How to Set Ambitious Yet Realistic Goals

How to Set Ambitious Yet Realistic Goals

Adjusting your goals and expectations to what’s within your possibilities will ensure your success. Not to mention, it can help you avoid unrealistic planning frustrations. 

Having reasonable goals can be a driving force behind individual, team, and company success. If you precisely determine what you’re aiming at and do it early on, your efforts will have a clear direction and appear more meaningful.

However, setting goals isn’t without its challenges – poor orientation, succumbing to perfectionism, and lack of motivation are among those that are quite detrimental.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of steps that will help you determine and set optimal goals while avoiding the common pitfalls.

Step 1. Back Your Goals Up With Solid Planning

The importance of thorough planning can’t be overstated.

A goal without a plan is, in essence, just an abstract idea you can’t act on. That’s why the first thing you should think about is exactly how you’ll achieve your goal.

The most effective way to make a plan is to start with the big picture in mind and go more and more into details.

Start with a general road map – setting a certain finish line and marking every bump and turn down the road. Then take a look at the individual stages of the journey and define the challenges you could encounter.

Keep in mind that this is a crucial step – if there are too many obstacles requiring more energy and resources than you can expend, you will do well to reconsider your main goal immediately.

Finally, once you know where you’re going and how you’ll get there, start preparing contingencies.

A good plan will take you a long way, but it would be wise to expect something to go sideways. Prepare to adjust your tactics accordingly.

Step 2. Be Clear and Specific

Setting goals includes envisioning a certain point in the future. However, it would be best if you didn’t stop at a general, low-resolution picture.

You must define all of the details of what you want to achieve.

For instance, aiming to increase your company’s sales is a low-resolution goal. It could be a good starting point, but if you want to ensure you’re progressing in the right direction, you should consider the specifics.

Exactly how much of an increase would you like to see in your sales? How would you want your business to change before and after you’ve reached that goal? Would you be willing to make sacrifices to get there and what would that entail?

There’s plenty of details to flesh out when setting your goals. If you do it right, all your efforts will become focused on the specific necessary tasks and the progress will become apparent.

Step 3. Establish Milestones

A common mistake in planning goals is that people tend to aim for the grandest achievement, disregarding the smaller but vital victories.

This approach can become draining very soon – you might be overwhelmed by how unattainable the set endpoint seems. To avoid the fatigue and discouragement, make sure to have several smaller goals set as milestones.

Reaching the milestones will give you that precious sense of achievement and progress and motivate you to keep going.

Good Goals Are the Way to Success

Aiming for something you can realistically achieve and having a good plan of getting there will set you on the right path.

When you’re convinced your goals are the right ones, pursue them with determination. Great results will follow.

If you’d like to speak to us about how we can support you with your accounting needs, book a free consultation here.

How to Prepare Your Small Business for Sustainable Growth

How to Prepare Your Small Business for Sustainable Growth

Business growth presents a huge challenge for small business owners. Sustainable growth requires careful forethought and preparation; you can’t build a solid house on shaky foundations. It’s easy to get swept up in all the excitement that accompanies business growth, but remember to take the time to prepare and organise your business to ensure that your growth is sustainable. The last thing you want to do is to end up damaging the business you have worked so hard to build. Let’s take a look at how to prepare your small business for sustainable growth. 

Create the Right Team 

As your business grows, the demands upon your team will change significantly. Your team may be working well right now, but you need to consider how much extra support they will need as your business grows. 

When hiring, don’t just look for skills and talent. It’s important to take an applicant’s mindset into consideration, too. You can provide training to bring an employee up to scratch, but it’s very difficult to reset a negative attitude.  

As your team grows bigger, management will become more complex, too. You will need to consider implementing new systems and standard operating procedures to ensure that your team can continue to function at its best as your business expands. 

Update Your Infrastructure 

You will need to scale your IT infrastructure in line with your business. Of course, this can be a very expensive process and may require you to hire new staff, which is a big drain on your resources.  

Often, however, you can find cloud services to support your essential business functions, such as CRM software, HR management programs and email services. Cloud services are easily scalable and can help you to avoid many infrastructure-related growing pains as your business evolves. 

Manage Your Books 

Financing planning is a crucial part of planning for business growth, but before you can make a plan you need to get clear on where you are right now. This means updating your books and making sure that all of your records are impeccable – a task which many business owners tend to let slip.  

Build Credit 

You should always aim to establish a strong payment history with lenders to enable you to borrow more in the future. Cultivating a good relationship now will really pay off further down the line. It’s also important to pay your bills on time and maintain separate business and personal bank accounts to prove to lenders that you are fiscally responsible.  

