The new financial year is here and now is the time to prepare your business for the year ahead. To assist you here is some of the best pieces of advice from Business Coach Milton Collins.
The beginning of a new financial year can be a stressful time for a business owner. You’ve just closed off the last financial year with the hope of saving as much on tax as possible. But this is far from the only thing that you need to do.
Many businesses make the mistake of not fully understanding what it takes to prepare for the new financial year. This is especially true for those who aren’t familiar with the financial side of their business. In this case, their best bet would be to go with a Business Coach who will steer them in the right direction.
Here you’ll get a chance to learn from one of ActionCOACH’s most knowledgeable experts on the topic. With decades of experience in accounting and growing many businesses, Milton Collins is certainly someone that you can turn to for guidance.
Before we get into the hot tips, you might be curious about Milton’s background.
Milton Collins began his accounting career at PWC, one of the biggest names in the industry after completing his education at The Geelong College and The Australian National University. He spent years learning from some of the best accountants in the world before deciding to strike out on his own. He joined the Gippsland Accounting firm, RGM Financial Group which he and his partners grew to 10 partners and 200 staff members. He chose Gippsland so that he could combine business with competing at an elite level in 3 Day Event Equestrian. He also became the Australian expert in tax and business advice to the performance horse industry.
This went on for about 20 years, during which Milton acquired invaluable knowledge and skill set in accounting and business management. He then decided to further his entrepreneurial ambitions.
He bought a rundown conference centre in Woodend Victoria which he turned into Campaspe Country House Hotel and Conference Centre. The hotel was a massive success and received multiple awards including Telstra Business of the year, but Milton didn’t stop there.
After selling The Hotel to the Singapore based Como Group of Hotels he took on the role of CEO at The Transport Hotel Group that operated Taxi Kitchen, The Transport Hotel, Transit Roof Top Cocktail Bar and Taxi Riverside Events all operating from Federation Square in Melbourne.
Milton has also owned and operated businesses that imported Danish software driven lighting devices, a Poll Hereford Cattle Stud and a Horse Stud.
Drawing upon his experience and insight, Milton then became a Business Coach who advises his clients on not only finance-related but full business management, growth and team development.
It’s safe to assume that Milton knows what it takes to grow a business. And you can’t do that if you don’t take care of the financials. Milton knows a thing or two about that and this is what he has to say about preparing for the end of the financial year.
Tip #1: Define Your Goals
Milton believes the new financial year is a perfect chance to look at your goals. As you prepare, you should take a look at what you’re planning to achieve in the following year and the future.
Milton states that the most important thing to focus on here is your customer base. We live in a time when customers decide whether a business succeeds or fails. A good Business Coach would advise you to do everything in your power to keep them loyal.
This is because customers have more information available to them than ever before. They can just go online and discover your competitors’ products. You’ll want to make sure to sink your hook into them so that they can compare all they want and still come back to you.
When it comes to planning for the year ahead and focusing on your customers, Milton’s business is a great example of how to do it right. His business has won many awards including Business of the Year and Best Customer Service.
His secret is to ensure the whole team lives and breathes the culture of his business, especially when they apply for business awards. From conducting a SWOT analysis to setting clear goals for the next 12 months, everyone works together. This gives them a chance to explore fresh ideas and serve the needs of their ideal customer. His team and he are always looking for the Wow factor that distinguishes them from their competitors.
Tip #2 – Understand Your Finances
The end of the financial year is the time when it’s especially important to know your finances. This is crucial to minimising your taxes legally. The new financial year is the time to get prepared and set solid foundations for the next 12 months. The issue is that some people may not know enough about accounting for that.
When this is the case, they turn to an expert accountant for help. But it’s not always smooth sailing. Sometimes accountants don’t do a good job of explaining how everything works. Many of Milton’s clients have complained that their accountants simply prepared their taxes without any explanations. They do not offer any tips or strategies on growing and improving their business.
Avoid this issue by speaking to your local business coach or attend events to understand more about the ways to grow your business.
Tip #3 – Make Sure Systems are Consistent
To allow your business to grow ensure that you are constantly reviewing and improving your systems. The product or service must be consistent and of a high standard from all team members. Are you easy to buy from? What areas deliver well and in what areas do you struggle?
Are you losing business on inconsistent service or delivery? There is no way to get a customer back if you can’t deliver what they buy at a standard that they expect. Always try to exceed the customers expectation.
Tip #4 – Determine Your Marketing Strategy
We’re way past traditional marketing techniques. With the advancement of social media, it has never been more important to turn to digital marketing.
On top of that, it’s critical to advertise to the right people. This is where the importance of knowing your niche comes into play. It’s necessary for you to specialise in something and target the right audience.
Milton landed some huge players in the industry because the market knew him as an expert. He was out there competing with them and was the first Business Coach they’d turn to for financial advice. He understood what they needed and they could relate to him. By combining his passion and expertise, Milton was able to deliver exceptional services to his new clients.
Tip #5 – Revisit Your Niches
In relation to the previous point, you need to be aware of ongoing changes in your niche market. Just because you’ve specialised in something doesn’t mean that you’ve done your job.
Instead, you need to see how the needs of your customers change over time. Failing to do this can result in a competitor stepping into your niche and taking clients away from you. So, as you prepare for the end of the financial year, make sure to check on your niches to see how you can keep your customers loyal.
You need to learn before you earn and keep ahead of your competitors.
Tip #6 – Keep Analysing Your Offer
No product or service can survive without evolving. Any Business Coach who’s worth their salt would tell you that you need to be on constant lookout for new ideas to improve your offer. The new financial year is a good time to do this.
Ask yourself this: ‘Is my product still as relevant as it was?’
