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One Simple Change to Benefit your Business in 2016

One Simple Change to Benefit your Business in 2016

Tis the time for folks to start thinking about wrapping up 2015, reflecting on the year that was and developing a vision for the year ahead.  Many New Year’s resolutions are for personal change.  Here’s one small change that you can make in your business that will have a significant impact over the year.  Are you ready? Put time aside to work ON your business. This is simple, but not easy for many entrepreneurs to do.  Putting time aside each week to work ON your business is critical for strategic change and growth.  Many entrepreneurs are so busy working IN the business that time is not consistently dedicated to working on the business. You might be wondering what you do to work “ON” your business or maybe feel you are already doing that.  Here’s a list of some ideas to get you started. Review your financial results for the month / year and compare…

leadership, team, questions, business, coach, coaching, sign, consulting, owner, client, clients, customers

5 Key Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Business Coach

What business consulting and coaching experience do you bring? Coaching and consulting are different skill sets. In a business coach, you’re looking for sound business knowledge, ideas, alternatives, advice (consulting) as well as the ability to step back and challenge you to step up to greatness, be accountable for your actions and ask you great questions so you get unstuck in order to achieve your goals (coaching). You want someone with both skill sets. Check out the recommendations and testimonials from those they have worked with. What kinds of work does your coach write / publish? Is this coach the expert you need? Tell me about your experience as a coach and a small business owner. Working with a business coach who also has experience as a business owner can make all the difference to you. Coaches with prior or current business experience just “get it”. They have walked a…

Who's your wingman in business?

Who’s Your Wingman?

You don’t have to think very hard to find examples of careers that mentor newbies with experienced practitioners. Most professions along with apprenticeship trades know the model is effective, not only at passing along knowledge, skills, professional judgment, but also for building confidence and having a safe “sounding board” in a peer that’s walked a mile in your shoes. As business owners, we often follow the path of the lone wolf, fighting off the predators that threaten our livelihood – competition, cash flow woes, bad contracts, and changes in the political and economic environments we operate in. Our friends don’t “get it”. Our loved ones “don’t get it”. Our friends and family feel slighted and annoyed that we aren’t spending enough time with them. Even with a family that’s cheering you on, they often don’t have the knowledge or skill to REALLY help! You might be fighting the good fight…

Freeing up profits in your business.

Hide And Seek – Strategies to Free Up Hidden Profits

It’s hard to ignore the news reporting an economic downturn in Alberta with some economists even using the “R” word (Recession). Couple the general economic woes with an increasing cost structure (taxes, minimum wage, insurance, etc.) and it may feel as if you’re pushing that string up an insurmountable hill. Fear not, here’s a few tips to help you ferret out those profits that may be hiding in plain sight: in operating costs, customer service or purchasing processes, hiring practices or unproductive assets. This post wraps up the series on Strategies to Improve your Profitability Part 1 and Part 2. Operating Costs There are many items that are included in “operating costs”: facility costs, general & administrative & selling expenses are often significant categories. Some suggestion to release profits: Check into membership and association discounts Trim back on phone, internet, power, wages, general office expenses Ask employees to analyze expenses…

economics, trade, money, liquidity, stability, concept, business, income, sales, profit, revenue, success A simple illustration of improved business performance. Revenue and profits.

Strategies to Improve Your Profitability Part 2

In Strategies to Improve your Profitability – Part 1, I described how important it is for business owners to understand their financials and the actions / decisions behind the numbers. Now that you have completed an analysis and identified a “problem expense”, you may be wondering, “What now?” A key to the effectiveness of your cost-cutting action is the worth of the various expenditures. An expenditure may be “worth” more or less than the $ value. To determine the worth of an expenditure, you have to consider the productivity or benefit to your business of this expenditure. Can it be reduced without a corresponding decrease in revenues or profits? Can it be switched to a lower cost alternative? For example, if you cut your employee development budget without expecting a corresponding decrease in performance – either immediately or in the future, you may be sacrificing short-term profits for longer term…

Strategies to improve your business's profitability

Strategies to Improve Your Profitability Part 1

Yesterday, October 1, 2015, minimum wage in Alberta increased by $1.00/hour from $10.20 to $11.20. Saskatchewan & Manitoba are following suit. In this series of posts, I’ll share ideas, tips and strategies for business owners. You pick the ones that will add value to your business. Consult with your business coach to help you select impactful activities. Know your financials! Before you can really narrow down on the strategies you will implement in your business to improve profitability, you need to understand the impact of all your decisions on your profitability. Business owners are laser-focused on the impact of staffing decisions, but solutions may involve a combination of decisions including capital investment, supplier management and / or labour. Locating reducible expenses Your focal point should be in locating expenses that can be cut. Therefore, the information should be as current as possible. A P&L statement (aka Income Statement) reports to…

The rush of playing the game of business

The Rush

I love it when we win the game. I feel the rush of adrenalin. My heart pounds, muscles tense and I feel tremendous satisfaction. You may be wondering, “What game is she playing?” I’m playing the game of business. Agriculture is like many businesses that need to predict demand for their goods and services months if not years before the sale will be made. An entire market has evolved to trade in commodities. Can we accurately predict global prices for our crops prior to seeding? If we are wrong and excessive supply drives market prices down, we might have trouble recovering our input costs let alone realizing a profitable return. Can a retailer predict demand several months prior to the season and place effective orders? If the forecast is accurate, then inventory management costs can be optimized. If the forecast is wrong, lost sales, excessive inventory carrying costs or liquidations…

farm, field, tree, trees, foliage, equipment, tractor, combine, beans, soy, thrash, thrasher, harvest

It’s GO Time

In my June post, “Get your Motor Runnin’” I talked about the importance of routines in our crop production business during seeding. Guess what? It’s harvest time! Woot woot! More routines… Wait a minute…Maybe I am celebrating a bit prematurely. I think in many of our life and business experiences, we remember the good parts and our brains help us dismiss or downplay some of the more negative elements. Seasonal businesses know all too well the equity stake Mother Nature holds in their business. Crop producers put all their eggs into the basket in May and wait for Mother Nature to disburse the right mix of sunshine, rain, pests, and temperature to produce the cereal, oilseed or pulse crops that make their way into the food chain each fall. As a business owner, you understand the importance of cash flow to your business. That’s the added stress at this time…

Leveraging Your Success