success Archives - CFO Centre Australia

Ways To Find The Cash You Need

Ways To Find The Cash You Need

A lack of cash can not only stall your company’s growth but also place its very existence under threat.

You might think you’re immune from danger because your business is experiencing a high level of growth. Unfortunately, you’re wrong: expansion can exacerbate the problems caused by poor cash flow management.  You almost always have to make investments and bring certain expenses on ahead of achieving the higher revenue and cash flow that comes with successful growth.

It is the oxygen every business needs to survive.  The stark truth is, without cash your business will be unable to meet its payroll obligations, default on payments to suppliers and creditors (payables), and ultimately cease trading.

Fortunately, there are ways to find cash both from within your business and from traditional and alternative external funding sources.

Look within your company first

While many business owners automatically look to external funding sources, it pays to look closer to home first.

Most entrepreneurs don’t realise there is often considerable funding to support growth from within their own business. That’s because the collection of customer receivables can often be improved through strong credit control and the level of stock holding reduced through improved systems and processes. In some instances, poor negotiation of supplier payment terms means fewer funds are available within the business to support scaling up.

So before you pick up the phone (or click your mouse) to apply for external funding, consider the following methods for freeing up cash within your business.


If the business has the machinery, equipment or large amounts of stock that is idle, consider selling it or renting it to other businesses.

Remove unnecessary overheads

Look at all your overheads to see if they can be lowered. For example, consider reducing staff numbers, or not replacing employees when they leave or moving premises to get a more favourable lease. Review the effectiveness of your marketing and advertising spend as well as your insurance premiums, power arrangements and telecommunications.

Negotiate better terms with vendors

Ask for more favourable payment terms from your suppliers. This doesn’t necessarily mean asking for reduced prices but could be as simple as requesting an extra seven days for your payment window, or seeking free freight on minimum purchase volumes.

If your suppliers refuse your request, look for other suppliers who can offer lower prices or better payment terms for the same quality of the product.

Resolve late payment issues

Make your payment terms clear to minimise the possibility of late payment issues. Try to keep to the same terms for all your customers (for example, a 30-day window for payment of the invoice). The exception may be historically poor payers that are placed on COD terms.  Get agreement to your payment terms from all your customers or clients. Carry out credit checks on all new customers or clients. Ensure that invoices are issued promptly. Ideally, you should issue invoices by email on the day of completion of the job or project and ensure that overdue payments are pursued.

Get deposits for large projects or orders. Build a deposit (of anywhere up to 50% of the total cost) into your contract for large projects or orders. This is especially important if the projects or orders are likely to involve a lot of resources and time.

That way if the customer decides to cancel the project or fails to pay the balance on the project or order, you have at least recovered some of the cost of the resources and time you’ve already invested in it.

Look for external funding

You should also consider external funding sources to help ease your cash flow challenges. There are a dizzying number of sources to consider, both traditional and alternative.

Apply for a bank overdraft

A bank overdraft has been the traditional form of funding for many businesses. But these days, banks are more likely to try to steer their clients to other forms of debt.

Request a bank loan

The advantage of bank loans is that they are for a set term with regular repayments. Banks also can’t call the money back on demand. The downside is that banks will demand strong security for the loan. For example, a personal guarantee secured on the assets of the business or even the owner’s personal assets.

Use asset financing

Using your assets as collateral for the loan is one of the easiest ways your growing business can get access to quick cash. However, there is a drawback: not all assets are considered equal.

Typically, lenders will only consider assets that they can sell quickly if you default on the loan. Therefore, they usually want high-value assets with a low depreciation rate or high appreciation rate, and which are easy to convert into cash.

Get alternative financing

The alternative finance market includes a wide variety of financing models. These include peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and specialist finance providers. Products such as selective invoice finance and invoice trading platforms are offered.

The benefit is that since they have greater flexibility than traditional funding sources they can often offer a faster turnaround on the right deals.

Invoice Discounting

The advantage of invoice discounting, in which banks and invoice discounting companies lend money secured against your debtors/receivables, is that you can borrow up to 80-90% of the invoice amount within 24 hours.  So you get the cash flow benefit and the rest when the money is collected.

