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It’s a small world

Fiona with money!

Small businesses are the mainstay of the UK economy. Forget the large companies – small businesses are where it is at!

The UK is a nation of entrepreneurs and we brits are great at taking the plunge into business ownership – whether it is a self employed professionals or as small business owners employing staff.

However, for many entrepreneurs taking the plunge is not the hardest part – it is running a successful company in the longer term that provides the stress.

The problem here is that the prospective entrepreneur has often not done their homework.

In particular:

  1. They have an idea they are sure is going to work, but have not done a full business plan to explore whether it can be converted into a successful business.
  2. They have not consulted appropriate professionals to ensure their company is set up in the best way.
  3. They don’t align their personal and business goals. They soon find their business running their lives rather than them running their businesses.
  4. They don’t finance their business sufficiently from the outset, which means they can never afford to do jobs properly. Marketing in particular often suffers in this scenario.
  5. Because they haven’t planned properly they don’t fully appreciate the risks involved in setting up their business until it is too late.

Starting your own business is a BIG step. If it fails you may not just lose your livelihood but also your house (and your family if you have had to work very long hours).

It makes sense to give your business the best possible chance of succeeding.

To help I have written a guide on starting your own business which can be downloaded for free from my website www.fionabevanfinancialmanagement.co.uk

I have tried to cover all the issues you will need to think about before taking the plunge as well as some of the things which might trip you up.

Enjoy!

Fiona 🙂

Don’t be an April Fool!

getting paid
Over the years I have met business owners who offer a great product or service but are really struggling with their cash control.

One of the reasons is exemplified by a conversation I had the other day with just such a business owner. They have no problems finding the right customer and do a fantastic job for these customers.

However, the business owner has a real stumbling block when it comes to invoicing and debt collection. Firstly, they hate the process of invoicing itself – it is a chore they put off as long as possible. Secondly, once the invoices have gone out they are very reluctant to chase for the money owing to them.

In my opinion they are being an April (and every other month of the year) fool.

They are working hard but because they are not following through, and collecting the money owing to them in a timely fashion, they are struggling to pay their bills.

What makes the situation worse is that they have employees they MUST pay every month irrespective of whether the business is paid or not.

There is a clear lesson to learn here – if you are unable, or unwilling, to deal with the discipline of invoicing and debt collection you must find another way of getting these jobs done. If you don’t, you may lose your business.

So what are the alternative approaches you can take?

Firstly, many bookkeepers are more than willing, and able, to take on the invoicing and debt collection roles for you. The benefits of delegation will way out-weigh the costs.

Secondly, you may already have a member of staff on your team who can take on these jobs.

Thirdly, if you really have to do these jobs yourself, you must change the way in which you approach them. Have a very clear procedure detailing exactly how often invoicing should be done (at least once a week would be my recommendation), block out time in your diary every week devoted to invoicing and debt collection, and understand that any work you do for clients is worthless unless you are paid for it!

For extra help with invoicing and debt collection please download the ‘Getting Paid’ guide on my website http://www.fionabevanfinancialmanagement.co.uk/guides.php

Good luck

Fiona 🙂

A Positive Plan?

businessPlanning

 

 

 

 

 

I regularly write about how many people start the new year with a set of new goals, or resolutions. By the end of March many of these goals are a dim and distant memory.

The reason for this is that January is often not a very positive time of year. With its dark days and long nights, contrasting with the gaiety surrounding Christmas, January can also be the darkest month of the year physiologically. Not the time to create new plans and start to change your outlook.

Three months on it’s a completely different story.

The clocks have just changed so we have longer evenings. The sun is shining, the buds are appearing and the world seems fresh and new.

What a fab time to be thinking about the future.

In my opinion creative juices flow better when we have the opportunity to get out of our offices and enjoy the sunshine. We are more positive and open to opportunity. We are less likely to dismiss ideas out of hand or procrastinate.

Others must be thinking this too as over the last month or so four owners have come to me for assistance in putting together plans for their businesses. One is for a completely new business, but the other three are established businesses looking for a change in direction.

So if you need to change your business plan or set goals for yourself and your business, NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT!

Fiona 🙂

Taking the Plunge!

Jenny and Michael thumbs up

 

 

 

 

 

Small businesses are the mainstay of the UK economy. Forget the large companies – small businesses are where it is at!

The UK is a nation of entrepreneurs and we brits are great at taking the plunge into business ownership – whether it is a self employed professionals or as small business owners employing staff.

However, for many entrepreneurs taking the plunge is not the hardest part – it is running a successful company in the longer term that provides the stress.

The problem here is that the prospective entrepreneur has often not done their homework.

In particular:

  1. They have an idea they are sure is going to work, but have not done a full business plan to explore whether it can be converted into a successful business.
  2. They have not consulted appropriate professionals to ensure their company is set up in the best way.
  3. They don’t align their personal and business goals. They soon find their business running their lives rather than them running their businesses.
  4. They don’t finance their business sufficiently from the outset, which means they can never afford to do jobs properly. Marketing in particular often suffers in this scenario.
  5. Because they haven’t planned properly they don’t fully appreciate the risks involved in setting up their business until it is too late.

