Starting, managing and growing your business will likely be one of the toughest challenges you’ll ever face. But the rewards are clear. Financially, and if all goes to plan, for your lifestyle. Here are some tips, tools and ideas to help you strategically consider your day-to-day cash flow and your goals for future growth.
1. Fine Tune Your Business Plan
Don’t underrate it: your business plan is the most important tool you have in the early days. It’s your business case to secure finance backing, investors, employees and gauge milestones.
• To help you get started, Bankwest has a number of handy start-up tools, including a small business plan template, financial forecast template, and a pros/cons breakdown of the structure your business might take: sole trader, partnership, company or trust.
Set a day aside to clarify what you want your business to achieve. Be self-critical and play devil’s advocate – you need more than a great idea, you need a cash flow model. You also need to plan for what your business may yet become. Be sure to address your weaknesses and identify new opportunities as you go, and revisit your business plan every three to six months.
2. Navigate The Red Tape
As ever in life, there are legal formalities that must be addressed when getting your business off the ground. From registering the business name, applying for licenses and checking for trademarks to managing your tax/super obligations to finding the best insurance and banking options. Exhausted yet?
• Thankfully, here’s a great red tape checklist for starting a business. Starting a business is exciting, but it’s important that you haven’t forgotten anything.
3. Manage Your Cash Flow
Cash flow is the pulse of your business, so of course you’ll be monitoring it closely. Further, you should also actively look for ways to improve your marginal cash flow and cash cycle.
• Bankwest has a cash flow improvement calculator for just this purpose.
• In addition, this cash flow forecaster will help identify running costs and how much money you’ll need to stay in business all year. Factor in seasonality, look for weaknesses in cash flow, and pay invoices on time.
4. Stand Out From The Competition
Marketing your business can be quite creatively rewarding. You might use physical signs and banners to email newsletters or Facebook — and everything in between.
Invest time to really get to know and understand your customers and how you can give them more of what they want. Supporting your community and fostering word of mouth should never be underrated, but neither should direct marketing methods like emails and texts – especially if you’re providing exclusive offers. Consider loyalty programs. And never forget the up-sell.
• How will you get your business noticed? This marketing plan template will help you brainstorm effectively.
5. Plan For Growth
What direction do you want to take your business? It’s important to plan ahead and form a clear picture of what you want to achieve.
• Of course, you’ll need to fund that growth. That means locking down your cash flow.
• The best businesses are also built on the best people. Your staff are your ambassadors. They’re your engine. For further reading, here are 5 ways to make the most of your employees.