The disadvantage is that it can cost more than overdraft or loan charges. Therefore, a bigger impact on your profit margins.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending

P2P platforms match lenders directly with borrowers so that you can borrow money from individuals. The huge benefit of this is that the rates are favourable and often much better than any other type of lending method. The disadvantage is that you will still have to undergo a credit check and possibly pay an application fee.

Equity-based crowdfunding

People come together on crowdfunding websites to pool money towards a particular venture or idea. In return, they receive an equity share in your business. The issue with crowdfunding is that it’s not as easy as some people make it out to be. It requires months of planning and lots of marketing in order to get people excited enough to contribute money towards it. There’s also the risk that you don’t receive the amount you’re seeking. In which case, any finance that has been pledged will usually be returned to your investors, and you will receive nothing. If you’re successful, there’s the risk you give away too much control in your company. This could have an impact later when you decide to sell the company.

The easy way to raise cash

The finding or raising of cash can be a much easier process by engaging the services of a part-time CFO. For example, The CFO Centre offer the services of part-time CFOs with big business experience. Their knowledge helps you uncover or obtain the cash you need to help your company achieve rapid, yet sustainable growth. They will help remove the fear and confusion from the entire process.

To discover how the CFO Centre will help your company to get cash and scale-up, please contact us here


Photo by Braňo on Unsplash

How to Scale Your Business for Growth

How to Scale Your Business for Growth

Scaling your business depends on two factors: your company’s capability and its capacity to deal with growth.

To scale up your business, your company must be capable of dealing with a growing amount of work or sales and of doing it cost-effectively.

You need to know that your company can achieve exponential growth without costs rising as a result. It’s vital too, that performance doesn’t suffer as your company scales up.

You also need to be sure that your business systems, employees, and infrastructure can accommodate growth. For instance, if you get a sudden surge in orders, will your company be able to cope? Will you be still able to manufacture and deliver products or services on time? Do you have enough employees to deal with a surge in work or sales?

Scaling a business requires careful planning and some funding. To be successful, you’ll need to have the right systems, processes, technology, staff, finance, and even partners in place.

Identify process gaps

Audit your business processes (core processes, support processes, and management processes) to find their strengths and weaknesses. Find the process gaps and address them before you start to scale up.

Keep the processes simple and straightforward. Complex processes slow things down and hinder progress.

Boost sales

Decide what your company needs to do to increase sales. How many new customers will you need to meet your scaled-up goals?

Create a sales growth forecast that details the number of new clients you need, the orders, and the revenue you want to generate.

Examine your existing sales structure and decide if it can generate more sales. Can you increase your flow of leads? Do you need to offer different products or services? Is there an untapped market? Do you have a marketing system to track and manage leads? Is your sales team capable of following up and closing more leads?

Make sure you have enough staff to cope with an increase in sales. If you don’t have enough staff, consider hiring new employees, outsourcing tasks, or finding partners that may be able to handle functions more efficiently than your company.

Forecast costs

Once you’ve done the sales growth forecast, create an expense forecast that includes the new technology, employees, infrastructure and systems you’ll need to be able to handle the new sales orders. The more detailed your cost estimates, the more realistic your plan will be.

Get funding

If you need to hire more staff, install new technology, add facilities or equipment, and create new reporting systems, you’ll need funds. Consider how you will fund the company’s growth.

Make delighting customers a priority

To reach your sales forecasts, your company will need loyal customers. You’ll win their loyalty by delivering outstanding products or services and customer service every time you interact with them.

Invest in technology

Invest in technology that will automate tasks. Automation will bring costs down and make production more efficient.

Ensure that your systems are integrated and work smoothly together.

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from experts who have experience in scaling up companies. In an interview, Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, said, “I’ve never found anybody who didn’t want to help me when I’ve asked them for help.

“I’ve never found anyone who’s said no or hung up the phone when I called – I just asked.

