There are 3 elements to success in business:
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.
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 !
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- As old markets decline are new markets opening up - by geography & application?
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.