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Planning for Success

How to Bulletproof your Business and kick COVID to the kerb.

COVID … The “C” word no one wants to hear because it has stolen the livelihood from so many businesses since it came into existence in Australia.

With 60% of businesses reported to be affected greatly by COVID in March alone, active cases ramping up again, and states and suburbs going into lockdown and self-isolation again, there’s a high probability you have been affected in some way too.

Adding to the pain people are suffering right now is the fact that JobKeeper payments (as we know them) will end for some businesses from the end of September.

However, while these payments will remain available for eligible employers until March 28, 2021, the light at the end of the tunnel still feels so far away and these combined factors are adding to the stress businesses are facing.

So what do you do now?

How can you shield your business from another hit?

It comes down to putting a plan in place – just like many businesses have with their COVID-safe strategies.

Putting a plan in place to protect your business

The step is looking at your current business plan and upgrading it. If you don’t have a business plan, it’s time to get one in place.

Take a look at your expenses and cashflow. Cashflow is the single most important factor in your business.

Like blood to the heart, without cash, a business won’t succeed. To safeguard your cash and future cashflow, here are four actions you can take right now.

  • Prepare a cashflow forecast and make this part of your annual business planning.

The first time you prepare this type of forecast it can be confronting as you really look at your situation and challenges.

Having your forecast in place can set you up against any issues you might face in the short and long term. You’ll be able to predict those months when there is more cash going out than coming in. You’ll also know in advance about any seasonal fluctuations in your business.

  • Incorporate your forecast into your accounting or reporting software

Doing this allows you to report actual results against your forecast every month to show you where you are against your targets. You’ll also learn how to become aware and comfortable with your cashflow cycles and where you can improve them.

  • Understand your Cash Conversion Cycle

Having a cashflow forecast in place is one thing. Using that knowledge to change how your cash flows is another. To do that, you have to understand your Cash Conversion Cycle, improve your business processes to shorten it, and set goals.

  • Get a coach or mentor

Having someone to encourage and support you ‘work on your business’ is the fastest and easiest way to get ahead. It’s best to have someone outside of your family life and business, so they can be objective.

The difference between cashflow and profit

Now that you have your cashflow forecast in check, it’s time to understand the difference between profit and cashflow.

Here is a simplified version: Profit indicates the amount of money left over after all expenses have been paid. Cashflow indicates the net flow of cash into and out of a business.

It sounds like flowers and rainbows, but if you find yourself with cashflow issues or blocks, it can send your entire business into chaos.

There are many causes of poor cashflow, here are the top 7:

  1. Poor accounts receivable process – resulting in debtor days (the time between billing and banking) being too high, stifling your cashflow.
  2. Accounts payable process – a review of all supplier’s terms may identify ways to improve cashflow or just get better Terms of Trade.
  3. Carrying stock for too long – this might mean full shelves but an empty bank account. This is no different if you’re a service provider with work in progress that is yet to be billed.
  4. Debt/capital structure needs to be reviewed – perhaps your debt should be consolidated and paid off over a longer-term. Maybe you need to have an honest look at your drawings from the business, or the business needs an injection of capital to fund its growth. Often significant cashflow and interest charge improvements can be achieved with a regular review of existing debt.
  5. Overheads – every business should do a thorough review of its overheads every year.
  6. Low gross profit margins – this is another way of saying that your variable costs are too high. There is a large number of strategies you can implement to improve margins.
  7. Sales levels are too low to support overheads and other cash demands on the business – this comes down to how viable the business is right now. If the businesses in high-growth mode and sales are increasing rapidly, then the business needs finance to support that growth and we need to review a financing plan. If the business isn’t in growth mode, we need to focus on how we grow sales.

REGISTER FOR OUR CASHFLOW FREEDOM WEBINAR

How to counteract the negative effects of the economy

With the loss of jobs and no tourism, the economy has taken a hit. This means when we all get up and running again, the ability to grow and build your business will be harder, especially with a tougher economy.

You now need to consider what might happen in your business as a result of tougher economic times and put some measures in place to counteract any (more) negative effects.

– Increase customer retention – Get to know your customers. Building a relationship with your customers increases their loyalty. It’s always easier to keep pre-existing customers, but making new connections will be harder.

– Increase leads – First, ensure you have a strong online presence. Most people find new products or services on the internet, so make sure you’re easy to find. Use Google My Business to increase your visibility in Google searches.

– Maximise your SEO ranking – Ensure your website is modern, demonstrates your value, and has clear contact information and calls to action.

– Turn those leads into customers – A customer should receive the same awesome experience, no matter which person they deal with or product/service they buy from you. Ensure you have a sales process in place and train the team on how to follow it.

