To survive in business you need to have some structure that involve business goals and a business plan. Here are thoughts from a Calxa Partner: Tracey Loubster. She has a simple moto:
Collaborate to Motivate
Setting goals is the starting point of knowing where a business stands. It then is important to put good tracking systems in place to check in on these business goals. Tracey Loubser is the founder of multi-award winning business, Confident Cashflows. These are her tips on how to start. Tracey’s experience in working for small business has provided her with the insights to help businesses.
Article first published by Chamber of Commerce WA Business Pulse Magazine in May 2017. Permission was given by author for this article to be published here.
Set Achievable Business Goals
Make sure to work to your strength and not your weaknesses.
With Christmas on our door step, breathing a deep sigh of reflection on the past year in business is on the cards. And, the foundation to planning for next year. What was and what could have been are just some of questions we ask ourselves. These reflections get us ready to set up New Year’s resolution with thoughts of change and improvement.
Charged with excitement, you may have put some ideas on paper about new products, higher sales, more staff, or even scaling back weekend work or being home by dinner time on weekdays. Whatever your ideal picture looked like at the beginning of the year, it’s not a lack of creativity that keeps these resolutions from becoming reality. Entrepreneurs are never short of ideas or creative ways to make more money or improve the business.
So, have you nailed those goals yet? If you wrote them down in whatever form, well done! You’ve taken the vital first step.
Now imagine – you’ve signed up to do a 10 km marathon. You do all the training, you eat right, hydrate and sleep well for the whole six months of prep … and then you sleep right through the big day! That’s what it’s like when we ignore the next two parts of the goal setting process.
Quantify and Sync your Business Plan
To guarantee you’re going to be awake and ready when it counts, you must
- Quantify your plan
- Sync your plan with the current business operations
A quantified plan of the current situation with adjustments of our new goals will show clearly if the numbers add up and if the timing is right. The alternative is to set a goal for achievement in June and trust that will magically happen. When June arrives, sadly, you find there is just no cash flow to support the change. Deflated and discouraged, you’re forced to postpone or even abandon the glittering, cherished goal just inches from reaching it.
Why do business owners so often find themselves stuck with that awful alternative?
Because the prospect of precious hours wasted poring over boring Excel spreadsheets gets ditched in an instant when you’re itching to get back to your real work, recruiting more sales, and watching ‘real’ money roll in.
That’s your strength, your joy. It’s where all the fun is. So, if number crunching the spread sheets is just not your thing, then by all means, stick to what you’re good at!
And ask for help. A financial performance consultant who specialises in SME budgeting and cash flow forecasting is a perfect collaborator for this type of task.
Maximise the Benefits of Help
Here are your essential guidelines, to get the most out of your consultant. Foremost, be prepared:
- Have a few written notes ready about your current business – its products and services. With this information, your consultant will then be able to track the detail of your current operations from your set of accounts.
- Have a few written notes ready on how you would like things to change, based on your goals. For instance:
- Are we expecting sales to increase? By a percentage or by a dollar value? Is this overall, or only for a specific product or service line or a new product or service? When will it take place?
- How are we expecting it to happen? Note factors like more advertising, paid training for current staff, possible need to employ more staff. Write down your thoughts about when these might happen and the likely costs. Note how long you think you might have to keep spending money there before seeing an increase in sales. Will it be straight away, or after how many months?
- Once the current situation is quantified, and the proposed changes are quantified, it is easy enough to see if there will be a shortfall in profit and if the goals need to be tweaked in timing or in value.
- Let go of any overwhelm about how the numbers work. That’s your collaborator’s job. Since numbers are their thing, you’ll find the process working a lot more smoothly.
- Remember – it cannot be done alone. Your input is critical to provide insight, clarity, accuracy, and a realistic approach to how the numbers are presented.
Your outcome will be a realistic, quantified plan of what’s going to happen and when – and how you’re going to have enough money to support the process. The key now is to just track the progress against that plan and enjoy your success in goal setting that really works!!
About the Author
Nearly 10 years ago, after a 5-year stint with Deloittes, and a brief stint in corporate, Tracey Loubser made the conscious decision to NOT be a normal tax and compliance accountant. Instead she became a “let’s-get-this-business-achieving-its-potential-and-make-more-profit” accountant, and after achieving great results for many SMEs, with Calxa as an integral part of her product delivery, she became known as The Queen of Cash Flow. Through Tracey’s multi-award-winning business, Confident Cashflows, Tracey has helped many business owners achieve higher profits & improve their cash flow.
Five years ago she launched Confident Cashflows PLUS, where she trains, coaches and mentors accountants to follow her Turn Key program and learn from her experience to deliver successful Financial Performance products with their clients.
Tracey has been recognised among her community as a leader in her field by winning many awards including 5 local chamber awards, Best Home Best Business in Regional WA in the SBDC awards, and was Top 8 Finalist in the Nationally based Australian Accounting awards in the Thought Leader category.
Tracey is also the author of 23 Ways to Improve Cash Flow and How to Heal Cash Flow Crunch and Beat Small Business Stress.