Business Growth Planning: 5 Tips For Small Businesses

Tips for Small Business Growth

When you think about growing your business, what does this mean to you? Is growing your business the same as seeing an increase in your income? Does business growth simply mean increasing how many sales you are obtaining?  It is critically important that you are able to understand what business growth will actually mean to you and how it can fit into the transformation of your business.

If you are interested in creating a business growth planning strategy for your small business, we encourage you to keep the following  5 tips in mind:

5 Tips for Business Growth Planning:

#1: Review the performance of your sales team. Is everyone meeting their sales goals for the month? Do not be afraid to make changes when you think they are needed.

#2:  Make sure you keep notes of everything that needs to be done on a daily basis. If you are having trouble staying on track, do not be afraid to use outsourcing.

#3:  Try to obtain better methods of receiving your products and services. Try to find lower prices and better deals.

#4:  Accept feedback and opinions from your employees on how certain procedures can be handled more efficiently and effectively.

#5:  Use surveys and questionnaires to find out how they like your products and services and what things they do not like.

Business Advice: Improve Productivity By Boosting Employee Morale

Boosting Morale in Your Workplace

There’s no longer any debate about the powerful correlation between employee morale and productivity. It’s a belief that’s confirmed by science, and that can also be easily observed in the workplace. Engaged employees take more ownership of their jobs and this is reflected in their performance. Smaller businesses, where every single role is so important, should place even more emphasis on having a company culture that motivates employees. Here are three ways to boost morale and get the best from your team.

1. Create A Fun, Positive Environment

Making the space for fun will allow you to break the stress cycle and create a positive environment. Integrate icebreakers or team-building activities into staff meetings to promote bonding, creativity and a more relaxed atmosphere. Providing opportunities for your team to volunteer or support a charity can be a wonderful way to build cohesion while helping your community. Celebrating a major milestone with a pizza party or an outing at a mini golf course can be another chance to increase employee attachment to the company. By having fun together you can energize your employees, helping them to be more engaged and productive.

2. Reinforce The Importance Of Their Work

It’s important to communicate to your employees why their work matters. Morale goes up when they remain connected with the company’s vision, and with their own impact in the bigger picture. Use plenty of positive reinforcement by recognizing what your employees are doing well and expressing its value. You can also share positive testimonials or other useful measures of the company’s success, to make employees feel motivated to contribute to more success. If they can link their daily work to the goals of the company, they will be more motivated to meet and exceed expectations.

3. Provide Empathetic Leadership

Employee satisfaction is at the heart of having good morale. The importance of empathetic leadership is increasingly recognized as a factor in helping employees feel more supported and engaged. Take the time to solicit feedback from your team and validate their perspectives. Make them feel included in important decisions and maintain the lines of communication open. Empathetic leadership will improve performance by contributing to their satisfaction and engagement with the company.

It’s often said that people are the most important asset in a company. Focus on boosting employee morale by creating a positive environment and you will be rewarded with a team that’s energized, committed, and ready to perform at their best.

Contact us today to learn more about how to boost employee morale in your organization.

Business Advice: The Importance of Cash Flow

Portal CFO Cash Flow Chart

Accounting is one of the most complicated pieces of a business. This is especially true as a business grows. Aspects such as assets, liabilities, debts, costs, revenue, and profits must be accounted for in both their monetary and non-monetary forms. Of course, looking at these components of a business is important for estimating its value. However, according to Investopedia, this estimation of value can be misleading as it often obscures one of the most essential pieces of a business’ long-term sustainability – cash flow.

What is Cash Flow

Cash flow, at its simplest, is a measurement of the money that goes in and out of a business. It ignores non-monetary, unpaid, and pending assets, revenues, debts, and liabilities. The primary objective of measuring cash flow is to get an idea of the amount of money available for spending. This includes money received from customers, bank loans, investments, and shares.

It is important to note that any money that has not yet been transferred, i.e. accounts receivables or unpaid bills, are not included in measurements of cash flow. Income and expenses are only measured when the money has been received or paid. 

Cash Flow and Growth

Working Capital

In a recent article, we discussed signs a company is ready for growth. One of the qualifiers was working capital. Capital, or cash, allows a business to hire more people. This often leads to more effective and efficient work, and consequently, more growth. Additionally, cash gives businesses more avenues for marketing and better tools for managing daily operations, further increasing reach and efficiency.

