Regardless of which sector you work in, no small business is immune to challenges. The hospitality industry is also facing problems as the issues surrounding food imports worsen since the pound grows weaker. Even in the creative and tech industries, where the business potential is lucrative, keeping track of clients creates a considerable amount of administration that most SMEs may not be equipped to deal with.
If not appropriately managed, these problems can suck up money and resources, and distract you from tasks that are more important in fuelling business growth. Finding the solutions to these problems may give you a headache but building your business back up can be immensely satisfying, not to mention rewarding.
At Berley, we’ve worked with many businesses facing financial challenges, meaning we know a thing or two about growing a business through the rough patches. Here are a few of our business hacks you can use to turn things around when the problems are building up.
Be clear about your plans
You’ll need multiple plans for every aspect of your business, like marketing, sales and operations. Your future vision needs to be crystal clear so that every party involved with your business – from the management to the investors – will know what to expect and how they fit in. There are numerous simple tools to get you started – for example when writing a business plan you can use the SWOT analysis:
- S – look for the strengths of your business that distinguish it from competitors
- W – do the same for your weaknesses and consider what you could improve
- O – spot your opportunities, like new policies or trends that could work in your favour
- T – think about the threats, like competitors, your financial situation and any other obstacles
Other acronym models you can look to for help to get started are PEST (looking at Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors) or PESTLE (add Legal and Environmental factors to the previous list).
Honesty is the best policy
It might be a touchy subject, but if you’re facing a challenging situation with those involved in your business, then let them know. You’re far more likely to have a genuine discussion that can move your company forward if you openly discuss the problem. Allowing it to continue will only leave your employees and management board feeling disgruntled. They’re part of the vision too and letting them have their voice may bring new ideas to the table. Remember, the most creative idea can come from the least expected source.
Optimise and re-engineer
If something’s outdated, drop it. Don’t hold on to relics from the past just because everyone is comfortable with them. Look into researching new and efficient alternatives. The market doesn’t stay still, and if you want to remain a competitor, you can’t afford to stand still either. For example, if your business is data heavy, try replacing good-old spreadsheets with a central database. It allows for more effective collaboration, better access to information, improved version control and more sophisticated reporting, leaving you wondering why you didn’t make the switch earlier.
Cut the costs
Even small measures can add up to make a difference, and they are often practical measures that can be easily done. For example, switching to double paned windows or tightening seals around old ones can save you money on heating and air conditioning. Allowing your staff to work from home can lower your office costs as only a few staff need to be onsite. Not all of these measures will be obvious though: it’s all about escaping the cage of conventional methods and using lateral thinking. The best way to find places to save money is by looking through audits at the end of the year. Our audit service can allow you to pinpoint and block the holes that money is leaking through.
Find some food for thought
Some entrepreneurs have jumped on Oded Shenkar’s idea of innovating through imitation (Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge). Others found inspiration in Cal Newport’s deep work concept (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World) to improve their business’ efficiency and rid themselves of distractions. There are many entrepreneurs out there looking for answers, and it’s likely there’s an innovative thinker (or a TED talk) that’ll have an impact on you, so get on reading (or listening). Inspiration can come from any source, so don’t be afraid to see what others are saying and interpret it your way.
Hire entrepreneurs accountants
As chartered accountants for small businesses in London, Berley works with a variety of clients in specialised industries, in various stages of growth. Whether you’re a start-up or are already established and considering growing your business organically or via mergers or acquisitions, we will have the experience and advice you need. We’ll help you find the business growth strategy that’s right for you.
To let us show you the way, get in touch on 020 7788 8261 or fill out our Online Form.
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