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In the current economic climate, the focus of many businesses is on how to ensure short term stability and medium-term profitability. In this section, we offer a guide to helping to secure and grow your business with links through to other sections containing further information.

1. Understand where your business is now
    
Do a full health check of your business to completely understand your financial
    position:

  • The balance sheet
  • The people you employ
  • Financial systems and processes
  • The market

2. Decide what you want to measure
     It's important to identify those measures that will give the best indication of how
     your business is doing then set targets for each. These could include:

  • Sales growth
  • Gross margin
  • Productivity
  • Profitability
  • Overhead costs
  • Solvency and liquidity
  • Asset ‘lock up’

3. Prepare a business plan
   
An effective business plan is concise, written in plain English, and includes:

  • A short summary of your vision
  • A financial forecast
  • An outline of any financial support or investment required
  • Debt recovery disciplines
  • An outline of who will be involved in delivering the plan    

4. Make sure you have the right tools 
    For some businesses, the most helpful tools will be those they have on their
    computer, such as an Excel spreadsheet and a Word document. For others, having
    access to tools like Quickbooks or a cloud accounting package offer the most
    efficient way to input and share data. 

5. Know how you're doing
    Forward-looking monthly management accounts offer readily available
    and accurate information. Points to consider include:

  • Cash flow - the life blood of any business
  • Look closely at the relationship between what comes into your business and what goes out
  • Appreciate any pinch points and check that the right financing is in place to cover them
  • Look at your gross margins – what are your most and least profitable customers, services and products?


    

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