We’ve reached the summer of 2021, around 18 months after the pandemic first disrupted our lives, and all being well, we’re now moving into the ‘new’ normal.
If your business has come through this extraordinary period – whether that’s by just surviving or perhaps even growing and developing – then congratulations, because so many didn’t, particularly in the retail sector. High street names like Debenhams and Top Shop now only exist online. Others don’t exist at all.
So what is next for your business?
Perhaps you are thinking of exiting your businesses? Despite the pandemic, there are many investors out there looking for companies to buy into. Perhaps you want it to grow, either organically or through an acquisition or merger?
Before you make any big decisions, use the summer to do some housekeeping, which will help get your business into shape, ready for the future that lies ahead.
Here are our top ten tips for actions you could be taking this summer, to help move your business along:
- Set short-, medium- and long-term goals in your business plan. Make them realistic but also challenge yourself. Often, identifying the end goal(s) and working back through the steps to get there is a good start. When do you hope to exit the business? You may not need a plan yet, but knowing when you might want to exit enables you to put a start date for planning in place.
- Look at internal systems and procedures. Could you be more efficient or effective?
- Talk to your customers, to get a deeper understanding of their needs. If you can genuinely identify ways to improve their business, their customer experience or give them more spare time, they will appreciate the approach, while enhancing your reputation as a trusted supplier or contact.
- Consider value invoicing. If you are confident your work has contributed significant value to your client, agree an appropriate fee that acknowledges this fact.
- Reflect on what you’re doing well, but don’t avoid looking at problem areas to see if you can address these.
- Look at your overheads. Where can you make savings? We are all encouraged to switch utility and banking suppliers at home, so why not for your business too? Help your cashflow by keeping on top of invoicing, and chasing debts.
- Consider outsourcing or seeking expert advice. While you will have to pay for the services of, for example, a bookkeeper or accountant you can spend the time saved on winning business.
- Look at your team, their individual strengths, and put training and career plans in place. If you look after and develop your staff it will pay dividends for your business.
- Consider apprenticeships. This does involve a time commitment, but there are some very able graduates and school leavers, as well as those looking for a career change, who are keen to learn and get valuable work experience.
- Finally, your business plan is a live document, not one to be hidden away. Take time to reflect on and update your plan when necessary.
If you would like to talk to the Optimum accountancy team about business planning and development, please get in touch.