The Value of Business Growth Planning

Portal CFO Growth Planning Tips

Whether you’re just starting out or already have an established, profitable business in operation, planning for growth should be near the top of your priorities list. Every industry has unique challenges, but some common practices can position your business for future success. We’ve compiled four tips that will give you the most value out of your business planning and set you on a course for success.

Growth Planning Tips for Success:

1. Real Time Accounting

From the basics of Excel or Salesforce to more advanced accounting software solutions, every business has a way to track their financial position. Implementing a software system that delivers insights on your finances in real time can help you make strategic growth planning decisions and spend your limited capital where it will have the greatest impact.

 

2. Set Goals For Growth

You may be just getting started in a new market or launching a new product, but all businesses have aspects like revenue or cost savings they want to accelerate and measure. Setting growth planning goals and milestones and using them to track progress over time for your most important business activities makes the mission clear for employees and helps remind everyone what you’re striving towards.

 

3. Forecast For Tomorrow

Every business should use their existing data to develop strategies for what they can do better in the future. Building forecasts and models for costs of goods, profitability, or logistics expenses can help set expectations for capital requirements, and can often reveal inefficiencies or blind spots that can be addressed to make your business even better.

 

4. Talk To An Expert

Meeting with consultants is a great way to learn more about your industry, the major players and challenges, and how you can develop a growth planning strategy to win against the competition. If you’re working on a difficult project or seeking to maximize your return on investment, growth and planning consultants can set you on the right course for accelerated success and profits.

 

Growing your business can be as complicated as running it day to day, but the payoffs can take your operation to the next level. Take charge and use these tips to get a head start on growing your business today.

We are here to help! Contact us today for a free consultation on how we can help you grow your business.

3 Ways a Strong Brand Reflects a Strong Company

3 Ways to Build A Strong Brand for your business

A strong brand goes beyond a customer’s perception of a company. A brand reflects your business’s values and principles and emotionally connects the customer to your services and products. Here are three ways that a strong brand expands to all levels of your company:

1) Transcend the Logo

Your brand’s image emotionally ties your customer to what your company’s products. Imagine Coca-Cola’s white curly script on a red backdrop. The logo evokes a sentimental feeling and has become a universal symbol of joy, laughter, and togetherness.

When a customer sees a brand’s image, they live through the memories that come from using the product.  By affecting the way consumers feel, your brand becomes a valuable asset in determining the way people experience your company’s products and services.

2) Motivate Employees

People want to stand united behind strong values. A brand represents your company’s guiding principles and inspires your employees to create a better workplace. The way your employees feel about their work environment reflect the internal attitudes of the company. Your employees serve as ambassadors of the brand and can make or break a customer’s experience.

3) Leave a Lasting Impression

Your brand promises your customers that they will receive the same professional standard every time they make a purchase. For example, some people simply cannot function without their daily coffee, and so the image of the Starbucks’ Siren has become a savior to many exhausted individuals driving to work in the morning. The customer trusts the service associated with the brand leading to a reverberating effect of spreading your company’s values into the daily life of your customers.

A brand isn’t just a marketing tool to help your customers remember your products and services. It is the heart and soul of what your company can contribute to the community. Keeping this in mind will help you create an attractive company for your customers and employees.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your business profitably, sign up for our blog and keep posts coming regularly to your inbox!

P.S. You may also be interested in: How to make employees feel involved with the company brand.

 

How to Avoid Communication Pitfalls in Your Business

how to avoid communication pitfalls in your service business

Communication is central to a thriving, successful business. Since many of our business relationships rely on virtual communication, it is important to keep in mind how to avoid communication pitfalls in your business. Clear and timely communication builds trust in partners, and not having face-to-face time with colleagues or partners can sometimes complicate maintaining a professional relationship.

As you navigate the realities of a virtual business world, keep yourself aware of and learn how to avoid communication pitfalls in your business that you may encounter:

Miscommunication through technology

Technology is wonderful. In fact, it’s the reason you can work from anywhere! Still, when we rely on written communication, it can be easy to miscommunicate. We may type off an email, unaware of how it sounds. We may mistype something; sending a completely different message than we intended.

Fixing this problem can be as easy as pausing a few minutes before sending an email. Ask yourself, how does this sound? Does it say what I want it to say? Don’t be afraid to follow up afterwards and make sure your message was delivered as intended.

Accidentally sending information to the wrong person

We have all been in that situation once or twice. We’re in a hurry and begin typing someone’s name into the address line. It auto-fills, and we don’t double-check it. A little later we get a message from that person asking if you intended to send them that message. Sometimes, it isn’t a big deal. Other times, it could be delicate information.

Again, fixing this problem can be as easy as pausing long enough to check the email addresses. This is especially true if you’re sending sensitive information. If it does happen, you can save face with colleagues or partners by apologizing.

Relying on written communication too much

Yes, technology is accessible and easy. It makes staying in touch with others easier than it has ever been. However, it is important to invest time in maintaining and strengthening relationships with colleagues and partners in other ways.

