What is your cash target?

What is your cash target?

Rising input costs are biting into cashflow for many businesses and, as we know, if the cash dries up, other problems follow thick and fast. How we manage our cashflow in tough times is a challenging question for business owners but – as with most things – a good plan can get you on the right track.

If you’re looking to improve your cash position have you thought about how you can take stock of your products and services and focus on areas you can improve?

With this in mind, do you have in place?

  1. A cash target i.e. two months of core capital, (two months of Labour & Operating expenses)?
  2. Processes to improve cash on hand (see some ideas below)?
  3. Regular Forecasting, to predict future Profit and Cash positions?

Cash flow management goes hand-and-hand with business management. If you’re looking to improve cash in your business try the following suggestions;

  1. Focus on it – without cash, you fail!
  2. Look for ways to constantly improve your business.
  3. Shorten the cash cycles (the time period between when a business pays cash to its suppliers for inventory and receives cash from its customers). In other words, speed things up.

Following is a list of suggestions that could improve cash in your business. See which ones might work for you.

  • A daily Cashflow statement so you see what has come in, what has gone out, and what requires attention today
  • Adjust your billing process to ensure you aren’t missing any money owed to you and to get everything on a schedule.
  • Send friendly reminders to clients prior to deadlines.
  • Look at your terms of payment, and offer incentives for alternative methods of immediate payment (i.e. direct deposit).
  • Check for customer satisfaction as soon as jobs are completed, and send invoices immediately
  • Ask for better credit terms from key suppliers or see what expenses you can pay with a credit card (you still have to pay, but you may be holding your cash for longer)
  • If you are achieving 10%+ Net Profit over a longer-term (Rolling 12 months) your cash will be improving.
    • As inflation is rising, adjust pricing and look to improve margins and profit.
    • Ensure your Labour productivity is improving: $ of Gross Profit for every $ of Labour
  • Forecast Profit and Cash using sales and the true margins from your business
    • Rolling 12 numbers: COGS %, Direct Labour, Operating Expenses.
    • Assumptions are constantly changing so keep it updated, we suggest a re-forecast every three months and set 90 Day Goals for the next Quarter.

If you would like to improve profit and cash in your business, reach out to The Alternative Board. We offer NumerEyes reports to assess your business and work with you to achieve your Profit and Cash targets. And If you have any other ideas for improving cash in your business please let us know!

Activate Auckland

Activate Auckland

Activate Tāmaki Makaurau, the agency established to implement the Government’s support package for Auckland businesses, is now up and running.  The $60 million package designed to assist Auckland businesses through this Covid transition period enables businesses to apply for up to $3,000 for business advisory and planning support and $4,000 for the implementation and execution of that advice.

Your business can access expert advice and support in the following areas: 

  • Business Planning, Strategy and Continuity (e.g. workforce planning, risk management, new products, new markets, new opportunities, operational improvements) 
  • Financial Planning and Cashflow Management (e.g. budgeting, forecasting, scenario planning) 
  • HR and Employee Relations and Legal (e.g. people leadership, advice about attracting and retaining staff, contract law, legal requirements, COVID-19 framework guidelines) 
  • Business Hibernation or Exit (e.g. liquidation plan and succession planning advice) 
  • Marketing Advice (e.g.  marketing strategies, value proposition development) 
  • Digital Marketing (e.g. digital marketing strategy, website strategy) 
  • Digital Enablement (e.g. digital productivity, client interaction strategy, operational digitisation, cyber security)  
  • Health and Safety Advice (e.g. working within COVID-19 framework guidelines) 
  • Health and Wellbeing Advice for your business to support your workforce (e.g. to develop plans to support wellbeing and build resilience of your employees) 

To get started visit Activate Tāmaki Makaurau here.

It’s been a long, hard road for many Auckland businesses.  If your business is one of those adversely affected by the events of 2021 we’d love to assist you to get your business moving again. The Alternative Board is registered to provide both advisory and planning support and the implementation and execution of that advice under the following categories:

  • Business Planning, Strategy and Continuity
  • Financial Planning and Cashflow Management
  • Business Hibernation or Exit
  • Marketing Advice

You can contact our Auckland Facilitator/Coaches here.

What does your business plan look like now?

What does your business plan look like now?

