Column: Spend time on your business

Kat Bond.
Kat Bond.

Could getting too embroiled in day-to-day work harm your business’s development?

Here are some of the tips on strategic time management for your business that we share with clients of Xero, cloud accounting software for small businesses and their advisors.

Often as a small business owner, your time is spent working in the business, not on the business. Yet, in order to grow from a small outfit to a successful, profitable company, your goal should be to spend all your time managing your business.

Ultimately, this will see you make the transition from owner-worker to managing director or chief executive officer in the true sense of the role.

Here are a few suggestions that could help you make the transition:

1.Hold a regular meeting with senior stakeholders and treat it like a board meeting.

Twice a month gives you the best chance of discussing current issues, progress and ideas to boost sales.

As a minimum, these should be quarterly meetings. It’s also a good forum for sharing and developing ideas.

2. Good small business accountants are so much more than end‐of‐year number crunchers.

Proactive accounting and real time data allow accountants to really get under the bonnet – they understand the importance of providing strategic advice on a regular basis, so make sure you consult them about any important issues or decisions.

3. Carry out regular reporting. This should cover off all key financial data.

If you already have a strategic plan, compare your actual results to your budget. This can serve to highlight issues such as unnecessary expenses or underperforming areas of the business that you may not have been aware of and need to be addressed.

With deadlines looming or customers demanding attention, taking time out to make strategic decisions isn’t the only important activity that can suffer – essential finance admin can also fall by the wayside, especially if you are too small to have a dedicated finance person.

However, as many small firms have discovered, cash availability can literally be make or break, with too many late payments culminating in debt and even closure.

Kat Bond lives in Staxton and works for Xero, a company which provides solutions to small businesses.