Tag Archives: control

Finance for Food & Drink Business Workshop 2015

Growth is a challenge for small businessesIt’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.

Review of Food & Drink Business Finance Workshop 2015

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

Finance for Food & Drink Businesses 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 Finance for Food & Drink Businesses Workshop 2015Mary 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.

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!