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You need better funding – even if you think you don’t.

You need better funding – even if you think you don’t.

Cash is the heart of your business, it just won’t work without it. It needs to be monitored, and taken care of.  The business can only last as long as cash flows in and out of it. Now, do you have enough funding for your short, medium, and long-term goals?

Whatever your business aims are, you’re likely to need some additional finance at some point along the business journey. But, how does this extra cash then benefit the growth, scaling up and (eventually) the end sale value of the business?

The value of extra capital in the business

Third-party business finance comes in many forms. It might mean talking to your bank about agreeing an overdraft extension, or taking out a business loan from a business funding provider. It may even mean looking at specialist finance products, such as asset finance (for buying new equipment), invoice financing (for quickly raising cash from your outstanding invoices) or even government-backed grants and tax incentives for enterprising businesses.

Whatever finance route you take, it’s important to understand the impact that this extra capital will have for your business, and for your longer-term success.

Access to additional funding:

Boosts your working capital – funding gives you the liquid cash needed to stabilise and expand your operations. With enhanced working capital, you can overcome your post-pandemic cash worries and get your balance sheet looking healthy once again. You can also take on new work, projects and customers, safe in the knowledge that you can cover the initial expenditure while waiting for new revenue streams to bear fruit.

Provides investment in your growth strategy – if you’re looking to expand your operations or scale up the business, extra funding gives you the capital to invest in this growth. You have the capital to take on more people, to invest in equipment, plant and new technology, and to scale up the overall capacity of your business.

Strengthens your company’s balance sheet – the health of your balance sheet is determined by the balance between your assets (the things you own, including cash, within the business) and your liabilities (the debts that you owe other people). Additional funding in the business helps to increase your assets, which, in turn, helps to boost your working capital and liquid cash, enhance your asset performance and improve your capitalisation structure as a viable business.

Makes your company more valuable – with more cash in the bank and more capital to draw on, your company becomes a more valuable, and a more attractive proposition in the marketplace. This healthy financial position is invaluable when approaching lenders for more funding, when buying out a competitor or even when selling the business and bringing your exit strategy into play as the owner. However, if you’ve taken on private investors to provide part of your funding, you do have to consider that these investors will likely now own shares in the business – limiting your overall ownership and control of the company.

Contact Us

Whatever the next stage is for your business, the journey will be easier with a robust, tailored funding strategy behind your business plan. If you need extra cash for your business, we can help you create a meaningful funding strategy and access the best funding providers. Book a call so we can sort things out for you.

Automation

Financial reports are a big part of creating a business budget, find out what reports to look at and why when you click here.

Increase Your Sales Without Increasing Your Advertisement Budget

Increase Your Sales Without Increasing Your Advertisement Budget

Are you looking for ways to increase sales without blowing through all of the advertising money? Have you explored every opportunity to extract the most value from your current contacts and customers? 

Here are five suggestions that will get us where we want with less cash outlay. 

Referrals 

If every customer referred one person to you, your business would double. Most businesses say they rely on “word of mouth”, but very few have a system in place to generate those referrals. Do not assume that customers are reluctant to make referrals. Your customers like you, trust you, and believe you provide quality and value, exceeding that offered by your competitors. Otherwise they’d be using someone else! But you have to make it easy and rewarding to refer others to you, (they won’t always be thinking of you; it is your responsibility to remind them).  

The best way, is to just ask them for referrals. Identify your good customers and tell them you appreciate their business and want more loyal customers like them. Most people will be flattered and only too keen to help. Give them a voucher to give away, and another one to keep for themselves.  It’s a great way to generate low-cost advertising and increase your sales: your customers send visitors and earn a small reward (or receive a small percentage of every sale), then those new customers refer their friends, who refer their friends, and so on! 

Another idea, is to invite your best customers to a Customer Appreciation evening, (whether it be in person or virtually) and ask them to bring one or two friends along. This must be an event that provides genuine value. Make it all about them, not you. Do not make it a sales pitch.  

Before long, you can have an army of loyal customers actively promoting your business – with every new referral, you exponentially increase the chance of getting more customers. And all for the price of a small commission on each sale or some other loyalty reward. 

