Small businesses seek the advice of qualified professionals, such as accountants, on a regular basis. Independent professional advice can be very useful in assisting businesses improve their strategic direction and their business management practices, and hence better position businesses for growth.
It is important that businesses have a marketing strategy to achieve that increase in sales. We suggest:
• develop an annual marketing plan that is supported by adequate resources
• ensure that there is sufficient cashflow to implement the plan
• understand what your existing and potential customers want
• ensure that any promotion is supported by appropriate stock levels
• have separate strategies for attracting new customers and retaining existing customers
• undertake activities that are measureable
Review your business plan for the changed environment
It is good practice to revisit your business plan and budgets and
amend them to reflect current circumstances. We suggest:
• review the assumptions underpinning their business plan and,
if those assumptions have changed, amend the plan to reflect the changes
• evaluate their performance and incorporate strategies to improve performance
in the business plan
• reflect any amendments to the business plan in budgets and forecasts
Review your cost structures for savings
If a business cannot bring costs under control, or pass increased costs onto customers,
it reduces cashflow and profitability and can impact the future viability of the business.
• reviewing costs, businesses should be strategic when cost-cutting as it is
not uncommon for businesses to cut aggressively
• asking suppliers for discounts and/or changing how and when they deliver stock.
• comparing their cost structures with both past results and other businesses
in the industry to identify areas for improvement
Improve your efficiency
For a business to be successful in good times and bad, it needs to ensure that
the business is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. We suggest:
• evaluating the current performance of the business by collecting data on business
performance and comparing that performance to previous performance, industry benchmarks
and the strategic goals of your business
• identifying key drivers of the business and setting goals for such drivers
• regularly evaluating the performance of identified key drivers against goals
and identifying areas for improvement.
• implementing strategies from evaluations and monitoring their effectiveness,
and thus adjusting the strategy as necessary
Although business conditions seem to be challenging, opportunities remain likely to emerge.
Small businesses should not turn a blind eye to such opportunities if they are consistent
with the strategic direction of the business, and can be properly funded.