Setting Yourself up for Business Success.
I am not going to lie – being a business owner is seriously one of the toughest jobs around. It isn’t 9 to 5 and it doesn’t mean you are rolling in cash. What it is, is passion, determination and a hell of a lot of hard work.
While we are so busy working in the business, we often forget to work on the business.
I can see you thinking – what is she on about. Well picture this….
You are a mechanic. You started your apprenticeship as a youngster fresh out of school and here you are 20 years on and your employer has decided he’s retiring. What do you do? Well buy the business of course. You’ve been here 20 years now, no one knows this business as well as you do, right? Things are ticking along, you are still working on the cars, still training new and upcoming apprentices. You’ve got big plans for this business. Life is good!
Cashflow starts to dwindle. Why? You’ve been working from daylight to dusk. How can that be? Oh right – while you’ve been working long hard hours, the invoicing for the work you’ve completed hasn’t been done, neither has the bookkeeping or the GST. All those plans you had are still just that – plans written on paper.
Here are some easy tips to help you maintain a successful business.
- Create a budget – write down all your expenses and work out how much you need to be generating in order to maintain the lifestyle you want. Keep it realistic and review it regularly.
- Invoicing/Sales – have weekly billing targets. How much do you need to turnover to make ends meet?
- Invoice regularly. This is a big one. I see so many people (particularly like our example above) that ‘forget’ to invoice. A job is not complete until YOU get paid.
- Chase up debtors. It is not unreasonable to expect payment for work you have completed. If you know your customer is a poor payer, request payment upfront before you even look at their job.
- Industry/competitor trends. While we don’t want to be copy-cats, we can all learn a lot from our competitors. Are they doing something that you think is great and you could use or adapt for use in your business?
- Learn to delegate. While we all know no one does a job as well as we do, there are always tasks that we can assign to others. It can be as simple as having the person who completed the job invoice it (to be approved by yourself of course). This way you aren’t finding work that hasn’t been billed 6 months down the track.
- What are you doing to grow your business? I’ve always been sceptical of social media as a business platform. Let me tell you – it works, it’s easy and for the most part – its FREE!
- Do you have the right people in your team? Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch once said “No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energised employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” How right is he! Empower your employees to share your vision, give them responsibility and include them in decisions – particularly when it involves their job. If it is something around their job process – let them put a new system in place. After all, they are the ones having to do it!
- Talk to and network with other business owners. They don’t necessarily need to be in your industry, but they all bring a wealth of experience and some fantastic ideas. Like you – they are all chasing the same dream.
- Talk to your advisors. Your accountant is a great place to start. We live and breathe business and see lots of people exactly like yourself. We want exactly the same thing for you – business success.
Remember – keep it simple. Even the smallest changes can reap the biggest rewards.