That’s A Wrap!
As we draw to the end of 2016, I wanted to reflect and share some of our achievements and plans for the future with you.
That’s a Wrap
Wow, what a year it has been for the team at Equus. Here’s just a few things that we’re proud of achieving in the last 12 months:
- We’ve made the world a better place by giving 19,250 days of access to life-saving clean water to people in Malawi, 58 days of agricultural training to farmers in Malawi, and 2 goats to a rural families in Kenya to have sustainable income for a year.
- We successfully moved our systems from Office365 and Dropbox to G Suite and AODocs. A big move but it’s working like a charm.
- Our team in the Phillipines grew from 5 to 8 amazing people. Our team continue to make wonderful achievements and our business wouldn’t be where it is today without the drive, ambition and attitude of our great team. Thank you to all of you.
- We systemised almost every one of our operational processes over a 3-month period project called “Steps to Success”. It had been a long time coming and we didn’t know where to start – there were so many processes. We ended up using an application called ScreenSteps to host our online procedures. Our team ran the project and it was a huge success. Moreover, it has paid immediate dividends by helping new team members get familiar with how we do what we do.
- And we kicked the Tax Office’s butt (nicely) a few times. It’s been a good year.
What we’re doing in 2017
Planning like ninjas
Like people, businesses also need goal setting and direction. We all should be taking time in early January to reflect on 2016 and plan for 2017. Personally, it has become a yearly routine to start off a new year with a new journal. I’ll start by writing out my values, life goals, and the top 5 things I want to achieve by the end of the year. I also add a ‘to stop list’ – a list of things I no longer want to do – like bookkeeping (for my own business that is).
For our business, we take a few days to plan the next 12 months and make sure our next quarter’s one page plan is drafted and ready to pitch to the team when we get back to work. We also map out our next quarter’s theme and wildly important goal. If the penny just dropped, take the chance while things are quiet to work on your business. If you need assistance with this, book a Business Strategy Session with your advisor in January and February and start your year off ‘firing on all cylinders’.
Publishing a couple of books
We’re proud to announce that we’ll be launching a couple of insightful books next year. Titled: Count More Beans by Nadi Elias – aimed at helping motivated cafe owners make more profit, have more cash and maximise the value of their cafes; and More Beans Less Grind by Chris Nairn – aimed at helping successful cafe owners extract wealth from their businesses to grow their personal wealth outside of their business. These books will be like nothing out there. If you’re interested in find out more (or getting your hands on a copy once published) get in contact with us.
We start next year off with a bang – presenting our profit-enhancing strategies to a group of go-getting cafe entrepreneurs at the Australian Specialty Coffee Association’s Symposium on the Secrets of Specialty – If you’re serious about growing your cafe business, then you don’t want to miss this event. The list of speakers is impressive. Get your tickets here.
Launching our Finance Division – EP Finance
We’ve been busy planning out the development of our new mortgage and finance division – EP Finance. Set to go live by February 2017, we’ll be helping our clients in all areas of obtaining smart and efficient finance, from new loans (home loans and commercial finance), asset finance (cars and equipment) to refinancing existing loans and restructuring debt with the purpose of saving our clients interest costs. More details to come soon.
Our website is going to get a nice little facelift. Stay tuned.
How to eliminate cash flow problems in your café business
Is cash flow (or rather a lack of it) in your café business keeping you awake at night? You’re not the only one. The good news is there’s a way to say “Goodbye” to cash flow problems, and “Hello” to a good night’s sleep. Let me tell you the story about Harry, and how he managed to eliminate cash flow problems in his café.
Harry was a café owner, and a pretty successful one at that. All three of the cafes he owned had great front and back of house teams and receptive management, which meant Harry could focus on developing his product and team, along with distribution and sales.
