New Years Resolutions from a business perspective
What are your "Resolutions" for the new financial year?
HAPPY NEW YEAR! New Year's is the time for resolutions, and as this is the start of a new calendar year, it may be a good idea to make some New Years Resolutions for your business. Take a few minutes to think about your business. What should you do now, that you've been putting off? What are you determined to fix? Let's do it now!
GST and Tax Planning
We see the financial accounts for many businesses each year, and one thing that we see as an area of growing concern is the amount of tax owed to the ATO by small business owners. When we look at the Balance Sheet for many small businesses, we often see that the business has liability to the ATO for either Income Tax, or GST. We know that some accountants, and bookkeepers advise their clients to treat it as a "low interest loan" from the government, but that is really not good advice. Business owners should plan ahead, and make provision for GST, and tax, and employee entitlements. It is not good business to 'put off' the payment of any account or liability – it will only compound over time, and will inevitably lead to disappointment. If you don't have a separate account for tax provision, you should make "New Years Resolutions" to fix that today, and manage your accounts in a way which will help you to stay up to date with your payments to the ATO. Don't put off 'til tomorrow, what you can do today!
Many business owners made a (wise) decision during the GFC to cut back on marketing and advertising costs, and whilst that didn't impact too greatly on sales at the time, over the longer term your sales will slide downwards unless you 'bite the bullet' and invest in your business with a proper strategic marketing campaign. Most of the really successful businesses that we see are those which are prepared to invest (and re-invest) in their business through marketing and advertising. It is too easy to cut out advertising, and to rely on 'word of mouth' and 'passing trade', but in this busy and competitive world your business will be quickly forgotten if a competitor manages to take a higher profile than yours in the marketplace. Consider 're-investing' in your own business.
Prepare for sale
Unless you plan on keeping your business forever, or handing down to your family – you really should have a plan to sell in place. … even if you don't plan on exiting for many years, failure to plan is planning to fail! A planned business exit is ALWAYS going to give better results than an unplanned one. There are many professionals that can assist you to produce an Exit Plan. Contact a Benchmark Business Broker for advice and guidance as to how you can start your Exit Planning.
More than any other step you can take a thorough business plan is a certain method for helping to grow and control your business. Writing a business plan forces you to think logically and methodically about your business model and assess its chances of survival. A Business Plan also helps clarify where the business is headed. A business plan should address the following areas:
- Mission Statement/Goals/Objectives/Targets
- The Market, Competitors, Opportunities
- Potential Areas for Growth/recruitment plans
- Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of Point of Difference
- Business Structure
- Management and Administration
- Marketing plan – Targets, Customer Values and habits, Value Proposition, Pricing Strategy
- How to meet objectives and targets
- Budgets & Cashflows
- Risk Identification and Minimisation
- Key Personnel
You can find some examples of business plans at: http://www.anz.com.au/resources/6/2//622c38804d9afea99100b38f56244c23/Small+Business-Business-plan.pdf?MOD=AJPERES OR https://thesbhub.com.au/tools-and-templates/business-plan-template.html#.VAy6o_mqpBc OR http://www.business.gov.au/business-topics/business-planning/writing-a-business-plan/how-to-write-a-business-plan/Pages/default.aspx Create your own future success by planning to succeed.
Sometimes it's a good idea to take stock, and see exactly where your business is going. Time to reassess what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Are you heading in the right direction? Is your effort misguided?… or futile? Where is the best area to focus your attention? Now is a great time to have a look at the results of the past financial year, and re-assess what you have done, and where you are going. Don't just talk to your accountant, consider having other professionals help you to think about what you've been doing, and how to manage your future. Make a New Years Resolution to take time to look at the "helicopter view" of your business. Step back, look at your business with an objective eye, and consider how you can improve your business. What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? Growth? Debt reduction? Simplicity? Make a list of what is important, and what isn't. This small exercise can really help you to focus, and enjoy owning a business.
It's not springtime, but now is a great time for a "Spring Clean". Every business accumulates assets which are unnecessary, or no longer required. Every business needs a "clean-out". This is the time to resolve that you will clean out all of the unrequired items that you have. Surplus stock, staff, customers, vehicles, – all can be rationalised. You will be amazed at what a difference a 'clean-out' can have. It's good for you, good for the business, and can have a positive impact on staff, clients and your bank. What have you got that you can get rid of? What's stopping you? Create your New Years Resolutions for your business today, make a fresh start and make it a year to achieve your business goals. Bruce Coudrey Principal Benchmark Business Sales & Valuations