– Make more money per transaction – The most obvious way to do this is to increase your prices. While discounting can be a good way to get customers through the door (online or physical), it can lead to a lower transaction value. Where possible, try to limit discounts and only discount end-of-line products or those becoming obsolete.

– Lower your cost of sales – Ensure you’re taking full advantage of any early payment discounts offered by your suppliers or contractors. Have a look at how you can give the same experience and quality at a lower cost to you.

How to improve your cashflow

There are hundreds of ways to improve your cashflow. As part of our service, we focus on how to improve your cashflow with practical and proven strategies relevant to your business.

Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Make sure you have a robust process for debt collection and ensure you adhere to it. Consider outsourcing your debt collection to a third party.

  2. Communicate your Terms of Trade from the beginning. Contact customers the day their invoice becomes overdue. Be persistent with your contact and try different methods, for example, phone, email, social media messenger, and traditional letters.

  3. Get credit references or personal guarantees from customers, set credit limits, and require goods and services to be paid upfront.

  4. Regularly monitor stock levels and get rid of obsolete stock.

  5. Ensure you understand buying trends so you can plan for quieter times.

  6. Create a personal budget and stick to the amount of the monthly drawing.

  7. Consider financing asset purchases instead of paying cash outright.

Take the next steps to help your business succeed

As Richard Bach said: Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.

With the current circumstances, you can run or face what must be changed within your businesses with gusto.

Vibrant Business is holding a Cashflow Webinar so you can understand your business figures and inject more cash when it’s needed at any time of the year.

In this online training, you will learn:

  • Your break-even point and how to reduce the cost of sales
  • To identify management strategies to boost your cash stocks
  • How to determine your Cash Conversion Cycle
  • How to differentiate your business and prepare for economic downturns
  • Simple tips and strategies to inject more cash into your business

It is happening on September 9, 2020, from 1-2pm AEST.  Register to get your link to this webinar here.

Cashflow freedom
Showing a profit, but no cash in the bank? Learn where the cash goes and how to achieve cashflow freedom.
Planning for Success

The simple 3-step action plan you need to achieve your business goals

 

The path to success is to take massive, determined actions.” ― Tony Robbins

When you fail to implement your goals, plans, and strategies, success will be out of reach – this is not a news flash

Over on our previous blog, we delved right into what it takes to plan for your business’s success. The planning stages can be overwhelming, intense, and stressful, but you need to stay focused for the incredibly important next step. You are only halfway there.

In this blog, we are going to share what it means to have an ideal action plan and what it takes to remain accountable.

An action plan plays a vital hand in your business’s journey and success. It can help you to:

– Prioritise business goals

– Understand what you need to accomplish in order to grow and scale

– Create timelines and deadlines

– Stay ahead of problems

– Take the right steps at the right time

– Clarify and assign tasks

– Achieve business success

…and go from where you are now with your business to where you want to be.

Structure your thoughts, efforts, and goals with these three actionable steps  

FACT: 13% of small businesses collapse because they lose focus, while 7% are doomed by their failure to pivot. (Source: CBInsights)

  1. Do you know your goals for the next 12 months?

Goal setting may not be child’s play, but to pen down an annual growth strategy is invaluable to any business.

To actually reap the benefits of a business plan, it takes commitment and action (that’s what we do inside our Planning 4 Success 8-week online course).

It’s the new financial year and the best possible time to re-evaluate and plan for your next 12 months – so start listing your goals for the next year.

It’s a simple strategy: Write down what you want to achieve, then get out a calendar and start mapping it all out. Then break down your goals into smaller tasks and jobs to make it more manageable, achievable, and realistic.

  1. Next, unlock the power of the 90-day action plan

While an annual plan is extremely helpful in redirecting your business and staying the course, believe it or not, 90-day action plans are where the magic begins for any business. It is critical to your achievement and boosts your momentum.

All you need to do is focus on the actions you will take to accomplish your short-term business goals.

Essentially, your 90-day action plan is an extension of the annual plan – it gives you more control to steer the business and operations in the direction you desire every day. Maybe you want to launch an ebook in 3 months? Whatever your bigger business goals are, break them      down into small, sharp, and strategic steps.

This means that you will need to have the ebook and the marketing material ready by a certain date. Then you need to ensure there is enough time to launch and promote it to the world. This requires getting your emails, newsletters, and promotional posts ready to go. If you work with a team and share the load, assign tasks well in advance so everyone knows what needs to be done and by when.

  1. Stay accountable

We are all dreamers, but only a handful of us are achievers. What about you?

