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December 21, 2016

New year, new business – making 2017 your best year yet


Christmas is almost upon us, and 2017 is just around the corner. So it’s time to begin planning a brand new year as a business owner.

What will the next 12 months hold in store? Will your business journey begin to pick up speed and whizz you forward to your key objectives for 2017? Or will there be obstacles and pitfalls in the way that slow down progress and offer up some unexpected challenges for the year ahead?

At Inspira, we’ve had a year of real change. We’ve completed our move to working in the cloud, and that’s brought us the agility and real-time reporting capabilities to become far more consultative with our business clients. We’re no longer a bread-and-butter bookkeeping practice; we’re a firm of business consultants and advisers with a real passion for helping businesses to grow and flourish.

And this renewed focus on business advice is great news for our ability to help deliver a successful 2017 for you and your business.

Sadly, we don’t own a crystal ball here at Inspira, but we can give you some rock solid advice on ways to make your business journey easier, more productive and securely focused on making your business more profitable.

So here are our top 5 tips for making sure the new year delivers for you, your business and the future success of your enterprise.

Enjoy your down time and step outside the business

The Christmas holidays aren’t just a time for eating too many mince pies and watching the Xmas edition of Doctor Who. They’re also a great time for you to step outside the usual hectic, day-to-day hustle and bustle of running your business.

Any downtime you have is time to relax, recharge the batteries and get some well-deserved rest. But it’s also the perfect opportunity to focus on the bigger picture and put some distance between you and your business.

It’s only with the benefit of time and distance that you can look ‘from the outside in’ and think about the big questions:

  • Is there room for improving your processes and customer services this year?
  • Can you improve the profitability of your model over the next 12 months?
  • What are your key objectives and milestones for 2017?
  • Will you need more people on the team to meet your goals?

Think through the big strategic and operational questions, and you’ll be in great shape to start the year with some hard and fast plans for improving the company, come January time.

Move to cloud accounting

Most of us are used to living our lives online these days, whether it’s sharing our holiday snaps on Facebook, or managing our diary through our Gmail calendar – so why should running your business numbers be any different?

At Inspira, we’re big fans of working in the cloud. Carrying out your bookkeeping, reporting and financial forecasting online has so many advantage when you use cloud accounting – and that’s why we advise our business clients to move to Xero online accounting software to get the best control of their finances.

With Xero as the centre of your financial systems you get:

  • 24/7 access to your numbers, wherever you have an internet connection
  • A smartphone app to see your key numbers and send invoices on the move
  • Real-time reporting that shows you a completely current view of your finances
  • Easy ways to create budgets, set milestones and track your performance

And, most importantly, when you use Xero we have instant access to all your numbers and can give you the advice you need to overcome any financial and business problems you’re facing.

Keep track of your key performance indicators – KPIs

One key advantage of Xero is the ability to customise your system to fit the specific needs of your business. And one of the central benefits of this flexibility is being able to tailor your coding to measure the numbers that truly matter for your business.

Whether it’s your monthly sales figure, or your average quarterly tax costs, every business will have a different set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that keep you informed your underlying financial health. By agreeing on which numbers are ‘business critical’, you can tweak your coding to track these metrics and provide a monthly breakdown of how well you’re performing against your budgets and KPIs.

When you’ve got those KPIs pinned down, it’s a huge help for ensuring the financial success of the business. Know your cash flow numbers, the health of your profit and loss account, or the state of your aged debtors and you’re in the best shape possible to deal with any issues and make sure your finances are running like clockwork.

Measure your customer metrics

Tracking your financial numbers is vital, but it’s just as important to understand the health of your non-financial KPIs as well, especially those relating to customer satisfaction and service levels.

Measuring your customer-focused KPIs  helps you to understand why your customers choose particular products, how much they value your current service, or what they see as your unique selling point. And when you know more about your customers, you’re in the best shape possible to meet their needs, deliver the service they love and make them long-term advocates of your brand.

The right management team to support you

It’s tough job being the captain of your own business ship. But with the right crew supporting you, you’re far more likely to make it through the choppy waters and keep your business heading towards the right destination.

Developing the right management team to be your ‘trusty crew’ is one of the most critical elements of growing any business. As the business owner, you can’t do everything on your own, so you need to find a management team who can shoulder some of the hard work and who tick all the right managerial boxes.

  • They need to share your vision and hold the same values re service, customer relationships and how to attain your key goals.
  • They need to be able to take the wheel and steer the ship when you’re focused on the higher-level duties of being the CEO or MD.
  • They need to support you, give you helpful advice and bring their ideas and innovations to the boardroom table.

With a team like this on your side, you can be confident that you’re ready to deal with anything that the next 12 months may throw at you!

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year

There you have it – five top ways to make sure 2017 is your best business year yet. We hope they’ve given you some food for thought, and some ideas to try when we’re back at the coalface in January.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, from everyone on the team at Inspira – have a great festive break!

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