Archives#training Archives — C. Lynn Northrup, CPA, CPIM
We’ve just finished up paying our taxes for the year. Maybe you had to pay more than you wanted and had to scramble to come up with enough cash for the payment. You might have looked at the numbers and wondered why we didn’t do better. There could be lots of scenarios to the story.
Reality is that many businesses don’t really know how they are doing and wonder how they can do better. This is an all too familiar theme for most small businesses. It is essential for businesses to take time to consider their options.
Here’s some signals that maybe your business could use some help:
- Gross margins have decreased.
- You can’t identify your product margins.
- Profit margins are too low.
- Your cost structure is out of line with the competition.
- You’re borrowing too much.
- You have declining trends over the past few months.
Maybe you need a tune-up:
- Has income declined over the last three quarters/
- Are sales declining?
- Are you satisfied with your overall results?
- Do you have a plan to maintain your rate of growth?
Here’s some signs that things need to turn around:
- Are you starting to lose money?
- Do you have too much inventory?
- Can you recruit new help?
- Do you have too much debt?
- Do you know where you are making profits?
- By customer
- By product or service
- Have you lost business to competitors?
Crisis questions might include:
- Can you meet payroll?
- Will the bank lend you more money?
- Have good employees quit?
- Have vendors stopped shipping goods to you?
- Have you had time to think and strategize?
- Have any of your customers who don’t pay on time stopped ordering?
Maybe you just think your business should be doing better and you don’t know why. Whatever the reasons, there are things every business should and could be doing to make things better. My blog post on Biggest Business Problems explains and discusses these issues.
The first thing businesses should do is step back to reflect on what you have done and where you want to go. Businesses fail to engage in “Strategic Thinking” and they fail to effectively “measure their performance” on a regular basis.
These are what I call the Management Tools for Success that are critical for growing and increasing profitability. Business owners need to spend the time and effort to learn about accounting and measurement. In addition, they need to then learn how to apply these tools to making their business more successful.
My goal is to provide business owners with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful. Take advantage of my consulting experience which are offered as resources for businesses on a subscription basis and as toolkits and checklists which can be downloaded from my store.
A good way to get started is with The Guide to Strategic Thinking and The Strategic Thinking Toolkit and creating a plan for Profit Enhancement. The key is doing something rather than just thinking about it. So go make it happen.
My last blog post dealt with change. Well, I’m taking my own advice and making major revisions to my service and product offerings. The big change is providing greater access to me and the knowledge I can share with you. These exciting changes will help to increase your profits and grow your business.
I’m still going to be available as a virtual CFO and controller. However, I will be offering new affordable learning courses in accounting, finance, and business skills. These courses will be available in self-paced learning formats so you can proceed at your pace and on your schedule. The format will allow direct interaction with me to answer your questions.
In addition, I have created new booklets and will be revising older content to provide you with greater amounts of information to help you solve business problems. This information will be available in booklet form, new self-paced learning courses and subscription web sites. The subscription web site resources will be a new way for me to share my knowledge and to provide you with access to specialized business information.
I have a number of training programs that were delivered in seminar fashion. Some of these programs will be converted to self-paced learning courses and others will be available through subscription sites. The subscription program will allow access to a variety of knowledge resources.
Another new feature that will be offered will be group coaching sessions using virtual webinar capability. Coaching will cover accounting and financial management topics in addition to strategic business areas. The group sessions will make coaching more affordable in a sharing environment. The webinar format allows me to provide knowledge on a more personal basis that can be accessed on demand to fit your schedule.
Individual virtual coaching sessions will also be offered to individuals demanding more personalized service. The coaching sessions will be tailored to fit specific needs and preferences. Scheduling will be arranged to fit individual client needs.
I will continue to provide virtual CFO and controller services to businesses utilizing cloud based accounting, analysis, and planning tools. These tools allow me to provide financial management support to businesses anywhere in the world.
My primary focus on my web site will be CFO, financial management, accounting, and business topics. Other areas of my expertise such as retirement, estate planning, and elder care will be available in booklets and on subscription web sites. This will bring greater focus to clients and with more effective access to information. I’m always available through e-mail and telephone if clients have specific questions or issues.
The changes are underway and you will start to see the new direction over the next few weeks. I am excited about these changes and the opportunity to provide you with the special knowledge that will help your businesses to grow faster and become more profitable.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.