“Most people never pick up the phone and call; most people never ask. And that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them. You gotta act. And you’ve gotta be willing to fail; you gotta be ready to crash and burn, with people on the phone, with starting a company, with whatever. If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”

Plan For Profitable Growth in 7 Easy Steps

Plan For Profitable Growth in 7 Easy Steps

Planning for growth is something every business owner will say they do. However, not all business owners will do this effectively and with a focus that will generate profitable growth.

Many businesses plan for growth, but not profitable growth.  Some businesses focus on growing sales without a focus on margins while others build infrastructures to support sales and growth that never materialize.

Michael Porter said, “If your goal is anything but profitability – if it’s to be big, or to grow fast, or to become a technology leader – you’ll hit problems.

A business must focus on profitable, scalable and sustainable activities if it is to grow. Profit and the generation of cash to re-invest in your business must be made a priority. It’s an essential part of the financial strategy and structure of a successful business.  Profit and a clear business plan will create a focus and the alignment of the organization. Additionally, it’ll attract investors and other sources of funds to fuel growth – all of which impacts the underlying business value of the business.

CFO Centre has identified:

7 Keys to Profitable Growth:

  1. Define your business goals & objectives
    Produce a formal plan from which you can articulate a vision
  2. Critically review your business
    Identify competitive advantage, scalability & sustainability
  3. Establish a financial plan
    Identify milestones, KPIs & dashboards
  4. Create organisational alignment
    Nurture your culture, hire the right people and communicate the vision
  5. Identify the financial resources required
  6. Support the business with systems & processes to optimize performance
  7. Measure, review, evaluate & course correct
    Be proactive & prepared to be reactive

If you follow these 7 Keys and plan for profitable growth, you will ultimately:

  1. Improve and grow profits
  2. Maximise the scalability of your business
  3. Enhance management team and organizational structure
  4. Attract investors and other sources of funds
  5. Increase business value

To enhance the value of your business and grow successfully, follow the 7 Keys and Plan for Profitable Growth.

How to be More Strategic and Successful in 2023

How to be More Strategic and Successful in 2023

The impacts of covid-19 will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

We’ve seen new businesses birthed with success and others thriving amid chaos. We’ve seen neighbourhood classics tragically lost, and others that struggle to survive day-to-day.

Critical points like these thrust every business owner from acting with strategic intention to reacting to curveballs. As we are coming to the end of 2022, most businesses are settling into one of three camps:

  1. Thriving, but not trusting the success
  2. Reviving but hesitant to make bold moves
  3. Surviving and feeling battered, bruised and disillusioned

No matter which category you fall into, you likely are eyeing the rest of 2022 with caution. You’re optimistic but timid in your approach to making those big visionary goals you’ve made in the past. You may even find it hard to dream of a better future because it feels so out of touch with what is happening globally. You are not alone in those feelings.

Now is the opportunity to rewrite the rules and stop settling for less in your business. It is the opportunity to cast a strategic vision that is different from the past and to create more success and growth in your business and your life. Here are some ways you can make it happen.

1. Accept that change is necessary

Change is difficult, but it is for-ever ongoing for small-business owners. And change is happening at a frightening pace.

You’ve likely noticed that the old reliable ways of getting clients and serving them are faltering. The to-do list of things that need your attention is never ending. It’s time to put them to bed.

If change is already happening in your business, why not get ahead of it? When you are reacting to these changes, you treat the symptoms. The better approach is to embrace change to treat the problem.

By treating the problem, you employ change to work with you, not against you. People are likely to welcome strategic change now—especially if the change makes their lives better too.

One way to bring agility and innovation into your business is to implement a quarterly strategic planning and review process into your business. This planning keeps your efforts focused, actionable and accountable while remaining agile and able to shift as new learnings come to the table.

As part of the process, ask yourself these questions.

  • What would disrupt your business enough to change everything?
  • How can you be on the leading edge of that change?
  • How can the business be relevant and profitable five or even 10 years from now?

 2. What does the customer really want / need?

The old rules of supply and demand have gone. Through issues with manufacturing and distribution, product-based businesses feel the pinch. Changing client needs and social distancing have left recession-proof businesses struggling. Service-based businesses are finding that their services are no longer crucial or needed. No business or business model has been unaffected.

The reason is simple: The customers’ needs and their problems are in a constant state of change.

