Author: TechOne

Guarantees

Guarantees

Jan 17, 2020     |     1 min read

A guarantee shows clients and potential clients that you believe in your abilities and the quality of your work. Whether it is a time or a cost pledge make sure

it is something you can honour, because the cost of failure or even perceived failure can be disastrous with unseen knock-on effects, whether in poor reviews or a loudmouthed customer out to get even.

Setting out in writing exactly what is and more crucially, what is not covered, is important. It’s a higher risk but it sends a strong message.

Recent Posts

Questioning clients

Questioning clients

Jan 10, 2021     |     1 min read

The best way to understand a client’s business is to ask questions about it. The more you show interest the stronger your relationship will be and the more you can offer your client to strengthen their business. People like to talk about themselves and appreciate others showing interest. Just read the famous best-seller by Dale Carnegie – ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’ . A good working relationship with a personal touch also makes it harder for clients to walk away if there are bumps in the road, which are inevitable in business. Strong bonds don’t break easily and allow for open dialogue.

Recent Posts

Judging your clients and customers

Judging your clients and customers

Nov 20, 2020     |     2 min read

Nobody should feel comfortable about making judgments on others but if you want an efficient operation that avoids headaches that are disproportionate to the rewards, there can come a time when some clients may have to be gently and diplomatically jettisoned. You’ll find that 20% of your customers take up 80% of your time but within this cohort there will be a really small hard core that make your life a misery. Be careful how you get rid of them as you don’t want bad publicity or poor feedback ratings.

Recent Posts

Know your strengths and leverage them

Know your strengths and leverage them

Dec 27, 2020     |     1 min read

Many businesses have gained expertise in a particular sector within a trade such as IT or component supplies or food. You need to recognise this and use it to your

advantage. This could mean pitching to that single sector so that you become the destination for all relevant local or national traders in that type of business. Or it could entail going out to educate the trade about specific matters affecting them, thus attracting new clients.

Recent Posts

Overworking

Overworking

Dec 20, 2020     |     1 min read

Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of working too hard for too little return. Many small business owners work hard instead of working smart. Usually the culprit is the wrong type of client, under investment in support staff and technology or a market that has moved on faster than you have. If you’re stuck in the rut an urgent practice review is essential. Don’t mistake hard this for the hard work it takes to build up a business – that hasn’t changed, just be aware that after a point if you are not seeing returns you need to stop and take stock of the situation, possibly with a mentor or professional adviser.

Recent Posts

What sort of image do you project?

What sort of image do you project?

Dec 15, 2020     |     1 min read

The image you project is important and it has to match what your customers would expect. If you want the world to see that you offer a superior service then a recent model of executive car parked outside your office is just the ticket as it exudes success and people like to associate with success. Likewise,if you are pitching to high value clients you’ll need office décor and a wardrobe to suit.

These things are of course subjective and in some cultures or industries money spent on luxury items cuts no mustard with customers but the main point is that you need to consider how you look to somebody who may not know you and will make the judgment partly based on what they see – it’s human nature. At the very least a clean and tidy office and clean fresh clothes could make all difference to converting a prospect or losing them. Similarly, take care with timekeeping – people do not like to be kept waiting and it tells people you are sloppy.

Recent Posts

Keep your word – keep your customers

Keep your word – keep your customers

Dec 13, 2020     |     1 min read

There are few things more frustrating for clients or customers than

promising to “call back in a few minutes” and not doing so until the next morning, or telling them you’ll dispatch a replacement immediately but you don’t.

It sends a message to the client that they are not important enough to

warrant your attention. If something crops up in the interim send them a message that you haven’t forgotten. It’s attention to such detail that creates customers for life.

Recent Posts

Everything to everyone

Everything to everyone

Dec 11, 2020     |     1 min read

This is something that many small businesses strive to be and usually it is a hindrance to the firm’s development. Unless you have dedicated staff and departments dealing with different customer types it is not achievable without damaging growth. The best way to attract business is often being very good at a narrow range of products or services, especially early on as the business develops. Later on it may be feasible to develop your offering once you are established and have a reputation.

