24 June - Your Brexit Success Kit

There are 3 elements to success in business:

  • People
  • Sales
  • Cash

Each of these elements needs review & action following the Referendum, which will lead to an extended period of uncertainty, before the programme for EU “withdrawal” gains traction.

People

Just as the country now needs strong leadership with a clear sense of direction & a route map for achievement, so does your business.

Your markets may change, your suppliers may change, your exchange rates certainly will.

Your staff are not stupid & will sense the need for change, which will make it easier for them to buy in to new plans !

Plan B

Where to start?

  • Undertake a SWOT analysis for your business, before & after the Referendum. This will highlight what has changed with what to exploit & what to secure.
  • Involve your key staff in this process both to get other perspectives & to assist in the success of plan implementation
  • Publish to your staff as a rallying call & talk it through with them
  • Re-evaluate the work environment
  • Update staff with progress against the new plan: remember they have mortgages to pay & will want reassurance in the Brave New World

People Development

  • Change many mean new skills are required
  • Where possible remould the clay you have: development & promotion from within (where merited) will lift people
  • Recruit when necessary, BUT seek help from a professional HR outfit & ignore the siren calls of the “mud against the wall” Recruitment Agency.

Avocet is using an HR Agency that charges by the hour rather than 20% commission of salary- cheaper & very professional. Get in touch for contact details.

Sales

Resource

  • Is the sales function almost an afterthought, because sales “always come in, don’t they” ?!
  • How efficient is the Sales Office on quotations, attaching Terms & Conditions, customer queries & issues on service, prompt Invoicing
  • Is that Prospect Bank real or an illusion because someone is not owning up to reality?

Certainly in the new environment it needs testing, as customer/prospect needs may have shifted or even evaporated

Customers

  • How customer focused are you?
  • Do you personally have dialogue with customers: visiting them could be very illuminating as well as a good PR exercise
  • Customers will want to know where you are trading wise with Brexit, so some leadership through a letter/s would be beneficial
  • Do you regularly monitor sales data for clues on customer buying habits, market trends & sales function performance

Markets

  • As old markets decline are new markets opening up - by geography & application?

New Products

  • If we face Recession are new products required- budget price or smaller sizes
  • New markets may well require new products, either by regulation or custom

Suppliers

  • They will be concerned abouttheir future security in the marketplace & so should welcome a dialogue with you, & a discussion of your plans going forward
  • Indeed you may well need help in plan implementation, so whilst there are no free lunches, assistance in response to a well argued plan, could be forthcoming

Price Increases

  • A business’ ability to put up its prices is a barometer of its differentiation in the market
  • With the impact of foreign exchange turbulence on input prices (& being positive export prices),

There will only be so much a business can absorb before having to recover margin through a price increase: competitors may well be in the same dilemma & the market should understand the justification

Avocet has now got a very good relationship with a foreign exchange expert – please get in touch for contact details.

Cash

The twin spectres of an imminent Recession & customers who do NOT respond to a changed business environment, mean there are risks of reduced demand & slower payment by debtors.

Cash Flow could therefore become a renewed battleground.

Plan A- DIY

So many of the businesses that approach Avocet for help in sourcing funding, have made the basic mistake of overlooking DIY.

By that I mean, collecting debtors faster & turning over stock quicker.

At the moment we have the luxury of cheap money which to many means that borrowing more is OK - a luxury that obscures the fact that debt has to be repaid !

Too many SME Owners do not know what their Debtor days or Stockturn are.

Having a handle on this data, taking remedial action where necessary, & undertaking some Cash Flow forecasting, will not only help the business, but will also impress a potential funder

As a minimum:

  • Check Terms & Conditions for payment terms
  • Are you getting Proof of Delivery notes back?
  • Check how quickly you Invoice following delivery
  • Review your follow up procedures on outstanding debts
  • Review your Product Range- do you need all those customer choices & what are the sales by each line
  • Do you try & steer Customers to a more limited range through In Stock Guarantee versus Delivery on Application?

 

Plan B - New Funding Facilities

  • Sources of finance go far beyond the traditional bank, with many of the new non bank funders providing innovative financial instruments
  • Avocet now sources over 60% of client funding from non bank sources

Avocet has a variety of well financed non  bank funders- please see leaflet for details.

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