Engaging in a conversation with your clients to identify opportunities is a perfect strategy moving forward. The strategy could be as simple as asking a probing question at the end of every client interaction. It could also be more involved such as surveys or quarterly client advisory groups, to follow a more formal process.

More than ever, staying in tune with the customers’ needs and the problems you can solve is imperative. It is the gateway for future growth and innovation.

3. Work smarter, not harder

Australian culture is all about hard work. If you have struggled to achieve your goals, you’ve likely heard someone telling you to work harder.

Since the rise of intellectual capital as a commodity in the 1980s, the ability to be successful is less about our ability to work hard. Many business owners have told me how hard they work only to find success seemingly out of their reach. Evidence that success is not about hard work.

Sure, success demands focus, determination and resilience. But I challenge the notion that hard work is one of the requirements. If it were, we would have more success stories to celebrate.

Working smarter is about leveraging the talents of people and collaboration. When you remove hurdles and bottlenecks in your processes, you promote ease. It’s the processes that are often the problem. That which is easy gets accomplished. That means being able to produce more revenue with the resources you have. You likely will see a boost to team morale and stop spending time putting out fires.

It leverages technology and systems to streamline the business, allowing it to run smoothly. According to Gartner Research, by 2024, organizations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyper automation technologies with redesigned operational processes.

Consider which elements of your client experience and service could be delivered through automation, saving critical points for human interaction and forward looking strategies for your business. The organisational efficiencies gained can offset growth investments and produce a more efficient team.

4. Profit is the aim, not a reward

One of the most misleading entrepreneurial and inspirational quotes is: “Follow your passion and the money will follow.” If only things were that simple.

If success is a reward of hard work, this quote puts profit on the same unattainable pedestal. Passion for what you do gives you fire in your belly and can bring a sense of contribution. At the end of the day, though, passion doesn’t pay the bills; prolific profit does.

By shifting your mindset around profit and other metrics in your business, a magical change in how you spend your day occurs. You start focusing on initiatives that produce results and impact your bottom line.

A 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose study found that “78% of Americans believe companies must do more than just make money; they must positively impact society as well.” This marriage of purpose and profit is an instance where everyone wins. Clients love supporting social impact; businesses can be profitable and improve their community and world in the process.

For many of my clients, bringing profit up on the priority list, even with reduced revenue, is the defining element of rebuilding business stability.

5. Be a confident leader who empowers others

The entrepreneurial trials of the economic crisis have shaken the confidence of even the most experienced entrepreneurs. We are questioning everything in our professional and personal lives. Whispered conversations with other entrepreneurs over the year let us know that we are not alone in that journey.

With this period of reassessment, the future feels less certain. That uncertainty erodes our confidence to take risks and make bold moves. Past success, “knowing” and being right are pillars in the old definition of confidence.

Be careful—that shaken faith also seeps into our teams’ bones. They want something to champion.

There is good news that can breathe new life into your confidence. You do not need all the answers. You do not even need to know the “how” beyond “what is the best next step?” And, you don’t even need to be right.

Empowering others is what defines the success of top leaders. What got you here has centered around who you are and what you can accomplish. Those accomplishments won’t fuel the future. Relying on your efforts alone is a limiter when scaling your business — even in strong economic times. The old definition of confidence was about what you could do. Your future confidence needs to be about your team and the belief in what the team can do.

For 2023 to be the beginning of your comeback story, you need to take action differently enough to move the needle in your business. Make bold moves that advance and protect your business. Marry your vision to these tips, and you could be looking at a successful year.

Peter O’Sullivan, The CFO Centre

Top 7 Advantages of a Part-Time CFO

Top 7 Advantages of a Part-Time CFO

If you are an SME and want your company to achieve its goals quickly, you should consider hiring a part-time CFO.  One of our clients recently said “it’s the best money I’ve ever spent”.

That’s because a part-time CFO will provide your company with the high-level financial expertise necessary to increase profit, improve cashflow and scale up, for a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO.

Here are the top seven advantages you can expect when you hire a part-time CFO.

