Archive: Oct 2015

  1. Try our 15 point check list to get your business into shape for 2016

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    Business confidence is now generally high and we have finally climbed out of the recession. Britain’s GDP is now a few per cent above where we were in 2008 before the crash, which cut over 6% from the UK’s output. However, there is still plenty of uncertainty out there (look at China for a start) and the last thing any business should do is get complacent. Here is our checklist for helping you to review your business to ensure it’s as strong as possible going into next year, especially from a cash flow perspective:

    1. Review your budgets and set realistic and achievable targets.
    2. Get rid of won’t pay customers.
    3. Review your debtors list and chase up overdue invoices.
    4. Make sure your terms of business contain explicit payment terms.
    5. Assign responsibility to one individual for invoicing and collections.
    6. If appropriate, review banking facilities and discuss future needs. If you are going to require additional funding ask for it at least 3 months before you need it!
    7. Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your better customers are solid.
    8. Review and flow chart the main processes in your business (e.g. sales processing, order fulfilment, shipping etc) and challenge their efficiencies.
    9. Encourage team members to suggest ways to streamline and simplify processes (e.g. sit down and brainstorm about productivity, outsourcing and cost reduction).
    10. Use ‘bottom up’ budgeting where everyone in the office gives input on areas over which they have control – target a 10% cost saving.
    11. Review your staffing needs over the next 12 months and deal with weak or unnecessary individuals.
    12. Get your members of staff involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and get their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.
    13. Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.
    14. Establish your key performance indicators (KPI’s) and measure them on a regular basis e.g.
      1. Sales Leads generated
      2. Orders supplied/fulfilled
      3. Cash balance
      4. Stock Turnover
      5. Debtor Days
      6. Gross Profit
      7. Net Profit
    15. Pull everyone together and explain the business strategy and get their buy-in.
  2. Funding to support your growth

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    If you are an SME with a successful business you may need support to drive the next stage of your growth. Running a thriving company can be a real challenge and is sometimes a lonely place to be. In an ideal world you’d have an experienced full-time finance professional (e.g. a Finance Director) on your team but, right now, the cost is probably prohibitive.
    SouthWestfd is a highly experienced group of finance professionals who have all been finance directors, managing directors and CEOs in a variety of industries. We have helped many companies across the region to set the foundations for successful expansion, putting the right building blocks into place, such as robust cash flow management.For an initial outlay of only £1,500 (+VAT) we can access government funding that would pay for £3,000 of our time (equivalent to 5-6 days support). We will work with you on a flexible basis to help improve your company’s financial performance and support your growth.We will assign one of our Finance Directors to get to know your business and to engage with you and your senior team to:

    • Help to identify ways of improving profitability
    • Help you keep on top of your cashflow
    • Support your management of growth and avoidance of growth pitfalls
    • Identify key improvements in the financial information you receive
    • Challenge you to improve your financial systems and processes
    • Assist you to draw out and resolve key financial issues
    • Support your financial forecasting and business strategy
    • Discuss your working capital needs and options for fund-raising
    • Assist you to build relationships and credibility with banks, investors and other funders such as grant providers
    • Prepare you for raising of finance, acquisitions and exits
    • Help with resolution of difficult and confidential issues
    • Act as a sounding board for you and your team
    • Help you to ensure that you fulfil your statutory duties to the company
    • Cover any issues that you wish to discuss and develop

    To qualify, your business must:

    • Be registered in the UK and based in England
    • Have fewer than 250 employees
    • Have turnover of less than £40m

    As a follow-on, we also have access to ‘Leadership and Management’ training grants, giving match funding of up to £2,000 per eligible senior manager. These grants could pay for, e.g., general or targeted financial management training, marketing and PR training, HR training and many other topics. Much of the training can be “embedded” within your normal activities to make it very practical and totally relevant to your needs.

    To register your interest and find out more, please call us on 01392 432654 or e-mail office@southwestfd.co.uk and we will talk you through the process.