It’s been a while since my last blog, in September last year I started a full time contract working as interim FD for a food business which was growing rapidly and faced a lot of challenges managing cashflow and ensuring all its new sales opportunities were profitable.
In July this year I handed over the FD reins and now I am back; focussing on Pound Lane with even more tools to help other growing businesses manage similar challenges.
Something that I overlooked in September was to report back on the success of the Food & Drink Business Finance Workshop that I hosted.
On the day we had representatives from 6 different businesses at the workshop and a useful forum developed where we discussed some of the challenges faced by small food businesses and shared ideas and tips for solving them.
Topics covered included:
Business plans – the impact of setting out what you would like your business future to look like and then committing your plans to paper so you can review progress against that target at some point in the future.
We heard from Jocelyn and Ferenc Droppa of Droppa and Droppa who were kind enough to tell the group about their original idea and how their business plan has evolved over the course of their business’ life.
“Not losing sight of why I got into business in the first place”
– Chris Smith on what he found useful at the workshop
Ideas for recording and using accounting information – the importance of organising your accounts to record figures that are useful to your business, eg splitting sales between several product types, not just between sales with VAT at 20% and sales with VAT at 0%.
The difference between profit and cashflow – every business needs to make a profit, but even the most profitable businesses can have cash crises. When it comes down to it cash makes the world go around so it is vital to understand what effects the cash flow in your business. I will come back to this in a series of blogs this autumn, because it comes up more and more in my work.
Mary Quicke of Quickes Traditional Cheeses also gave a presentation in which she shared some of her experiences from growing her business into an international brand without “selling out” the quality and traditional style of her cheeses.
One of most interesting points of her presentation was the fact that Quickes’ sales and marketing strategy is not focussed purely on profit, but on spreading business between different outlets as well, to reduce the dependence on any one customer – another way of helping to secure cashflow and protect the high quality/ high price niche that Quickes’ cheeses have.
We rounded of the morning with a buffet lunch, and continued conversation there. Everyone who took part enjoyed the workshop and took away useful ideas for their businesses.
I will be holding more workshops in 2017 and so if you would like to be included on the mailing list please get in touch.