Important business lessons can be found in the most unlikely places. I’ve recently been to Europe and visited two Benedictine Monasteries.
The drawcard for both, in the first instance, was the opportunity to visit their libraries, but we found so much more.
The libraries were the second most important places in the monasteries after the church itself. In the Melk Monastery in Austria, the oldest book is 1200 years old and is on mathematics and astronomy.
You see the monks didn’t just study the religious texts; they studied a wide range of topics.
Many researched and wrote books on subjects completely unrelated to their religious beliefs.
From a business perspective, it is important to not only read books and become an expert in your area of expertise but also to read more widely.
For me, this first of three important business lessons is a no-brainer. I guess the weekly trips to the library with my librarian mother instilled...
The key to success is consistency.
It’s not always about being the best or having the best product or even being good at what you do. It’s about being consistent. Consistency in everything you do.
While this may seem obvious, it’s easy for consistency to falter. I’ve just stayed for two days at a hotel in Vienna. The first day along with the selection of juices, there were champagne flutes and a bottle of bubbly.
On the second day, the champagne flutes were there but no bottle of bubbly. The bottle arrived an hour after breakfast had started. Also, on the second day, the coffee pot was empty for a period of 15 minutes. While these are all minor issues, those small differences on the second day, meant our final impression was of lack of consistency.
Most times, as a...
Have you been blacklisted as a customer? You may not even know that you have.
Whatever sized business you deal with, you run the risk your actions could have you blacklisted without you realising it.
Here are three top reasons you could be blacklisted as a customer.
This is the big one. I’ve asked a group of my friends and colleagues. What’s the longest period they’ve waited to get an invoice paid.
The answers ranged up to four years, with many quoting two years.
What was horrifying to hear was how many of them gave up chasing for payment and never did get paid. It’s just not on.
If you enter into an agreement for a business to provide you with services or products, you have to pay. It’s as simple as that.
While there may be the thought that if it’s a big corporate, they can afford not to get paid, or they can wait for payment. When you’re dealing...
More and more your cashflow is at the risk of hackers. It may be money that’s due to you being redirected into a different bank account. Or, it could be you paying bills owing to your suppliers into the wrong bank account.
I’ve recently had the situation with a client where they received emails purporting to be from a supplier. The emails advised details of a new bank account. The challenge was that the emails looked legit.
I think the challenge as small business owners, is we’re so busy that we don’t stop and think. We accept the email from the hackers as real and act on it without considering whether it makes sense.
The last thing you want is to pay your hard-earned money to the wrong bank account. When you’re believing that you’re paying your supplier, only to find out you haven’t. This creates a whole rigmarole of contacting banks to get your money back.
Not only is this a nuisance, frustrating and time wasting for you, but...
What has society come to? Are we so caught up in our need for instant gratification that we can’t wait two months to buy what we want?
Seriously, if a customer can pay off their purchase in four fortnightly payments, surely they could have been saving the same amount for two months prior and have the money to pay immediately.
Or decide what they want and then save for two months to get it.
From the business owner’s perspective, I understand that you’re offering a service to your customers.
The benefit for your business is making that sale or bringing it forward, which improves your cash flow, and that is always a good thing. The quicker you can turn around your stock and make your sales, the better your cash flow will be.
I get it, it’s an added service to your customers to encourage instant gratification, and when other retailers are offering the service, you’re crazy if you don’t too.
Does your business keep you too busy to look at the numbers? Busyness is a part of business until you have systems and processes in place that allow you to concentrate on running the business rather than doing the busyness.
If you’re like me, I seem to do even more now than I’ve ever done before, cramming writing, podcasts, videos and marketing into my working week. But the one thing I always make time for is the numbers.
I know, I’m an accountant, so logically I’ll look at the numbers, but I’ll let you in on a secret, it hasn’t always been that way.
There was a time in one of my prior businesses where I knew the numbers were bad. I was too busy to look at them for many months; too afraid of what they would say, too scared that they would show me up for the failure I was feeling deep down inside.
When I eventually did look at them, they were even worse than I thought. By looking at them, I was able to identify my course of action. This...
Are there times when you don’t have enough money in the bank account to pay the bills, wages or the ATO? Does this cause you to freak out about your cash flow?
There are several times during the business lifecycle when cash flow challenges will arise unless you have a sufficient buffer of funds in the bank to carry you through these times.
One circumstance is during periods of growth when you’re required to pay out costs before the higher revenue is received into your bank account. This could be the need to pay additional wages when the income from their work isn’t received until 30 or 60 days later.
Another circumstance is when your clients or customers delay paying their invoices to you. This frequently happens in the construction industry but can happen to anyone.
Let’s face it, cash flow challenges are part of doing business. It’s a struggle during those time periods but there are 3 steps you can take to minimise the impact of a shortage of money....
I may not be the first person to call the elephant in the room. But I am the first person to call the numbers.
Are you treating numbers like elephants in the room, where they are looking at you while you try your best to ignore them?
What is it about the numbers that freaks you out?
I’ve found the top 7 reasons why people don’t look at the numbers
This usually arises when you’re struggling; cash flow is a challenge, you’re stressed out, losing sleep at night and worrying about how to pay the wages, the rent, the bills and taxes. When times are tough, and you already know that, the last thing you want to do is look at the numbers and make yourself even more depressed when you see just how bad the situation is.
A lack of knowledge is the cause of many a case of numbers being ignored. The reality is that the vast majority...
It’s time to spring clean your business by reviewing your goals for the future. Consider what impact it has on your budget and financial results.
Spring is in the air; the early flowering trees are putting on their beautiful display and the days are getting longer and warmer. In the natural world, spring is a time of new beginnings, deciduous trees come to life with green shoots and many animals give birth to their young.
Growing up in Canada, spring was a special time when the snow melted, the temperature climbed above freezing and it was time to get the bicycle out again. Spring felt like a release. both a release from winter and from school, even though I loved school. It meant freedom was around the corner, long summer days, bike riding on the prairies, and exploring the world around where we lived.
It was a truly magical time.
Whilst as an accountant I tend to work in financial years and quarters, I still do whatever I can to recapture that sense of freedom when spring...