The Business Advisory Blog

The Business Advisory Blog

Insight, news and updates from Alliott NZ Chartered Accountants, Auckland New Zealand. The views expressed here are the views of the author and should be discussed in further detail should an article be relevant to your individual circumstances.

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.

Vanessa Williams
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Want different results?

Considered a mentor to guide you in the right direction?

consultant-584Each new financial year is a common time for people to reconsider their approach to their business. For Alliotts' clients, it’s no different.

Whenever we meet a business owner, we like to ask about their business model and what they are looking to achieve in the next three years. It’s rare that we're provided with a concise response that inspires confidence that they have a solid plan and know how to implement it.

In our view, there are seven core areas that must be ticking along nicely for your business to thrive. They are:

  1. Cash management – ensuring your cash flow and debtors are under control. As a guide, you should be aiming to minimise debtor days. This is so far away from the current situation for many that they scoff at this metric in disbelief but with a focused plan, some guidance and accountability it can be done surprisingly quickly.
  2. Pricing – to better serve your customers AND to incentivise your team to be super efficient, you need to have a structured pricing strategy in place. That way, you’ll maximise profitability, customer service and create capacity to offer your customers new, relevant products or services.
  3. Workflow management – every business needs a solid, step-by-step approach to managing workflow, with the right people in your business doing the right things. Your workflow management process should systematically include steps to help you identify and better serve your customers and should include daily accountability and a whole of team focus.
  4. People development – to thrive, you need the A Team. You need a championship team, not a team of champions. The owners of the business need the skills to successfully inspire and lead the team to overachieve your business goals.
  5. Customer service – every business needs a customer service strategy. Few have one. Existing customers are too often neglected. This is extraordinarily dangerous in this era of cloud computing, where customers have the ability to be much more transient. Your customers need your help and guidance more than ever, but what’s your plan for understanding what their needs are, then addressing those needs with a consummate straegy?
  6. Sales – with training and systems and processes that enable your team to sell by the numbers, it’s less frightening than you and they might think.
  7. Marketing – this is a real grey area for businesses wishing to grow. Too much time is spent on branding and nowhere near enough on lead generation. A modern business needs a solid marketing plan for both existing and new customers, with leveraged, technology-driven tools to support the plan.

The beauty of working with a business mentor is leaning on someone who has been there, done that.

A mentor can provide guidance, offer advice, answer questions in detail based on recent, relevant experience and give you an edge that only a high performer in your network can offer. It’s a unique opportunity and one we wholeheartedly recommend you embrace.

Whether or not working with a mentor is something of interest to you, let us give you some key questions to ask yourself for implementing and getting results in your own business. If you want to affect change, try this approach:

  • Ask yourself, which dimension of the business is this project aimed at? (For example, increasing the number of customers, increasing average transaction value, improving margins, etc) – hint, if it impacts none of your key numbers, why are you doing it?
  • Specifically WHY do you feel this project is important?
  • Who is going to be accountable for the delivery of the project?
  • By when will it be implemented?
  • What goals will be achieved by implementing this project?
  • How will you measure progress and outcomes in respect of this project?

Of course, you will get better AND faster results with a mentor to guide you, as the missing link here is the detail that makes the strategy really hum. And that detail can only be provided by someone who has done it before you.

Plus Alliott NZ are part of Panalitix and Alliott Group, ranked 13th by leading professional publication Accountancy Age in 2015 league table of International Associations and Alliances, which means we have global resources on tap which we can pare back to a local level.

We hope you’ll resolve to do something different in 2015 and take a good look at the opportunity ahead of you, with our help. Call Alliotts in Auckland on 09 520 9200 if you'd like to bounce the idea of a business mentor off us.
Thanks, too, to Colin Dunn at Panalitix for his guidance and insight on this article.

Topics: cash flow customer experience debtors marketing mentor Pricing sales team work in progress