Archive for Business Planning

New Year, new cash flow

Walking or running legs in forest, adventure and exercisingMost small businesses relish the year ahead thinking about how to change things for the better. But back in the office instead of on the beach, or checking the accounts payable rather than the cricket scores, new year resolutions might seem like impossible delusions.

 

This doesn’t have to be the case.

Here are my tips to ensure that you keep striding out towards your goals and 2015 doesn’t become the year of the cash flow woes.

 

1. Smooth out the season

If you’re currently riding high in bonanza territory, don’t see it as a one-off.

Stash some cash for those moments when your business is more lonesome cowboy than John Wayne.

If you’re in a financial hole, pole vault out of it and leap to put in place a January resolution to boost cash assets to get a jump on the year.

2. Push for upfront payments

Map when your clients might take a little longer than usual to pay.

Overdue invoice? Late delivery?

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A quick phone call can often resolve things more quickly and effectively. Leave the streaming to Netflix, not endless emails.

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Asking for accounts to be fully or partly settled in advance can also help identify problem payers as well as uncover the Accounts Champions of 2015.

 3. Think “Christmas” all year round

Growing your customer base is a sure-fire way of improving immediate profits and long-term viability.

Some proprietors see their business an extension of their personality. This means they might be providing a service or product that meets only their needs.

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It’s not really possible to understand what you can give until you can see your business from your customers’ point of view.

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Think of three typical clients: who are they, where do they live and work?

What interests and motivates them? And that card to go with the gift, how might you personalise the message to each of them?

4. The only stuff that’s secret is what you haven’t yet found out

Want to know even more about your customers? Ask them.

Want to know even more about your competitors? It may seem ridiculously simple, but Google them. There’s often no need to guess what the competition is up to. It’s usually online for all to see.

And if you’re feeling truly inquisitive, find some squirrelly way of soliciting how your customers feel about your competitors.

5. Are all systems GO!?

It can be tempting to begin the new year assuming everything is in place and set to go … after all, it all worked ok last year, didn’t it?

  • With more knowledge about your clients and competitors, do a systems check: What new skills do you need?
  • Is there a need for a faster, more secure website with live chat or better in-store or over-the-phone customer service?
  • Would your product descriptions make sense to someone who has never heard of you?
  • Is there a staff member who has an interest in a more financially-viable role?
  • Are you still relying on faxes when new software can do the job?
  • When did you last update your accountancy software?
  • Sometimes smaller short-term investments can lead bigger long-term gains.

6. Sweat the small stuff

A small increase in the profit margin of each and every sale – combined with more customers and stronger positioning against competitors – can significantly boost cash flow.

Small efficiencies can also do much for the bottom line. While it might not be thought fashionable to sweat the small stuff, it’s the little things that keep customers coming back for more and an eye for detail the keeps cash flow in control.

7. Cut costs

You don’t have to go the full Scrooge to cut costs. After all, shrinking a business isn’t the best way to guarantee an effective cash flow.

Only give the gifts that count; look at the expenses that generate the results. If there’s spending that’s not going anywhere, stop it before you too wind up at a dead end.

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Resolve: If it’s not generating income, don’t spend it.

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8. Sort your suppliers

Have a clean out and review old agreements.

Use the new year to renegotiate better terms and conditions, cheaper fees or added value from suppliers.

9. Embrace chaos

Monitor the market and see what others are offering.

Shop around and take advantage of any volatility that could see a good return or an opportunity to dispose of seemingly unsaleable stock.

10. Credit only where credit is due

Some SMEs survive on a boom and bust cycle. When customers want to spend up big, check their credit before celebrating.

If in doubt note the warning signs, tighten your terms and conditions or initiate a strict cash-on-delivery or EFT – electronic funds transfer – policy.

Putting the squeeze on doesn’t need to be a permanent preoccupation. July 1 provides the perfect opportunity for review.

11. Let the banks pay

Accepting credit card payments means the issuing financial institution, rather than your business, carries the risk.

So this year why not take advantage of the bank’s generosity and let them give the gift of an interest-free period?

12. Tax and Super don’t go on holidays

It can be easy to overlook setting aside extra cash for to cover regular outgoings during the year’s financial fluctuations.

Payroll tax and superannuation levies don’t go on holidays even though staff do. Take note of due dates, set aside adequate funds in a holding account, and don’t be tempted to use this money to compensate for a drop in cash flow.

Be aware that increased sales attract extra GST, so plan ahead.

13. Spend other people’s money, wisely

Building business based on borrowing is a well-practiced principle.

