- Will your business advice really help my situation?
- Why set business goals?
- Is business planning important?
- How do I start a business?
- What is a feasibility study?
- Do I need a business strategy and what difference will it make?
- What level of financial management do I need in my business?
- How do I sell a business?
- Is good business management the key to my success?
- What is an Aboriginal Employment Strategy?
Will your business advice really help my situation?
Most business owners are caught up in the day to day running of their business and find it hard to step back and view their situation objectively. The real value of engaging a business consultant is that they are able to come into your business with a fresh and independent perspective to see what is working and what’s not working so well. Acuro’s business consultants have the expertise to help you analyse and restructure your operations so that you are more efficient, have more money and are less stressed in life. We work with you to develop a plan of action to address any issues and provide an upfront quotation which enables you to budget for the services you require as cashflow permits.
Why set business goals?
Setting goals provides focus. It helps you to be clear about what you ultimately want to achieve in your business. Each goal is a step towards that final outcome. Goals should always be clear and concise with measurable outcomes. At Acuro we encourage our clients to set reasonable goals which they have some chance of achieving. There’s no point setting the bar too high only to feel bad when you don’t reach it. It is far better to set realistic goals and reward people when they hit the mark. It is also wise to monitor how well your business is tracking with each goal so that any interventions can be made if required.
The types of goals you set will depend on where you are in the lifecycle of your business. Early on, goals are focused on establishing systems and promoting the brand to potential customers. Later on, goals tend to shift towards productivity improvements and expansion as the business matures. Goals can even cover the final stages of a business owner’s involvement as they prepare to sell or retire. Whatever stage you are at, Acuro is ready to help you set the right goals to ensure your ultimate success in business.
Is business planning important?
In the same way that setting goals is important, business planning helps you to clearly define the direction your business should take. A good business plan is like a road map to success. It shows you the way forward and flags important milestones on that journey. Business planning is essentially a process that reveals more about your business and provides you with valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses. It focuses you on your market and customers so that you really understand what they require from your business. It helps management to allocate resources where they will be required and gives your entire team a clear picture of where the business is heading.
Often, business plans are frowned upon as useless documents with too many pages that are completed and then quickly shelved. Acuro takes a 21st Century approach to business planning in that we tell the story of your business. We develop an interesting and engaging “future story” that is simple and easily understood by the business owner, their managers and employees. Our business plans are concise and get to the point. We use visual communication to summarise our research and show you where the opportunities really are to develop and grow your business. You can see this business planning process in action in the diagram entitled Our Work Process.
How do I start a business?
Starting a business requires careful planning to ensure you have a fighting chance at launching your business and being successful. A good starting point would be to work through Acuro’s list of business essentials:
- Conduct a feasibility study to ascertain if your business concept is financially viable.
- Develop a business plan to set goals and map out how the business will operate.
- Formulate an action plan that will keep you on track to achieving your goals and guide the implementation of the business plan strategies.
Launching a new business is a complex process with many detailed tasks needing to be completed. Make the process simpler by talking to Acuro about planning services that define your goals and help you achieve your business aspirations.
What is a feasibility study?
How many people really take the time to plan their entry into business? The strange reality is that more than half of potential business owners do not adequately plan ahead. As a result many fail in their first year of operation. To avoid this fate a feasibility study should always be the first task a potential business owner considers. Acuro works with clients to assess a range of factors to determine viability, these include:
- Market opportunities and barriers;
- Competition in the market;
- Financial profitability and cashflow;
- Capacity of business owners, management and employees;
- Operations and logistics required to run the business successfully.
Taking the time to conduct a feasibility study helps you to become more knowledgeable about your proposed business and the industry in which it will operate. It enables you to make an informed decision about whether to invest time and resources into the business you are proposing to launch.
Do I need a business strategy and what difference will it make?
Business owners invariably get caught up in the day to day running of their business. This makes it easy for them to be distracted from what they are trying to achieve. A good business strategy should refocus them back onto the goals they have set for the business. It indicates where resources should be allocated and gives clarity to decision making so business owners know exactly which customers to chase or projects to accept.
