How to get your business financially fit

I love watching the Olympics. It’s usually on the couch with chocolate but nonetheless, I’m in awe of the determination it takes to get to that elite level.  Of course, the athletes don’t get there by crossing their fingers and hoping or by waking up in the morning and deciding it’s too hard and hitting the snooze button. Instead they set up a series of daily habits and rituals that cover everything from when they get up, what they repeat to themselves before a race, what time and how often they train, what they eat and perhaps even the underwear they wear. It’s all designed to create a series of habits to help ensure success and the achievement of their long term goals.

It’s the same for us mere mortals. Too often business owners see me and want the magic pill or formula which will guarantee success but sadly there’s no such thing. However by working out what is important to you, what your goals are and how you can create activity and track those goals, you can set up a  series of rituals and habits that will ensure you become perhaps not quite an Olympic athlete, but certainly a fitter, stronger business owner.

  1. Know your Numbers. If I want to drop to 60kgs I need to know my starting weight. It’s no different with your business. You need to understand what your current numbers are so you know what you have to work with.

 

  1. Know what you want them to be. Knowing your numbers is great, but working out a goal for what you want them to be is even more important. Once you’ve worked out your retention rate, conversion rate, leads, average sale price, number of times customers do business with you, net profit, debtor days, etc then work out what these numbers should be and by when.

 

  1. Know what you need to do. Hoping the numbers will improve is not a strategy. Work out the steps you need to take to make it happen and commit it to paper (or computer) and then get started.

 

  1. Work out a 90 day plan. Once you’ve completed step three it can be daunting to know where to start so work out the activity that is critical to do first. It’s no different to a training plan or a weight loss plan – it’s breaking it down into those activities you need to do in your workplace tomorrow. That might be having seven meetings a week with potential clients, making six cold sales calls or reviewing your pricing and creating a new price structure. Just figure out the next steps, the date and commit to doing those things in your first 90 days.

 

  1. Stay on Track. There is a reason weight loss programs make people weigh-in on a certain day every week. It’s so they can be held accountable and can tweak their activity if they’re not getting the results they want. Why should it be any different in your business? Create weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual milestones and then check in weekly to make sure you’re on track. If you’re not hitting your targets, alter your activity before you abandon your targets.

 

  1. Start Again. Every 90 days work out your next lot of activity and keep going. That’s because success isn’t a magic pill – it’s a training program committed to and performed daily. It’s a habit.

Finally, get help if you need it. There’s a reason why professional athletes have coaches. Sure they might be able to do it by themselves but it’s much easier when there’s someone there pushing them along, helping to correct any imbalances, celebrating with them and keeping them accountable to what they say they are going to do.

Melissa Browne

Melissa Browne is an author and serial entrepreneur. She is CEO of the award-winning accounting and advisory firm A&TA (Accounting & Taxation Advantage), CEO of the financial planning business for 28-48 year olds who want to financially grow up The Money Barre and Director of Business at the long-day Preschool, Thinkers,inq. She has written three books, More Money for Shoes, Fabulous but Broke and her most recent, Unf*ck your Finances. Melissa also writes a fortnightly Money column for the Sydney Morning Herald & Melbourne’s The Age and is a regular media commentator, writing and speaking for everyone from Cosmopolitan to CEO Magazine to Weekend Sunrise to Triple J. In 2016 she was named one of the Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence.

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