  1. Increased Profit

The number one thing most business owners want!  Having a part-time CFO on your team, with their years of commercial experience across many industries, they can increase profits of most businesses by tweaking the levers every business has to increase profit.  For this reason alone, it’s worth considering a part-time CFO.

  1. Strategic advice

Your part-time CFO will provide you with strategic analysis and support on every financial aspect of your business. A report from the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) found CFOs play key roles in not only managing a company’s finances but also in setting broader strategic goals and establishing and achieving financial and non-financial milestones.  What’s more, part-time CFOs can highlight potential threats or risks of which you and your team may be unaware or perhaps don’t know how to deal with.

  1. Flexibility

You can use the services of your part-time CFO for what you need, when you need it. That could be for a variety of different financial functions or a specific project. This means you and your CFO can tailor the role to suit your company’s needs at any time.

  1. Multiple industry experience

Although you can choose to work with part-time CFOs who have direct experience in your given industry, you can also opt to work with those that have experience across multiple industries. The advantage will be that your CFO will provide you with access to networks and multi-layered insights that you might not otherwise have.

  1. Sounding board

Running a company can often be a lonely and stressful experience for CEOs, according to The CFO Centre’s Chairman Colin Mills in his book ‘Scaling Up How to Take Your Business to the Next Level Without Losing Control and Running Out of Cash.  He’s seen first-hand what pressure does to business owners.

“I’ve sat in sales meetings with entrepreneurs who had literally been brought to tears by stress and frustration and the feeling that it’s all too much.”

That’s where a part-time CFO can help. He or she can act as an independent sounding board for the over-burdened, stressed-out business owner. With their ‘big business’ experience, it’s more than likely CFOs can provide solutions to what can seem like overwhelming problems to the CEOs of growing businesses.

  1. Access to a national and international network

If you choose a part-time CFO from an organisation like The CFO Centre, you’ll benefit from the expertise from all the CFOs in its worldwide network. That’s hundreds of years of experience in every aspect of finance—all for a fraction of the cost of employing a single full-time CFO.

  1. Enjoy life through your business, sooner

With the help of a part-time CFO, your business will start delivering on what’s really important to you so you get to live the life you choose (eg. more time with family, more time on rather than in your business).

To discover how The CFO Centre will help your company, please call us on 1300 447 740, go to our website, or watch our short video How it Works.

6 Keys to Successful Company Growth

6 Keys to Successful Company Growth

If you want to grow your business successfully, then you need to get the basics right. In this article, we’ll delve into our top six tips on how to grow a company successfully.

1. Clear Vision and effective communication

The most important thing that determines business success is the business owner’s thinking. Allowing yourself time to think, dream and get a clear vision is essential to business growth.  Without a clear vision and effectively communicating it, how will you and your employees know where they are going? If the business owner has a clear vision, and shares it with all stakeholders, it’s highly likely that the business will also go in the same direction.

2. Set your goals and develop growth strategies

Your goals for your business will provide an overall framework for everyone to follow. The strategies you’ll use to achieve those goals should serve as a roadmap. It will help you to build a structure and bring a focus to decision making.

Once you’ve translated your goals into strategies, you can develop systems and processes that will help with the smooth running of the business.

Many businesses fail in the execution of their strategy. Don’t be afraid. It’s better to execute a mediocre plan correctly than it is to execute a perfect plan poorly.

3. Employ or outsource top-performing talent

A successful business depends on its people. That is hard-working, determined people whose goals are aligned with the organisation’s goals.

The more your organisation is seen to trust employees with responsibility and to invest in their career development, the more likely it is to attract and retain top performers.

But rather than rush to hire people as you scale up, consider outsourcing tasks and using freelancers or temps. This could save you from hiring the wrong people and facing costly turnover.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, says, “There is little point recruiting great people if you don’t then give them the autonomy to take their role and run with it.  It also frees you up as the founder to focus less on the day-to-day activities and more on the over-arching objectives laid out in your roadmap.”

4. Attracting and retaining customers

To build your business, you also need to develop a system to attract and retain high-quality customers.  For that to happen, you must understand your customers’ needs and pain points. What burning needs do they have? What keeps them from falling asleep at night?

