As we kick-start the new financial year, what are your goals in FY2014? Will it be more of the same? Or are there specific things you would do differently in this new financial year to give your business a boost?
The start of a financial year is an opportune time of the year to re-evaluate your business plan and financial goals, then make adjustments or formulate new ones, and more importantly, execute on them. Here are a few considerations to position your business for the new financial year:
Reignite the passion.
Work out in your mind whatever it was that inspired you to start your business in the beginning. It is your passion, which will carry you through the thick and thin. Rekindle the fire, the drive, the innovation and the positive attitude you need to confidently defy the odds of accomplishing in this new financial year, what you couldn’t achieve in FY2013.
Draw up a (revised) plan.
As the saying goes, “Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!” Simply planning to do ‘more of the same’ is probably not going to suffice anymore. The question isn’t whether you should plan, but how should you plan. See how you can take advantage of external factors such as the bank interest rates, Australian dollar and industry trends. Consider a good business coach or mentor to help provide an objective view of what is needed.
Get your books in order.
Sounds straightforward, right? But I know that for many of us, this is an utter mess. We don’t like paperwork and we don’t have time for it, but someone has to do them! A professional bookkeeper can do wonders. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Keep your financials in check accurately is not just about getting the ATO off your back, but it is key to understanding where you can save on expenses as well as how to grow your business.
Set your financials goals.
It’s important to establish your financial goals for the year now. Things are bound to change during the year, which is why the rigour of budgeting and forecasting periodically can drastically help you to understand how your business performs and the steps you need to take, to either get back on track or achieve your stretch targets. Work with a good accountant who can show you how to set these up, as well as a whole range of issues, such as the all important tax planning.
Clean out the closet.
Spring-cleaning comes early for those of us determined to strive onwards and upwards in the new financial year. Do a review of FY2013 and identify what was working and what was not. Be as deliberate about cleaning out old processes, tools and habits, as you are about cleaning out your closet. Get the team involved, and write up an improvement plan where every member of your team is accountable for making the change happen. And be excited about change!
Do something innovative.
FY2014 might be the year for you to think outside the box and do something different than your competitors. If you sell products, think about what value-add services you can provide. If you sell services, think about how you can “productise” your services into a new fixed-fee package, to make it easier for your buyers to buy – so they has less to worry about scope creep and cost blow out. Market this package online such as SavvySME. Do it, before your competitors beat to it.
Find new marketing channels.
Multi-channel marketing is key. It’s time to explore new channels to market your business, especially online. Don’t get sucked into the hype of mainstream social media like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin that are so crowded and cluttered. Make your own decisions. Find out where your target customers really are, engage and do a new campaign say every quarter. Create new content on social platforms that actually provide long-tail benefits to your business.
Outsource, outsource, outsource.
Think more about outsourcing this financial year. My personal motto: “Focus on what you do best, and outsource the rest.” Do not even try to do and champion everything yourself, because you are simply never going to be good at everything. It’s false economy to save money on doing mundane work that detracts you from value-adding work to your business. Let others help you, whose bread and butter is doing the work you hate. It’s mad not to use them.
Form new partnerships.
Strategic partnerships can be extremely powerful for small business. It pays to network and find good partners. Good partnerships provide an opportunity for you to share scarce resources, and benefit from cross-promotion to a wider client base. In addition to gaining new prospects and clients, by bringing on a complementary business as a new partner, your existing clients will appreciate you bringing more value-add to them and in turn reward your business with loyalty.
There you go - a reminder of simple tips to be “re-energised” for the new financial year. I love to hear about other tips you might like to share. Remember, running a business is with riddled with risks. There are no shortcuts to be primed for growth. Ensuring you have a solid strategy in place for the new financial year is crucial to drive the right focus. Applying such rigour is not only good discipline, but also arguably a pre-requisite to remain competitive these days.