Stacey Delve, one of the team here at K&H, has had considerable success with her sunflowers this year in the K&H garden. But growing plants from seed doesn’t always work – you have to have the right conditions, and take the right actions.
I’d like to extend the gardening analogy to business growth using the acronym ‘PLANT’.
P for Plan
Plan what you want and how you are going to get it. It’s no good planting your sunflowers where they will get no sun. Careful financial planning can let businesses test the possible outcomes of various business decisions and identify key drivers to success.
L for ‘Look after’
Look after the seeds. It may involve watering, weeding or putting in stakes for support. Businesses are no different – they need regular maintenance. Unwanted results need removing, customers need looking after, and staff may need support.
A for Assess
Assess how you are doing against the plans. Much of the maintenance is obvious but sometimes it isn’t and it is only by having a formal checking process that you identify what is working or not. In business, the way to do this is to have formal management reports that track both financial and non-financial measures against plans. Controls and processes to ensure the reliability of the information gathered are also key.
N for New
New actions have to be taken as a result of the assessment. With sunflowers, you have to replace the original stakes with larger ones. A business may discover that a particular marketing campaign didn’t yield expected results and the next campaign needs to change to reflect the learning. Additional profits may call for extra tax planning to be done before the year end, and so on.
T for Take
Take the benefits. Eat the seeds from the sunflowers or use some of them to do even better next year. It’s the same with business profits: some will be reinvested for the future but ideally the plans will include setting aside some time for the business owner to enjoy spending on holidays, family or hobbies.
Many business owners feel able to do much of the PLANTing themselves but sometimes it helps to get in an expert to free up your time and offer the benefit of their wider, but specific, experience and skills. We at K&H offer business support through workshops and regular advice, but if you feel that you need in-house support, then you can ‘buy in’ a part-time finance director on an interim basis.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this please contact us.
Thanks to Caroline Billington of K&H partner company a-count-a-bility for her input to this article.