When you start a small business, you will often hear the phrase Cash is King but does this still ring true now that we are moving towards a cashless society? The quick answer, of course, would be yes. We should change the phrase from Cash is King to Know your numbers. It would be a much better phrase and affect every small business area. Cash is king only looks at your business’s money, needs, or wants. Check out our next post entitled ‘Follow The Money.’
So what do we mean by numbers?
The most obvious one would be how much money you have in the bank. Do you have enough money to pay your bills, staff, and taxes? Then do you have enough money to invest back into your business, market your products and finally, if you are the business owner, enough money to pay you some dividends? Knowing the cash figure in the bank is vital for these functions.
There are other numbers that you need to know. One of my favourite numbers is number one. It’s not a number I used to think about in any significant way until a business coach mentioned the figure in passing. Their reference was about being the only person in the business and what would you do if you became sick, went on holiday or needed to have an extended period of absence. Are there processes in place to cover your absence?
Small Businesses and one bank
The number of one then grows to be a much more significant number for a small business. Banking is a perfect example of the number of one, where it might have a deficit influence on your business. Most companies would approach a bank if your business was expanding, and you wanted a loan or overdraft facility. If you only bank with one banking institution, your company’s financial history is only known by them. If this institution had restrictive rules on business loans or overdrafts, this could become an issue. Effectively, you only have one institution to ask. I am not saying that you won’t get a loan or overdraft, but it could reduce your opportunities. It is advisable to take out two different bank accounts with other banks. One for your everyday business activities and one to squirrel away your staff wages, tax liabilities and potential dividend payments. (Banks are not the only institutions that loan money to small businesses, there are specialist institutions that only loan to other businesses).
Employing one staff member
Staff numbers can also become an issue with the number of one. It’s great when our small business employs staff. It is a sign that the business is growing; you are good at what you do, and your customers value your service. Hiring your first staff member changes your company staff from the magic number 1 to 2. But only having one member of staff also means that a member of staff has much power in your business. Often a first employee means the owner takes a bit of a cut in their salary to employ the member of staff and their take-home pay is less than the employees. What do you do when the staff member is on holiday, sick, or is a lousy employee? Upsets your clients, and you spend more time redoing or talking to your clients because of the employee. If possible, think about taking on two members of staff or maybe two part-timers. Of course, taking on staff will have a financial burden, such as employers’ tax liabilities, additional equipment and licences, and training. You could, however, sub-contract but ensure you have a tight Non-disclosure agreement and contract with the sub-contractor.
One Client in a Small Business
Client retention can become an issue when discussing number one. The trouble with having only one client or one client that brings in most of your sales. You may have an excellent relationship currently with your client, but what would happen if that client moved away? A client stopping your services can be for many reasons; you have a falling out, they can find your services cheaper or are taking the work ‘in house’. Losing a significant client that brings in most of your finances can be catastrophic for a small business. Spread your client base out and try not to rely on one company for your financial success.
One Marketing Strategy for a Small Business
Having only one marketing strategy can also be very limiting. Are you reaching your target audience, where are they, and what do they think of your services? If your small business relies on Facebook ads and posts, will your customers see them? Is that where they go to find business contact and services? If you solely rely on printing in a magazine, how often does the magazine come out? Are you a member of a networking group? Do you network with other small businesses? Limiting your marketing to a one stream strategy is a dangerous and potentially restrictive plan.
The number one can be dangerous if relied on for too long. However, it is also an exciting number and one that a small business should give as much respect to as possible. The advantage of one means that you have tremendous flexibility. We have seen how important flexibility can be in the past two years. Many small businesses had the foresight to adapt their services easier, quicker and more cost-effectively than their counterparts.
In conclusion one in a small business
Knowing your number one limits, advantages, and disadvantages puts you in a much better position to ensure the success of your small business.
You may also be interested in the following articles/blogs
As a Virtual PA, I get asked for advice on how to use or do a simple function within a Microsoft package, today I have been asked how do I copy a formula in excel. For those of us who use the software all the time, it is almost second nature and can be difficult to explain. Nevertheless, some people don’t use Microsoft packages daily and need a little more help. Most Virtual PAs ask you to send the document to them so they can do the work for you.
Therefor, today I will be explaining how to copy a formula in excel from one cell to another. Any experienced Virtual PA will be able to do this for you in about 15 seconds. This would include opening the document, making the change, and then saving and returning the document to you. This does not, however, teach you how to do the task yourself and can cause hours of distress and frustration.