Most importantly, working capital allows a business to do basic upkeep of its services and products. This is especially important for brick and mortar businesses that have high overhead. Lack of cash tends to stifle a business’ ability to sustain itself, which decreases a business’ ability to jump-start or maintain growth. A lack of working capital also tends to scare off potential investors and lenders, which can lead to a downward spiral of insufficient funds.

As such, it is crucial that you regularly review your books to ensure that the income generated by your business is higher than its expenses. Otherwise, a lack of cash could lead to critical issues later down the road.

Final Thoughts

Accounting is a complex, but extremely important part of maintaining a healthy, growing business. Cash flow is no different. Remember to keep a close eye on the funds that go in and out of your business. The present and future viability of your company depend on it.

Need help sorting through your finances? Give us a call today. We’ll be happy to go over your goals and set you on a plan for success.

3 Signs Your Company Is Prepared for Exponential Growth

Exponential Growth Photo

Do you want to take your business to the next level but still aren’t sure if you’re ready? Read on to discover three signs that your company can handle exponential growth:

#1:  Your company has enough capital to expand

One of the first things you should do is make sure there is enough working capital for the company to scale. Sit down with your trusted accountant and financial consultants so they can analyze your finances and provide advice. If you don’t have enough money you can always get a loan from the bank or individual investors.

#2:  You have the right people in place

Are you confident that your employees can take on additional roles and responsibilities? Smart founders hire a team of workers who excel in areas that they do not so they can help implement their growth-driving initiatives. Regardless if your company has a distributed workforce in various cities or if you have a small, tight knit group of employees in one location, a strong team of highly skilled employees will improve your chances of helping the company grow over time.

#3:  You have a well thought out strategy

Lastly, you should not consider scaling the company if you do not have a strategic plan for what you’d like to accomplish and how you’d like to get there. For example, do you want to expand into new geographical markets or offer new products? Would you like to focus on vertical integration and improve your profit margins? Develop a well thought out strategy that includes your overall goals and vision for the company and share it with the team so everyone is on the same page.

In conclusion, businesses with the right strategy, working capital, and a qualified team are well prepared to handle future growth. For more information on how to position your company for growth, please contact us today.

Fine-Tuning Your Business Plan for Growth

At the beginning of the year, most individuals set their long-term plans and realign whatever is not on course to facilitate the achievement of specific objectives.  Business owners refocus their strategies more frequently because it encourages the identification of the concepts that are no longer effective, so that entrepreneurs can make the necessary adjustments.

If you are focusing on growing your business operations, fine-tuning the plans you already have in place is advisable, since it increases the probability of realizing a desirable outcome. Here are some of the aspects worth considering as you refine your current business plan to achieve growth.

Non-Performers

Sometimes, you need to appreciate the fact that not every employee within your organization is contributing effectively towards the expansion of your enterprise. You may imagine that retaining such workers is a noble idea, but that is not the case. Releasing company resources from unprofitable channels and investing in those areas that will promote growth is the right thing to do and for that reason, you should allow non-performers to pursue opportunities elsewhere in line with their strengths.

Future Changes

Every business environment is prone to change, which is why business owners cannot afford to work without a contingency plan. If you are seeking solutions only for the current problems you are experiencing, then your business may not be able to surmount future challenges.  It may not only hinder growth, but it may force you out of business as well.

As you invest in your company, you should prioritize those solutions that will future-proof your business against the dynamics of the environment you operate in now and in the future.

Existing Limitations

There is nothing like a perfect plan in business, which implies that there is always room for improvement. The business approach you are currently using may seem ideal for your operations, but understanding the limitations it may pose on your activities is critical because these are some of the things that will hinder growth.

Once you identify the existence of limitations in your current business plan, you can deploy the right solution at the right time to overcome foreseeable and unknown challenges.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you grow your business.

Business Plateau Woes? Three Ways To Encourage Business Growth

Three ways to encourage business growth for service business owners

With every company’s period of growth comes a time of stagnancy. It is inevitable that, despite your efforts, growth will stall and you will find yourself looking for new ways to enhance your company’s operation. The good news is that you have the tools and knowledge at hand already to jump start things all over again. Here are a few different ways that you can encourage additional business growth to overcome your plateau period.