Ensure that any sudden solution adopted to stump-up a slump doesn’t become a long-term liability.

Carefully consider the borrowing terms. Unless needing backing for major, long-term capital investment, short-term options such as an overdraft or credit card payment might be enough to tide your business over.

If family or friends are part of your cash flow rescue plan, ensure their agreement well before a loan is needed. Professionalism remains essential. Prepare a written agreement that details all terms and conditions and have it signed by all parties, well before breaking out the bubbles to celebrate.

14. Don’t let it rain on your parade

Having a respectable, additional cash reserve in a separate, high interest bearing account could mean that every financial cloud literally has a silver lining.

15. Keep it real

Financial reports need to clearly and accurately detail the basics: what funds are available today, what is tied up, and what is owed.

Our clients use tools like CashMAX Forecaster to help them manage and monitor their business activity in real time.

If you haven’t already done so, make a New Year’s resolution to keep financial reporting real, and monitor your cash flow daily for many happy returns throughout 2015.

 

++ This article was published in Ninemsn Finance and Inside Small Business .

 

Secrets to turning your business plan into action steps

Business planAny plan, be it a holiday or a business plan, is only as good as its execution. Planning without taking action is pointless. Preparing a business plan is a two step process.  First you create the plan and test whether it is feasible. Then you determine the action steps and timelines needed to achieve it.

 

Testing your plans

  • Are my plans feasible?
  • Do I have attainable objectives?
  • Do I have enough time to follow all the plans that I have?
  • Have I contacted everyone involved in the plan?
  • Are all the resources that I need available?
  • Do I have a back-up plan for unforeseen events?

When you are satisfied with your answers  here are your next steps.

Turning plans into actions

  1. Allocate an adequate budget to implement your plans. Your business will continue to need cashflow to run smoothly, so set aside some funding for the plan – and tailor the plan to your budget. Options like social media might be cost effective resources for you.
  2. Ensure your team members are all on board. Hold meetings, explain your ideas, and if possible ask them for suggestions. With your team involved, and working with you, your plans will have a much better chance of success.
  3. Contact all external suppliers involved in your plans. Suppose part of your marketing and promotions plan includes sending out greeting cards to your customers and vendors. Then you should contact the company that can provide you the cards that you need. Perhaps your plan involves re-packaging of your products, just for a season or longer term. Then the action step would be to research and contact a company that can provide you with bags and packaging – appropriately theme-related if that is the concept.
  4. Stick to the schedule. Allowing timelines to drift will jeopardise the likelihood of a good outcome. After all you probably worked out the timeline based on the optimal timing. It might also encourage your team to feel less committed to supporting the drive to achieve them. If you don’t seem too worried – why should they be?

 One easy tool we use for our clients and ourselves, to assist the process, is our new proprietary tool CashMAX™ Forecaster.

 Call us for a trial to see how easy it makes planning the next stage of your business and working out if it will really work.

Good luck!

How to prepare for the festive season sales race

The winnerAs a small business owner what’s not to like about the three months that are arguably the best period of the whole year when it comes to sales. That is of course if you have a structured plan to take advantage of it!  A quick glance at the calendar says it’s time to get out those pencils and start planning festive season business sales campaigns.

In Australia, compared to Northern Hemisphere nations, it packs a particularly hefty punch.  Days are warmer and longer and people are happily anticipating the holiday season (my team have already booked the party). The Spring Racing Carnival season culminating with the heady delights of the Melbourne Cup (pun intended) rolls rapidly into end-of-year parties. The Ashes Series gets underway, school breaks up and ushers in the long summer holidays punctuated by Christmas, Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race, and New Year and wraps up in the grand finale of the Australia Day long weekend.

7 helpful action steps for your festive season business sales campaign.

Adapt them to suit your business goals and objectives.

1] For retailers and etailers – store/website appearance

The over-all appearance of your store / website should be fresh and presentable. Give it a spring clean. Adopt a Christmas theme; promote New Year or any one of the many summer celebrations that might fit with your business. This will help you entice more customers. If you have an online business relate the theme of your website with the holiday season. A Christmas-themed website conveys festivity and cheer.

2] Seasonal greeting cards

Think about how you can give back to your customers. By giving back I don’t mean expensive and grand gifts. A simple festive greeting card or email can help show how much you appreciate your customers. People love to feel valued. If your customers feel that you value them then they are more likely to be loyal to you. Aside from the customers, you can also send Christmas cards to your prospect customers and vendors.