For this reason,
myPA Virtual Services have decided that we are going to run a series of blog
posts that will teach you how to do these tasks. We hope
that you will find the instructions easy to understand and increase your
knowledge of Microsoft.
HOW DO YOU DO
How do I copy a formula in Excel from one cell to another?
Open the Excel Document and locate the cell with the formula.
A cell is an individual area on an excel sheet, a square, highlighted in the table below. From this image below we have highlighted cell A1. In an Excel document, you will have a Workbook, a Sheet, Columns, and Rows. A cell is contained in a workbook, which is on a sheet that is located in one column and one row.
the cell you want to copy – A1 for example.
your keyboard select CTRL button and C at the same time, see the image below.
Alternatively, right click on your mouse and a new screen will appear. From here select copy. You have now copied the cell sum/information
the cursor to the cell you wish to put
your keyboard select CTRL button and V.
Alternatively, right click on your mouse and select Paste
You have now copied the sum/formula you wanted.
Workbook The whole excel document
A Sheet Within the document you can have some sheets. Look at the bottom left of your workbook; you will see the word Sheet1. This is your first sheet. To add a new Sheet select the + button to the right.
A column A
column is the vertical lines in the workbook and are annotated with Letters.
A Row A row is the horizontal lines in
the workbook and are annotated with numbers.
This must be the most common question any Virtual PA will be asked. Why would a business use a Virtual PA? The most common reasons a client will be looking for a Virtual PA to work with them are:
Non-Core Business Needs. Small business owners want to concentrate on the core of their business. For example, a freelance surveyor will want to be carrying out surveys and meeting potential new clients. To have somebody to take on the more day-to-day aspects of their business, or areas which they are not experienced in. This allows them the time to concentrate on what they do best.
Resources. A small business does not have the need or resources for a permanent administrator or secretary. Therefore using a VA enables them to employ someone on an ad hoc or project basis. Some Virtual PAs are employed for a set number of hours per month to cover regular tasks.
Skill-based There may be an ad hoc requirement for a specialised service such as creating a CRM system, and your client does not have the skill or resource within their business to complete the project.
Convenience and Time-Saving Having a service which is accessible within a short timescale, and often performed by somebody who you already know (and who already knows your business) is extremely convenient and saves a client the time of having to source and train a part-time, temporary, or even casual employee. It also saves on the associated red tape which comes with recruiting somebody to join a business. These benefits should not be underestimated.
Not Wanting to do the Task Themselves Sometimes people have a real aversion to certain types of work. If you have a client who hates administrative tasks such as letter merges, postal campaigns and so on, then you need to let them know how easy it would be for you to do it all on their behalf. If it gets them out of a task they hate and frees up their time to do something they actually want to do, they will soon realise your value.
Becoming a Virtual Assistant or Virtual PA
Not Spending Enough Time with their Family This is a common problem for small business owners, as businesses are time-consuming and many people are so passionate about what they do that their family time can get eroded away without them even realising it. Using a VA for certain tasks can alleviate some of the pressure and workload and enable clients to create more of a balance between these two important areas of their life.
Outsourcing is Cost-Effective A VA is easier than recruiting a new member of staff and the client will not have to comply with employment law. They will not have to worry about sick pay, about holiday pay or cover. They will not have the worry of finding extra space in their office, buying extra computer equipment or licences. There will also be no need to provide for Pension cover or Healthcare costs.
Other Tasks Taking their Time Up.
Sometimes there simply is not enough time in the day to undertake the tasks a business needs to cover. In which case a VA is once more invaluable. Their services can be employed for specific aspects of a job. Alternatively, the VA could keep the day-to-day business going – in order for a client to complete an important project.
You may also be interested in these articles about being a Virtual PA
Getting a client is hard, but firing a client can be harder. Businesses of all sizes spend hundreds of
Firing a Client
thousands of pounds trying to get a new client. There are adverts in newspapers, television and local magazines, special offers and financial incentives.
Small Businesses find their clients slightly differently, however, the effect is the same. A significant amount of money spent to attract a potential new client. Adverts in local magazines, investment in websites and social media. Also, small businesses often attend business networking meetings. Meetings could have a joining fee, a monthly fee and a weekly fee. In addition to the cost of the meeting, the time at the meeting, the time following up leads and then the time generating the paperwork and information needed to entice the potential client into being an active client.