Unless you know for certain that there’s nothing to change for the better, you should find a way to improve your offer. In most cases, you’ll find at least some minor tweaks that can improve your products or services. It’s the perfect opportunity to do it and then tell your existing and potential customers about it.
Tip #7 – Review Your Prices
The right price for your product or service is not set in stone. Instead, you need to revisit your pricing strategy to see if anything needs to change.
The most important thing here is value for money. Make sure that your customers are paying a fair price for the product. Now, remember that you don’t have to offer massive discounts or have the cheapest option of all. This is usually not a good strategy to get more clients.
Instead, you need to focus on the perceived quality of your products. If you know your niche, you can understand exactly what this means for your customers. When reviewing your pricing strategy, make sure to offer your target customers the most value for what they have to pay instead of just lowering prices. I hate discounting and much prefer to ensure that the customers get a great return on investment (ROI) and can see the value.
Tip #8 – Inspire Your People
Human resources are the heart and soul of every business. Like any good Business Coach, Milton advises that you know your people well and understand what motivates them.
Don’t make the same mistake as the business owners who believe it’s all about the money they earn. While this is certainly a factor, it’s far from the only one. In fact, there are many scenarios where it’s not anywhere close to the most important consideration for your people.
Focus instead on what they expect to achieve by working for and with you. It’s necessary that you understand their goals and motivators if you want them to help you reach yours. This requires plenty of face time with your employees to get to know them.
Like many aspects of your business, your employees will change with time. You need to know the evolution of their motivations and be able to meet their expectations. This way, you’ll create an atmosphere that people will love working in.
Tip #9 – Have the Right KPIs in Place
To know how far you’ve progressed and what it takes to achieve your goals, you must be able to measure them. This is what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are for. While they might be aware of KPIs and their importance, many business owners neglect to set and review them. This would make it unnecessarily hard to measure a business’ actual performance.
What’s more, this is also important to the progress of your employees. There are business-level KPIs and individual-level KPIs. When your people have a target to work towards, they’ll know the direction to move in. And when you measure their performance, you’ll recognize the areas that they can improve. Not only that but the proactive employee would be able to do that themselves.
For the new financial year, make sure to review whether you’ve set the right KPIs and that the team understand them Better still involve them in setting the KPI’s so that they can take some ownership.. This can boost yours and their performance for the next year and make sure you stay on top of your game. Of course, if you’re not sure about how to set your KPIs, a Business Coach can help you define them.
Tip #10 – Review Your Sales
You’ll get all sorts of insights as you prepare for the end of the financial year. This presents a great chance for you to review your sales processes and set yourself up for the new year. There are a few crucial questions that you need to ask yourself here.
First of all, see if your sales people have all the tools and training they need to sell effectively. Review their tools and processes to see if you can improve them or make some wholesale changes. The same goes for your sales funnel. Is there any step that needs tweaking that would boost conversion? If so, identify those key phases and see how you can work on them.
Another hugely important aspect is education. Your salespeople need to have all the knowledge they need to maximise conversion rates. It’s your job to teach them how to sell even more effectively and overcome any potential resistance from a potential client.
Tip #11 – Stay Up-to-Date with the Latest Technology
Technology is vital to modern businesses. What’s more, it keeps changing so rapidly that it’s quite hard to ensure that you’re using the latest and greatest solutions available. From your email client and CRM to cybersecurity, having the right technology in place can make all the difference.
Settling for outdated technologies for the sake of saving money is often not worth it. And yet, there are many businesses that do exactly this. While it might save you some money right now, it can hold back your business in the long run.
This doesn’t mean that good technology will burn through your budget. There are many great technological solutions for all aspects of your business that can be cost-effective in the grand scheme of things. There are other things to consider beyond the upfront cost. This is where an experienced Business Coach can really help your business thrive.
Tip #12 – Invest in Yourself
Many people focus so much on business development that they forget about their own. And yet, it’s personal development that can decide business success. This is why you need to keep investing in yourself in addition to your business.
As a leader, your goal is to keep improving and finding new ways to do the same for your business. To do this, you need to learn new things any chance you get and continuously. Work on your business and not in it.
Not only will this help you achieve your goals, but it will also inspire your employees. The result of these collective efforts will be clearly visible in your business results, which would be abundantly clear at the end of the financial year.
Tip #13 – Illuminate Your Business
This is a timeless piece of advice that applies to all businesses in all industries. You need to make sure that your voice is louder than those of your competitors. When you do this, you’ll gain a competitive advantage that will be very hard to match.
Milton experienced this first-hand. When he bought the run-down conference centre, he wanted to make sure that everybody knew what was coming. As soon as his Country House Hotel opened for business, people would rush towards it.
With careful planning, this is exactly what he managed to do. He worked closely with a Public Relations Firm as he wanted the press to be there, so he offered meals and overnight accommodations. He was also willing to write effective press releases for them. The goal was to get plenty of free publicity for the hotel.
Needless to say, it worked brilliantly. By the time the campaign was over, Milton’s business took up pages after pages in the newspapers, magazines and equally as much TV coverage. The hotel was so successful that it ended up as a case study on Tourism Excellence on what someone can achieve in tourism.
Are You Ready for the New Financial Year?
As you can see, there’s so much more than just getting your finances in order. Now that you have a rough idea of what to do, it’s time to see what you can do to check all the boxes. And it’s always best to start early and have a system in place.
Of course, you don’t have to do it alone, as a Business Mentor can help you with all of the above. Still, Milton advises you to choose carefully, as not all Business Coaches will be right for you. They need to be able to drive your business in the right direction while still making sure that you learn, grow and develop.
Now, if you believe you can benefit from business coaching, you’ll want to reach out to one of us and ensure you make the most out of this New Financial Year.
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