How do we find our direction again?

It is easy to get caught up with the day to day running of your business and all too easy to lose your focus. Have a look at your previous years accounts. Prepare a quick financial review and compare it to your original business plan. You should be able to see where the problems are. You will likely already have an idea what they are. Have a look at the market too, and the current economic conditions. Make a plan of how you are going to respond to get back on track and keep a close eye on how things are progressing.

How can I increase my sales?

Build a sales pipeline. Get the basics right. If you have been in business for a few years, you will have a good number of customers in your sales invoices who have used you before, like what you do, and are pleased with the products and/or service you provide. Think of ways to get them to buy from you again, or buy from you more often, or refer friends to you. The best form of advertising is referrals. 

Why are my regular customers coming less often (or not returning at all)?

Think of ways to get quick feedback from the customers you have. Talk to them. Find out what they really think. Ask your employees what customers are saying to them. Get suggestions to make things better from both customers and employees. You might not even be aware of the problem or not realise how serious a particular one is. Find out. Do something about it. Quickly.

How can get my customers / clients to pay quicker?

An all too common problem. Invoice as soon as possible. Chase the debts as soon as they are due and don’t be fobbed off with excuses. Remember, credit control doesn’t start after you’ve sent out the invoice. It starts long before then. Make payment terms clear from the outset and on your invoices and statements. Some customers don’t pay until they receive a statement so send them promptly.

How can I reduce my tax bill?

The time to do something about your tax bill is before your year-end. After the year-end leaves you very limited to what you can do. If you keep your bookkeeping up to date, you can prepare management accounts quickly to provide you with a good idea what your profits and tax are likely to be. Then you have the opportunity to think about it, consider your options and do something about it.