Joint advertising 

If your advertising or lead-generation ideas have failed in the past, it’s very likely to have arisen because you have targeted “cold” prospects, i.e. people who don’t know you and/or have never bought from you before. But you will achieve much better results, (300-400% better results) if you seek leads/referrals through your existing database. This is because you have an existing relationship with these people. They know you, trust you and are more likely to act on any offer you make – compared with people who haven’t dealt with you before.  Also don’t be afraid to re-target your historical database of either closed or lost opportunities, you never know, they may be in the market for your product again. 

But you don’t want to limit your marketing efforts to your existing customers only. There are thousands of new prospects out there to target. But how can you tap into this lucrative market, without approaching them cold? Easy – by approaching them through someone else, who has a pre-existing relationship with them. It’s called “joint venture marketing”, and in my opinion, it is the most exciting and under-utilised form of marketing. Here’s how it works … 

Who do you know locally, (a friend, family member or customer) who owns a business with lots of customers that fit your target market profile; and someone who really looks after their customers? Imagine how great it would be, if they were to tell their customers about you.  

But very few, if any, business owners will help you, if it takes too much time, effort or money; or if there is no benefit to them, in doing so. Therefore, I suggest you print out vouchers or referral cards, for the other business owner to give away to their customers. If done properly, it can make them look like a hero to their customers.  

I know of a mechanic who works with a panel beater. He gives the panel beater the following vouchers to give away to customers, (with a short note to say nice things about the mechanic): 

  • A free set of wiper blades (fitted); 
  • A free WOF; 
  • A free engine steam clean; 
  • A half price service; 
  • A free safety check. 

The more generous that your offer is, the more likely it is the prospect will take up the offer. The cost of the offer is your investment to gain a new customer.  

Let me finish by saying, that this tool has the ability to return tens of thousands of dollars in extra business, especially when you consider the lifetime value of a customer. It costs very little to implement and will set you apart from all your competitors – how many of them are doing this? 

Here is what you need to do: 

  • Find a joint venture partner, whose customers fit your target market; 
  • Develop a special offer or giveaway, that would appeal to those customers (low cost to you; high value to them); 
  • Create the offer as a voucher, flyer, letter etc; 
  • Approach the other business owner and sell the benefit of the idea, in terms of their interests, not yours. 

Note that joint advertising is rarely an equal proposition: one party almost always pays more than the other, as they stand to gain more from the advertising or bring less to the combined project. Be flexible and ready to compromise. 

Most relevant advertising medium 

Choosing the most relevant advertising channel is absolutely critical in decreasing your advertising costs. You’ll have to do thorough demographical research, or invest a little money in trial-and-error learning to figure out the best medium for your business. 

For example, television and radio offer a massive return on investment for some companies, but if your business targets young adults who spend the majority of their time online, they may be a bad choice. You would almost certainly be better off investing in a combined multi-channel approach using online advertising and running a social media campaign as normally no single advertising channel provides the magic bullet.  

Create loyalty 

It is often said that it is more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. For this reason, it is important that you strive to build a relationship with your customers. Answer queries quickly, make sure complaints are dealt with swiftly and always try to exceed their expectations. This will ensure that you build a positive, rewarding relationship with your clients, and allow you to decrease your advertising costs in the long run. 

Also, if you want customers to keep coming back, give them a reason to do so. They have already bought from you, so it doesn’t take as much effort to get them to make subsequent purchases. Cafés know how powerful this is, because they offer their coffee cards, e.g. buy 10 coffees and receive your next one free. They know that the free coffee only costs them less than a dollar. 

This strategy works well for businesses who offer products and services that customers buy on a regular basis, as opposed to items they buy rarely.  

Don’t forget the real world 

Depending on your target market, “real world” advertising – as opposed to online, virtual adverts – can still be the best choice. For example, flyers and leaflets can be a very successful, yet inexpensive, form of advertising. The important thing is to ensure that your ads reach the right audience. 

For example, if your target market is women, you should distribute your flyers or leaflets in areas frequented predominantly by them. Ideal areas are near beauty stores, clothes shops, hairdressers, and gymnasiums. This will help ensure that your flyers are reaching the right audience, and are therefore more effective. 

Most successful businesses spend a large chunk of their money on advertising, so it is critical that you get the best possible returns. Don’t just assume that throwing money at an ad campaign will make it work better: research the best medium, consider all the options, then run tests to figure out where and how to invest most effectively. 

