Is your business beach ready?

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In the latest UK200Group blog post, Price Bailey suggest that now is a good time for a seasonal ‘fit for business’ check.

Price Bailey
With summer just around the corner, many of us are busy preparing for the perfect warm-weather getaway – booking flights and hotels, sorting out the summer wardrobe, and looking to shed a few pounds before hitting the beach or pool.

But how many of us spend as much time making sure our business is in the best possible shape? A seasonal ‘fit for business’ check could help to ensure that your company is looking good, operating at peak efficiency, and is safe to be left for a few days (or weeks) when you decide to escape to the sunshine.

Below are five steps you can take to make sure your business is ‘beach ready’ – and in the right shape to maintain a strong performance into the autumn and beyond.

1 Keep your eyes on the prize

One of the most critical things in making your business grow is your vision; it may be soft stuff, but it’s the stuff that leads to success. To achieve that success, it’s essential that you revisit that vision on a regular basis – at least once a year, but more if possible – to make sure it’s still relevant and achievable, and then shared with everyone in the organisation, presenting a clear picture of where the business is going and how it is going to get there.

Among the key issues to consider are your business and its marketplace, potential changes in your market and products, developing targets (and what you need to do to reach them), possible threats and competition, and your investment in the resources necessary to support the vision.

With a good shared vision, you can increase motivation and commitment, and enhance the performance of your business.

2 Shaping up

Most of us would happily lose a pound or two to get in the best possible shape, and our businesses are no different; just because things are running smoothly, doesn’t necessarily mean they are at their most efficient. And growth isn’t just about selling more product or services (although clearly, the sales strategy is essential). So take time to consider your business capacity, whether you’re maximising the use of your resources, and whether your business premises and processes are going to help or hinder you in attempting to achieve that vision. If there’s slack in the system, explore ways of making that time or those resources work more effectively. If there’s some fat in those processes, getting rid of it will put your business in much better shape.

3 Watch the pounds

As well as activities such as credit control, managing the payment of your creditors and preparing financial accounts, financial management covers much more in-depth financial analysis.

Do you know how much profit your business makes each month? Do you know why you made a profit or loss in that period? What are your profitable products and markets? Which customers are costing you money rather than earning you profit? If you have reasonable financial control of your business, you should be able to answer all of these questions.

Sound management information will provide key indicators that monitor those factors deemed to be critical to the success of the business. Whatever the size of your business, accurate, timely and effective financial management is essential for developing a successful strategic plan – for the summer and beyond.

4 Taking time out

Most business owner-managers spend a great deal of effort on the day-to-day running of the business – working in the business, not on the business. But do you need to do all this work yourself, when someone else can do it for you? If outsourcing can work for a major international manufacturing industry, what can it do for your business?

Consider issues such as human resources, IT, payroll and marketing; all of these can be outsourced to experts, leaving you to focus on the real issues – providing the best possible service to your clients, growing your business and expanding your product lines.

And to get the best out of yourself, you will need to be able to spend a good period (i.e. a two-week holiday) away from the office to relax and recharge your batteries. Any suggestion that the business can’t cope without you for that length of time merely highlights the failure to have a good management team in place – or a potentially damaging inability to ‘relinquish the reins’ for any period. You’ll need to address both issues, for the sake of your own health and that of the business.

5 Know when to go

If you find that you’re enjoying your time in the sun too much, it might be time to think about what will happen when you reach your goal – or whether that goal could be adjusted or bought forward. It’s all about planning your exit route. Consider the best way to leave the business you have built up; would a management buyout or trade sale be the best option, or are you looking at succession planning, passing the business on?

Although the achievement of maximum proceeds is usually the most important factor, others matters – such as the treatment of the workforce post-sale and easier contractual terms – are often on the agenda. The key is to begin planning your exit route as early as you can, as it could have a significant impact on the way you want to develop the business.

Whatever your preference, you should consult an experienced professional adviser at the earliest possible opportunity. To find out more about getting your business in the best possible shape, contact Price Bailey.

Tags: UK200

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