Think HBR

Nine keys to small business growth for 2015

David Collogan
CFO On-Call
Have you returned to work feeling refreshed and energised about what you can achieve this year? Even if you didn’t have a break, now is a great opportunity to start afresh and take the opportunity to review things for better financial performance in 2015.
Use the New Year as an opportunity to take a ‘helicopter view’ of your business and formulate a business growth plan to achieve better profit, cash flow and efficiency.
Here are the keys we would recommend for small business growth:
1. Income – what can you do to improve it? What are your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) impacting income? Can you capitalise on modern marketing methods? What are the key drivers to achieve sales numbers in your business?
2. Cost of Goods (COGs) – what are they and how are they different from Overheads? COGs are the costs directly associated with your product/service e.g. service labour and materials, product purchase, freight inwards, customs etc. How can they be more cost effective and efficient? Think ‘Productivity’.
3. Gross Profit – the result of your income less COGs. Check out yours compared to others in your industry by percentage. Percentage is the easiest and most accurate way to do the comparison.
4. Overheads – always a good place to find savings, efficiencies and modern ways of doing things. There could be tens of thousands of dollars in savings lurking here.
5. Net Profit – the result of your Gross Profit less Overheads. Check out how yours compares to those in your industry by percentage. Are you getting a good enough return for your efforts?
6. Accounts Receivable – there are many factors affecting how long customers take to pay – from how/when you invoice them to how/when they pay up. Find ways to speed it up.
7. Accounts Payable – on the other side of the ledger - how can you find ways to stretch your terms with suppliers without damaging relations? Improve terms in your favour.
8. Work in Progress – i.e. jobs in progress that haven’t been invoiced to customers yet, including labour and materials. A sure way to improve cash flow is to find ways to speed up finishing jobs, so they can be invoiced. Also reducing rework and any excuses for customers not to pay for finished work. Improve profit on jobs with focus on labour productivity and materials management.
9. Stock management – think of stock as dollar bills piled up on the stock room floor. You want it sitting there for as little time as possible i.e. enough for customers’ needs, but not too much to suck up precious cash.
If these suggestions have peaked your interest and you would like to maximise profit and cash, download the white paper The Guaranteed to do Better This Year Checklist at It contains 46 ways to achieve profit improvement and better cash flow this year.
For further information call David on 0409 922 549, email or visit
David Collogan David Collogan
is a Partner at CFO On-Call. He has had a successful career, initially covering business banking and international trade finance, where he was a Senior Associate of the Australian Institute of Bankers. David has also held a State Manager role in a subsidiary of a global company, as well as experience across all levels of the franchise industry.
He has also been self-employed as a dedicated Management Accountant and business support manager for various SMEs over the past seven years while he has studying his Master’s degree.