It’s always wisest to borrow when the going is good. You should arrange some credit now so that you can access it as and when you need it, rather than trying to secure funds when you’re in a difficult spot. Building credit before you need it puts you in a better position to shop around with creditors and negotiate better interest rates, too. 

A good way to do this is to take out a line of credit, which is a pre-set borrowing limit. It is there for you when you need it, but you won’t pay interest until you actually borrow. You can then pay it back in increments over a set period of time, much like a traditional bank loan. 

For more flexible options, consider arranging an overdraft and business credit card to smooth over short-term cash flow issues. However, bear in mind that these credit options are not suitable for long-term borrowing. 

Summary 

When anticipating a period of business growth, it’s important to ensure that your team is primed to handle growth and that your IT infrastructure can support the increased demands that it will incur. You should also ensure that you have access to plenty of credit and that your records are in good order so that you are able to make the right financial decisions at the right time and protect your cash reserves. Business growth certainly comes with its fair share of challenges, but good preparation is the key to profitable and sustainable growth. 

If you’d like to speak to us about how we can support you with your accounting needs, book a free consultation here.

The Three KPIs That Every Business Should Track

The Three KPIs That Every Business Should Track

Discover for yourself whether you’re tracking the three most important KPIs. And if not, learn how to start doing so.

The only way for a business owner to know if their company is meeting its goals is to define and track key performance indicators. However, the first part may be trickier than the second.

How do you even come up with the right KPIs to track?

Know that there are two groups of KPIs that every business should track, which are industry-specific KPIs and universal KPIs.

This article is about universal KPIs that are essential for every business.

Profit Margin

The gross profit margin is one of the most critical KPIs. After all, the profit motive drives most businesses since if there’s no profit, there’s no business.

But some companies make the mistake of spending way more than they earn. While this is okay in some stages of a business, it can spell troubles in the long run.

That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your gross profit margin. Here’s how to calculate it:

Divide the gross profit by gross sales. The number you get is the fractional profit margin, which you can multiply by 100 to express in percentage.

If your profit margin is going up, that’s great! But if it’s lower compared to the same quarter of last year, maybe it’s time to make a change.

There are two ways to increase your company’s profit market, and they have to do with the gross profit formula: gross sales minus cost of goods sold (COGS). So you can either decrease COGS or increase sales (at constant or a smaller increase in COGS).

You can accomplish the former by cutting costs and saving money on suppliers, utilities, and such. As for the latter, you can improve your products or services so you can raise prices.

Revenue Ratio

How can you tell if your business is going in the right direction?

Your revenue ratio is a good way to measure your company’s growth in a particular period.

The revenue ratio is the ratio of the current period’s revenue compared to the same period of the year before. It shows how fast your revenue is growing, and the best way to increase this ratio is to increase sales or revenue.

If the revenue ratio is higher than 1.0, your revenue is growing. The higher it is, the faster your company’s revenue growth.

Conversion Rate

The Internet has enabled business owners to track conversion rates more precisely than ever. If you’re spending money on ads, for example, it’s essential to find out which ads work and which ones do not.

It’s also possible to calculate the conversion rate for anything, not just paid ads. It could be the percentage of people who clicked on your link or bought your product, for instance. To do so, calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of leads (those who saw your ad, for example).

Conversion rates give powerful insights and they can help optimise or fix things.

Track Everything

The most critical KPIs may depend on your business. Among others, you might want to track your profit margin and revenue ratio.

In the digital world of today, it may also interest you to monitor specific conversion rates.

Tracking these KPIs will let you know the state of your business so you can come up with ways to make it even more profitable.

If you’d like to speak to us about how we can support you with your accounting needs, book a free consultation here.

The Power of the Year-End Review

The Power of the Year-End Review

Introduction

As we approach the end of another incredible year, it’s time to reflect, celebrate achievements, and set our plans for the future. At InterTax, we’re proud to work with small business owners, and whether you’re a creative entrepreneur, a passionate freelancer or a proud business owner who feels that maybe 2023 could have been better, an end-of-year review is a great way to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, and what’s next.

In this article, we’ll share our ideas for conducting a year end review for yourself, and of course, if you need our support with the financial part, we’re here to help and ready for your call.

Celebrate your wins

Do you remember your first sale? How about the moment you hit the VAT Threshold? Every win in business deserves celebration, and the end of the year is a great way to look back on just what you achieved – even if it wasn’t planned, and even if seems like a tiny win. Celebrating your wins is a morale booster, it keeps you motivated and focused, and your wins are probably closely connected to the reason you are in business in the first place.

