With less than three months to financial year end, here’s some big questions to help you prepare before and after 1 July.
If you are wondering, like me, where this calendar year has gone, it may be little surprise to you that we are less than three months away from the end of the financial year. We are entering the last financial quarter and in the lead up to 30th June 2018, businesses will be recording their revenue, costs and profit for 2017-18. Then, in about a year, they will do the same thing all over again.
After 22 years in business, I have learnt that some of us will be on a high-pressure but celebratory run towards the best year yet. For some it’s been a hard slog and the finishing line will be an all-too welcome achievement For others, the main question will be ‘where to next and is it all worth it?’
Here are some of the changes and latest trends you may consider in the growth and evolution of your business leading to that cut off date and beyond.
- Constant change is here to stay
After running my own business for so long, the main thing I’ve learnt is constant change is here to stay and you HAVE to be prepared to adapt, change or die. As new market pressures, new tools, skills, and technologies emerge you must keep adapting. This could be anything from the way you recruit, to the suppliers you engage to creating new product or how you operate as a business. One thing is for sure, you have to be prepared to adapt and change as fast as each environment evolves and morphs into the next. So use the new year to create and implement change.
- Remind yourself to keep costs down and revenue up
To keep costs down and revenue up, review all your suppliers regularly – at least every 6 months. As technology improves so your costs can come down and with the move to the cloud you should be paying less for IT than ever before. Meet with three suppliers to learn about the services they offer and what’s really available to your business – and get three quotes to understand what value your suppliers are offering. You’ll be surprised at how many plans and how many options are out there that could even halve your tech costs. A tip, watch out for contracts on printers, internet, coffee machines etc that are rolling over and renewing automatically without the chance to re-negotiate.
- You and your team should both watch for shrinkage and waste
We call wasted money ‘’shrinkage’’ at Taurus, so we are always looking at ways to cut costs and do things in a cleverer, faster and better way. We have nominated printing on double sided paper, in grey white scale rather than colour where possible, buy limited supplies to cut storage costs and not over order, use effective printers, check stationery orders and keep track of petty cash. We watch that money is being spent where it is appreciated and working for the business and for the good of customers and the team.
- Be open and look out for new ways of doing things
The rise of co-working spaces, technology advances, the move away from long term contracts, the cloud, artificial intelligence, increasing energy bills and increasing population means as a business owner, you must be prepared to look at what’s next as well as anticipate what your customers need next. I am always looking for the next best thing in how I can service my client base. It has paid off to be ahead of the curve and constantly evolving. Those who want to keep doing things ‘’the same way it’s always been done’’ run the risk they will stay firmly in the past while the world overtakes them.
- Your management team should be watching your back for scope creep
This is an eye opener for you and your team and a no brainer to greater success for each of you. Together, take a look at your customer portfolio and check how much effort really goes into each customer and transaction. How many resources, how many hours, how much over servicing? Which services do each customer really need? What are their real profit margins? How reliably do they pay? Which customers and markets are growing and which are shrinking? Understanding customers and examining them over and above the day to day pressures, allows your business to focus and to cut waste, and add value.
If you want to limit scope creep, and take back control of profitability, set firm plans and scope up front with your clients and team to set expectations and outline terms for over-servicing. Pass it to your management team to run on your behalf so you can focus on strategy, tier 1 clients and new product development.
- Hire good people
Good team members will be excited and passionate about your business and therefore watch productivity, results, delivery times, product and service quality, cost saving as well as client expectations. They watch your back and protect the customer. They help you understand the market, find faster ways to do things and watch out for cost saving and profit making ideas. It’s a simple fact but your company will be a good one if it is full of good people engaged for success for themselves as well as the brand they work for. If the company succeeds, they succeed.
It goes without saying to use this final three months to review your costs, take a look at where you’re at with your revenue, costs and profit to date so you have an idea of your end of year reporting and figures. Meet with your accountant to plan and prepare so it’s not a rush. Keep receipts stored or uploaded electronically and check your files and recording is in order for your book keepers to make it easy for them to have everything ready in time for filing end of year reports and tax deadlines.
Then, on 1 July next year, you can do it all over again… except better!
About the author:
Sharon Williams is a pioneer in the Australian marketing and PR industry. She is a CEO, Fellow of the PRIA, international speaker, personal brand expert, entrepreneur, mentor, marketer, media commentator and frequent mainstream editorial contributor. Under Sharon’s leadership and entrepreneurial flair, Taurus is now recognised as one of Australia’s highest profile agencies, offering unparalleled levels of service to global corporations including Advance, UTS:INSEARCH, Appster, Napoleon Perdis and Clean Up Australia.