This week I met with six clients to plan out the next steps in their business. Three businesses are in turnaround. Three have been trading for between 2-5 years and want to take their business to the next level. Two clients are looking to franchise their business, two are introducing an ‘exclusive member club.’ One is making major cuts to prevent her business running out of cash. One is looking to re-brand. Another is planning a major PR promotion in January. Every business is different, and has its own set of strengths and challenges. Finding good employees has been a major challenge for most. Likewise finding reliable, competent contractors. 1200-x-800px-blog-images-from-september-2016-onwards-1

Despite the differences in these businesses, one of my goals when I’m working with my clients is to create resilience. The principles for creating resilience in a business are the same, whatever the industry. So how exactly do you create resilience?

1. Take Stock

Setting aside regular time to take stock of your business and understand the market you’re operating in inside out is essential. I write about this in detail in my article, Take Stock Of Where You Are Now. In a nutshell, the key to ensuring your business isn’t buffeted by the winds is to make sure you understand both how your business is performing AND the key drivers behind that performance. To do this, you will need to have a clear understanding of:

  • Which KPIs drive your business performance.
  • How these metrics change over time.
  • How these metrics impact on your sales and profits as well as on your cash position.
  • The main external risks your business faces.
  • Your business weaknesses – as well as your own.
  • How dependent your business is on particular customers, suppliers and markets.
  • Your competition.
  • The technology you’re using and how it can help you to run your business more efficiently.
  • Future opportunities.

[callout]CLICK HERE to start planning your business 2017 budget and map out your financial plan for the year ahead.[/callout]

2. Plan - Continuously

Planning in business is fundamental, just as in life. Without planning, your business will end up drifting to a destination you don’t want. Planning is not a one-off activity. It’s continuous. Sometimes you’ll be planning at the strategic level – in the case of your business plan. Sometimes you’ll be planning the overall shape of your year. Sometimes you’ll be planning out the marketing plan for each quarter in detail. Sometimes you’ll be planning a major promotion or campaign. Running a business is all about planning – and then taking action to implement the plan.

Planning helps you to work out exactly what resources your business will need for your goals to be achieved. During uncertain times, like here in the UK as we go through Brexit, evaluating risk, identifying likely potential scenarios and planning resource requirements in is essential for creating resilience. Developing an integrated cashflow, profit and loss and balance sheet forecast with an easy way to stress test your different assumptions is one of the best ways to do this.

3. Review and Update Your Plans

Forecasting and planning are not one time only exercises. Forecasts and plans need updating regularly. The level of sophistication needed will vary from business to business but as a guide it is worth considering the following points:

  • Build a base forecast, then stress-test it by adjusting it according to different possible scenarios.
  • Make sure you don’t just focus on sales and profitability. Think about how other variables which may affect you such as late payments and currency fluctuations Understanding the impact on cash flow is critical.
  • Where possible, make sure you’re not dependent on any one customer or supplier. At the very least, develop a contingency plan in case the relationship ends.
  • Build-up a ‘contingency fund’. What’s your breakeven point? How much cash does your business need to operate? Build up an appropriate level of cash reserves which you can draw on in case of emergency.
  • However, that’s not the end of the process. In my next blog, I will look at how business can make sure they continue to be in a place to manage upcoming uncertainty.

Bear in mind that the first time you prepare any kind of forecast, it’s your ‘best guess’ about what will happen. The better the quality of your market research and historical data, the more accurate your forecast will be. Your forecasting will become more accurate and reliable over time.

Last year, I wrote a series of articles about how to put together your financial forecasts for 2017. You’ll find these in the section ‘Explore These Additional Resources’ below. I’ve also created a FREE spreadsheet to help you put together your financial plan for 2017. It comes with a set of step by step instructions. CLICK HERE to download your copy.

[callout]CLICK HERE to start planning your business 2017 budget and map out your financial plan for the year ahead.[/callout]

Join The Conversation

Question: How ready is your business for 2017? I love reading your feedback so please do reply using the comments box below.

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Work With Me

I’m Denyse Whillier, a London based business coach and consultant. I guide entrepreneurs from across the globe to achieve profitable, scaleable growth and create businesses that are Built To Succeed™. Built To Succeed™ is my proven success system, developed during my 8 years in the trenches as a CEO, 25 years’ experience at senior leadership and managerial level and training at Cranfield School of Management, the UK's leading business school. It's this background that sets me apart and helps my clients to get BIG results.

I’d love to start a conversation. Simply use this link to arrange an informal Skype coffee chat. There’s no hard sell. Just solid advice and a straightforward, honest assessment of whether 1:1 business coaching (or business consultancy) would be a good fit for your business, the results you can expect and how to get started.

To get a copy of my e-book, 'How To Take Control Of Your Business ... And Get Off The Financial Roller Coaster,' click HERE.