You may have the greatest idea, most talented team, an unmatched business plan, and the ambition, but if you slack off when it comes to implementation and taking action, there is no one else to blame.

As a business owner, you have built this amazing business with a focus on goal setting and action plans. It will all have been for nothing if you do not stay accountable to this very plan.

Only when you implement these steps you can expect results. Don’t let procrastination, ignorance, and lethargy get the best of you.

Do what you must to shake off anything that is holding you back from great results – push yourself, commit to a schedule, get an accountability buddy (or ten of them), celebrate milestones and wins, or find an expert or a mentor to guide you.

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans. Peter F. Drucker

Take the first step to lead your business to massive growth and success

If you are a business owner and want to steer your business in the right direction towards your end-goals, or more time and money, our Planning 4 Success 8-week online course is the boost you need.

Inside it we cover:

  1. Your why
  2. Vision and core values for the next 12 months
  3. Budget, KPIs and the numbers
  4. Target market, ideal client, and value proposition
  5. Identifying opportunities, vulnerabilities, and your most critical challenges
  6. 12-month goals
  7. 90-day goals and action plan
  8. Accountability

Are you ready to seize the day?

Take your first step to business success and register for our 8 week online course here

Alternatively, if you have a burning question or wonder how this course will help you specifically, don’t keep it to yourself … book a call with us here and let’s talk.

 

Planning for Success

5 Business Plan Tips that will Skyrocket your Business’s Growth

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. ― Alan Lakein, Author

Are you doing something about your business’s success right now?

Thousands of people do what you do. But, what accounts for the magic you create?

Every tycoon and long-standing business in the world is successful because they leverage the what, why, who, when and how all at once.

Simply put:

What + Why + Who + When + How = A winning business.

But most business owners who do not have a business plan have trouble achieving their goals. Does this sound familiar to you?

In this blog, we are going to share with you what you need to do to create a business plan that has the power to guide you with every move.

5 key elements of a winning business plan for every business owner

DID YOU KNOW: 17% of small businesses fail because they lack a business model.

(Source: CBInsights)

Don’t wait until your business is on the edge and then hastily start planning for success. Start doing it now.

We have been in your shoes and have seen this happen time and time again with our clients. Here’s how to take charge of your business to help clear your blocks, plan your vision and hit your targets.

  1. Know your why

Do you know why you set foot into the business world to do what you do? When you know your purpose, you feel empowered and focused. Your purpose needs to state and communicate:

– Why your business exists.

– What you do for your customers

– How your business is different to your competitors

– What your goals, big picture and revenue forecast looks like?
A clear purpose statement, from both a customer’s point of view and the business’s point of view can help you deliver your overall marketing message, employ the right team members and keep them motivated.

  1. Vision and core values for the next 12 months

Business owners are always asked “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Many small business owners are often caught off guard when it comes to long-term vision and a plan to sustain the company.

Back up your purpose with core values and a vision that defines your brand, the way you operate as a business, professional relationships and work ethics. This stage is when you should also create 90-day plans, 12-month plan and five-year plan, prepare for challenges and devise ways to promptly take action.

  1. Budget, KPIs and the numbers

Budget and financial goals play a pivotal role in a business’s success. When you have a defined budget, you have more clarity, can determine the annual gross revenue and make informed and accurate financial decisions in your business.

When you have a budget, you can also create more realistic and achievable KPIs that support your business goals. If you want to track and measure the results, performance and success of your business – you need a business plan.

DID YOU KNOW: KPIs (key performance indicators) are like levers and when you pull them they can have a significant impact on your bottom line and results.

When you know the numbers you want to achieve, targets and performance goals, it opens the lid on your business’s financial secrets and allows you to turn on the sales tap to transform your business, so you feel more confident and less stressed.

  1. Target your ideal client and create a value proposition

If you do not know your ideal client and what your business’s value is, you will end up going ‘round in circles – and it will be really hard to achieve financial growth.

Nothing will come from trying to attract and satisfy everyone. Instead, find out who you want to work with and how you can define those clients.

Without the right customers, business success will seem out of reach.

Today, your audience wants to know why you are different from your competitors, why they should be doing business with you and how your offerings stand out from the crowd to help them.

A value proposition that is in line with exactly what your customers expect from you, helps you supercharge your business in unimaginable ways.

HOT TIP: It’s all about them, so find out everything you need to know about your audience and ideal clients so you can create offerings and add value accordingly.

  1. Identify your opportunities, vulnerabilities and your most critical challenges

It can be fairly easy to identify your business’s strengths and what you bring to the table that no one else does.

But it’s equally important to know your vulnerabilities, challenges and any critical issues that have the power to impact and influence your business – in both good and bad ways.