Learn and evolve

Ok, 2023 wasn’t a walk in the park. And just like life, running a business can be a bit of a rollercoaster. Your end of year review gives you a great opportunity to assess what worked well and what can be improved for the future. Take a look into your numbers and see where things went brilliantly as well as those areas that might benefit from a change of strategy. Your numbers tell a story, and the insights you glean from a review can have a meaningful impact on your decisions for the future.

Set goals for the future

And we’re not just talking business goals, we’re talking personal too. Your business’s success isn’t just about spreadsheets, Xero, and profits, it’s about building a business that meets your personal goals. Did you really have the year you hoped for personally? What could be better next year? Your bookkeeper can help you make sense of your numbers so you can focus on how they help you achieve your life goals.

Take control of your finances

Many business owners simply don’t review their finances, but as you’ve read this far, we’ll assume you’re not one of those people. It’s easy to bury your head in the sand when it comes to your finances, if everything’s paid on time, it can be tempting not to look any deeper, but taking some time to conduct a year-end-review is a great way to start as you mean to go on. what ever happened up until now, having a view of where you are right now, means you can take control of your finances for the future. A solid financial foundation is the backbone of your business, and we’re here to help.

Seeking support is never a sign of weakness. You do you’re thing, and we’ll do ours. Reach out to your bookkeeper as your go-to partner for all things financial, and we, for one, would love to support you in conducting your own end-of-year review, to discuss your goals, address your concerns and discuss new ways you can grow your business in 2024. Whether the calendar year end is the same as your financial year end or not, this time of year is a great time naturally to sit and take a look at exactly what’s going on behind the spreadsheet.

As we wish 2023 farewell, we’d love to raise a toast to you and your business and a new year of exciting growth.

Book a discovery call with us here and find out how we can help to kick start your 2024!

How to Harness the Power of Technology to Increase Profitability

How to Harness the Power of Technology to Increase Profitability

We often hear about technology stealing jobs and making certain industries redundant. However, technology can also greatly enhance and improve your organisation, and drive your profits through the roof. By digitising your small business and using automation to streamline processes, you could see a huge increase in profitability. Here’s how to harness the power of technology and boost those margins.

1. Improve Efficiency

    As your business grows, it is necessary to streamline processes in order to increase efficiency and save time. Today’s technology, such as business process management software and customer relations management solutions, allow companies to optimize their business procedures. This makes it easier to restructure and automate repetitive processes, cutting down on both man-hours and mistakes.

    2. Better Customer Service

    Technology allows you to provide excellent, round-the-clock customer service without breaking the bank. You can use chatbots to answer customer queries or outsource chat support, so that you can be there for your customers 24/7. You can also offer your customers omni-channel support which syncs all communication channels together, creating a seamless and more efficient experience.

    3. Remote Working

    Technology not only allows you to improve your business, but to save money whilst doing so. One significant way to do this is by offering remote working. Research by Forbes found that staff who work remotely save their employers an average of $22,000 per year. On top of this, a study by Stanford found that remote employees are 13% more productive, take fewer sick days and report higher job satisfaction. Therefore, employing technology to encourage remote working can help you get more out of your staff whilst saving significant money.

    4. Reduce Costs

    Technology also offers small businesses many money-saving benefits beyond remote working. For example, switching your landline to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which works via your internet connection, can save you significant money over time, as well as encouraging more efficient communication.

    You can also use automation to fulfil menial tasks to save man hours and free up staff time to focus on high priority, profit-generating duties. You can automate many different office tasks, including:

    • Social media posts
    • Computer backups
    • Proofreading
    • Paying bills
    • Email responses
    • Filtering applicants when hiring

    5. Improve productivity

    Productivity is directly related to profitability. As discussed, technology can make employees more productive by facilitating remote working. However, there are many other ways you can harness the power of technology to increase productivity. For example, technology can allow you to gamify your office, which helps to motivate employees. You can also use gamification to increase participation and engagement rates in online training and courses.

    You can also use collaborative software and tools to encourage organisation and consistency amongst your workforce. This is particularly valuable when employees are working remotely, as it ensures that everyone is on the same page and feels valued and involved.

    6. Smarter Marketing

    Technology can really enhance your marketing and help you to get more out of your budget. It can help to create personalised marketing campaigns and allow you to split-test your marketing materials to fine-tune your strategy and find out what works best for your business. It’s also possible to use artificial intelligence to gather data on your target audience and thus create more accurate marketing campaigns that speak directly to them.

    Summary

    Technology can enable you to build a faster, better and more profitable business, driving your costs down whilst increasing output. On top of this, technology can help you increase sales by helping you create more targeted and impactful marketing campaigns. If you’re serious about driving up your profits, it’s time to take advantage of all that modern technology has to offer.

    If you’d like to speak to us about how we can support you with your accounting needs, book a free consultation here.