What do I do?
Analyse the Numbers
When we first meet, I will carry out a review of your business in order to find out what sort of system you are currently operating. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be useful, but it really does need to be there. But, yes, receipts stuffed in a large envelope is classed as a system…of sorts! I will help you set up something a bit more efficient though.
Then I will look at the numbers themselves to see what they show. It is likely that you could be selling below cost if you are not really managing your figures effectively. This is obviously no good for the long term, even if you think it has helped you get customers in the short term. I will be able to identify your breakeven point, which is the lowest you should be selling anything.
This will progress to a review of your expenses to see if they could be reduced in order to make life more comfortable for you. It is amazing how much difference just a small tweak can make to your overall profits, although it can take time to make those changes. I understand that this can be a big problem for small businesses to find the time to carry out these jobs. This is where I am here to support you.
I will also look at how much cash you have available in the bank. I recommend that small businesses have 6 months’ worth of cash to cover their debts, and the minimum you should have is 3 months’ worth. It is not uncommon for small business to have less than that, because the owners are working on the principle that the next invoice will cover the next debt. This is no way to survive. What happens if the next invoice does not get paid? How will you cover that payment? And all the ones that follow? So that you can keep track of the cash, I will set up bespoke cash flow forecasts and statements for you and make sure you are happy with what you need to do with them. If you only have time to fill out one spreadsheet, this is the most important one for you to use on a daily basis.
Get to Know YOU
Getting to know you is important to me. If I can see how you operate, where you struggle and where you are most skilled, I can get a much clearer idea of what will really help you the most. I come from a small business family background so I understand the problems well. You have to wear so many different hats in order to make all the decisions and have trouble finding enough hours in the day to make them, so it is easy for things to get missed.
Every business needs to have a solid business plan, setting out its aims and objectives. It is quite common for business owners to create a plan in order to get a start-up loan from the bank, then put the plan on the shelf and never look at it again.
This is wrong. The whole idea of a plan is that you work to it. This is what you have set out to do. Unless you measure and manage your plan, you will not know if you have achieved your goals. The plan also needs to have numbers attached to it to be of any real use. This is your budget. Without a budget, you cannot make the right decisions, as all of them will be made on your current thinking and not backed up by the actual performance of your business.
I will be giving you the information you need to set up systems that will help you run your business more efficiently. If you prefer I can set up all of these, depending on the package option you choose.
It is likely that you will be thinking you can’t afford to take all this action or don’t have the time to do any of the extra work. I believe you can’t afford not to if you want your business to survive. And once you have put all these changes in place, you should be in a much better financial position, so you can pay someone to look after the jobs you don’t want to do.
Basically, you are in business to make money aren’t you, but if you don’t have a strong grasp of those figures you are not going to make the money you deserve.
If you don’t have complete financial clarity and a budget in place for your business, then your business WILL fail! It’s just a matter of when.
I offer 3 different prices for my services, depending on what option you choose.
For my Bronze Business Review and Advisory Service, including a bespoke cash flow forecast spreadsheet, I charge £497.00.
For this, you get my 4 days of my time, including the time for our meeting. However, if the journey involves more than 25 miles return trip, I will have to charge additional mileage.
My Silver Package is my monthly retainer. For this, I give you 3 days of my time each month for phone calls, Skype calls, creation and checking of spreadsheets or accounts package work, and advice if you need it, all for a charge of £175 each month.
If you need me to come out to visit you, I will do that, but once again there will be a mileage charge for round trips of more than 25 miles. This option is for a minimum of 4 months, with a month’s notice, and then on a monthly renewal basis.
My Gold Service is everything in my Bronze service plus the additional creation of a Business plan with budgets (which you will need to set with me), Profit and Loss Statements, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Statements (they are different from Cash Flow Forecasts) and Breakeven point calculations.
I can also assist you to set up an accounting system, such as Xero, and help you start using it. This option includes my advice, 10 days of my time and another meeting with me for you to work with me on your Business Plan and budgets and for you to approve and agree my work. This time there will not be any mileage charge.