The way that people earn money to pay their bills these days is practically infinite, do you know your bottom line? While traditional “9 to 5” jobs do still exist, the emergence of the internet, along with smart technology, has created a massive shift in the way that most businesses are run. Millennials, born in the 1980’s, have embraced this new reality wholeheartedly and, as a result, have been driving nearly all businesses to keep pace or die. One might even conclude that we are living in the “age of the entrepreneur”; if you have an idea, a smartphone and a WiFi connection… you can be in business. Having said that, just because it is easy to get into business doesn’t mean that it’s easy to succeed at business. The bottom line is that a recent Industry Canada study concluded that only half of all small businesses make it to five years.
New Business Venture
The difference between a venture that gets past the critical 5 year mark and the ones that fail is, undoubtedly, the level of planning and follow through that occurs after the initial start up. The excitement of launching a new business, and then the everyday hustle and bustle of actually doing the work of the business can make it difficult to consistently do the things necessary for growth and stability. This lack of consistency can be a “business killer”.
Fortunately, along with this new work reality, an industry of business coaching and mentoring has arisen to advise and guide entrepreneurs at all stages of their business life. FLOW supports business owners and provides them with the information, along the way, to let them know just how they are doing. Although their strength is in providing smart accounting services, their passion is really in providing help for small business owners. When someone becomes a FLOW client, they receive a massive action plan that, literally, maps out the steps needed to make it to their desired “end game”. This road map is called an “attack plan” and takes into account individual goals and desires ranging from simply increasing profits to enhancing personal lifestyle to building a business that can, ultimately, be sold.
Plan to Succeed
The way that the attack plan works is to establish specific benchmarks, or milestones, for the business to hit along the way to the end goal. Hitting these marks make it clear that things are moving in the right direction, or, if adjustments are necessary in day to day operations. For this information to be of value, requires that it is accurate, consistent and especially timely. At one time it was acceptable to receive monthly reports about profits and losses. This is no longer the case. Speed is of the essence in the marketplace today. Adjustments need to be made in real time or you risk falling behind your competition. For small businesses, this used to mean that costly additional staff needed to be hired, trained and compensated to manage accounts, do billing and keep bookkeeping and accounting up to date.
An exciting reality for small businesses is that they can now access business assistance services that rival those available to large corporations. While big businesses might have a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as part of their team, small businesses can outsource the help of a cloud based accounting firm, like FLOW, to receive the highly skilled assistance of a Virtual Chief Financial Officer (vCFO). At no time in the past has the playing field been levelled to such a degree between small, medium and large size businesses. Having a vCFO in place gives the small business owner the peace of mind that financial planning, accounting and interpreting is being done, automatically, without the overwhelming expense of hiring a full-time employee to do the same work. It is this information, provided by the the vCFO that ensures that business owners understand their bottom line and know exactly how to work on it and to improve it.