The end of the financial year is an exciting time and a time to introduce fresh new business ideas as well as implement well-tested, but perhaps forgotten, sound business management principles.
As it comes closer, there is no better time to think strategically about where to take the business.
Innovative ideas are great, what follows is the difficult task of deciding what to implement and how this will impact the success of the business.
Business owners should review where the business currently sits, the success of the previous financial year, any failings that may have occurred both in financial and general business terms and use that information to help shape the objectives for the year ahead.
Forging ahead with the same processes from the previous year will not necessarily mean the company will triumph. In fact, without new strategies and smart decisions to roll these out, your business will likely suffer and your competitors can take your place.
Make the following smart decisions for a successful and profitable 2014-15:
1. Invest in your staff… their strength is your strength!
I have always known this but only recently formalised this policy. When conducting performance reviews, every employee or contractor should be assigned an investment for the financial year ahead into their professional development that will be paid for by the company. The investment should depend on each individual staff member’s position.
Implement individual professional development plans for all staff depending on what skills they need to improve. As an RTO (Registered Training Organisation), we allocate one day every six weeks as a PD (professional development) day, and an entire week three times a year.
Does it cost? Absolutely! Does it return? More than you can imagine.
2. Re-evaluate your marketing dollar… move with the times
Having been in business for 20 years, it was very difficult for me to embrace social media. I was forced to throw everything I knew about marketing out the door and trust new mediums of marketing. My business, The Australasian College Broadway, was the first training institution that built a social media command centre in our industry.
As a business owner, you will regularly be challenged to re-educate yourself and learn new ways to market your company, yourself and get your key messages across to the right people. It is tough to draw a line through some of the tried and tested marketing channels you are currently using to switch to a new frontier. But it is worth it. Having access to immediate statistics confirming how many people have viewed your website, engaged with your brand and shared this with their networks, is an incredible asset.
It takes courage and in the beginning, it’s like speaking a new language, but it’s the only way. And it’s never as scary as you imagine it to be.
3. Commit to improve communications in your company
No matter what size your business is, big or small; everyone can improve on internal communications with staff.
Achieving vertical integration is easy, everybody knows this intuitively. But horizontal integration across the disciplines is a major challenge for even the sharpest CEO. You can put all the policies in place, but at the end of the day, it’s about the process and establishing the culture throughout the company.
Make the commitment to improving communication internally. Start with a survey asking your staff how they believe this can be improved for the company. You’ll be surprised at the responses and this will provide a strong framework to compiling core processes that will develop and improve communication.
4. Fine tune your profits… improve your income by a minimum of 10%
Business owners tend to spend the majority of their time on chasing the sales, closing the deals and increasing income. But how many have closely inspected expenditure? I’m not talking about slash and burn, but rather, working smarter.
Use the new financial year as an opportunity to investigate where your expenditure is going and make the decision to buy better, stop wastage, make managers responsible to assist in clawing back 10% without compromising on quality. Look at optimising profits as much as you do minimising losses.
5. Make this the financial year to look after you!
Without your health, you are useless to the company. We look after our business, our cars, our gardens, we entertain and look after guests but when it comes to ‘us’ we suddenly do not have the time. Make the time! Make the decision to change your diet, get some exercise, join a class.
Whatever it is that will positively impact your physical and mental health and wellbeing. If you don’t, you won’t be around in good health to enjoy the success you accomplish.
Sustaining a business model without innovation and change can be incredibly damaging. Use the end of the financial year as an opportunity to plan ahead and compose resolutions about the future of your company. Make the decisions and implement them from July 1st.
About the Author
Maureen Houssein-Mustafa OAM, is the Founder and Chairman of The Australasian College Broadway. The College is considered to be the benchmark college in Australia for hair, beauty and make-up and is a highly awarded and recognised centre for learning and educational excellence. Visit www.tac.edu.au for more information.