Even if you are a thousand miles apart, you can still connect with others using other techniques. Skype is a wonderful tool; allowing you to talk face-to-face. Drop a hand-written letter or thank you card in the mail when you a get a chance. And, if you happen to be in the same city, go out to lunch. By strengthening communication in other ways, you show you are invested in that relationship and you increase trust.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your business profitably, please check out our website www.portalcfo.com.

Business Analysis: Things to Analyze in Your Business

Portal CFO Business Analysis

In order to grow your business, it is important that you analyze it regularly and make the necessary changes. Business analysis will help you continue to grow and change, so that you are giving your customers what they want.

So, what’s involved in business analysis? What should you look for?

You should look at your key performance indicators. Basically, this means that you have to look for trends that drive your sales, costs, and cash flows. You might want to look at the items that you are selling and see which ones do better than others. If you have salespeople, you should look at their performance and see how well they are doing by looking at their sales numbers.

It is also important to look at your financial information. It is important to monitor, not just your sales, but how much it costs to make the products. How much overhead are you keeping around? How long is it sitting around? You should also look into your cash flow and net profit. These things give you a good idea on how your business is doing.

It might be time to look into other opportunities. You should use this time to look at your core business and what you are achieving. Your business might be ready to add more products or services to help even more people.

This can also be the time to see if you need to make changes about how your business is run. What can be done better? How can you improve on the way that your business run?

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

https://portalcfo.com/2017/09/15/business-advice-tips-successful/

3 Easy Ways Businesses can Provide Better Customer Service

3 easy ways businesses can provide better customer service

Businesses have one thing that propels them forward – customers. Without the customer they fall back. That’s why the relationship with customers can never be underestimated. Whether you call it customer service or the customer experience, excelling here is an integral part of succeeding in business.  So, with that in mind, here are 3 easy ways businesses can provide better customer service:

1. Be real

Most people do not practice authenticity. It’s so easy to put up a false front with others because we learn “proper” ways to behave with others. This leads to people hiding their true authenticity. Why does this matter? The barrier you create when putting up a false front blocks out the relationship with the customer. When you are authentic, the barriers come down and you’re free to connect on an emotional level.

2. Practice reflective listening

When customers contact your business with problems, it’s important to do not just listen, but do the right kind of listening. Reflective listening involves restating back to the person what you thought they said or meant and how it may have made them feel. This helps the person feel validated, truly heard, and provides them with an opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding in what you repeat back to them.

3. Practice a positive attitude

A positive outlook on everything can alter the way you perceive the world. It will become a habit after you practice looking at the positive side of things. Others who are around you will feel the energy and radiance that emanates from you. In addition, people enjoy spending time with others who are like this. A positive attitude also inspires employees to do their best which is an important part of your customer service plan.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your business profitably, please check out our website www.portalcfo.com.

Business Advice: Tips to Deal with Workplace Drama

best ways to deal with workplace drama

One of the hardest parts of running a business with employees is dealing with workplace drama. It can affect everyone and the health of the business. Unhappy employees often bring everyone (and their productivity) down so it is important that you deal with the drama quickly and efficiently. Here are some tips to deal with workplace drama.

  1. Have rules against drama. By outlining office drama and your policy in your handbook, you are setting an example. You are showing your employees that you will not tolerate gossip, bullying, and other unhealthy behavior in your office.
  2. Catch it early. While most people know that employees will talk and tease each other, you shouldn’t let it go until it gets out of hand. Handle it before it gets too big and it will be much easier to stop.
  3. Don’t listen to gossip. Office gossip can really hurt employees. If you hear gossip, put a stop to it. You may be able to talk to key players, though you may also want to have a staff meeting about how you won’t tolerate gossip.
  4. Have punishments for “drama queens or kings.” Many people feed on gossip and drama. You need to make sure that you have punishments for those who spread gossip and cause trouble. You must enforce these in order to make them work.
  5. 4. If you are really struggling with drama in your workplace, you may want to consult some experts. There are behavioral experts who come into your office and give seminars on workplace drama. This may be a real eye-opener for some of your employees (as well as you)!

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your business profitably, please check out our website www.portalcfo.com.

Business Advice: Tips For Dealing with Unhappy Customers

Portal CFO tips for dealing with unhappy customers

You can’t make everyone happy. There are going to be times when you have unhappy customers and you (and your team) are going to have to deal with it. Here are some tips for dealing with unhappy customers.

Stay calm. If your customer starts yelling at you, you can’t yell back. It will only make the situation worse; so do everything that you can to stay calm.

Don’t make excuses. Most people try to push blame on others when someone is mad. However, if a customer is unhappy, you are going to have to take responsibility for it and make it right.

Just listen. It is important that you listen to everything that they have to say. Most of the time, unhappy customers just want to vent their frustrations out. You should make sure that you are listening to their concerns and really hear them.

