With Australia coming towards the end of it’s COVID-19 lockdown, attention now turns to what business is going to look like on the other side. For businesses that have been forced to be closed, such as restaurants, pubs, beauty salons, gyms and the like, the future of your day to day operations is still unknown.
In this time of uncertainty, one thing you can take control of is the technology that you utilise to manage your business, in particular your finance and reporting functions. Now more than ever it is going to be essential for small businesses to run as cost effectively and efficiently as possible. This can be achieved be utilising technology to automate some of your functions and make your processes more efficient, whilst also giving you more oversight of your business.
Review, Review, Review
In most cases, businesses will have a form of cloud based accounting software, such as Xero, set up. If you do not, you really should! Now is the perfect opportunity to spend time analysing the data you have to make informed business decisions.
Review your profit and loss to analyse your income and expenses. When reviewing income you can consider things like whether your pricing is appropriate, are you too cheap or maybe too expensive and deterring customers. Are your products appropriate for your target market? Do you require new or different income streams post Covid? Should the products or services that are not profitable be discontinued?Is takeaway now a viable option for you?
It is imperative that you consider all expenses and how you can reduce them. Use this as an opportunity to renegotiate contracts such as rent, electricity, insurance, telephone and internet. Are your suppliers the most cost effective or can someone offer you the same product at a cheaper price. Are your supply chains till available post Covid? Are you staffed appropriately? When you begin rostering staff on again, ensure you have the right level staff working at the right times. Rostering software such as Deputy and Tanda can help you with this and help you analyse wages v budgeted income for any given day.
Know your numbers everyday.
It is imperative that once your business returns you consistently review your figures to ensure you know how profitable you are. Cashflow forecasting will also be vital. If you are not currently utilising a Point of Sale (POS) system, now is the time to implement one. A POS system will give you rich data about the performance of your business, performance of products and services and any trends within your business. It will also reduce time in processing sales and increase accuracy. For a café, a product like Kounta is cloud based and cost effective to set up. For a beauty salon you may consider Simple Salon and gyms could look at Mindbody.
To assist with cashflow forecasting there are several different options available. Products such as Spotlight Reporting gives you a huge amount of financial data and allows you to build cashflow reporting and 3 way forecasts. Float is another great product for cashflow forecasting and scenario modelling and is great for those who learn visually. Now is also the perfect opportunity to review your cashflow and borrowings with banks. Can you renegotiate or possibly turn a short term overdraft to a longer term business loan. Utilising cloud-based software for POS, reporting and accounting that all link together allows you to have oversight of your numbers. With the data being live and up to date you can review the performance of your business daily, giving you greater oversight.
Be seen and heard
Once business returns to the new ‘normal’ it will be important that you build your client base back up as quickly as possible. It will be important that you are visible and easy to find. Some simple marketing tips that we live by include:
Ensuring you are easy to find on social media and that you know who your target market is
Be consistent with clear messaging and branding
Be authentic. Tell your story to the public
Make sure your website is up to date and serves its purpose. Is it for information only or should people be interacting with it?
Make it easy to interact with you through multiple communication channels. Consider introducing online booking software or an app that allows bookings.
We all have an opportunity to come back from these unprecedented times as better businesses. We can use this time to reflect and review and implement changes that will make us more efficient, more effective and ultimately more profitable.
We are looking forward to working with you to not only survive but thrive in the future!