Want to know more on how you can grow sales? I have the answer in my new book Starting a Business, Growing A Business. 

mindset

Wondering how you can manage your workload better?

Read: Business Automation Can Ease Workload

How does an accountant save you money?

How does an accountant save you money?

Turning a profit will be high on your list of goals as a business owner. And if you want to generate the best margins, that means keeping an eye on the money that’s going out of the business, as well as what’s coming in. So, how can your accountant save you money?

The days where your accountant just did the bookkeeping, compiled your accounts and filed your tax return are well and truly over. Modern accounting firms are far more interested in helping you with your financial performance, your business strategy and offering flexible value-add services that put you in better control of your finances.

If you partner with the right accountant, we can actually save you money – in both the short, medium and long-term. And that’s good news for the growth of your business.

Key ways your accountant save you money

The less expenditure you have as a company, the bigger your profit margin. It sounds incredibly simple, doesn’t it? – The smaller your costs, the larger your profit. But if you’re not fully in control of your financial management, it’s very difficult to know WHERE you’re spending money, and WHY you’re not achieving your profit targets.

This is where working with a finance professional adds a huge amount of value. Your accountant helps put you back in the driving seat of your finances – and that’s never been more needed than in the current economic climate.

So, what specific things can your accountant do and what will the impact be on the future of your business?

  1. Tax advice and planning – tax costs can be one of your biggest outgoings as a business, so we’ll focus on getting your tax planning under control, applying for all the relevant tax incentives and ensuring you minimise the taxes on your profits. By paying only what you’re legally required to pay – and making use of any reliefs – we can significantly cut your tax spend in the business.
  2. Cashflow management and advice – ‘Cash is King’ may be a cliche, but it’s true. Unless you can balance the cash inflows and outflows from your business, you’ll never have the liquid cash to pay your bills, cover your payroll costs or cover your operational expenses. We’ll show you where money is going out, and coming in, so you achieve the ideal positive cashflow position.
  3. Cost control and spend management – to improve your cashflow, you need to reduce your cash outflows. An important way to do this is to focus on cost control and spend management, reducing your expenditure, removing unnecessary costs and negotiating better deals with your suppliers. The more you cut costs back, the better your cashflow will be and the easier it will be to thrive, grow and become more profitable.
  4. Forecasting and financial modelling – when we understand the key financial drivers in your business, we can build you a full financial model. This allows us to change the variables, run different scenarios and forecast the various future paths of your business. Being able to project these numbers forward gives you a clearer view of the path ahead – and that’s invaluable in the challenging economic times that we all face at present.
  5. Better management reporting and information – your decision-making stands or falls on the information you have available to you. We provide detailed management accounts, breakdowns of key metrics and forecasts of your cashflow, spending, aged debt and revenue – all of which helps you to save money, make sound decisions and keep the revenues flowing into your business.

Talk to us about cutting costs and boosting profit

Rather than running your business on a wing and prayer, by working with an accountant you get a clear picture on your business financials. We’ll help you cut unnecessary costs, optimise the most profitable parts of the business and increase your overall return on investment. You can check out our Financial Awareness Coaching and our Cashflow Management Coaching.

Let’s talk about how we can work together to support your ongoing business profitability. Feel free to drop us an email or a message if you have any questions or book a free, no-obligation call with Murray today.

The Obvious and Unexpected Benefits of Having a Personal Budget

The Obvious and Unexpected Benefits of Having a Personal Budget

Having a personal budget is essential to gaining control of your personal finances. Budgeting doesn’t necessarily mean restriction; it frees up your money, so you know exactly what’s available to spend.


