How to achieve your business objectives using the SOAR method
Our accounting partner shares three simple steps for a better business..
How to ensure the success of your business
A lack of cash is often believed to be the biggest cause of businesses failing but, the reality is, it’s more likely to be due to a lack of planning. Having a clear strategy not only helps you stand out from your competitors, but also encourages logical, rational thinking.
The purpose of the SOAR methodology is to enable you, as a business owner, to put resources in place to slow down the decision-making process, helping you to achieve the right results and reduce the reliance on ‘gut feel’. All this from using just three simple sheets of A4 paper!
Find out how your business measures up
Before you read on, complete this one-minute exercise to assess how each area of your business currently measures up: Score yourself against each of the following areas in terms of…
No room for improvement - room for improvement - massive improvement required
This will give you an idea of any quick wins and taking a staged approach will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Step 1: Your One Page Plan
The first sheet of A4 is for your business plan, which forms the foundation of your business and should include your overall mission or purpose alongside underlying success drivers, such as customer delight or team happiness. On the face of it, these may appear to be less critical measurements than hard sales or profits but, research from Havard found that an increase in team happiness of just 20% increases profits by 42%. A happy team member equals happy customers, and this is crucial.
With your vision, goal and underlying success drivers identified, you can begin to add key performance metrics such as sales goals, costs and cash targets, and other key results. Looking at each area in turn, break it down to see where you can make small improvements. Remember, making seemingly tiny improvements will result in an overall compound improvement for your business.
Putting tracking in place allows you to reflect on previous months and see how and why you were successful. The plan is not set in stone and it should be tailored to your individual business allowing room to evolve.
Step 2: The One Page Benchmarking Report
In order to set targets for your one-page plan, don’t resort to plucking figures out of thin air! Benchmarking looks at your industry to see how well you are performing compared with others in your market and will highlight strengths and weaknesses within the business, as well allow you to formulate an action plan so that you can clearly see how and where to make improvements.
Step 3: One Page Profit Improvement Worksheet
The final piece of A4 is for your all-important profit sheet. Broken down into sections, this sheet allows you to focus on making incremental improvements to specific areas – simply ‘increasing sales’ is too broad. For instance, highlighting that you want to ‘improve cross-selling opportunities’ can be a very simple yet powerful way to improve business. Every time you attend a meeting with an existing customer, you should know which services they currently use and identify any additional services you could offer, so that you know what you should be talking to them about.
Another good example would be to look at improving the way businesses are referred to you. Referrals may come from existing clients, introducers, friends, colleagues, online and so on. Do you have a robust, systematic process in place for categorising and following up with referrals? Embedding a process within your business will ensure consistency and that any potential future referrals are not missed.
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