We’ve all been learning fast this year as we’ve had to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and growing uncertainty. As we approach the end of 2020, we’ll need to bring those learnings into sharp focus as we either renew or adapt our business plans to take account of the changes we’ve collectively experienced this year.

Take supply chain management. Many of our business owners have started to experience disruption in this area so our planning for 2021 needs to address the risks and issues around our supply chain, what that might mean for the business and what we need to adapt in our planning process in order to meet the challenge.

If this feels too hard, or trying to look ahead seems overwhelming, don’t be deterred.

Take a breath, follow the process step by step, asking the following questions:

  • Where do I want my business to be by the end of next year? Think about things like;
    • business structure,
    • revenue,
    • profit,
    • cash,
    • staff,
    • customer experience,
    • my role
  • What do I need to get right to make this happen? In other words, what are my top three Critical Success Factors?
  • What are my key objectives (no more than seven) for the year?
  • How will I know I am achieving this?
  • Who will hold me accountable for meeting my goals?

If you are struggling with any of these questions, talk to us. We’ll bring you together with a board of other business owners who want to help you to get this right and achieve your goals.

We’ve Done It Before – We Can Do It Again

We’ve Done It Before – We Can Do It Again

A sudden slip into Alert Level Three, the blast of the emergency ‘COVID’ warning through our phones and once again we’re into the balancing act of keeping our businesses moving in exceptional circumstances.

Last month our Pulse Check results told us how adaptable and flexible New Zealand’s small business are, with business owners altering operations and changing practice in order to survive the challenges that 2020 has thrown at us all. Just as we have rolled out our August Pulse Check – which you can access here if you would like to participate – the beat has changed again and, in Auckland, we are facing at least three days at Level 3, probably more, with the rest of New Zealand parked up at Level 2 for the time being.

We asked our Auckland team for their thoughts on the current situation and their advice was simple — we’ve been here before, rely on past experience and know that it will pass.

The Alternative Board’s managing director Stephen James said: “Knowing it will pass, spend some time addressing a few scenarios. For example, if Level 3 lasts, as announced, for three days what do you need to do? Or, if it remains in place for two weeks or if Level 4 is declared and we have full lockdown for an indefinite period — what then? Develop plans of action for each scenario and communicate these to your staff and stakeholders.”

Scenarios are very helpful when it comes to managing uncertainty as Alfredo Puche explained in his recent blog post. Other helpful advice is to be found in Gordon Stuart’s tips on surviving a recession and Karen Van Eden’s thought-provoking piece on thriving in times of uncertainty.

Whatever your approach, remember that The Alternative Board is here to help you, the business owner, manage and grow your business regardless of circumstances — and we are all here, ready to help you.

As Karen says: “We’ve done this before – together we can do it again. Stay safe, stay well.”

Minimum 3, Maximum 7 (Optimum 5)

Minimum 3, Maximum 7 (Optimum 5)

A big frustration for many people is having too many things on their lists or, alternatively, not thinking they have enough options when faced with a problem.

Think about “Minimum Three, Maximum Seven, Optimum Five”.

This is a great rule to keep things simple, make better decisions and assist with planning for business or personal issues. The key is to force your thinking to come up with at least three or more items on any list you prepare (minimum three), and to limit the list to no more than seven (maximum seven).  The optimum number is five.  This rule can be used in many facets of our everyday lives, and helps to clarify thinking, and make decision making easier.  Start looking around
and I am sure you will see it in practice, and many places where it can be applied.

If you have an issue that needs to get sorted and you can only think of one or two solutions, keep thinking until you have at least three.  If you are brainstorming and have created a list of ideas or options that is very long, go through and prioritise the list.  Often, as you are prioritising, you will see that some of the options are really just hybrids of each other.  Reword and shrink your list down to maximum seven.  Some items may become part of others within your list.  The end result of this is a very manageable and focused list of three-seven items.  Five is the most manageable number, and often gives the best results in terms of being most effective with resources available.

Extensions of this rule are everywhere.

• How many staff do you manage (effectively)?
• How many projects are you running (successfully) at one time?
• How many (quality) meetings did you have today?
• How many (important) customers/clients do you have that you manage very well?
• How many (profi table) products / services / divisions does your company have?

Look for the three-seven rule in your business.  It may help you solve issues in a way that you just haven’t used before.

The Alternative Board - OwnersAuckland East