Spring is here, and its a great time to have a look at how your business is tracking, and how you can make the second part of the year more achievable. Here are 6 ways that you can clean up your year.
1. Review your business plan
Use September as a period to take stock and review your original plan and also the time to face any nagging issues you’ve got, whether it’s underperforming staff, difficult clients or unreliable suppliers. We all face these issues, and chances are they won’t go away.
2. Budget – Create one & STICK to it
Creating and sticking to a written budget is extremely important for business owners, but often something that goes out of the window when times are good. If f you don’t already do this, or if its fallen by the wayside, then use September as an opportunity to start again. Budgeting for all your costs is key, and you should review your budget on a monthly basis to ensure you’re on track, but if cash flow seems tight, then do it more often.
A great way to keep track is using XERO.com. It tracks your expenses & you can import statements that makes the time management part of it all the more easier.
3. Keep on top of debtors
Are your current debt levels manageable? Debt for any one supplier should be at a level you’re comfortable with and it’s important to spot the warning signs if you think they’re in trouble themselves financially. Now is the time to look at how you can move money around faster by improving your credit policies and billing procedures. Slow payers can cause real problems to your cash flow if not kept on top of, so look at ways of making your processes as efficient as possible.
4. Update your books
Few of us like admin work, but now is the time to look at your bookkeeping, and get up to date. Set aside time on a weekly basis to do this, as it will save you a huge amount of time and money later on. It will also give you a clear picture of where your business is financially, particularly when it comes to bank balance and debtors, allowing you to react accordingly. XERO.com can also be used for this. We have used it for a while now, and the bookkeeping tasks are a much lighter task.
5. Lighten spending
It may also be useful to look at areas you can cut back on without detriment to your business. This doesn’t need to be anything dramatic; I’m talking about 50 small things rather than one big thing. Do you really still need subscriptions to all those magazines, can you use recycled printer cartridges, is there any room for negotiation on your building insurance and loan payments, can you shop around for a more cost-effective courier? The list goes on, but you’d be surprised at how much you can drive down your variable costs by simply being savvy. A little bit of research can go a long way.
6. Prepare for downtime
Unless you’re a greetings card manufacturer or gifting business, then chances are you could face a slow-down over December and January. You should plan for this, not only in terms of business development, but also for cashflow. Use September as a chance to review a best and worst-case scenario. If you think you’re going to be late paying creditors, let them know in advance. This is particularly important for credit cards, the tax office and loans – it’s always much better to be open and honest, and chances are they’ll be more flexible than you might imagine.