For many business owners, this time of year sees the start of a new financial year. So I thought I’d share my top tips for reviewing your financial position and strategies for growth for the year ahead.
Tip #1: Refresh your vision of success
Now is a really good time to take a measured look at your business as it stands. Where are the opportunities for growth? What can be improved upon? You need to explore ways of optimising what you currently offer and look at whether you can create new products or services for your customers. Clearly identifying your goals for the new financial year is an important way of improving your chances of actually achieving those objectives.
Tip #2: Don’t neglect the admin
Creating an organised filing system for paperwork and invoices can take the headache out of credit control. Staying on top of the admin side of your accounts will help to prevent cash flow problems from occurring and ensure your business is organised and capable of achieving growth.
Tip #3: Do your credit-checks
While new business prospects are always exciting, you need to ensure you carry out credit checks on new customers. This will allow you to identify trends in their repayment behaviour and avoid any payment issues in the future. Credit checks can be done quickly and relatively inexpensively.
Tip #4: Manage your customer relationships
Be sure to maintain open lines of communication between your business and your customers, ensuring that you continue to refine customer service standards. Maintaining a close relationship with your customers will help establish a reliable source of sales revenue and minimise issues with repayments.
Tip #5: Ensure invoices are issued in a timely fashion
The timely issue of invoices is the cornerstone of a healthy business cashflow. Invoices that are issued early and are diligently followed up help ensure your customers have plenty of time to pay you and improve your cashflow.
Tip #6: Keep tabs on your competitors
Knowledge is power and keeping track of who your competitors are and what products and services they offer will give you the power to stand out from the crowd. Keep abreast of news and developments within your industry and take note of any new trends. This knowledge will enable you to refine your competitive advantage and achieve growth for your business.
Tip #7: Get the best from your suppliers
Assess your suppliers and check that you are getting maximum value for money at all times. Compare rates and prices from other suppliers to ensure that you are minimising your overheads wherever possible. Take particular note of any special deals or discounts on offer and try to negotiate longer credit terms. Don’t forget, however, that a loyal supplier may prove to be a useful ally during tough times, so remember the importance of establishing and maintaining close relationships.
Tip #8: Get your return in early
Don’t put off your tax return until the deadline is looming – get it underway as soon as is practical to get a more accurate picture of your cashflow heading into the financial year so you can concentrate on growing your business. If your accountant completes your return then make sure they have all the records they need.
Until next time, remember …..
Make sure you take time out of your busy schedule to enjoy and reflect on your successes along the way, as another year in business is a sure sign of success. Running a small business is stressful and there are many challenges along the way.
Taking a well-earned break will allow you to renew your energy and focus for the new financial year ahead. Employees too are at their most productive when they feel valued and acknowledged, so reward your team for achieving their objectives with inexpensive staff events during the course of the year.