A business strategy doesn’t have to complex. It can be a simple one page diagram showing where the business wants to be and how it will get there. The benefit of using a business strategy is that everyone in the business can see the way forward and will be working in a focused way towards that target. Ultimately a good business strategy adds efficiency and profitability to a business.
What level of financial management do I need in my business?
Depending on the size of your business the requirements for financial management will vary but there are some basics which need to be in place. These include:
- Computerised accounting system suited to business needs;
- Operating budget for each financial year;
- Monthly profit reporting against the budget;
- Cashflow management tool;
- Processes and procedures to manage financial matters e.g. debtors and creditors;
- Systems to meet statutory obligations e.g. Tax, BAS, GST and Superannuation;
Having these financial management tools in place will allow you to monitor the overall performance of your business and meet your obligations to external agencies such as the ATO and banks. Sound financial management allows you to make informed decisions on the strategic position of the business. Acuro have developed a range of tools to help you oversee the financial management requirements of your business. These free tools can be found at https://www.acuro.com.au/toolstips/free-tools/
How to sell a business?
Ideally, preparing a business for sale should form part of a strategic planning process. This will allow time to adequately restructure the business operations to ensure you maximise the sale value. This would include implementing strategies to:
- Reduce costs;
- Increase sales;
- Show growth;
- Maximise profit.
Another important consideration is whether to advertise the sale independently or through a business broker. A business broker will facilitate the sale process and charge a commission of roughly 10-12% for this service. Selling privately will reduce this cost but the onus will be on you to manage the sale process which can be time consuming and has the potential to distract you from the ongoing business operations.
Obtaining sound legal advice is recommended to ensure your interests are adequately covered in the contractual process. Contract clauses to discuss with your solicitor may include:
- Due diligence;
- Non-competition of seller for designated time period and region;
- Seller’s involvement post sale including timeframe;
- Transfer of IP and Rights.
It will also be essential to ensure all financial records are up to date and accurate in order to facilitate the due diligence process involved in meeting the contractual obligations of the sale. Consider talking with your accountant about tax planning in relation to sale proceeds and start planning the next stage of your life by discussing investment options with a financial planner.
Is good business management the key to my success?
Like all things in life, “success almost never comes to those who haven’t worked for it”.
No one can guarantee your success in business but experience has shown that good business management practices are ultimately the best way to achieve your goals.
To facilitate improved business management Acuro works with businesses to identify areas of weakness, such as:
- Time management
- Personnel management
- Financial management including cashflow
- Sales and Marketing
- Resource allocation
- Growth opportunities
Acuro then develops a mentoring plan for relevant personnel to provide structured training which builds skills and knowledge to overcome any weaknesses. This process is beneficial to the business overall as it demonstrates commitment to employee development and greatly improves efficiency by enabling employees to make better decisions at crucial times.
Measuring the success of your business management strategy depends on setting business objectives with measurable outcomes. For example: meeting project deadlines, achieving sales targets, reduced sick days, improved production output. These outcomes are then assessed at regular intervals to track progress and allow poor performance to be managed.
What is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy?
Evidence tells us that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are much more likely to be disadvantaged in relation to health, education, housing and economic participation outcomes than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. In 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) ‘Closing the Gap Policy’ committed to the long term goal:
To halve the gap in disadvantage between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians within a decade. A combination of strategies and policy support is needed to halve disadvantage amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through government, non-government and corporate funding and support, and initiatives targeting specific areas of disadvantage.
The ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative is aimed at tackling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage in specific areas including employment and economic participation. Government and non-government agencies, businesses and communities are looking at successful ways to employ, develop and retain an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce. Acuro has considerable expertise in the development of such employment strategies as our case studies show. https://www.acuro.com.au/clients/happy-clients-case-studies/royal-flying-doctor-service/
Positive changes will take place over several generations and will see communities and Australian society enriched through the social and economic benefits it brings. The development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment strategies are an important pathway towards reconciliation that will require the vision and commitment of all stakeholders to build the partnerships, skills and capacity needed to create a workforce that reflects the full diversity of our communities. This work is occurring across Australia and will succeed where genuine investment and sustained commitment is made over time.