Leverage Automation

It is hard to find the time to grow your business when your time is spent on repetitive operational and administrative tasks. If you want to have the time to focus on growing your business, you need to simplify some of those time-consuming tasks. Automation is the best way to go. That way, thing are completed with minimal manual intervention, allowing you time to focus on other needs.

For example, payroll automation can save your business hours of manual labor, and the associated costs, every week. There are many different services available to help you automate your payroll processing. Explore your options until you find one that offers the services you need at a reasonable price.

You can also automate your email distributions. Create newsletters or alerts in a mass email platform, designate specific mailing lists, and then let it do all of the email distribution for you.

Tap Your Resources

If you find yourself struggling to come up with new ideas to spark growth, it’s time to tap your resources and use their expertise. Your staff can be a valuable pool of new and fresh ideas for your company’s growth and sales. There are a few ways that you can do this.

Host brainstorming sessions. Separate your staff into groups and host some brainstorming sessions to encourage the free flow of ideas. You can even change up the groups and try again, because the different group dynamics can help spark new ideas and conversation.

Put out an open suggestion call. Let all of your staff know that you are open to all sorts of new ideas and suggestions to encourage business growth.

Develop A New Product Or Service

If you offer a new product or service, you can not only expand your customer base, but also potentially sell that offering to your existing customers as well. Consider your company’s current offerings and mission, then develop a product or service that complements it.

Market that product widely as a new offering, both through the use of traditional ad campaigns and also direct marketing to your existing customers. The more you can get the word out, the greater chance you have of increased sales.

For more information about encouraging business growth, contact us today.

Business Analysis: What Not To Do

What Not To Do Photo

It is really important to analyze your business. Not only does an analysis allow you to make sure everything is running as smoothly as possible, you might also see ways that you can improve and even grow your business.

However, analyzing your business is not always easy. Here are some things that you shouldn’t do during the analysis.

Do it all yourself.

You may be too close to your business to look at it objectively. Other people can give you an objective look at your business. They may see something from a distance that you don’t even notice. Get help and listen objectively.

Don’t focus on the big picture, look at everything.

Too many business owners get stuck on one key problem during their analysis and they can’t look any further. However, it is important that you look at how you do everything in your business and how it runs. This includes your systems, employees, and your overhead.

Only do one analysis.

If you don’t analyze your business on a regular basis, your business is not going to grow. You will continue to do the same thing with the same result for years and years. In order to find better ways to do things, you should constantly analyze your business and make the necessary changes.

Don’t look at any other opportunities.

A part of your analysis should include other business opportunities that you may be interested in. If you skip this part, you may miss out on a few chances to grow your business.

To grow a strong business, you must analyze your business on a regular basis. This helps you to improve and even expand your business, instead of staying stagnant.

Four Tech-Driven Tips for Increasing the Value of Meeting

How To Run A Productive Meeting in Your Office

Meetings, conceptually, are a difficult beast to tame. Too many meetings leads to lower productivity due to the level of distractions. Too few meetings… also leads to lower productivity due to employees having low information on their actual tasks.

And between all of that, there are issues that unexpectedly arise from the quality of the meetings themselves. The very structure of a meeting can lead to inefficient results, causing confusion or eating up working hours with a focus on topics that aren’t actually helping anyone improve material results of the task at hand.

Simply put, managing meetings is one of the most difficult skill sets to perfect, regardless of the type of business at hand. With that in mind, here are four essential tips geared towards generating a positive ROI on any new equipment needed:

  1. Rely on simple, accessible technology to keep the focus on communication over IT. 

With the myriad options available, it’s easy to fall into the trap of meetings relying on too many technological variables with the potential to cause issues. Focus on meetings that facilitate simple, broadly compatible technologies, such as projectors that easily serve content from personal devices. When presenters only have to connect a familiar device through HDMI, time-consuming troubleshooting disappears.

  1. Schedule video meetings whenever appropriate. 

Even within the same building, it’s often a boon to be able to quickly meet and exchange ideas or issue instructions without the logistics of going to a physical meeting space. And getting in the habit of video conferencing makes it easier to build meetings where even a single participant who is off-site can be brought in at a whim, seamlessly.

