend that new business clients start their journey with a series of planned business support session. This helps us find out more about your business, your goals and the issues you face. This allows us to offer the advice you need and to plan the next steps for your business.
Our support sessions are ideal for:
- Business owners that have little other support. Employees come to you with their problems but who do you go to?
- Those needing a fresh pair of eyes to suggest new ideas – most great ideas come from those outside of the immediate business!
- Helping you focus on working on your business rather than in your business
- Anyone who needs to set time aside to focus on key business issues
The sessions can be used to cover any or all the following:
- Review of management accounts and information
- Strategic Planning
- Comparison of where you are in relation to goals
- Business growth
- Employee issues
- Cost saving strategies
- Tax saving strategies and queries
An agreed action plan is formulated from each session that we produce for review of progress at the next business support session.
Few businesses keep an eye on their competition or know how they compare. A comprehensive look at your competitors will reveal many opportunities and highlight the threats they may pose.
In many industries, every business is offering the same general product or service to anyone and everyone. You can greatly increase your profits by offering a tailored product or service to a niche market. People and businesses will pay more for tailored products and services allowing you to increase your prices and profits.
All of this starts with benchmarking. You can also benchmark against other factors such as delivery times, efficiency, profit levels etc. It is very beneficial to benchmark against your competitors. It gives you an idea of where you can make improvements and reveals the places where you can leap ahead of your competition.
Our benchmarking reports will show you:
- How you compare against the industry average
- The best and worst statistics in your industry
In key areas such as:
- Sales levels and growth rates
- Debtor days – how good you are at collecting in the cash
- Gross and net profits margins
Strategic planning is vital. Your strategy outlines your long-term objectives and how you will achieve them. We all know that to be in control of your business, you must know where you are, determine where you want to get to and work out a route map to get there.
Few businesses do and often they end up where their competitors want them to be! Instead of intentionally planning and working towards their goals, many business owners:
- Rely on their intuition– this usually leads to you veering off-course. Intuition and gut instinct is helpful but should not be relied on when making long-term decisions.
- Waste time and money on taking actions which don’t benefit your business (e.g. an ineffective marketing campaign, developing a new product or service that no-one wants etc.)
- Take unnecessary risks– this is inevitable if you rely on intuition and don’t have a plan. You will be taking risks with one bad decision often leading to other risky decisions in an effort to fix the arising problems.
Let me ask you:
- Do you know where you want your business to be in 1,3 and 5 years’ time?
- Do you have a clear idea of the turnover and profit you want to achieve?
- Do you have a growth strategy which will allow you to achieve your targets?
- Have you decided on an exit strategy? Do you know how you want to exit your business? Will you sell your business and if so who to?
While you might not have started your business with the end in mind, it is a good idea to know where you ultimately want to end up
Once you have determined your business strategy, then you need to turn it into a plan which outlines what actions need to be taken and when to bring about your envisioned success. They will also help you to identify and determine the policies, processes and procedures which need to be in place for your expansion.
Business plans are vital as without them you are unlikely to reach your preferred destination. They are the map on your business journey. However, you need two types of business plan:
- A short plan that can be easily shared and updated. This is usually a few pages and is something that can be reviewed by you and your directors every quarter. This is the plan you use to steer your business.
- An in-depth business plan which you need to secure finance.
We can help you to develop both types of plans.
The first plan needs to contain the important numbers that need to be monitored and the key actions that need to be taken to move your strategy forward. This plan needs to be easily shared and it must be reviewed by you and your directors on a regular basis. It cannot just sit in a desk drawer and not be looked at.
The second type of business plan makes your financial application much more likely to succeed.
We can help you to produce a tight business plan which attracts interest and funding. Your plan will include:
- Business strategy and goal setting
- Cash flow forecasts
- Profit forecasts
- All written elements of the plan such as business background, marketing plan, SWOT analysis, markets, competition and all the other key elements that need presenting in the most suitable way to lenders.
After you’ve produced the plan, you need to monitor how you are doing against the plan and we can help you with this.
Business plans are more important than most people think. They do not need to be complex and unwieldly. In fact, the key points can be put on one or two pages.
Contact us today and let us show you how you can grow your business with effective planning.
Management Accounts and Systems
Management accounts and systems are the best way to steer your business forward and increase your profitability. If you can measure it, then you can manage it and your management accounts and systems will help you to do both.
If you use digital accounting, then you have a dashboard which clearly shows what is in your bank account, what is outstanding and gives you an idea of where you are going. This is a very useful starting point. However, to get the full picture, you need a set of management accounts to be produced monthly or quarterly.
These consists of:
- A balance sheet
- A profit and loss account (an income statement)
- A cashflow forecast
Your management accounts help you to make decisions and show you where your profit is generated so you can really grow that area.
They give you up-to-date and relevant information. You can see quickly where you are performing well and what areas need attention.
The cashflow forecast shows if everything is running smoothly or will give you advanced warning if problems are on the horizon. So, you can either relax or act now to avert a major problem coming to light in the next few weeks or months.
These useful accounts allow you to:
- Isolate and report on the key performance indicators which really drive your business- it is vital that you know and keep on top of these as they will give you an idea of your future performance
- See actual performance compared to budgets and forecasts– we can break this down by divisions and teams so you can clearly see
- Supply management information to lenders and investors- this is vital for raising funding
- Monitor costs including break-even turnover levels
- Spot and deal with any “holes” in your business
- Locate and strengthen the profit-making parts of your business
- Help with in house systems for you to produce your own information
We will train you on how to get the most out of your management accounts and really grow your business.
If you want to move your business to the next level, then regular management accounts will help you to get there.
In addition to management accounts, a company of any size needs to have effective management systems. These help you to steer your company, maintain your profitability and deal with under-performing areas.
- Review your current financial management information systems
- Determine any needed changes or improvements
- Develop processes to help you use and get the most from your systems- including understand and interpreting the information that you get.
- Give you back control of your business
We can help you with all types of financial management systems including:
- Cash controls
- Cost controls
- Debtor control
- Financial reporting systems
- Purchasing systems
- Stock control
Reliable management information allows you to react quickly to changing business needs, contact us today to find out more.