While no one could have predicted the coronavirus pandemic, it crippled millions of businesses around the world. It’s the reason so many businesses needed to pivot.

Have you thought about what could harm your business and do you have contingency measures in place?

Identifying the opportunities, vulnerabilities and your most critical challenges can help form the basis of your goals and actions to either overcome them or take advantage of them.

Knowing these can also lead you to understand the scope of improvement and how you can do better in business.

Take the first step to lead your business to massive growth and success

 If you are a business owner and want to steer your business in the right direction towards your end goals, that is, or more time and money, our “Planning for Success” 8-week online course is the boost you need.

Inside it we cover:

  1. Your why
  2. Vision and core values for the next 12 months
  3. Budget, KPIs and the numbers
  4. Target market, ideal client and value proposition
  5. Identifying opportunities, vulnerabilities and your most critical challenges
  6. 12-month goals
  7. 90-day goals and action plan
  8. Accountability

Are you ready to seize the day?

Take your first step to business success and register for our 8 week online course here

Alternatively, if you have a burning question or wonder how this course will help you specifically, don’t keep it to yourself…book a call with us here and let’s talk.

 

Have you downloaded your FREE Business Continuity Planning Guide & Template yet? Click Below.

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Planning for Success

You need focus and time for ideas to grow your business

From little things big things grow.

You know the song right – by Paul Kelly?

Every business owner knows it’s vital to maintain the progress your company is making, but also ensure it’s also growing steadily. No one likes to be left behind their competitors!

That means working ON your business and not IN it so much.

But to be able to do this successfully you need the time and space to work on your business – you can turn it into the thriving powerhouse you always imagined it would become.

If you think back to the start of your business, in the early days you were probably focused on creating the products and/or services that were needed and valuable at het time, then gradually, you probably began taking on a few contractors or employees and you may have moved into new premises at some stage.

Now that your business is bigger, in order for it to move to the logical next level, it is important to change your mindset from owner-manager and the person who does everything to the CEO who strategises and grows the business continuously.

But how?

Many business owners struggle to change their approach from one of the founder of a start-up to the director of a successful business. Of course, it is understandable to feel as if you simply have no time to focus on your business growth. After all, being a business owner can be extremely busy, stressful and time-consuming.

According to Score.org, a survey from New York Enterprise Report found small business owners work twice as much as regular employees. It also found that 33% of small business owners reported working more than 50 hours per week, and 25% said they work more than 60 hours a week.

You might even work more than that – including weekends, nights and early mornings.

Your days possibly consist of getting involved with the operations, fighting fires, looking after the needs of your customers and team, and trying to run the business as smoothly as possible.

With the world’s economy in a very precarious state at the moment, people are in a very vulnerable state and this could mean pivoting and doing things a differently in order to remain in the game and thrive.

The next 12 months will be tough – how will you survive?

It is no secret that the next 12 months are going to be very tough for businesses and everyone is going to need a support group.

To get through the next 12 months and thrive on the other side, you will a few essential things.

1. A SOLID STRATEGY

The first is a solid strategy. Not only should this involve continuously evaluating the needs of your customers, innovating new concepts and testing ideas, but it should also focus a lot on your growth and gaining a maximum return on your investment.

Your new strategy should take into consideration various factors, such as protecting your intellectual property from your competitors, your business goals, vision and mission, where you see the business in five years and, ultimately, what you need to implement in order to achieve growth.

The direction your strategy takes should be carefully decided upon by you and possibly a few key employees.

2. UNDERSTAND YOUR CLIENTS

As the business owner, you need to take time out to work on your company. Don’t be afraid to delegate work to your team so that you can focus on really getting to know your customers and their needs. Think about what kind of customer service you are offering and how this can be improved on. Building relationships with current clients and looking for new opportunities takes time and needs to be considered a business necessity.

3. COACH OR MENTOR

In these trying times, every business should be thinking about what kind of support they can get. Think about linking up with a mentor who can guide you and offer great advice. Being in an accountability group with like-minded business owners is also a great way to ensure that you reach your goals.

4. BUILD YOUR TEAM

At the end of the day, you need to forget trying to do everything yourself. Focusing on your strategies to build your team and start outsourcing the tactics and day-to-day work. Just these two things alone can go a long way in freeing up valuable time for you and allowing you to focus on new and innovative ideas.

Now is the perfect time to work on your business

So, are you ready to release those shackles and take the next step? If so, we recommend setting a map for the next 12 months and also formulating a 90-day action plan so that you can begin to action that 12-month plan!

We do this inside out 8-week Planning for Success online course.

