25 July 2017

8 Keys to Longevity in Business

By Steve Marsten

This week we hosted the Gladstone Startup Social group with the support of the Gladstone Regional Council. This is a group of micro-businesses that have either commenced business or are seriously considering how they may go about establishing themselves.

Small business can be a lonely place in the early stages and Tina and I considered the basis on which businesses stay in place for the long term. As many know at Sothertons we are celebrating our 40th Year.

Hence we identified our 8 keys to longevity.

  1. Have a plan. We work to a concise business plan. It changes regularly especially if something doesn’t work. Tweaking the plan is a natural sign of a good, flexible plan.
  2. Make sure you have an experienced and trusted team of advisors and be prepared to keep your ego in a box. The most successful business owners listen, learn and action their strategies in a logical process. Accept criticism especially from customers. It’s called feedback. We should never get too precious to receive good feedback.
  3. Be aware of your key strengths and delegate the rest. This is difficult to do early on however the sooner it happens the faster the business will ramp up.
  4. One thing we bang on about is you can’t manage what you don’t measure – so make sure you know your key performance indicators and track their progress.
  5. Know the difference between sales and marketing, otherwise you can waste a lot of money paying slick marketers that don’t actually create customers. Make sure you have a sales process in place. Understand the value of your product or service.
  6. Technology – understand how it works for your industry and your business. This can be another cash pit and you must get the right balance early on.
  7. The most important thing in business – know the difference between cashflow and profit. Cashflow is critical to business success.
  8. And finally, the strength of relationships with your customers, clients, staff and community are what will set your business up for the long term.

At Sothertons we work at establishing these keys with new and existing businesses. Call us on 4972 1300 for more information.

18 July 2017

Your Business Scorecard

By Tina Zawila

If you are a Queenslander and follow rugby league, you may still be on a high from last week’s State of Origin Series win. What a game! What a team! What a convincing score!

If you are also passionate about business like I am, you might also wonder what lessons we can learn from sport that we can apply to business. After many years of participating in both business and sport, I know the answer is “plenty”!

The Queensland team demonstrates so many indicators of success:

  • They clearly know why they are there, who they are playing for, what their purpose is, and they have a clear mission and vision. 
  • They know what teamwork means, they support each other to individually perform at their best and to combine their talents to be unstoppable. 
  • They understand the tactics of the game and clearly execute set moves (systems) and strategies. 
  • They can read the scoreboard to know exactly where they are in respect to their performance and how much time is left in the game. 

It is this ability to read the scoreboard that I want to focus on when it comes to business. Your financial statements are the scoreboard of your business – they can tell you whether you are winning or losing. However, many business owners cannot access and read their scoreboard, or they are reading a scoreboard from last season!

It is important that you have access to an up to date scoreboard via real-time accounting software that is kept up to date regularly. You must be able to generate financial reports easily and accurately. And you should know how to read and interpret the reports so that you can make necessary changes now to improve your chances of winning.

If you need help implementing, using or reading your business scoreboard (financial reports) call the professionals at Sothertons today on 49721300 and together we will give you the best chance of success in your game of business.

11 July 2017

Prepped for 2018 Success

By Steve Marsten

We know the end of the financial year is always a stressful time in business. Everyone is trying to wind things up from the previous financial year whilst juggling the usual day-to-day operations. However for small business owners, it is imperative that they take time-out to focus, reflect and plan for the next financial year.
There are three things that are important – Preparation; Getting organised and Schedule time to plan.
Preparation is both physical and mental. Organise your financial and administrative affairs for the 2018 financial year as quickly as possible. This will allow you to clear your head of the past financial year and focus on the new one! Clear the filing of the previous year.

What changes would you like to see in your business? What technology should you consider employing to free up your time? Should you be having a meeting with your business advisor earlier in the year to ensure your business is efficient as it can be; as profitable as it should be and with the best team it can attract? Too many business owners of small business only meet with their advisor once a year. A delay may mean a missed opportunity.

Schedule time in your diary for planning. You should allocate time to reflect at different stages throughout the year, to determine if you are on track to meet your objectives. Are you still enjoying business? If not, what is your strategy to get out? Having fun is important to enjoying what you do. Business owners especially need to ensure their work is rewarding.

Is your mission and vision still relevant? Take time to objectively review your competitive landscape. (For example, new competitors, changes in market pricing and economic changes that may impact your business).  Identify your strengths and weaknesses and make the most of your strengths and formulate a plan to deal with any business/service/product weakness.

And finally, take a short break to get yourself revved up and ready to go for a successful year. At Sothertons, we can assist you to undertake a strategy session to ensure you are “business ready” and in a position to make the most of 2018. Call us on 4972 1300 for more information.

04 July 2017

Ready... Set... Budget!

By Tina Zawila

So we are on the starting line…a new financial year before us.  This is usually when we promise ourselves that this year will be different from the last, we will make more, save more, have more!  However, for most people, this tends to be a bit of an empty promise, without any real idea or plan as to how this will eventuate.

For others, they have a clear plan for their financial future and it’s called a Budget.  I know, it doesn’t sound life-changing!   However, this is the key to give you any chance of achieving your financial goals, strategies, priorities and plans.

Think of it this way.  You generally don’t just jump in your car and drive without a destination and map at hand.  Yet most people drive their business or household finances without a plan and without clearly defined financial goals!

Without deciding where you want to go and how you are going to get there, how do you know if you are heading to the right place or on the right track?  How can you anticipate the bumps in the road, the detour opportunities or the short cuts?

Take the time now to consider your 2017/18 budget and seek professional help to guide you.  At Sothertons, we prefer to use what we call “Bottom Up Budgeting”.  Work out what you want in terms or profit, funds to meet loan payments and savings and then work up from there  - add your costs to determine the level of revenue  you require to achieve your goals.

For maximum benefit, use your budget proactively.  Don’t just set and forget.  Monitor your progress.  Refer to your budget before making major financial decisions.  These days there is software available that makes managing your personal or business finances a breeze. 

Don’t wait for another year to pass where you are left wondering where your money went.  Call the finance professionals at Sothertons on 4972 1300 and let us help you turn your financial dreams into reality.