It’s the most wonderful time of the year.. that’s what Michael Buble tells me anyway. For some though December starts with a party and descends in to panic. There is just so much to get done with presents, parties, food shopping, relatives to visit and not forgetting to borrow the deckchair from next door to seat Auntie Mabel at the dinner table. Imagine you achieve all that and then you sit down to dinner and you’ve forgotten the sprouts….a blessing for some but a travesty to me.
All this stress and panic can be undone with just some careful planning and even those of us who would say we are not detailed planners end up with some kind of strategy to achieve all that December throws at us.
So if we do this in our personal life why do so many business owners not devote enough time to doing this for their business. I often hear that people are literally too busy working to really take time out to plan. Either that or they tell me that they can pay the bills and their work life balance suits them so they are happy to let everything tick along.
Taking a few hours out to think about what you really want to achieve will bring focus to your work, how you deliver it and how you target new clients. You may be happy with the current size of your business but are you delivering the work in the most efficient way and is your pricing right. If you want to grow how will you know when you need to recruit and what is the ideal staffing structure. Alternatively, you may have won some work in a new sector and are looking to capitalise but are not sure how much you want to invest in time and money and when you should expect to see the rewards.
All these are factors to consider and by planning you won’t be fraught when circumstances change. If your business starts to grow quickly you won’t need to spend time thinking about who to recruit or where best to source materials because your plan will already be in place. As a result, you won’t buy at the wrong price or recruit the person who is available soonest rather than the right person in the long term. If business is quiet for a while you will know your cash position and what is available for the unexpected before you need to be concerned. This gives you time to act in a rational way rather than for example taking on low priced work just to bridge the gap and thus consuming your time and preventing you from getting back on track.
Ultimately planning gives you peace of mind so that you can react to what happens next without making rash decisions. It will give you direction for the year ahead and should mean you achieve the work you want at the profit you want without sacrificing your work life balance.
So if you want to chat about your plans for your business and how to achieve them then give me a call or drop me a line via the website at www.helenfleet.co.uk.
And if you tell me that you’re not a planner that you buy all your presents on Christmas Eve and it works every year well in truth that is your plan. We all need one ….
It all started with a handbag and some buttons. Twenty years ago I sat in the year end accounts review meeting of a company in Cheetham Hill that made handbags. I listened to how well the business had performed and what their plans were for the future. For a number of years I prepared accounts for a button factory near Strangeways and watched as the owner moulded his son to take over the business. I loved being in these meetings listening to the owners plans, how they had dealt with the various challenges they faced that year and planning for what was to come. I decided that this was the path for me – I wanted to be in a business as a part of it making changes, influencing decisions – I didn’t want to be on the outside looking in.
Fast forward 20 years and I’ve had the good luck to work across a variety of industries from printing to professional services. I’ve taken some tough roles where cash flow was so tight some weeks we only secured the cash to pay the weekly wages with a day to spare and others where we needed to resource quickly to meet rising demand. I’ve seen both the challenges and demands on a business under threat from recession and the equally cash consuming challenges of a growing business.
In all these roles from revenue analyst to Finance Director and many in between it’s the people who have made my job so enjoyable. I’ve loved the range of people I’ve looked after and worked with from contact centre managers, Printing floor Manager, Sales Directors and equity partners in small accountancy practices and international law firms. The challenge is understanding their level of financial knowledge and interest in the figures, the impact on them and how I can be of most help. The enjoyable part is rising to that challenge, building a relationship and helping them to improve their financial performance.
So now after almost eight years in my last role I realised I yearned for that variety again. I’ve jumped from corporate life in to being in control of my own destiny and look forward to working with different clients across different industries to help mould their financial strategy. On a recent course after an icebreaker my fellow delegate summed me up pretty well as
Helen- she works in finance and helps businesses understand where they want to get to and helps them to get there
With the experience I’ve gained over the last 21 years of working I know I can help businesses at a level that means they see me as part of their management team. I can’t wait to get started and one of the best parts is I get to do it alongside my husband who has built up his own accountancy practice over the last seven years.
So that’s me part-owner of a family business and eager to get out there and help fellow business owners be the best they can be. If this inspires you to think about what you want to do with your business then give me a call and we can meet up for a cuppa and a chat.