Getting your Business Foundations right must come first
Laying a strong foundation of a business is the first important phase to ensuring long term success. It is essential that everybody from the business owner down clearly understands what lies at the heart of the business. Getting this right allows each next challenge to be faced.
A number of questions need to be considered to ascertain the strength of the foundations of a business – and cut through the noise:
- Is your ownership structure correct and set up for your growth?
- What is it you are selling?
- Who are your markets, who are your clients?
- How will you distribute your product?
- What is your price?
- What is your unique selling proposition? Your value proposition?
- How will you market?
- What is your cost base?
- What are your conversion ratios?
- How will your cost versus sales grow?
- What level of technology and connection does your business employ?
Concise answers to these questions need to be documented in a foundation manual that staff and key partners understand.
Implementing a foundation program is simple – but essential
The foundation program we create with you has four core components that sound simple and yet when completed correctly will stand your business out in front and on the path to achieving success:
- Business Plan – 7 pages, simple to use and review, a genuine working document.
- Cashflow – A one page document we implement with you to allow you to forecast and manage your cash. The heart of any business.
- Marketing plan workbook – We work with you, select the seven marketing activities you will complete day in day out for six months without change. We then work with you to review and refine the plan over the coming years. You are taught “how to”.
- Marketing activities options – We have 42 marketing activities that are low-cost and high value that give you a menu of marketing activities for your business to select and implement.
Business funding's harder to get than ever. What do I do?
It's a common refrain: the banks have clamped down on business lending since the Global Financial crisis. It’s harder than ever to get funding and they’re only interested in bricks-and-mortar security.
Not so, say the banks, pointing to figures which show they’re lending as much as ever. But they acknowledge that they’re taking more care in the approval process, and that can present businesses seeking funding with greater challenges. As Michael Fingland of business turnaround specialists Vantage Performance puts it, standing out from the crowd is crucial to your success in raising bank finance.
A strategic business plan, supported by cashflows and forecasts, is a given these days, but you also need to demonstrate the key messaging and branding that highlight your Unique Selling Point. And that applies as much to existing loans as new ones – the banks will review all business loans on an annual basis.
Maybe the government can help. A small business grant would be handy…
What about getting some funding from the government? After all, you pay enough in taxes! Entirely possible, says Adrian Spencer of GrantReady, if you go about it the right way. Adrian says the Federal Government alone dishes out $10 billion a year in innovation and discretionary grants to business.
Some are technology-related, others support exporters or specific business sectors, like manufacturing or farming. The important thing is to find out what’s available, make your case thoroughly and submit it in good time. But a word of warning from the ACCC’s Dr Michael Schaper: there are unscrupulous people about who’ll pretend to offer exclusive access to government grants for a fee. Be careful, take advice and guidance from reputable sources. And good luck!
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