Strategies to Improve Financial Operations

Strategies to Improve Financial Operations

Strategies to Improve Financial Operations

As a small business owner, it’s a constant juggling act between how you can improve financial operations, increase revenue, improve profit, grow the cash. I recently returned from a business development week in Hobart that was full of learning, discussions, brainstorming, and invaluable insights into strategies for growth and improvement. The energy of the event was electric, surrounded by amazing business owners all at different stages but fundamentally striving for the same thing. The flight home was a flurry of pulling ideas out of my head and into my laptop. Getting home was the excitement of catching up with my family. Then it was time to relax on the lounge with a glass of wine and catch up on Masterchef.

One of the episodes was a pressure test set by Judge Jean-Christophe Novelli. He told the story of working for many years as a head chef for somebody else. Then he thought, “That’s enough, I want my name on the front door.” But they weren’t busy enough so after four months he started to experience financial pressure and he realised the business might fail so he had to do something to turn it around. He went big and bold and created a magnificent dish that earned him a Michelin Star and saved his business. I’ve had many conversations with business owners who are struggling – profit is down, revenue is down, cash is down. Stress is high! It’s a powerful reminder of the critical importance of keeping on top of your financial operations to sustain a growing business. Whether your business is struggling or not, continuous curiosity and improvement is never a bad idea. So I’m going to talk about just three things you can do to improve financial operations in your business.

Diversify Your Services

Diversify – this word was thrown around a lot during the COVID days. We’re not going there, but we can take a lot of lessons out of COVID and one of them is that we don’t have to be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic to diversify your business and improve financial operations. Now when we talk about diversifying, it’s not about reinventing the wheel or completely changing your game plan. It’s more like adding a little extra spice to your already delicious dish. You’ve already got the ingredients, so why not mix things up a bit?

So, take a moment to think about what else you could offer your clients that will increase revenue and complement what you’re already doing. Maybe you create amazing custom websites for your clients. But what about throwing in some extra services like copywriting, ongoing maintenance or SEO optimisation? By diversifying your services, you’re not just adding value for your existing clients – you’re also attracting new ones. The more you have to offer, the more people will want to come and check out what you’re all about.

Now, I get it – the thought of branching out into new territory can be a bit daunting. But here’s the thing: you’ve already got the skills, the know-how, and the passion. You’re just putting them to use in a slightly different way. But do be careful that you don’t over-diversity and spread yourself too thin. Stick to what you’re good at and expand on it so it still makes sense to your business, it’s something that your clients can embrace, and doesn’t have too much of an impact on your existing operations and the way you do things.

So, I encourage you to look at what you’re already great at and see how you can shake things up. Whether it’s offering a new service, creating a spin-off product, or diving into a related area, the possibilities could be endless. And who knows? You might just stumble upon your next big thing.

Streamline, Systemise & Automate

Running a business is a bit like parenting teenage boys. You’ve got Jayden blasting music in his room, Zachery constantly raiding the fridge, and both of them thinking it’s a good idea to clean their room by shoving it all under the bed – out of sight, out of mind, right? It’s a whirlwind of energy, chaos, and constant surprises. Now, before we go off on a tangent about the cost to feed a teenage boy and the constant struggle to get them to clean their room, let’s talk about streamlining, systemising and automating your business – and maybe some of those insights will rub off on our ability to parent our boys – we can live in hope, right?

Streamlining, systemising and automating your operations is all about finding ways to make your business run smoother, simpler, and more efficiently. I encourage you to take a good look at your business processes – how you handle service delivery, your schedule, your team, your finances, your marketing, your sales strategy, your pricing strategy, your engagement process. It’s like doing a quick inventory of the boy’s bedrooms to see what needs tidying up. Trust me, you’ll find plenty of surprises along the way (and plenty of dirty socks and empty Coke cans shoved under the bed).

Maybe it’s the way you deliver your services – spending endless hours juggling appointments and client requests, feeling like you’re constantly playing catch-up, multi tasking to the extreme but actually achieving nothing. Or it could be your financial management – the never ending invoicing, paying bills, chasing money, paying your team, keeping on top of the budget, making sure your BAS is lodged on time. It’s like juggling while riding a unicycle – neither of which I can do, by the way!

Whatever it is, you’ll often find there’s room for improvement. Look at the things that are causing you bottlenecks or friction, and see how you can streamline, systemise or automate to make things easier and more efficient. Systemising, streamlining and automating improves efficiency, increases profitability, and reduces your stress. And you’re setting your business up for long term success – just like teaching the boys good habits early on. Yes, it takes a bit of effort upfront, but it pays off in the long run.

Every minute you spend wading through paperwork, putting out fires, doing things the long way, is a minute you’re not spending on things that actually makes a difference in your business – you know, that thing you love that made you go into business in the first place! By streamlining your operations, you’re freeing up time and energy that can be reinvested into revenue-generating and client-facing activities.

I went through the exercise recently and identified some tasks that were being done manually and just taking too much time. I addressed each item on the list and found that all but one could be fully automated with technology. And the one I couldn’t fully automate, I optimised the approach, resulting in a staggering 75% reduction in processing time! Now I have more time to spend on things that I love, and that really matter.

Whether it’s leveraging technology, establishing a system, or identifying and removing bottlenecks, every little bit helps. You might just find that running your business isn’t so different from raising teenage boys – chaotic and noisy, yes, but also full of surprises, laughter, and endless opportunities for growth.

Leverage Your Bookkeeping Team

And let’s not forget about the power of leveraging people to support and improve financial operations. Investing in a dedicated bookkeeping team can be a game-changer for your business. Our expertise ensures accuracy and consistency in your financial records, freeing up your time to focus on growing your business. A skilled bookkeeping team can provide valuable insights into the financial health of your business, helping you make informed decisions and identify opportunities for growth. Think of us as your financial Sous Chef, working beside you – Head Chef of your business – keeping your financial operations running smoothly and efficiently. With our support, you can rest easy knowing that your finances are in good hands, allowing you to focus on what you do best – growing your business.

Final Thoughts

Echoing the spirit of my business development week in Hobart, don’t underestimate the importance of continuous innovation and adaptability. Whether through product development, optimising processes, embracing technology, or leveraging the team of experts around you, always be on the lookout for ways to improve and evolve, and strategically push boundaries. By diversifying your offerings, optimising your processes and leveraging people, you improve financial operations, position your business for sustained growth, and gain renewed energy to keep striving towards business success.

 

Book a discovery call with Sarah

 


PS. Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways we can help you eradicate financial stress in your accounting firm or professional services business – faster …

  1. Sign up to our LinkedIn newsletter, published weekly. You can sign up here: Eradicating Financial Stress

  2. Get our book “Wow – I’m in Business! Your journey from overwhelmed to organised.” It’s full of insights, solutions and downloadable resources you can implement into your business immediately. Click here for your copy: Wow … I’m in Business! – Miss Efficiency

  3. Book a time with me privately and we’ll do a deep dive into your Xero file to help you optimise for cash flow, efficiency and growth. Click here to book: Book a time with Sarah

 

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