Time, people and money – the essential ingredients to running a successful business
Running your own profitable business can be taxing. From identifying your USP (unique selling point), recruiting the right team, establishing your loyal customers, through to financial planning. Is it any wonder that many local businesses struggle to find their feet? But fear not, help is at hand. Three leading lights in business share their top tips which will guarantee your business will not just survive but flourish.
Javier Peralta is Managing Director of ActionCOACH, a coaching firm that supports thousands of businesses globally. Javier, who is originally from Spain, has always been fascinated by businesses, how they run and grow. He has worked in several industries giving him a breadth of experience in small, medium and large businesses alike. He runs the Glasgow branch of ActionCOACH from his office in Partick.
“We help focus business owners on growth. My vision to help one thousand Glasgow businesses in the next ten years,” explains Javier. “It breaks my heart when we arrive too late to prevent a business from closure. Too often we hear about business owners who get side-tracked with the operations side of the business, rather than taking the time to be strategic. Many businesses don’t have goals. Even fewer of them achieve them.
“The first thing we offer businesses is a free health check where we aak for a questionnaire to be complete. We will then arrange a thirty-minute conversation to discuss the findings, and then a longer business coaching session, where we analyse the business and make recommendations. Questions we ask include: What are your business goals? And, how does your business allow you to have the lifestyle that you want?
“We want all business owners to achieve the magic number 5, which is the number of hours that they should be working in the business – the operational side – as opposed to working on the business, which involves being much more strategic and looking at business planning and growth.”
As well as health checks and 121 coaching, ActionCOACH is offering Glasgow businesses the chance of group coaching and mentoring, and access to a free business seminar which runs every six weeks giving practical tips on how you can turn your business around.
Javier explains: “Our group coaching takes place every two weeks. Many of our clients stay on the programme for around 12-months. We develop detailed business plans for the coming year and set detailed goals.”
Javier suggests that that there are three key things you need to focus on to get ahead of the game: “Time, people and money. Getting better control of time is essential. I have worked with a client working 50-hours a week who wanted to reduce it to 35-hours within one year, which any business owner can achieve with planning. You should also train to retain your team, and put their attitude towards the business ahead of the skills that they currently have. Money is clearly essential in business planning and will enable you to grow your business through increased sales and profitability.”
Simon Murrison is Director at Murrison & Wilson, a chartered accountancy firm in Glasgow specialising in business strategy and tax planning for businesses and individuals. The firm offers a comprehensive suite of support all under one roof, which saves small business owners time and money.
Simon explains: “You need to wear many hats and juggle so many different tasks daily before you can even begin to develop a long-term business strategy. Speaking to a dedicated advisor for tax, book-keeping, payroll and business advice not only saves time but guarantees your advisor knows your business inside out and will give you the right advice when you need it to drive your business forward.
“We’d recommend you work on the aspects of the business you enjoy and are good at. For everything else you find difficult, takes up time and adds stress to your day outsource those aspects of the business to a specialist.
“Don’t ignore that small niggle in the back of your mind or promise yourself you will deal with it later. The reality is if you choose to bury your head in the sand that’s when problems arise such as an unexpected tax bill. Our advice is ‘eat the frog’ and stop procrastinating or that small molehill will turn into a mountain that may cost you your business.
“Networking is critical. We’d urge you to take advantage of living in the friendliest city. There is a fantastic network of people in Glasgow’s business community who willingly share ideas, advice and are not afraid to give you honest feedback to help develop your business. You are likely to find a business relationship that is mutually beneficial.
“Our clients use digital tools that streamline the business processes, automate tasks and improve efficiency such as online banking and low-cost accountancy systems that talk directly with ours saving businesses hours of work every week. By creating a website and using social media platforms not only do small businesses reach local audiences, but it makes their ambitions to tap into a global market a reality not a pipedream.”
The West End Business Club is the brainchild of local businessman William Flynn, who is owner and director of locally run City Cars taxi firm. He built his business from scratch starting in 1996. Having previously owned and run a trade taxi magazine, he decided to practice what he preached. He is also the owner of Clyde Auto Repairs and Marchmont Property Solutions.
William says: “West end businesses have got to start fighting against bigger businesses to survive. As a taxi business, it’s the impact of big companies like Uber that I need to watch. It is also very important as local business people that we support one another.
“There’s a perception that the high street is dying. Every time you open a newspaper it seems another shop is closing. I thought it would be useful if businesses like mine get the benefits of putting a business club together. What we are trying to achieve is bringing businesses together to learn from one another and ultimately create more work within Glasgow.
“All local businesses are welcome to get involved and there is real diversity within the group including people working in printing, the legal profession, entertainment and photography. It is really simple to get involved, you contact us and register for our meetings on the first Tuesday of every month. The meetings take place The Square restaurant in Broomhill.
“Although the network has only been running for the last 4 months, we can already see the potential in what we are doing. It’s partly about telling each other about our own businesses. You would be amazed about the number of businesses that don’t know about each other and by networking new business opportunities arise. In some ways this is more impactful than advertising.
“I think bringing people together in this way, and inviting businesses to tell us how they’ve succeeded, is really worthwhile. Some of our newer members are just starting up their own business and what better way for them to learn and grow.”
Whether you are a florist, a café owner or a freelance consultant, it is reassuring that there are a number of ways that you can reach out to others in the business community to troubleshoot, devise business plans and work together to make Glasgow a thriving hub for small businesses.