You cannot be all things to all people – you need to choose the type of client or customer you want and focus on them. Some accountants will make a great living out of only completing tax returns perhaps with a national footprint, whereas others may prosper by only taking on clients from a particular industry. There are IT firms that specialise in solving certain types of problems or motor traders that focus on a few models or a certain price range.

Recent Posts

Action plan to grow your business

Action plan to grow your business

Nov 9, 2020     |     1 min read

Like any business you need to review every aspect of your operation as part of drawing up a plan of action. This will highlight the areas to focus on allowing you to concentrate on what needs fixing most urgently or bringing to your attention the areas that need developed first in order to allow other benefits to flow.

Remember, you cannot do everything at once and without a plan of action you’ll rapidly find that you’re still crouched on the starting block, wondering where to start. It is likely to change as the facts on the ground change but don’t be discouraged. Tweak and change as you feel appropriate but make sure you give changes proper thought and ask yourself why a change is necessary.It could simply be because you haven’t tried properly to implement your plan.

As the saying goes, no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, but you still need something to start with to focus your mind.

Recent Posts

Why is there always a cash shortage in my business?

Why is there always a cash shortage in my business?

Dec 7, 2020     |     3 min read

Business owners have a tendency to focus on sales – the top line. A busy shop or plenty of orders rolling in from the website and they are happy campers. Accountants focus on the bottom line – in other words whether the operation is profitable and viable, measured in particular by cash, which they will all tell you (it’s lesson #1 in accountancy school) is the lifeblood of a business.

In a nutshell – if it is profitable there should be a nice cash surplus building up and if it is not profitable the money will soon dry up, if it hasn’t started to do so already. It may be profitable but the cash is leaking out elsewhere under your very nose without realising it.

It’s important to remember that just because you buy for £1 and sell for £3 you are not on the road to becoming a tycoon. Far from it, you need to look at what happens between the £2 profit that is putting a smile on your face and the stark reality that your bank overdraft is at its limit and there’s no money for you to pay the staff or even yourself.

The money is going on overheads, in other words the costs of opening up in the morning without making any sales, or even costs associated with sales such as delivery to your customers or paying the people who make your business happen – the staff. In short it is an indicator that your operation may not be viable because however much you sell the gross profit (selling price less the cost of buying or manufacturing the goods ) is simply not enough to cover your other business costs.

If you have truly shaved all other costs to the bone the solution may lie in increased productivity or standing back and examining how to tweak your processes to really squeeze out savings you would not have ordinarily thought of, usually through enhanced productivity or efficiency. Very often a business can find a way to reduce a particular cost by a few pennies an item but if they process many thousands of items a year it soon mounts up to a very lot.

In one of my businesses we reduced the weight of each customer’s package by 2 grams by taking out a sheet of paper and replacing it by copying onto both sides of another sheet. Savings per package were 30 pence as it dropped a band on the postal charge scale and we were sending many thousands of these items a year. Small action, big saving.

When your back is to the wall is usually when you become most creative, although it may take the input of an outsider to ask you simple questions that you have overlooked simply due to your familiarity and closeness to the situation.

For some businesses even though are they are trading profitably there is still a lack of money at the end of each month. This indicates that there may be too much debt being serviced, perhaps on a loan taken out to finance the business in the early days or simply because you are paying yourself too much!

Keeping your stock levels too high is another reason why the business is lacking funds. You’ve spent it all on buying more and more stock without realising that you are buying rubbish or keeping too wide a range or depth of items in order to please every customer. Your profits are sitting on a warehouse shelf. It’s solvable but often simply gets worse and worse due to flawed or non-existent stock control.

If you find yourself having to regularly pump in savings, borrow privately or worse still borrow from the bank against your home it is more often than not fatal for your business and catastrophic for your financial future. It takes a lot of guts to quit but better sooner than later once the writing is on the wall.

Yes, there are people who risked everything to keep going and made millions. Have you ever met one of them? Do you have the nerves of steel and a compelling business reason to plough on regardless?

The dashboard warning light is on – ignore at your peril. Talk to your accountant and take action!

Recent Posts