March 11, 2014 at 9:05 PM
The first thing that top performing business owners do at the start of each year is review their Annual Plan.
As part of that plan they re-set their business goals to raise the bar so that they keep striving for excellence.
I have made a list of a few ideas to help you get 2014 off on the right track.
Hit The Mark
Identify your Business Benchmarks for your industry so that, right from the start of 2014, you will be working to the profit margins of the top performers in your industry.
In this way you should make more money than in previous years.
As an example, top performers in some of the industry sectors we work with achieve the DaltonPlan® Business Benchmarks of a Gross Profit of 70% of Sales while top performers in other industries achieve 50%. Their wages might be 28% and their rent 5% of Sales.
You need to find out what the business benchmarks are for your industry.
Develop an effective marketing plan for 2014 that will really make a positive difference to sales. The quickest way to increase sales is to ask existing customers if you are able to supply them with additional products and services. We call this picking the "low hanging fruit", it’s the easiest way first.
You can then research the names of prospective customers in the same industries as your existing customers. If your existing customers are happy with your products and services then surely other prospective customers in the same industry would be too.
After you have exhausted the previous two options you can then look for new markets for your existing products and services.
Free up more time to work on growing the business or take a holiday to recharge. The first thing to do is to make a list of the names of all staff. Under each name, list their tasks, such as Despatch orders, Answer phone calls, Website maintenance, Health & Safety etc. Include yourself in this list.
Then, together with each staff member, create a flow chart for each of their critical tasks to eliminate mistakes and increase efficiency. Not every task will need a flow chart, just the critical ones.
Then, analyse each of your own tasks and see which ones you are able to flow chart and hand over to another staff member. In this way you will be able to train them faster into the new task and rid yourself of a number of tasks to free up more of your time to work on developing your business further, such as identifying new opportunities.
You can go about the above tasks in your own way or you can make an investment in one of the solutions that we’ve put together.
We want to be everywhere all the time, so we’ve developed Benchmarks, Business Plans and eBooks for you.
You can buy them online.
By Michael Christenhusz, Director, PlumbersSupremeGasLink
Tel: 04 389 6963
PlumbersSupremeGasLink® was founded on strong values in 1955, in Wellington, by our father Mr Christenhusz senior. We are a family run business spanning three generations. During that time we’ve helped over 30,000 local residents in need of a good Plumber.
We assist residential customers, as individuals, to add value to their homes through the delivery of high quality plumbing and gas fitting products and services and commercial clients to complete their maintenance projects and building projects on time and on budget.
After 2008, like so many local businesses, our business started to suffer from the global economic downturn and in 2012 we decided to do something before losing too much.
We already had worked with Dean about 10 years ago on flow charts specifically and it had made a big difference to the structure and efficiency of the business. This time we worked through the whole DaltonPlan® business plan!
We needed to re-create and re-energise the business so we could be self-sustaining again. The plumbing industry has become more fragmented as a result of more plumbers setting up their own businesses and this has had an impact on our ability to keep highly qualified staff.
Dean and I worked on the DaltonPlan® benchmarks and we re-estimated our pricing depending on the services or jobs.
Over the years, our benchmarks were sort of diluted and we were losing some money on some jobs. Now that we have based our calculations on the right benchmarks, we've made a shift to a healthy profit situation.We have also re-freshed our website and re-thought our strategies.
Re-setting our goals has been a crucial step and we work now on yearly goals. I use the term – re – because this business has been here for the last 60 years and will be here for the next 60, it's a matter of being able to react and adjust properly.
We went through the flow charts again, refreshed processes, highlighted errors and eliminated problems at the source.
We have 15 employees so it is important that everyone stays on the same page. All the staff feel good about these standardised procedures, it helps them to work better and with more confidence.
I personally have gained better control and a better understanding of my business, we now know where we’re heading.
We have developed and improved our approach when processing and working with clients. We're 'educating' the client so when we sit together to find out what they need and what they want, we can understand each other better and respond appropriately.
We also like to stand out by showing our customers that value is more important than price.
Dean offers a monthly mentoring service and it's perfect for us. Together we’re updating systems, keeping up with targets, and adjusting to a changing environment. It adds value to our business.
We're now 18 months down the track and it's been fantastic, this business plan has been worth every cent and if we hadn't done it, things would be a lot harder today. It was an eye opener for us.
Would we be here if we hadn’t asked?