Your customers must believe that your products or services will meet their needs or overcome their challenges.

Many business owners make the mistake of focusing their entire sales and marketing efforts and budget on attracting new customers. They often overlook the needs of their existing customers.

Ignoring your existing customers is a huge mistake. People don’t like to feel as if businesses take them for granted once they’ve placed an order. If they feel neglected, they’re likely to move to another company.

It doesn’t matter if you run a small business or a large corporation. Your company must deliver an exceptional customer service experience.

5. Know the Hazards

Rapid growth might be desirable, but your company must be able to cope with its effects. For instance, can your company meet a sudden influx of orders? What impact would that have on your cash flow?  There are dangers of scaling up too fast. They include:

  •         Hiring the wrong people
  •         Losing track of your finances
  •         Management mistakes
  •         Not maintaining customer service
  •         Ineffective business operations
  •         Technology problems
  •         Cash flow mistakes

6. Stay Focussed

The easiest way to stay focused on what’s important during the scaling up stage is to have expert help from a part-time CFO who has big business experience.

For a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO, the CFO Centre can provide you with a highly experienced CFO who will work with you on a part-time basis to help you with scaling up your business.

Get in contact with us today so we can book in a consultation meeting with one of our dedicated Regional Directors.

“Most people never pick up the phone and call; most people never ask. And that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them.” – Steve Jobs, Apple’s Co-founder.


Photo by Basil James on Unsplash

Why Every Business Benefits From a Part-Time CFO

Why Every Business Benefits From a Part-Time CFO

A typical company finance function can be divided up into 3 areas. However, many businesses believe the finance role is principally to produce accurate accounts.

Ask any bank manager and he or she will tell you the bank’s most problematic customers are those who don’t truly understand what is going on in their business. Some customers ask for finance or expect to maintain an overdraft, yet cannot even produce up to date accounts.

Most SME business owners want to focus on the business and not the numbers. The business is their baby and they want it to be their sole focus – not financials!

The areas which the business owner will seek help in first will be determined by the focus and needs of the business whether in sales, operations, admin or finance. If we look at the finance function, it is traditional to break it down into 3 roles:

3 roles of the finance function

1. Financial direction – the CFO

2. Financial control – the Accountant

3. Book-keeping/basic accounting/ AP & AR – the Finance Department Staff

Many business owners think the finance role is transactional in nature and so concentrate just on producing accurate accounting records. This is essential in itself, but not enough to manage and develop a growing business. When focusing on the CFO role specifically then, what are the key tasks of this role and what does the CFO bring that the other finance roles do not?  Why would you need a CFO?

I suggest the following four main areas of expertise and input:


Co-ordinating and developing long term business plans; defining the implementation timetables; assessing the risks involved and seeking the funding required to deliver the proposed plans.


Developing internal controls; managing and developing the reports needed to run the business; improving profit levels; managing cash flows. Does the business owner fully understand the profitability of each product / service they offer? Often the answer is no.


Instilling a financial approach and mind-set throughout the organisation to help other ​parts of the business perform better ​


Tax planning and legal issues; compliance issues; managing external relationships; outsourcing relationships.

The modern CFO needs to be able to develop all this and more. There are many other considerations that go beyond the pure “job description” above.

What’s the difference between an accountant and a CFO?

A CFO looks forward and financial accounting looks backwards; it’s where your business is going that matters as the past cannot be changed – but learnings can be made and changes made so that past mistakes not repeated.

Experience: it is important that a CFO has a wide range of commercial experience, not just financial. Good CFOs do not learn their skills from textbooks alone, in fact they learn very little from textbooks – they learn by doing. Commercial experience means leaving their offices and talking to customers and engaging with the production and operations teams.

Personality: a CFO must be able to communicate at all levels be it the production teams, sales teams, marketing teams to board level. The CFO must be able to relate to people on all levels of a business.

The CFO Centre provides high calibre CFOs to SMEs on a part time basis, allowing organisations to benefit from the expertise of a highly experienced Chief Financial Officer without incurring the expense of hiring someone full-time. We don’t tie you in with a long term contract.

