A Permanent Change in Behaviour
Good training produces a permanent change in behaviour. This cannot be achieved by placing information before people. The learner must engage in activities.
Focus on Profit Not Turnover
When the owner changes their focus from sales turnover to net profit the business will achieve an immediate and significant improvement in both profit and cash flow.
Akin to shifting a fulcrum whereby the same effort moves a heavier load, when you change focus from revenue to profit, the same resources produce a higher output.
Planning for Improved Profitability.
The first thing we do is to help clients calculate the profit improvement potential of their business. As you will see in a moment, it is always significantly more than people think. In fact, most people do not believe the targets set out below are realistic, that changes when they complete the First Steps course.
We expect, and help our clients, work towards profit improvements of the magnitude set out in the table below.
So it is with your business. It has taken tremendous energy for you to get your business to its current point, but you may still be within the “gravity pull of the earth.” When you finally break free of that pull you will be able to achieve enormous gains with the expense of far less energy.
It requires only small improvements to key parts of a business, and a change in focus from sales revenue to profit in order to achieve a profit improvement of this order.
Most businesses operate below, at, or just above the cash flow break-even point where income is equal to expenditure.
To get to level 1 takes quite an effort, however to get to level 2 does not take any where near the same effort, if the business owner makes a fundamental change in strategy. Most don’t.
Typically at the break even point the owner is working long hours, cash reserves are exhausted, competition from other businesses is fierce often led by industry discounters or “back yarders.”
The result of this frantic activity is that the business stagnates. That does not mean the business is bad, it means it is not moving to the next level of performance and profitability. The irony is that when the business owner finds a way to break free of the “frantic cycle” reached just beyond break even they find the next phase of the business relatively easy to achieve, and enormously rewarding.
The key to achieving this break out is to change focus from sales revenue to gross profit. The aim should be to increase net profit without increasing sales volume. This is possible and it is the outcome members of this site work to achieve in the early weeks and months of participation.
This change in focus is the reason why the targets set out in the table above are achievable. The entire focus of our program is to help business owners achieve this higher level of performance. In the early weeks of the program you will have an opportunity to break free of the “frantic cycle” of your business.
Your business will achieve an immediate and significant increase in cash flow as a result of the work we do in the area of pricing strategy. This is the area where we hae the most significant impact with clients. We encourage you to undertake this module early as it generates instant return and builds your enthusisasm for the ongoing process of profit improvement.
Business owners are reluctant to explore alternative Pricing options for fear of losing customers to competitors. However, enormous gains can be achieved through the implementation of Pricing Strategies that do not necessitate an increase in price.
In the Pricing for Profit module you will learn that the pricing strategies adopted by successful large companies have application for businesses of any size.
Pricing for Profit
Work First on the Areas of Greatest Impact
When you evaluate the performance of your business against the criteria we give you it is likely you will have an extensive list of improvements that could be made. It is not our intention for you to address all of those areas in a few weeks or even a few months.
Together we will prioritise actions so that you work first on those areas that have the greatest impact on profitability.
Each month you will rate the performance of your business, from 1 to 5, in 29 areas grouped within 9 categories that include: work skills & quality; customer service; planning & control; financial management; marketing; & people development.
Our pricing reflects the value we offer customers
9 Categories of development
One of the templates you will use in this program is the business health checklist. Each month we will focus on 1 or perhaps 2 areas that you have judged require improvement. Eventually you will work your way through the list, this may take a year or 2, but every improvement will help your bottom line profitability and cash flow.
Work Skills and Quality
Keeping up to date with relevant technology
Training and Staff development
We offer customers a range of prices
We clearly communicate the value we provide
Imagine that each of the 9 categories are the spoke of a wheel.
A “1″ rating puts you near the centre of the wheel, a “5″ puts you on the tyre.
The plan should be to even out the wheel in the first instance, and then gradually make the wheel larger.