3] Marketing strategy

Plan the marketing strategy that you intend to use ahead of time. There are many new media technologies that make it easy to reach out to people cost effectively. Even the smallest businesses can use the different social media platforms to increase their customers. Review how you can turn them to your advantage.

4] Adequacy of staff and stocks

Christmas is a time of giving and people are often impulsive when buying gifts for their loved ones. Be ready for this with adequate stock levels. You might also need to be prepared to hire extra staff to see you through the holiday rush.

Develop contingency plans for the hiccups this season may bring. Expect employees to call in sick or go in vacation. Have a manual system for managing if the electronic systems black out. Don’t let these known vagaries of business life catch you unawares and cost you a lot of money, effort or lost opportunities.

5] Staff training

It’s highly irritating to customers battling crowded stores in limited time frames to be forced to deal with staff who don’t know about the products or services they are selling. The bad experience they had with your business during the silly season taints their view of your whole operation – even if you think it’s not representative of your normal business standards.  In your customer’s mind it will be.

Plan to train even your temporary team so that they know your products and how to sell them effectively. And while you are at it, make sure all your team understand how vital this selling season is to the business and how important their role is in making it successful.

6] Promos, bundling and discounts

Promos should always be part of your business plan. The more enticing the promo you have, the more customers you can expect. Create genuine offers that people will not be able to resist. Avoid offers that are too pushy or extravagant.

7] New products

Are there any new products and services you could release that are related to the season? If new products are not feasible then think of ways to associate your existing products with the coming festive celebrations. For example, change your packaging to something seasonal, or set up a wrapping station for the customers.

Whatever you do, now is the time to start brainstorming your festive season business sales activities and preparing to implement them.

 

What made you decide to create a business forecasting tool like CashMAX?

The Words Cash Flow on Crossword PuzzleMany people ask me how I came up with the idea of business forecasting tool for SMEs.  I saw a need for a tool designed to walk you through the process of gathering the right information to track and manipulate the drivers and KPIs that help a small business grow. The result was CashMAX, a tool that helps you plan, set strategies and manage budgets.

As an accountant and business advisor – and a business owner myself – I observed that not enough SME entrepreneurs really understand their businesses. They are not properly on top of their cashflow, the issues around GST, Tax, Debtors and Creditors and a whole heap of other things that allow a small business to become a big business – or even grow to BE a business rather than just a job for the owner.

One of the most important, but least understood aspects of business is making money, what needs to be done to generate cash, and how to manipulate the crucial relationship between the timing of profit and cash.

Of course you have the option of using spreadsheets and all the alternatives out there for what we do; but they are prone to human error. They require a lot of manual input, calculation of formulas and so on. In fact you either need to be an accountant or pay one to extract the right information for your business.

We started off building CashMAX Forecaster as a tool to assist us working with our clients. From there it took on a life of its own. Over time we built into the tool every circumstance we experienced over hundreds of businesses, developing more ways to look at different parts of their business.

Once we involved our clients we realised we needed to make people accountable – so we made it internet based. This allowed our clients and their managers to be actively involved in establishing their budgets. They could set budgets based on what would then become their KPIs. The result was that we could now hold them accountable for these KPIs. They were no longer some number established by accountants somewhere away from the real business and the people working in it. They were the numbers, the KPIs that they had set based on their own input.

For our clients it has taken their understanding of their businesses to a whole new level. They have a far more comprehensive view of their business and its drivers. They have better information for basing their business decisions on as well. And their management team feel more involved and have more clarity about their roles and responsibilities in the business.

It’s been a lot of work, and a lot of refining and developing based on years of experience and practical testing with hundreds of clients. We’re pretty excited with where it is right now, and it will keep on growing. It’s a powerful business forecasting and management tool for SMEs created out of a real synergy of knowledge, needs and skills between accountants and business owners.

Will your business be prepared if disaster strikes?

Treat so-called one-off disasters as a likely eventuality in the normal course of  conducting business over time. Plan for it like any other occasional event – the last minute pre-Christmas shopping rush, the annual leave of a team member – and the cost and damage to the business will be dramatically reduced or even averted.

If you have been reading my blogs for a while you will know that I have made quite a study of how businesses cope with the unexpected, the disaster, the sudden crisis. (See Risk management and ‘The Attack of the Gumnuts’ and Lessons in dealing with chaos). There are a lot of things you can do, but it all starts with knowing the right questions to ask.

