How is the new year shaping up for your small business? Do you know where you are headed and where you stand? How will you gain new customers? How much can you spend on new equipment? Insider tips from an outsourced CFO can get your business off on the right track for 2014.
Setting Goals: Know Where You are Going
Many small businesses that could be very successful get stymied in the mediocre due to a fatal mistake: lack of vision. As a business owner, it is very easy to get in the day to day grind of the business, making money, keeping customers happy, and overlook the aspect of growth and improvement. While a business may be successful today, how can it be more so tomorrow? What will keep the competition from gaining the advantage? Small businesses need to constantly strive for growth and improvement. But how is this done?Think of a world-class athlete. A gold-medal gymnast does not win that medal by randomly doing a great routine: it is the result of setting a goal and working hard to get there. In a similar way, small businesses need to set goals. Goals can vary, depending on the size and nature of the business. For one business, a goal might be to reach $500,000 in sales in 2014, another business may set a goal of building its client base to 1,000. Whatever nature your business is, goals need to be specific and reachable.
Getting There: Making Achievable Steps
In a recent article, Bill Connerly, writer for Forbes.com, emphasized the need for specific steps for reaching goals. Goals without practical steps are no better than the oft broken New Year’s resolutions. If your goal is to reach $500,000 in sales this year, what steps do you need to take? Ideas may include targeted advertising, promotional marketing, special offers, loyalty programs etc. It is critical, though to make sure your company can afford the various steps. This is one area where the expertise of an outsourced CFO is invaluable. Having a financial professional evaluating your company’s current financial status allows you to make your practical steps become achievable. After all, the loftiest goals that lack funding will get nowhere.
Realizing Goals: Allocating Funds
One of the hardest things for small business owners to do is to let go of funds for advertising. And sadly, many times when they do splurge, it is on less than optimal advertising, simply because they did not budget properly for advertising that brings the greatest results. Another hard area to release funds for is upgrading equipment. Big expenses are often put off until a major breakdown requires it. Astute financial planners know that the best advertising and equipment upgrade expenditures are those that have been budgeted for and anticipated. Even for companies that cannot afford in-house financial expertise can benefit from the planning and recommendations of an outsourced CFO. A financial officer may not be able to set the goals for your business, but he can provide invaluable advice on planning the financial steps needed to keep your business ahead of the game, both for 2014 and beyond.