Be sympathetic. Your customers may just need to know that you understand how they feel. For that reason, you should express sympathy for him or her.

Apologizing goes a long way. Make sure that you apologize for their inconvenience. Saying a simple “I’m sorry” goes a long way toward keeping a customer.

Find out what your customer wants. Obviously, your customer called you (or came back in) for a reason. Find out how you can make the situation better, whether you replace the product that is broken or give them a refund.

By listening and finding a solution, you are on your way to keeping your customer. If you get angry and yell at the customer, you are definitely going to lose him or her. For this reason, you need to listen and apologize before you find a solution. If possible, don’t let your customer hang up (or leave) without solving the problem!

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your business profitably, please check out our website www.portalcfo.com.

Business Advice: Reasons You Need a Lawyer

reasons why business owners need a business lawyer

While most small business owners don’t think that they will ever need a lawyer for their business, it is important that you have a relationship with one. Even if you aren’t worried about being sued, there are many other times when you should have a lawyer for your business. Here are just three reasons why you need a lawyer for your business:

  1. A lawyer will help you set your business up correctly.

    It is important that you understand why you should set your business up as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), limited liability partnership (LLP), or an S corporation. While most people don’t really understand why you should choose one over the other, a lawyer will make sure that you understand the reasons and start your business off right.

  2. The law is complicated.

    Legal forms are often hard for most people to understand. For this reason, you should consult a lawyer prior to signing any paperwork. A lawyer will also help you with your forms and contracts, so you will know that it is all legal.

  3. It can be expensive!

    It is good to have a relationship with a lawyer before you would ever need their services. Not only are they good sounding boards prior to signing a contract, it is good to have one on your side prior to any legal troubles. If you wait until you are stuck in court, it might be too late and end up costing you a lot more money than it should.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

Looking to grow your business? Read more ways that you can successfully grow your business:

Get our free e-book for more ways to grow your business.

Business Advice: Training Your Employees

Help training employees for your service business

If you are serious about growing your business, you can’t do it alone. Chances are you have already hired a few employees to increase your workforce which has allowed your business to grow.  Let’s talk about 5 tips to make sure you’re training your employees for success.

Your employees are truly the face of your company and they need to be trained well so that they are putting your business’ best foot forward. Here are some tips to ensure that you are doing a good job training your employees.

Tip #1: Begin by hiring the right people in the first place.

No matter how hard it can be to find the right person, don’t give up. He or she is out there and will be delighted to work for you. Because of this, he or she will be much easier to train. You also won’t have to worry about people coming and going, after you have spent time training them!

Tip #2: Hire them for jobs that fit their skills and personality.

It is important that your employees are given a job that suits them well. It is a delicate balance.  You don’t want them to have a job that can lead to boredom, but it is important that they are able to do what you need them to do.  If the job is too hard, they will quit because it will be too stressful for them.

Tip #3:  Cross-train and promote within your company.

As your employees grow and learn, teach them how to do more. Not only will this make them feel helpful, they can step up if someone is out for a day or two. Many employees also like to feel like they are working toward something better, so never hesitate to promote your best employees.

Tip #4:  Make sure that your employees know that learning is constant and very important.

Your employees should strive to continue to learn and grow in your business. Not only should you train them well from the first day, you may want to host seminars and lunch-and-learns in order to keep their learning moving forward!

Tip #5: Partner with an excellent training and development partner.

Training and development firms like ImpactHR are qualified to utilize the most well-known tools in the industry and, as a result, can incorporate the most effective solutions for individual, group and organizational assessment to determine the best training and development programs.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on growing your business, read through our other posts on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your business profitably.

 

Business Advice: 3 Factors to Consider When Building a Successful Team

3 factors to consider when building a successful team

As your business grows, building a successful team becomes integral to meeting the demands of business. The quality of your team will help to ensure your business’s continued success. This is because your team is your support system and will align with your business; helping to strengthen your brand. Here are three factors to consider when building a successful team:

1. Understand Vision: It’s important that your team aligns with your overall vision because everyone functions as a unit. This means that it’s important to assert your goals and expectations. Let your team know the culture you want to build, as well as future plans. This ensures that you and your team are on the same page and the likelihood of you receiving your desired results are increased.

2. Identify Individual Strengths: Your team should be diverse with different backgrounds and experiences. This means that each team member will have their individual strengths that can be an asset to your business. It’s important that you take the time to recognize each one of your team members strengths because this will essentially strengthen the core of your business and allow for better productivity.

3. Identify negative attributes: No team is perfect, and because of this you have to pay attention to negative attributes that can potentially harm your business’s success. Some of these attributes include:

  • inability to work as a team
  • unwilling to grow and change
  • unable to come to an agreement on important issues

Negative attributes can hinder your business’s growth. Keeping an eye open for these types of characteristics will help you to diffuse problems before they become too big to handle.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your business profitably, please contact us for a free, personalized consultation.