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Crunchers Accountants

Crunchers Accountants

What’s the plan, Stan?

Archive for June, 2015

What’s the plan, Stan?

After 4 years working with businesses in South London, something is becoming clear.  Highly successful businesses start with a plan.

It is not that businesses without plans fail, many continue at a level for many years, but something that sets apart businesses that expand and achieve high returns is that they have  plan.

With this in mind we explore some of the benefits of having a plan:
  1. Focus.  Part of the process of having a plan is knowing what you want to achieve and knowing this creates an important clarity and focus to actions.  When you know what your focus is, you start to notice the actions that need to be taken.  You spot the opportunities that are coming your way.  You can communicate what you need and want to others and they can start pulling in the desired direction.
  2. Accountability.  Any plan sets up targets and targets create accountability.  One of the problems of small business can be that we are not accountable to anyone.  Therefore we are able to drift without anyone noticing.  A plan goes some way to creating accountability especially if you share it with others and report back to them on a regular basis.
  3. Forethought.  Naturally the more time you put into your plan, allows you to consider more of the problems and opportunities you face.
The clear problem with having a plan is that it takes time and requires thought.  In addition many of us resist the accountability that comes with the plan.

None of this matters as long as we are happy continuing to allow things to happen organically, but if you want to achieve growth and high returns, we almost certainly need to plan for it.

Just as an architect starts sketching when wanting to create a beautiful building, so we, as business owners, need to get into the habit of working on spreadsheets (or better still software such as LivePlan).

 

 

 

Crunchers is Recruiting

Make a Difference at Work!

Our company, Crunchers Accountants, based in South London, is expanding and has two positions available for two school leavers with an interest in small business.  One position is for an Apprentice in Accounting and the second for an Apprentice in Business Administration.

As a firm of accountants we are obviously concerned with bookkeeping, annual accounts, tax and other financial administration however we are focused on making a difference to our clients through helping them grow and expand their business.

Both positions would suit someone who is well organised and diligent with a genuine interest in and concern for our clients – small businesses across South London.

You will be working with the Director and Administrator on a range or bookkeeping, accounting and business management tasks with the opportunity to get a grounding in business administration, management and accounting.

Details:
  • Salary: £190 – £210/week
  • Hours: 35hrs/week
  • Contract: 12 months
  • Location: West Dulwich
  • Qualifications: A-levels or equivalent
 

Education and development is at the heart of our business and we will be working

To apply please send a CV and covering letter explaining why you think this is the right job for you to damion.viney@crunchersaccountants.co.uk.

Applications close 31st July 15.

See-through Business

Last month at Crunchers we uploaded our client feedback collected through CustomerSure to our website.

I have been talking about the power of feedback in general and the usefulness of CustomerSure in particular to clients.  I have also known we were getting good feedback from clients by logging on to their website see results, but something shifted powerfully in this final step of publishing the results.

The obvious element to this psychological shift is that prospective customers would be able to see transparently what kind of service we deliver to clients.  The system is automatic and bad feedback will be published just the same as good feedback, so there is now an edge to delivering what we promise that did not exist before.

The experience got me thinking about the power of transparency in business.

Business is often seen as a zero sum game with winners and losers.  The salesman fools the buyer, the buyer tries to get one over on the salesman.  The boss pretends to be committed to his workforce, the workers pretend to be committed to the company.

Already the mood in business is away from this way of operating and it seems to me that there is a much longer term gain to being open and transparent.  Previously we have blogged about the power of trust in business and the clear advantage to utter transparency is that no effort is wasted on pretense and in the end clients and staff are relieved of playing games and empowered to get on with the job.

Ebay traders and other online businesses have already experienced the straightening effect of having independently collected customers feedback form part of the marketing.  In more enlightened workplaces, managers and managed staff perform 360 degree appraisals.

The equivalent of the online five star rating could theoretically be applied to employers and employees.  Imagine going for a job interview and being able to see your potential employers ratings from existing and past employees!

Almost certainly some entrepreneur is already building the online platform which will enable this.

What I have noticed in sales conversations and management conversations that as openness and transparency increase, the focus moves from trying to persuade, impress or even inspire, to an exploration and a collaboration on the correct course of action.

You meet a new prospective client.  In the old model, this is someone to ‘convert’ into a sale.  However in the new model you only want to convert to a sale if you are pretty sure this is going to turn out to be the right service for them.  Otherwise you can be certain they will turn up a negative feedback on your five star rating which gets published to prospective clients.  So instead of saying whatever needs to be said to get them to buy now, the focus becomes ‘is this the right service for them?’

Another effect is that it forces you the business owner to really understand what is important to your customers and work on that.  You will quickly be told what clients don’t like and there becomes an imperative to deal with whatever does not work.

Ultimately the name of the game becomes doing things that work for everyone.