The new year can be a time of mixed feelings. The festive season has been and gone; for some it’s a relief, but others feel a sense of lacking. The evenings continue to be dark and cold, which only adds to the reluctance of the new gym routine! Also, the return to work, after some well-deserved holiday time with the family, isn’t always easy to start with.
However, the idea of another 365 new days ahead means that despite other variables, there is a renewed optimism and motivation in the air.
The new year is a great opportunity for everyone to make those important changes – do better, feel better, earn more money, save more money and get your life and your business into a better position for your future.
If you are not a “new year resolution” type, then that is fine. Manifest your current motivation in the form of a 2017 Business Plan or Task List.
The important factor for your practice to succeed in the next year, is that you create a structured plan of action, to turn your dreams into reality.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
(1) Create a Business Plan for 2017
The vast majority of the time, those businesses with a solid plan of action will produce better results than those that are just living on a prayer.
A Business Plan doesn’t have to be prepared with the help of a professional accountant, although clearly their advice can help to quantify that your plans are feasible, as well as look for any tax saving opportunities.
The first place to start when preparing a Business Plan is to carefully analyse and assess your current position. Take last year’s financial accounts, or your latest management accounts if you have them and work down through everything until you have a clear understanding of how your business performed last year.
It is only by looking to the past performance that you will be able to see how to make the changes your business needs to grow in the future.
Clearly a step up in your income levels can make a significant difference to your profit. However, sometimes the difference can be in the detail, so careful trimming of costs can also give promising results to the bottom line profit.
(2) Reduce your practice costs this year
One way you can finish 2017 with more profit than you started, is to be more economical with the costs in your practice for the next year. This leaves more to either keep in the business, or divide between the practice owners.
It is essential to regularly check-in on your business expenditure, so that costs don’t run away from you without you noticing.
Unfortunately, it is common for practice owners to get so tangled up with the day-to-day running of the practice, that important things like cost control are overlooked.
If you have a trusted practice manager to keep an eye on these things for you, then this is a good start. However, the responsibility lies with you, as the practice owner, to ensure you are always seeking the best options for your business.
Review all business costs to ensure you are getting the best rate on expenses like:
Commercial mortgage interest
Practice overheads, including electric, gas and water
Consumable items – are you using the best suppliers?
Staff costs – do you have the right level of staff to service your customers?
(3) Reduce your home costs this year
As part of your business plan, it is essential to factor in your personal life too, as the two are wholly interlinked.
Whilst the northern hemisphere hibernates, why not spend a few of those dark evenings assessing and analysing your personal costs for the year ahead. If you are clever you won’t even have to spend less on the enjoyable things; holidays, dinners out etc.
By careful research to maximise discounts and offers, you may just find you can top up your disposable income quite easily.
See where you can shave a few pennies and pounds off all your living costs:
Home Contents Insurance
Home Buildings Insurance
Household bills, including electric and gas
Motor expenses, including car insurance