Starting your own business is a BIG step. If it fails you may not just lose your livelihood but also your house (and your family if you have had to work very long hours).

It makes sense to give your business the best possible chance of succeeding.

To help I have written a guide on starting your own business which can be downloaded for free from my website www.fionabevanfinancialmanagement.co.uk

I have tried to cover all the issues you will need to think about before taking the plunge as well as some of the things which might trip you up.

Enjoy!

Fiona 🙂

Are you as financially savvy as you need to be?

Jenny teaching

 

 

 

 

As business owners we need our businesses to make money.

In my opinion an established business which does not pay its owner(s) a decent wage is really a hobby. So given that we need our businesses to make money it follows that we need to be sufficiently au fe with business finances to understand if our business is running our finances, or whether we our running our business finances.

Unfortunately, a large numbers of business owners are not financially savvy enough.

If you would like to see if you are one of these, try answering the questions below:

Do you have a clear financial plan?
Do you know if your business is currently profitable?
At this point do you know how much money is in your bank and what money you can expect in and out of your bank account over the next month?
Do you know what customers/products/services are profitable?
Do you have a robust invoicing and debt collection system so clients pay you in a reasonable time (do you know what reasonable is?)?
Are you always able to pay your suppliers on time?
Can you always pay your salary/dividend/drawings?
Do you know how much you have to sell, and at what price, to provide the lifestyle you want?
If the answer to two or more of these questions is “no” you are probably not as financially savvy as you need to be to run your business effectively.

However, help is at hand and there are ways you can help yourself.

If you have an accountant/bookkeeper ask them questions about your financial position and what you could do to improve it
Talk to your business friends who seem to be financially sorted and ask them what they do
There are volumes of business books out there that can help you understand the basics
Take time to properly plan
You may want to go on a finance for non-financial managers course to learn the basics in a workshop setting.
Finally, I have written a series of FREE financial and business guides which you can download from my website http://www.fionabevanfinancialmanagement.co.uk/guides.php

You can download as many or as few of the guides as you like without registering so please do take advantage of them.

Fiona 🙂

Help is on your side!

guides

Since starting my business 8 years ago I have been very lucky to have been surrounded by a network of great people who have given me help and advice, helping me develop my company in the best way for me.

Much of this advice has been freely given, without any thought of direct benefit to the adviser – most of the advisers believing in the mantra ‘what goes around, comes around’.

I believe this too.

If you treat people as you would wish to be treated you can’t go wrong. Further, it is those people who give most freely of their time and energy who have the most successful businesses – not just in terms of money but also in terms of the enjoyment and satisfaction they find in their business life.

Of course, you have to make a living and it does not do to give away the crown jewels for free if they are your source of income. However, there may be people who will never become clients, who can be assisted along their journey.

Three years ago I wrote some guides covering key topics relating to business finance and planning. They are designed to help owners of small (and also larger) businesses to get on top of issues which give them sleepless nights, or which are holding their businesses back.

Excitingly I have recently had the opportunity to do some radio interviews based on the guides and these can also be downloaded and listened to at your leisure.

These guides are my way of giving back so if you are interested in downloading them go to: http://www.fionabevanfinancialmanagement.co.uk/guides.php

You do not need to register with me to down load the guides and they really are free.

Enjoy!

Fiona 🙂

This time it’s personal!

Jenny with pot of gold

Do you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve personally over the next 20 years? In 2031 when you look back, what goals would you like to have ticked off and what resources do you need to put into place to achieve these goals?

These are questions a good goal based financial planner helps you to get clearly defined.

But why is it important to know the answers to these questions?

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that I am passionate about planning and believe that it is much more likely that we will achieve the results we want, if we have a plan in place. This applies equally to personal goals and to business goals. And they are interlinked. It is unlikely that success meeting a business goal will be meaningful unless personal goals are also met. In fact, I believe our personal hopes and desires should provide the backdrop to our business goals – especially where we are business owners. After all, how is a business successful if it does not reflect the owner’s personal values and fit with their life plan?

I have discovered, by working with my goal based financial planner Andrew Stinchcomb, that there are key things I want to achieve in my life. Some of these things have always been clear to me – others have come to light through discussions with Andrew and my husband, Jeff. The key outcome has been that we now have a clear idea of what we need resource-wise (and this inevitably means money) to make our dreams a reality.

As my business is my only source of income, I now have a very clear picture of what I need to accomplish business-wise, in terms of number of clients and levels of income. This has made it much easier for me to identify good opportunities as they are presented to me and to motivate myself. I know what I will be sacrificing if I don’t push myself.

It’s funny, Jeff and I had always talked about taking a year out when our boys leave home to travel around Europe in a camper van. It was originally a pretty lose idea and more of a dream than something we thought we might really do. However, this idea has crystalised into a key goal during our discussions – such that, should it not happen, I would feel really bereft. Andrew has worked out how much this goal would cost us and we have a clear idea of how much per month we need to save to make it happen.

It equates to one new good client for me – and guess what? I am finding much easier to motivate myself to find that new client than I would if I were just looking at increasing income without a compelling reason for doing so!

So take a look at your life goals and ask yourself “Is my business providing to route to these goals?”.

Fiona 🙂

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