When we think about improving business efficiency, it's easy to imagine a complete overhaul would be needed. But it’s not only wholesale changes that can make a huge difference to the financial health of your business - small tweaks can also make all the difference.
If it’s evolution rather than revolution that your company needs, check out these seven small changes to help you achieve just that:
If you run your own business, you should already have a detailed business plan covering your vision; a clear analysis of your competitors; company structure; marketing activity and cashflow forecast. Even the most dynamic business plans have a shelf-life, so if yours has lain untouched for the past two or three years, revisit it and make sure it’s still fit for purpose.
Most businesses, at least when they’re starting out, focus on growth, from expanding your client base to increasing your workforce. Instead, you should be focusing on profit. Grow too quickly and your cash-flow will suffer: it’s the root cause of most liquidations. So look again at your profit margins and see how you can become more efficient and shave off costs. Small steps reap big rewards.
Take some time to look at what’s really going on with your business. Can you streamline some of your processes to improve efficiency? Are you still posting paper invoices? Switch to a cloud-based system like Sage or Xero, and email invoices to your clients. Not only is all your data stored in one place, the software will remind you when they’re about to fall overdue so you can chase payment before it becomes an issue.
Are your public and employee liability insurance policies still fit for purpose? Do you now have a fleet of vehicles which would benefit from being insured with one provider? The insurances you put in place when you launched your business might not be the most appropriate today. A little judicious investigation and you might throw up some problems you didn’t know you had - and save some money.
Your accountant should do this for you, but keeping a handle on your financial affairs yourself is crucial for the success of your business. From dividends to personal allowances, VAT rates to filing dates, you need to keep abreast of Government changes. Not doing so is a sure-fire way to lose money and get into a financial hole, and you shouldn’t rely on other people to do this for you.
We’re all about fresh starts in every other area of life - but do we apply this to our businesses? Start by decluttering your office. Get rid of filing cabinets you no longer use, clear out old paperwork, make sure everything is filed in the correct place, in the correct order and refresh your business reading library. This way, your mind will be clearer to focus on what really matters - driving forward. And if you get audited, you’re halfway there.
It might sound obvious, but if you’re still doing the same thing you were doing five years ago, you’re not where you should be. Challenge the status quo. Connect with other business minds; listen to TED talks; read journals; digest entrepreneurs’ books. Opening your mind up to new possibilities and surrounding yourself with new people - physically and virtually - can make you see things in a new light.
Feel you need to take more control of your business finances? Why not enroll in one of e-Careers’ online courses in bookkeeping, accountancy or business skills? If you're unsure about what you need, you can also speak to one of our Training Experts on 020 3198 7603.
Whether you’re new to the game or need to improve your existing skills, our courses can help keep your business on the right track.