It is All About Results
This is not a one size fits all service. Every business is different and therefore the business development process will vary from business to business.nnThe first thing we will do is work together to identifying your desired results. For most business owners this will be generating more profit and cash flow and perhaps spending more time away from the business. We will calculate the gap between your existing level of performance and what you would like to be achieving, and set a plan that includes the specific actions required to bridge the gap.
The planning process outlined above will determine the relative priority to be given to the assignments to be undertaken. In determining the priority we focus on areas we expect will have the greatest impact on performance, once again this will vary from business to business.nnAt the completion of each module you will evaluate the outcomes achieved and together we will determine the next priority. Over the course of the year it is likely we will work in a number of key areas outlined below. Experience tell us these are the areas a business must excel in, in order to reach full potential.
Identifying Your Customers Needs & Frustrations
Profit is the consequence of satisfying the needs of your customers better than your competitors do, while maintaining prices above the industry average. The secret to charging premium prices, relative to your competitors, is to understand the frustrations customers experience in dealing with your industry, and then remove the frustration.
You will use systems to gather first hand feedback from your customers as to their likes, dislikes, and their needs. Your team will learn the the importance of customer service and of the need to pay more than just lip service to customer service standards. Together with your team you will build a customer service strategy that defines how your business will interact with its customers at every point of customer contact, before the sale or service delivery, during the sales process, and after the sale or service delivery.nnThe customer service system will require the establishment of performance standards that everyone must adhere to and include a measurement process that will provide regular feedback about how the team is performing relative to the standards that have been established.
Measure What Matters
Do you currently know the score? Imagine this…
You are the coach of the football team, it is half time and your job is to ensure the important victory is secured. You turn to your assistant and ask “What’s the score?”
“Not sure boss” is the reply “nobody has been keeping it”
So what will you do, make changes or ask the team to keep doing the same thing? With no knowledge of how strategies were working for you in the first half the decision comes down to a guess.
Most small business owners do not keep track of the score, and therefore many of the decisions made are guesses. There is a much better way to manage a business. Small businesses should be managed in the same way successful larger business are run.
Every small business owner should be able to answer all of the following questions. How many can you answer?
If you are like most business owners you would be able to answer very few of these questions. You are also probably thinking it would involve an enormous effort to establish systems that would allow you to get the information to answer the questions. It does not!
When you successfully complete the Measure What Matters module of the Build a Better Business program you will have all this information and more your fingertips, and profitability will increase as a direct result.
How to Find Good People
“The biggest problem with my business is that I just can’t find enough good people.” We hear this all the time. But some businesses can attract good people. What is their secret? There is no secret. Good people are found in every organisation where there are good leaders, and where managers spend more time looking for the things people are doing right, rather than criticising them for the mistakes that are made.
We will deliver the tools, resources, and the training to change the mindset of leaders in your business. These will include systems that will make it easy for you to effectively delegate tasks to others; systems that will tell you instantly whether or not an employee understood the instructions they were given; systems that make implementing regular employee appraisals and feedback a breeze.
Say Goodbye to C & D Class Customers
Most business owners understand that some customers are more profitable than others, however, very few business owners have the strength to knock back work. There is a belief that any sales revenue is a good thing. This is not the case. If you are busy, but do not seem to be getting ahead, it is probably time to have a close look at the customers you are working with.
The sales and marketing modules of the Build a Better Business program are designed to provide a steady stream of A class customers for those businesses that require more sales, and an opportunity for businesses that have too much work, to replace their poor performing customers. When you have a steady stream of new customers approaching your business it is a lot easier to say no to those customers that do not appreciate the value you deliver.
Your Accountant Will Be Thrilled
Imagine that, an excited accountant!
When you join Build a Better Business your business will improve and you will become a better client, that is why your accountant will be thrilled. Better clients pay more in fees because there are more projects to do.
There will be budgets to prepare and quarterly reports will be required to track performance against the budgets. Because you will be making more profit there will be the need for tax planning and you will need advice on where and when to invest the surplus profit.