When should I recruit?

It’s a question I’m often asked.

You need to recruit BEFORE you get busy so that you have time to train your latest employee. Particularly if this is your first employee as all the training will be down to you. With my first employee, a trainee accountant, I was doing my own work in the evenings for the first two months.

You need to recruit early to allow your new person to get up to speed with the work, your clients, and your systems. Even with fully qualified accountants this took about three months.

You can accelerate both of these with a good induction programme. (I share ours on our courses)

You need to recruit early in case you find that you have chosen the wrong person. It’s something we all fear when recruiting but better to move them on quickly (and kindly) if they’re not a good fit so that you, and they, can find something better.

So, my rule of thumb is to recruit 5 months ahead of when I need the team member to be at full capacity. 3 weeks to advertise, 1 week to interview and decide, 1 month for them to give notice, and 3 months for them to get up to speed.

It’s much easier getting new business than new team members so, if you have the right person, you can soon find the extra work for them to do that will cover their costs.

What’s your experience of recruiting and onboarding new people?

Bring it on

2022 is here and, one week in, I’m still hanging on to my business plan.

What helps is that I have a list of specific actions for all 12 of my main projects for the year. And the actions for the first couple of projects have deadlines and time allocated in my diary. I know some of them will slip, especially the ones for later in the year, but at least it helps to make a good start.

Have you turned your New Year’s Resolutions into an action plan? I really find that it helps.

Make sure that your goals are SMART.
• Specific
• Measurable
• Achievable
• Realistic
• Time-bound

New year, new plan

Welcome to the new year. What have you got planned? Incremental business growth, a better work life balance (how long have you been promising yourself that?) or world domination?

Now is a good time to think about what you want and what that means for your business.

Here are some questions to get you underway with your plan:

1. What do you want your life to look like in 5 years time?
2. How much do you want to earn from your business?
3. How much do you need to earn from your business?
4. How many hours per week/month/year do you want to work in your business?

This will give you some idea of how much you need to earn per hour in your business. Don’t forget that you will need to cover your business costs and taxes too.

A good SWOT analysis will help you to decide how to earn the necessary profit. Look at your strengths, your weaknesses, and any opportunities and threats around you. Covid and potential lockdowns can provide both opportunities and threats to your business to make a plan to eliminate or buffer the formers and to be able to take advantage of the latter.

Take a close look at what you are actually doing. What will you sell and to whom? What problems do you solve?

Now you can start on the details of the plan:

1. Sales plan
2. Marketing plan
3. Staffing – who, when and at what level
4. Technology and other resources
5. Premises
6. Other costs
7. Taxes

If you need a hand with any of this then we’re running a Strategic Planning Day on 19 January. We’ll work through templates together to help you come up with your own plan for your best year yet. Email us to sign up.

Even Baldrick had a plan

As we go into a new year, do you know what you’re planning for your business?

When you plan a holiday, you have a destination e.g., Spain or Scotland or perhaps a requirement such as Winter sun or skiing. Then you can work out how to get there, the cost of travel, accommodation, and any other extras. You may need to run your plan past others to get their agreement before you can actually book the holiday. And the holiday that you book will dictate what you need to pack.

And yet many business owners pay less attention to planning their business, the source of their income and the thief of their time.

We’re running a Strategic Planning Day online on Wednesday 19th January. We will take you through all aspects of your business plan for the year so that you set off with a clear direction and certainty of each step along the way. This will be run 10am – 3pm on Zoom for up to six businesses for £600. If you can’t make this date, or if you would prefer an individual company day for you and your team then contact us to organise a suitable date for £2,000. As we aim to avoid having competitors on the same session the businesses that sign up first can veto any later applicants.

To sign up for the day, or for further information, please email us.

How much should I save?

How much cash should you leave in your business and how much should you take out?

The generally accepted wisdom is three month’s worth of costs. I don’t know the source of this figure, but this seems about right. If all your income stopped overnight, you would have three months to make plans.

In reality, unless there is a global pandemic, it’s unlikely that your income would all stop at the same time, so you’d probably have longer to find funding, start a new income source, or to ride out a temporary blip. Most income protection insurances take 3-6 months to kick in.

We should also have a similar amount easily accessible to cover our household bills.

The last eighteen months have been tough, but we need to rebuild our reserves ready for the future.

How long would your reserves last you?

How do you want to spend your day?

When I first set up my business I had a vision of how I wanted to spend my days and you probably did too.

I wrote mine down but you may have a vision board or another means of capturing what you, personally, wanted out of your business. (If not then you should consider doing this now)

How does your typical day compare to this ideal?

Over the last 16 months many of us have drifted away from this but we now have time to catch our breath and make improvements. I could tell of the benefits of a decent business coach to make things happen in your business but you can still do things for yourself.

What ONE thing can you do today to move your business closer to the business you originally dreamt of? Now do it. TODAY.

AC12 efficiency

I’m a Line of Duty fan and one of the things that really impresses me is their evidence packs. It’s like an enhanced audit file where everything they say has supporting documentation.

I only wish that my own business documented everything as well. I’m pretty good at making notes and writing processes but often create a second document rather than updating .

Do you document all your processes for yourself, for new starters, and for possible automation? Do you download all email attachments to a separate document management system? I’d love to get some idea of how everybody keeps their client/customer information and their standard operating procedures.

As a chartered accountant I have to make sure that, if anything happened to me, another qualified accountant could step in and keep Minerva Accountants ticking over using my procedures and notes.

Is your paperwork good enough? Would your business survive without you?

Measure once, cut twice (why you need a business plan)

Anyone who has done any level of carpentry or even DIY will understand the benefits of measuring more than once in order to make the cut right first time.

The equivalent in business is to make mistakes on your business plan.

Try things out on paper, excel or one of the brilliant forecasting apps that allow you to run different scenarios. Make any mistakes at this stage rather than running out of cash in real life.

For instance, I allow 3 months for a new team member to get up to speed. During this training period my own productivity will also drop so I now build this into any of my forecasts.

What other scenarios are you considering in your future business?