This week my article has been picked up by Westpac’s Davidson Institute, Australia’s First School of Money.  Through live seminars, online courses and other educational resources  Westpac aims to assist Australians improve their financial literacy.  My article takes you through some of the questions you need to be asking yourself in order to set up your Business Emergency Preparation List, and shows you some of the steps I took in my business to address them.

Take a look at the Westpac Davidson Institute Learning Centre under Business Planning to read the full text of my article, Will your business be prepared if disaster strikes?

Planning the ride of your (business) life

It’s the last days of my holidays and I am hot air ballooning over Bagan, Myanmar (Burma).

My idea of being in the right place at the right time to launch a great 2013!

We’d cruised up the Ayeyarwaddy River first and now 2,500 – 4,000 temples, pagodas and stupas (religious monuments) lay stretched out below us.

It made me think about the parallels between many businesses and hot air ballooning.

In business and life there is always an element of luck – – being in the right spot, the right conditions, the right timing and the right people- in this case it was the weather that was on our side. It had been inclement and too hazardous in the previous two days for safe flying.

But with a bit of forethought and some good strategic planning you can influence / or prepare for some of the so-called unforeseen events in your business life; I believe that you can plan and prepare to be ‘lucky’ in other words. As Henry Ford said, “The harder I worked, the luckier I got!”

Our pilot gave us some very clear instructions on our role, what was expected of us, what we could do, and what we could not do.

Your staff too need the same clear guidelines from you if they are to work constructively and effectively to move your business in your chosen direction.

Prevailing winds, air temperatures and the elements heavily influenced the balloon’s journey. The pilot’s ability to control all these was fairly limited. Even so, with a clear plan and a few ropes and pulleys, he navigated us safely to our landing destination – and the frosted flutes of champagne waiting there to celebrate.

 

In business though you have a far greater opportunity to influence the environment as long as you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, and what you need to do to reach that outcome. Much more than the balloon pilot you can adjust and tweak and set the direction for your business…and enjoy the champagne celebrations as you achieve your milestones.

Remember business success doesn’t just happen – if you are not achieving what you desire from your business, contact us.

Lost in Venice – a traveller’s comments on the world economy

I am just back from venturing off to Italy, Switzerland and Austria during January. It’s the longest break I have had taken for many years.

This was my very first trip to Venice, and even though it was winter and not considered to be peak season, waking up each morning to the mist over the Grand Canal was a breathtaking sight.

In Venice you walk. Apart from the occasional trip on the Vaporetto (the local water bus) there really is no other alternative way to get around a city built on myriad tiny islands linked by narrow stone bridges! Probably like many other first time visitors we got lost a few times but eventually found our way back to where we should have been.

As we meandered it struck me forcibly that on holidays this is one of the great liberties we can enjoy – we can get afford to get lost and wander around. This might sound odd but think about it; the freedom to get lost and take time finding a path is not something on offer in today’s economy. In business these days we need to constantly examine our direction, our activity, the results it achieves and make changes to avoid the canals before we are actually lost.

The state of the world economy is in the spotlight everywhere you travel.  Throughout the trip we benefited from the strength of the Australian dollar in comparison to the Euro and the Swiss Franc. Hovering at its highest point, the strong exchange rate made all our costs and purchases that bit cheaper. As travellers this was much appreciated but I was conscious of the other ramifications. For Australian businesses selling off shore, it means that your products become less competitively priced. Even in a local market given that your customers can order online from overseas vendors your higher price is not going to win sales for you.

Swiss tactics for managing currency competition

Naturally I was curious to explore whether, and how, other nations are dealing with this phenomenon. The Swiss – ever renowned for being canny business people – found they have had to look hard at their business dynamics, and be prepared to change rapidly to survive. As with the Australian dollar, the Swiss Franc has strengthened in comparison to the Euro. For them, not only were prices in bordering companies becoming cheaper, but there was even less impediment to shopping cross border because those bordering countries are just a drive down the road!

The Swiss, however, have made an interesting move to counteract the threats posed by a strong currency. In order to save their position on the international market they have pegged the Swiss Franc to the Euro and no longer allowed it to float. Naturally this created some internal issues such as that caused by a flurry of trading which took place prior to the implementation by people who knew about the imminent fixing of the currency.

Impact of movements in job location

Other changes have also been made. Operations previously carried out in Switzerland have been moved to countries with lower-priced labour, and only head offices and limited infrastructure are maintained in Switzerland. One consequence is that jobs re-locate to other countries, and people tend to move residences often to other countries as well.