  1. Craft an immersive meeting experience. 

Attentiveness is the currency of meetings. It’s incredibly easy to reflexively go through the motions of a meeting, especially for experienced employees. Keep attendees engaged by cutting down on downtime, setting a structure that asks for input from everyone present at a consistent pace, and always ends with a strong call to action that succinctly rephrases exactly what needs to be done going forward.

  1. Leverage software to book and schedule meetings. 

A major roadblock for meetings, especially in corporate settings, is the deceptively complex process of booking and scheduling. Avoid this by standardizing an RSVP system, so each attendee receives an invite they are meant to respond to. This cuts down on unexpected absences and blocks out exactly how much time away from the regular working day is required for the meeting in question.

Following these simple tips, you’ll be well on the path to achieving greater productivity returns on the time spent in meetings. Contact us today for more business advice on how to keep your business running successfully.

Business Growth Tips to Scale Your Success

How to Scale Your Business Portal CFO Photo

Growing an existing business over time requires more than just doing what works over and over again. No matter what you sell or provide to your customers or clients, if you want to scale your success, you need to identify pathways to expand into new markets.

There are only so many consumers who want to buy your widgets or hire you to perform a certain service. While the internet expands many companies’ reach to the global marketplace, doing the same thing repeatedly usually nets you the same results.

How can you scale your business successfully in the most economical way possible?

1 – Identify Other Things Existing Customers Want

If your small business sells customized dog collars, it stands to reason that the people who buy them might want harnesses and leashes as well. Offering products or services closely aligned with existing ones helps to fuel business growth in a safe and affordable way. With more time-sensitive product lines, such as software or medical equipment, sticking with one offer could mean failure.

2 – Determine How to Satisfy a New Customer Base

Another option is to offer existing products or services to an additional targeted group. Dog training schools and kennels may want your colorful harnesses and leashes as much as pet owners. Learn to identify potential expansion possibilities with growth expert help.

3 – Know Where Your Industry is Heading

Spend time studying your industry to keep up with new product or service opportunities and also buying trends and customer opinions. Economical business growth means no wasted time, money, or attention. Competitor experiences may help you tweak your own efforts.

Small and medium-sized businesses may not want to take over the world, but scaling up for more success always improves your position in the marketplace. Get help with the process when you contact Portal CFO Consulting.

Why Customer Loyalty Is More Important than Customer Acquisition

why customer loyalty is more important than customer acquisition

If you’re looking to grow your business profitably and for the long term, what’s the most important strategy to focus on? The answer might surprise you. Contrary to what many entrepreneurs think, customer loyalty and retention are far more valuable to a small- or medium-sized business than new customer acquisition.

Customer acquisition is expensive. Obviously, it’s important to spend some effort on acquiring new customers, especially when you first launch a business.

But customer retention should always be a priority, and be part of your business strategy. By focusing on customer loyalty, your business gains two advantages. The first is that happy, loyal customers are repeat customers—you don’t have to put nearly as much money into attracting new customers, if you can keep existing clients coming back. Second, loyal customers are more likely to become brand advocates for your business. They are more likely to refer their friends, family, and acquaintances to your company.

Again, that’s money you don’t have to spend on customer acquisition: your previous customers are doing your marketing for you. It’s a compound effect. Current customers will keep coming back to do business with you, and will refer new clients to you as well.

How to Build Customer Loyalty

So, how can you build a pool of loyal, repeat customers? This is one of those times where you have the upper hand as a small business. Quite simply, it makes people feel good to support small business. Plus, you have more freedom to build real connections with clients, establish trust, and ensure that clients are satisfied with your goods or services. You’re not constrained by the internal processes and bureaucracy rampant in large firms—you can spend more time and effort ensuring that every customer has a fantastic experience with your business.

That’s really what customer loyalty boils down to: setting a strong foundation of trust and exceptional service with customers. And because most people are used to purchasing from (or working with) large, impersonal corporations, the slightest personal touch will make your business really stand out.

Build on customers’ good first impressions by staying connected. If you’re a small florist, don’t let your relationship with a newlywed couple end after you arrange the flowers for their wedding: send them a happy anniversary letter a year later. (Bonus points if you send it just before their anniversary, so one of them has time to buy flowers from you again in celebration of the occasion.) It’s all about staying top-of-mind, without being intrusive or annoying.

For more information and to set up a free consultation to discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!