Whether the business in in fast growth mode and needs control or has hit a brick wall and needs survival solutions to get through a tough patch, our CFO’s can cope with both ends of the spectrum.

For more information about the CFO Centre’s service see How it Works  or call us on 1300 447 740


Article written by Peter O’Sullivan – Regional Director – CFO Centre, Victoria

Critical Factors for Improving Profitability

Critical Factors for Improving Profitability

A recent survey of our clients indicated that profit improvement was one of their top 3 priorities.  It is vital that business owners and managers understand the 2 drivers of profit, as well as the connection between profitability and cash flow.

Profitability is affected by sales and reducing costs. Within sales there are 3 critical areas: price, volume and customers. Each of these are connected and affect sales in different ways.

There are further ways to increase your profitability through fixed expenses, variable expenses and supplier management. Keep a look out for another blog that will be released over the next few weeks which covers this.

  1. Price

To improve profitability and performance, price sets the scene. It will determine the volume of sales and ultimately attract different types of customers.

The most obvious part of profitability is the selling price. It is essential when determining the price to ensure that the price and sales volume allow the business to be profitable. It is therefore, good practice to also review these prices regularly.

There are many factors that you need to consider when setting prices. For example, the balance of pricing across the product range. You may have a loss-leader (this is a product that makes little or no profit), which can be offset by other profitable products. Pricing should also consider the level of competition and relative pricing – reflecting the position you wish to take in your market segment.

When offering a discount to a customer, always remember that the discount will increase sales volume, but it will also eat into the profitability of the products. You should record all discounts and review them regularly.

There are two ways in which you can monitor pricing: profit margin and mark up. These can be linked through to your pricing strategy. Monitoring both will allow you to make sure they are both in line with the pricing strategy and make changes when necessary.

  • Always review your gross and net margins against previous periods
  • Understand customer profitability for each customer and their behaviours
  • Eliminate discounting if possible
  • Implement and review a mark-up policy – this will ensure that you are in line with the policy
  • Analyse sales on a regular basis.
  • Use key financial indicators to identify any anomalies that may impact the sales price:
    • Cost of goods sold margin
    • Gross margin
    • Average stock turnover
    • Mark-up
  1. Volume

There are two ways in which volume can be increase. The first is through increasing your current level of sales with your existing customers, and the other is sourcing new clients.

To increase sales to your current customers, you will need to implement a marketing strategy to entice more sales. Something that most businesses fail to see is the ability to up-sell to their existing customers. Making sure that all staff are trained in this area could be most beneficial for your business.

Selling targets are a way to monitor overall performance and enhance profitability. Therefore, I advise you to look at this carefully as it can have an impact on other areas of the business. Understanding your break-even point will allow for realistic targets to be set and ensure profit is maximised.

To help increase the volume:

  • Understand the current customer buying patterns
  • Implement a marketing strategy to increase sales volumes
  • Introduce loyalty programs that encourage referrals
  • Train staff to up sell and make sure they are aware of the high-profit products.
  • Use break-even calculations to set sales targets
  • Always research to see if there are other markets that the business can move into.
  1. Customers

First and foremost, excellent customer service is imperative to keeping and winning new customers. Understanding their needs and wants is a simple step in improving the performance of the business.

Having a Customer Relationship Management system will enable you to keep a wide range of information about your customer and their behaviours. If the business needs to increase the selling power, utilising this tool is the first step.

  • Understand the needs of the business customer and use this information to improve the customer service experience.
  • Measure customer service levels, for example, there are many free tools such as Survey Monkey to gain these insights
  • Reward current customer for their loyalty
  • Consider using mystery shoppers to monitor customer service
  • Have regular contact with your customers to make sure your business is front of mind.

In conclusion, each business has their own challenges when it comes to profitability, and this blog only touches on the surface of what can be achieved. If you have found this article valuable in understanding profitability and would like to learn more, then please reach out to us.

The CFO Centre has over 40 CFOs across Australia and NZ and over 1000 across the globe.  Our track record shows our ability to help our clients improve their profit.  If you want to book a 15 minute call with us to find out more, feel free to get in touch via 1300 447 740 or email us at [email protected]