The top 10 benefits of personal budgeting:

  1. Gives you control. Developing your personal budget gives you control over your money. You’ll know how much cash you’ll have coming in and can make a plan for how to spend it.
  2. Focuses you on your money goals. Everyone should have goals for their money. Whether this is paying off debt, increasing your savings, or freeing up more cash to invest in your business, a personal budget will keep you focused on achieving these goals.
  3. Creates awareness of where your money goes. Have you ever looked at your personal drawings from your business and thought ‘we can’t possibly have spent that much money last year!’? You’re not alone. So many people really have no idea what they spend their money on.
  4. Builds better money habits. Reviewing your actual results against your budget each month will encourage you to think about your spending before you spend.
  5. Helps manage debt levels. You’ll be able to plan for unexpected expenses instead of obtaining debt to pay for emergencies. You’ll also be able to allocate more money to debt repayments to become debt free faster.
  6. Helps you achieve your wealth goals. Wealth goals are your long-term financial goals; saving for retirement or major life events. Because these are long-term, you need to start planning the steps to achieve your wealth goals now.
  7. Provides an early warning system. By regularly monitoring your spending, you’ll quickly identify upcoming costs and adjust your spending if required.
  8. Aids communication. Spending time developing your personal budget with your spouse will ensure you’re aligned with your spending plan.
  9. Provides you with more money. If you have a personal budget and stick to it, you’ll end up with more money at the end of the year than you would’ve had without a budget.
  10. Ultimately, it gives you a better life. Not only will you end up with more money, you’ll likely have less conflict and stress over money.

Personal budgeting doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. Dedicating 1-2 hours a month to budgeting will result in a huge improvement; not only to your bank account, but to your stress levels too.

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” – Dave Ramsay

Contact us if you need help developing your personal budget!

Need a boost? Download a personal budgeting template here.

You might also find our Financial Awareness Coaching and Cashflow Management Coaching relevant and helpful.

How to be Cash Flow Confident – A Case Study

How to be Cash Flow Confident – A Case Study

Do you know that cash flow is not the same as profit? 

Let’s face it, accounting can be confusing at the best of times. That’s why it is important for you as the business owner, to understand the key financial ratios, reports and also, how to forecast cash flow. After all, how can you improve your profit if you don’t have a handle on cash flow and the numbers behind it.

Cash flow is the lifeline of your business. Without consistent, solid flowing cash flow, you will be constantly chasing your tail in managing income vs. expenses. You will have trouble setting aside funds for working capital, you will experience a reduced ability to borrow, and your business will struggle to grow.

Understanding the true costs of running a business and the factors influencing cash flow and profit 

We recently advised a wholesale business that was experiencing large fluctuations in its sales, profits and cash flow. The business supplies goods to rural businesses and carries a large amount of stock and has significant credit accounts with its customers.

Recent Covid-19 events resulted in significant stock write-offs. The owners, Daniel & Tracy, wanted advice on how to improve their profit, better manage their cash flow and prevent the loss of income from future unplanned events.

However, there were some key issues the clients had to solve. To begin with, they did not know what their break even sales level was. They did not understand the benefits of ratio analysis and budgeting. They lacked working capital and they had inadequate business insurance.

Combined with these issues, Daniel & Tracy wanted to sell the business and retire within 12-months. In order to get the value they wanted from a potential purchaser, they needed to sort these things out.

Here’s how we resolved the issues for them

  • Breakeven Sales 

The first step was to establish the breakeven sales point so that they would know exactly what they had to bring in each week in terms of sales to break even. 

To achieve this, we reviewed their fixed costs which when totalled, came to $350,000.

Then, we reviewed their gross profit margin on all products and determined an average of 55%.

This determined that our minimum weekly sales required was $12,250.

  • Improving Profit 

To better manage their stock, we completed a series of key profit ratio calculations with Daniel and Tracy. This included Gross Margin Return on Inventory and Gross Profit Margin. We suggested to Daniel and Tracy that they upgrade their stock management system to improve their gross profit margin and to reduce shrinkage.

  • Improving Cash Flow

In order their improve cash flow, we completed a series of cash flow ratio calculations. This included Accounts Receivable, Stock Turnover and a Funds Statement. It was agreed that Daniel and Tracy would prepare a cash flow budget every six months to determine their funding requirements, until such time as they sold the business.

  • Improving Funding 

We were able to negotiate an extension on Daniel and Tracy’s business overdraft limit to meet their working capital requirements. Note: this would not have been possible without determining their key financial ratios and producing the cash flow reports to show the lender.

  • Improving Insurance Coverage 

Daniel and Tracy were woefully under insured and this oversight had cost them dearly. We analysed their coverage and determined that they were without Business Disruption Insurance. We promptly organised the appropriate cover to prevent the business from a loss of future income. 

 As you can see from our case study, there is a lot to be mindful of in being cash flow confident. 

