Tag Archives: Advice

Food & Drink Business Finance Workshop

I’ve not been writing much recently, but that’s not to say that I’ve not been busy!

I am hard at work in the background putting together a workshop to help ambitious food producers understand their finances and make sure that they are looking at the right information to make good decisions and grow their businesses.

Every business has some way of tracking their income and their spending. When you start out it’s easy to have a simple system that you understand, but as your business grows – especially if you’re ambitious and your idea finds hungry customers – it can be difficult to keep track of the finances.

Is there time for business growth? The accounts that are prepared at the end of the year show how much profit has been made during the year, but often that is only useful to HMRC so that you know how much tax to pay!

When it comes to growing your business you need to know how you make profit, in order to make sure any new sales add more profit! So you need to be able to compare different products, different customers or compare the profit that you’ve made with the effort you’ve put in to the business. Year end accounts usually don’t help much with this.

Add to that the fact that you probably don’t get these accounts until at least 3 months after the end of the year. If you spot an opportunity or a problem during the year you want to have information to react to it immediately, not wait 9 months and hope you did the right thing.

So you need good data, and in order for it to mean something you need to have a some history as well. In order to get the information you need to manage your business successfully you need to know what it is you’re trying to measure and develop a system (maybe just notes on paper, maybe more complicated) to record it.

The challenge is that the information required varies from business to business, it even varies at different stages of a business’ life and often isn’t immediately available from your accounting system.

Information is key to growing your businessIn the forthcoming workshop I have partnered with Mary Quicke of Quicke’s Traditional, an award winning cheese maker who has established a successful and trusted brand making traditional high quality cheese.

Mary has a wealth of experience gained from growing her business and will share the KPIs, financial information and some of the strategies that she used to grow her business.

The workshop will be held on 10th September from 9.30 until 13.30 at The Cedars Inn in Barnstaple. It is open to all ambitious food producers.

For the moment please contact me for more information: the registration page is under construction!

Sowing the seed of a solution

Sow the seed of an idea to your staff
Humans are funny creatures. You can present a person with all sorts of perfectly logical, suitable solutions to their problems but you can’t guarantee that they will buy into any of them.

Maybe they don’t understand the solution, maybe they don’t like the changes that you suggest or maybe it’s just that it’s your idea not theirs. But whatever the cause the cliche “you can take a horse to water, but not make it drink” is very true.

I have come across this problem more often in a work setting (although it definitely comes up a lot with children, or my children at least). I guess part of the resistance is due to lack of understanding, part a simple resistance to change and part vanity (the “its not my idea” part).

You can’t usually force people to take your advice, so how can you get around these barriers?

It’s important always to focus on what’s right for the business or people concerned. That means leaving your EGO out of it!

My preferred tactic is to try to “sow a seed” of my idea:- introduce the idea, but then stand back and wait for the idea to grow in the other person.

The idea needs the right conditions to grow – more information about why the problem occurs, what the effect is, reasons why the solution you have proposed is right.

It also needs time to germinate…

But in the end the plan is to work with the other person to help them recognise the value of the solution, and feel that they have an equal part in coming up with it so that the problem is solved one way or another.

Note to my clients: This is not inspired by any client past or present, it’s a musing from helping someone else solve an issue with their colleagues!