In my previous roles as a Business Banker and Finance Broker in Cairns, I was surprised to constantly meet business people who were all chasing income growth without any thought or plan as to what the impact of this growth would be on their bottom line.
So, when times were good in Cairns there was growth for the sake of the growth. This would mean some of the foundations of good business practice such as strategic planning and customer service were overlooked by business owners.
With the impact of the GFC and the subsequent economic slow-down in Cairns, many of these high performing businesses have become unsustainable, their inherent weaknesses have become evident and this is reflected in their performance.
It has been said, people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan. Failure to plan is widespread and is reflected in the increasing numbers of Cairns business's asking me, "What can I do?"
My advice: formulate a plan and write it down. By documenting your thoughts, you are able to clarify key issues and determine whether your ideas are feasible.
Then do the numbers and understand the processes needed to make them work. You may find that your idea sounded good but is not financially feasible.
If it isn't, start again and keep working through the solutions until you are satisfied with the result.
Once you have formulated your plan, get a second opinion. What makes sense to you may not make sense to someone else and by workshopping your ideas you may find a solution.
In some cases you may actually need the assistance of other business partners including Accountants, Solicitors or even your Bank to carry out your plan.
By taking the time to plan, you increase your chances of success regardless of what's happening in the wider economy.
Strategic planning allows you to adjust your positioning strategies, align your workforce, manage your margins and increase your competitive advantage through exceptional customer service and minimise the economic impact to their bottom line.
Remember that in some cases and despite all best efforts some businesses will falter so ensure you have a clear exit strategy.
This does not necessarily mean closing down, but perhaps handing over to a new generation whether external or other family members.
New ideas and fresh motivation can be a lifeline for a faltering business.
Having had many experiences with small business over the years, the opportunity to lead the Cairns BEC is an exciting and positive step for me.
This service will allow me to assist small business in many ways so that they can find their own way to success.
Just remember, whilst it's easy to get caught up in the day to day struggle of running a small business, it's important to have clear business goals and put the plans in place to achieve them.
Otherwise, why are you working?
'The services provided by Advance Cairns Limited are partially funded by the Australian Government'