In Australia geographic disruptions caused by movements in job location is not so marked, very likely in part due to the ‘tyranny of distance’ in comparison to the rest of the world– but might it be something we will start to see happening in the future? As an example, one family business couple we know are looking at re-locating part of the family to live Hong Kong where they can easily access and manage the significant Asia wine export market they are building, and leaving some of their adult children on site to manage their Australian vineyards.

Overall the European economies continue to trade their way through these ongoing uncertainties, but in places like Venice you could sense the eagerness (or desperation) for the close of a sale. Was it was the only sale that had occurred for the day I often wondered? And how often was the local artefact being manufactured off shore, and brought back for sale as a Venetian-crafted memento? Several shop owners hinted that some businesses (always others rather than themselves) were indulging in these practices. Yes, well, here in Australia we certainly know all about that one!

Keeping your business competitive in a global economy

What is the likely upshot for us here in Australia? We are geographically further removed from our trading partners so, unlike the Swiss, the daily movement in our currency does not impact us so greatly (yet). But in a global economy this small advantage is not one you should rely upon. If you aren’t actively considering, or at least thinking about your options, if you haven’t yet researched and understood what the likely implications are for changes both for you and for your particular line of business, then it’s time that you looked up for a minute and thought about it. Start doing your research on the predicted changes particularly for your market sector, read, ask others who might have some exposure, check out online sources of information. Consider the options you might have to address these or take advantage of them. Review the issues that are likely to arise for you personally, your family and your business, and plan a path.

Don’t get lost in Venice – unless you’re on holidays!

‘Close but no cigar’ – why vision, strategy and structure sometimes aren’t enough

Close but no cigar

Close but no cigar!

When you have a clear vision of where you want to go, a strategy for getting there and some structures in place you should be successful, right?  Vision, Strategy, Structure. The big three. You’ve done all the right things.  But somehow nothing happens, no growth, no rise in profits, and no build up in your customer base, nada. Perhaps it’s time to look for that missing ingredient, the secret to all successful businesses – congruence.  Congruence is the art and state of pulling things together in just the right way. That place where the sum of the parts becomes greater than the whole, and 1 + 1 can equal 3.

Often your overarching vision does not really change.  But in a fluid economic environment such as we have today, as a business entrepreneur you understand that your strategy to achieve that vision is going to need to be flexible, so you probably re-design and tweak it.  Perhaps you reckon that your current structures, and by that we mean internal structures of people and tools that underpin the business (rather than the legal entity) are working well, so you leave them in place.

Typically you will find that the planned changes fail and success is still out of reach. Why?

If your strategy has changed then other things in your business need to change in order for the strategy to be embraced, be successful and the vision realised.

Structure has to support strategy.  If you change your strategy then no matter how well the existing structures are operating today you have to revisit them and see that they still align with your new strategies.

Here are a couple of typical examples that illustrate the point.

  1. The decision is reached to change the business and switch to more online sales. Jim and Jane have been loyal employees on the shop floor who know the business and the products, but their current face-to-face customer roles are no longer required.  Rather than sack these team members, they were moved into other roles, sitting at computers managing data entry for online sales.  But Jim is a bit of a technophobe with little experience with computers, and Jane is a real people person who thrives on interaction with real live customers. Even if they can be re-trained, are they a good ‘fit’ for the new role? Unless they fit the profile of your ideal new hire for the position then you cannot expect them to perform as well. Nor are they likely to feel the same dedication for the job you tried to create for them.
  2. There are more people in the business who are starting to say ‘it used to be…”; “It used to be easier”, “we used to do this differently”.  This can be the tell tale sign that the person and their role have started to diverge. The tools have moved on, the business environment has changed, or perhaps has failed to – and they haven’t moved or changed themselves.  Our experience in recent times is that Sales seem to be one role that has been particularly vulnerable to this challenge.  It used to be easier to make a sale but today shoppers are well informed, price sensitive and overwhelmed with marketing messages and plenty of competitors offering the same products and services. Rather than adapt to the new environment (let’s face it the good old days are gone) your old sales whizz now dwells on the past, and fails to meet budgets. As the business leader if you accept it this drop in performance levels then you will have to accept it from others on the team as well and your business will fail to prosper.

In each of these scenarios the business is letting structure drive (or get in the way of) strategy.

The starting point is strategy, and strategy determines the structures and resources you need to achieve your goals.

Working from structure to strategy can be incongruent with your goals and means 1+1 can be = 0.  Working from strategy to structure is working in congruence with your goals and means that 1+1 can be 3.