Daniel and Tracy saw an immediate improvement in their cash flow position as a result of the recommendations we made. Fortunately for them they listen to our advice and have gone one to achieve their business goals and succession objectives.

Get in touch

If you are confused by accounting and not confident about your cash flow management, or feel like your finances are getting out of control then get in contact with us today via email to organise a free no obligation chat. We will listen and then formulate the best strategies to help you achieve your goals. Alternatively, click on the Book A Call button now to get started.

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Will borrowing funding for my business expose me to greater personal risk?

Will borrowing funding for my business expose me to greater personal risk?

If you go to your bank, yes, your bank will likely require you to secure personal assets (i.e your house) against the loan, exposing your personal assets to risk as the banks want greater security. If you need to borrow funding for business asset purchases, consider using a second-tier lender that secures the funding against the specific asset, or ask your own bank if securing the funding against a specific asset is an option. You’ll pay more in terms of interest, but the risk to you is a risk around that specific asset, not around your house.

If you’re concerned about your personal financial risk as a business owner, please feel free to reach out. I’m only a message or call away (09-309-3222).

3 Steps to Success

3 Steps to Success

Are business concerns keeping you awake at night?

Follow these 3 steps to de-risk your business and get a better night’s sleep!

1. Understand the risk and value drivers in your business – read the latest SME research report and then contact Insight CA to complete a Risk Assessment.

2. Collaborate to improve business performance – Share the insights from the report with staff, key stakeholders, your business support network i.e. business coach or advisor. Discuss how these insights could be applied to improve key areas of your business where you have identified risks.

3. Select an accountability partner to support success – Look for an accountability partner with the experience and skill set to act as a sounding board; a second pair of eyes and ears to listen to your challenges and ideas, and point out things you may not have thought of.

Grab your copy of the latest SME research report* to understand some of the risks SMEs are facing, and key insights as to how they are dealing with them, then reach out to discuss next steps on how I can help you on your journey to addressing the concerns keeping you awake at night.

 

The Standout personal risks for SME business owners all relate to planning for the future

The Standout personal risks for SME business owners all relate to planning for the future

Would you be able to manage financially if your income dropped by 15% for six months? Are you free from financial stress?

These are some of the personal risks that SME business owners are managing, to some degree.

Have you taken action to make yourself financially independent? This includes having a formal plan to achieve your financial and lifestyle goals; understanding what you need in assets, or net worth, to be financially independent; and maximising your superannuation returns.

Recent research shows the standout personal risks for SME business owners all relate to planning for the future. Would you agree?

Take a look at the Top Personal Risks snapshot in the latest BStar SME research report, then reach out today. We’ll help you work through a risk assessment and create a plan to better manage the personal risks to you as a SME business owner.

 

Have you made a plan of how your business will handle this crisis?

Have you made a plan of how your business will handle this crisis?

The biggest impacts come from uncontrollable non-financial risks like epidemics (covid-19) and pandemics, and natural disasters.

While each crisis does eventually pass, the businesses that survive are those that have plans in place, or are quick to put them in place.

The best payoff is in sharing the load and reducing your stress; a problem shared is a problem halved. So if you need to make a plan, de-risk your business, or improve your profitability and cash flow, get in touch today.

 

Are you holding on to your cash tighter than usual?

Are you holding on to your cash tighter than usual?

Many businesses that do have cash are hanging onto it.

Governments are trying to keep cash moving by cutting interest rates and printing money through quantitative easing.

Why? Simply put, money, specifically cash, makes the business world go round.

But the cash impact of COVID-19 on small and medium business owners is dramatic.

The Bstar 2020/21 SME Research Report shows that, even before the crisis, 78% of SMEs held either no cash reserves (20%) or ‘limited’ cash reserves (58%).

 

Cash is king. When it comes to ensuring your business not only survives but thrives, it’s the truth. And yet, 15% of SMEs said cash was a continual headache, with 62% reporting medium to high levels of concern.

Business owners need to get ahead of the cash issue and make plans to minimise impacts and risks.

We’re already helping our clients develop strategies and plans to get through this challenging time.

If you’re thinking about restructuring finance arrangements, we can help with putting together a proposal for your bank (or finance partner) and to negotiate new arrangements. Read more key SME insights in our free SME research report