You will need to review your values and consider what is working and what is not working. This could involve tweaking your plan as you go along. Don’t be afraid to outsource and delegate, and remember that you don’t have to do it all yourself!

That’s what the Planning for Success 8-week course members will help you with – everyone is accountable.

Finally, set some time aside for forecasting so you can plan for the future. Always keep in mind that you should be running your business (not the other way around).

If these steps sound like the recipe for success for your business, and something you are not correctly doing (or haven’t done for a while), start by downloading our business Continuity Plan and then taking the next step and signing up to our 8-week Planning for Success course.

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Planning for Success

Are you a slave to your business?

As a business owner, you only want the very best for your company and you’d probably will do anything necessary to make it a roaring success, right?

But at what cost?

In order for your business to thrive, you have likely sacrificed a lot of your personal time, family time and shed copious amounts of blood, sweat and tears tending to it, growing and scaling it.

 However, there comes a time when your business should be self-sufficient and needs be able to be run by capable staff members.

Being a slave to your business is not the way most business owners envision themselves when they start a business. So, how do you know if you are a slave to your business and what can you do about it?

Here are some deciding factors

DID YOU KNOW:

  • 49% of SME owners haven’t had a holiday in the last six months.
  • One-third (30%) of SME owners have no plans to take time off in 2019 – 55% of these say the business is dependent on them.
  • Among the 70% of SME owners who do intend to take a break this year, 49% expect to keep working while on holiday.

That’s the word from Dynamic Business. (link on words https://dynamicbusiness.com.au/featured/only-5-of-sme-owners-able-to-truly-take-holidays.html

We get it, being in business can be tough, but if you fall into the categories above, it’s highly likely you’re a slave to your business.

Here are some other tell-tale signs.

  1. You sacrifice time with loved ones and yourself

If you have ever sacrificed precious time with family and friends, even a holiday, to work on your business, you might as well be a slave to it. This might mean leaving a party early, declining invitations because you have too much work to do, or cancelling at the last minute.

  1. You can’t take holidays

If the thought of spending more than a few days away from your company fills you with fear or anxiety, this is not a good sign. Many business owners fall into the holiday categories above because their business runs them and not the other way around.

  1. You team won’t cope with you away

You may have a team, but there’s no point in having one if leaving your business in the hands of your team for more than a couple of weeks or a month could spell disaster. Your team needs to be capable of running the business while you are away, or worse, sick and need time out of the business.

Simply put, if you are shackled to your business, you are probably feeling quite overwhelmed.

It is very likely that you are so caught up in the day-to-day running of your business, that you can’t see the wood for the trees and are not thinking about your long-term visions or goals, let alone trying to streamline processes.

In order for you to take your business to the next level, you should be working on improving your current strategies and ensuring that your team is working smarter, not harder. However, those business owners who invest too much emotionally in their companies become blinded and instead of working on their businesses, they are working on it unnecessarily.

If you had to work out how much time you spend in your business – what would it look like for you?

Of course, you probably have your reasons for having to become too involved in your day-to-day operations but sometimes we need to take a step back and consider these reasons.

Being a prisoner to your business can leave us feeling overwhelmed, no time for family or freedom, no longer passionate, stressed and anxious – and not making as much money as you could if you started planning for success. This is not a good situation to be in!

How to go from slave to success

If you feel like you are ready to move on and take your business to the next level, you have to be in right mindset and be prepared to do whatever it takes to improve your current situation. This can involve looking at the big picture and being ready and willing to make a difference right now.

  • Devise a 90-day action plan given the current crisis and challenges
  • Find and understand your ideal client
  • Understand your numbers and create a dynamic forecast for success
  • Find the holes in your business and put a plug in them
  • Identify new business opportunities for more revenue and growth
  • Review the direction and progress of your business and look to scale

Now is the perfect time to work on your business

So, are you ready to release those shackles and take the next step? If so, we recommend setting a map for the next 12 months and also formulating a 90-day action plan so that you can begin to action that 12-month plan!

We do this inside out 8-week Planning for Success online course.

You will need to review your values and consider what is working and what is not working. This could involve tweaking your plan as you go along. Don’t be afraid to outsource and delegate, and remember that you don’t have to do it all yourself!

That’s what the Planning for Success 8-week course members will help you with – everyone is accountable.

Finally, set some time aside for forecasting so you can plan for the future. Always keep in mind that you should be running your business (not the other way around).

If these steps sound like the recipe for success for your business, and something you are not correctly doing (or haven’t done for a while), start by downloading our Business Continuity Plan and then taking the next step and signing up to our 8-week Planning for Success course.

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