As owners enmeshed in the business it is often too hard to see where the levers of your business (vision, strategy and structure) have become incongruent.  In larger corporations this is the role that the Board of Directors would play in conjunction with the CEO and management team. Good decisions need an external set of eyes or an external sounding board.  Having someone from outside talk and play devil’s advocate brings in to play new ideas and different angles that are impossible for one person buried in the daily management tasks.

Business advisors, such as we are, perform this function on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to review and talk to so many businesses means we have a broad awareness of the strategies available and the tell tale signs of incongruence.  If you need someone to push your boundaries, urge you to take action rather than just think about it or maybe help you totally revisit your strategy, then give us a call. It’s what we are here to help you do.

The Geometry of running a business

Round, like a circle in a spiral

Like a wheel within a wheel

Never ending or beginning

On an ever spinning reel

Driving down the coast road this week I heard a song from the soundtrack from the Thomas Crown Affair 1999, Windmills of Your Mind.  The lyrics made me think about circles and squares and the issues we face as business owners and employers.  Yes, a little bit cryptic I agree, but it was a long drive at the finish of an interesting but demanding work assignment, so bear with me while I explain.

Business decisions are only made when we reach a choice and determine a path of action.  In making business decisions there are many many variables.  These variables include issues such as:

  • What is the decision going to do to my cash?
  • How is the decision going to affect my profit?
  • Is this the right time to make the decision?
  • Is this going to be the right decision both for me as well as for my business?
  • What is the likely impact of the current economic uncertainty on the business environment I operate in?
  • How much will this decision cost me now as compared with my expected future returns?
  • Is the decision going to help me progress towards my goal – today and/or in the future?
  • What if the decision fails to deliver the planned outcomes?
  • What if my partner or employees don’t agree with the decision?

And the list goes on and on. And on!

The risk so often is that we end up in a loop – a circle of endless discussions that lead to indecisiveness and results in no decision being made at all. A wily business entrepreneur I know declares that even a bad decision is better than no decision at all.  There is a modicum of truth in that to be sure. But these days there are some useful strategy and decision making tools available that can help you get out of that ground hog day cycle and move forward.

A good business strategy and decision making tool should help you:

Run optional scenarios to test and determine if the proposed action is going to provide the outcome you want.
You should be using your strategy tools to develop options, extrapolate the potential outcomes and discuss the options until you are comfortable with the decision. Then you can take action and implement.

Allow you to focus on the impact of the decision.
What is the $ effect?  How and when is it going to make a difference?  If it becomes clear that it is not for another two years and doesn’t require further immediate thought, you can put it aside and concentrate on those parts of your plan and strategies that are important to making a difference today.

Provide a structured and directed way to review and discuss your plans and decisions.
As a business advisor an activity that takes up much of my time is simply talking through decisions with my clients, most often because they are too close to the situation to evaluate it.

These days the tool I most often use is CashMAX Forecaster™.  It allows my clients to work through their decisions with minimal outside help.  Just quietly my clients love the added benefit of being able to produce a report that is professional enough to present to banks and JV partners-a huge cost saving.

Which brings me to another geometric shape – the square.  Often while you are running around in ever decreasing circles you also end up trapped thinking inside the square.  You stifle the lateral thinking that allows you to generate other possible scenarios until such time as you happen to talk to someone else about it, and they ask you questions that push you to reconsider or get to the root of the matter.

This can apply not just to you as a business entrepreneur and owner but also to day-to-day matters that your employees face.  I don’t know how often I have seen time evaporate because people are stuck on an issue or problem that could be answered if they simply asked for a second person to look at it.  Even more remarkably, the answer will often come from them – they just need someone to drag them back from focusing on the details and the process, rather than the outcome they are trying to achieve.

If you find yourself in an issue which has you going in circles, and desperate to think outside the square, pick up the phone and talk to someone.

If you need a tool that will help you understand the impact of a decision on your business, cashflows, profit and future, then call me and ask to get access to CashMAX.

You can walk around in circles forever, or escape through the revolving door to map your own future now.

Setting sail for improved sales

Over the Xmas break one of the things that I did was go kayaking. Something I haven’t done since I was a kid. It certainly had its moments, but I guess I should confess that it possibly took more effort than I remembered.

The first thing you’re all probably thinking is, so, how does that relate to business? Well it does, and it doesn’t.

It was a real break from my regular working life – the day to day stuff that we all do (which often encroaches into our weekends and so called leisure time).

But there was more to it than that. By doing something different we often get a different perspective.

Kayaking reminded me that paddling a boat is just like running our business. I wrote a post about it for the ROCG blog for SMEs that you might want to read here.