Harry’s financial dilemmas
But despite all this, Harry still felt he was repeating a lot of the mistakes he was making back when there was just the one café. And the biggest one of all was failing to plan for cash flow surprises. BAS, taxes, salaries and superannuation payments were a never-ending source of stress—not to mention a lot of sleepless nights. And the fact he had a fantastic team of staff and suppliers he didn’t want to let down made him stress even more.
He knew what the problem was. He wasn’t putting any money aside for these future payments. But Harry was reluctant about changing any of his payments, his business structure, or the way he looked at his financials. And his accountant wasn’t much help either, having never suggested changes or prepared any cash flow projections he could rely on.
There was another reason for Harry’s reluctance: he liked seeing the money in his transaction account, and ready access to it. The thought of transferring funds to another account to provide for expenses made him nervous. What would happen if the transaction account ran low?
When Harry met Savvy
Carlos, a friend and fellow café entrepreneur, invited Harry over to his new café (his fifth) for lunch. As they ate, Carlos mentioned that thanks to his adviser he’d never felt so in control of his cash flow.
Intrigued, Harry asked Carlos what this adviser had done for him.
Carlos and his adviser were looking at financial reports that helped Carlos manage his money. His adviser also started forecasting cash flows so Carlos had a ballpark of how much they’d need to pay in GST, PAYG and Superannuation each quarter.
Being able to quickly see how much money they’d need (and when they’d need it) meant they could put money aside each week to cover future commitments. Carlos always knew he’d have enough money in his transaction account to cover everyday expenses, which was comforting. And whenever something came up out of the blue, they would take action together to quickly deal with it.
Seizing the opportunity, Harry asked Carlos for his adviser’s contact details. He wanted what Carlos was having.
Business booms when you get cash flow right
Harry is now happy with his business. He sleeps soundly, knowing his café business’ cash flow will always be healthy. In fact, sorting out his cash flow problems gave him the confidence to expand his business by making improvements he had wanted to make for a while.
If you’re experiencing cash flow problems in your café business, or would like to know more about how to improve it, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Because everyone deserves a good night’s sleep.
Café owners: 7 things you must do to grow your café business
If you’re having problems growing your café business, you may be making some simple, silly or unfortunate mistakes.
The good news is it’s probably easy to avoid making them again.
A lot of business problems are created by either:
- making the wrong decision
- taking the wrong action (or failing to take the right action).
Last week we looked at the seven errors in thinking that lead to three problems when growing your café business. So let’s now take a look at seven things you must do to grow your café business.
1. Meet with your business partners regularly
As we talked about in our previous blog post, if you own multiple sites then you probably have business partners. So when was the last time you got together with them to talk about current issues and future business plans?
For your business to succeed you need everyone to be on the same page. And that means getting together regularly (monthly at a minimum, but ideally weekly) to talk about both issues and your overall business strategy.
2. Embrace new technologies
If you’re still using paper dockets, manual staff rosters and paper invoices, how do you expect to grow your business? Manual systems such as these are impossible to scale. And while you can replicate these paper-based methods, who’d want to take on a business that uses them?
You need to start using the latest technology to streamline your systems and business processes. You can bet your competition is already doing it, and unless you do the same your business will be left in the dust while theirs continue to grow.
3. Start treating your team as an investment rather than a cost
Chances are your biggest expense is staff wages. But instead of thinking of your team as a cost, think of them as an investment. After all, without them you probably wouldn’t have a café business in the first place.
This shift in thinking will not only get you to think about training and other ways to develop your team, but also stop you grumbling every time you process a pay run.
4. Take the time to review your financial statements
Knowledge is power—especially when trying to grow a café business.
If you stick your head in the sand, and ignore your financial statements or accounts, both you and your business will have problems down the track.
So take the time to look at them regularly, and find out exactly how the money flows in and out of your business. They will give you the clarity and control you need to take your business to the next level.
5. Stop running up high debts and credits
Owing people money, and being owed money from late payments, is just bad business.
As a business owner, you need to pay your team and your suppliers on time. If you don’t, they may decide to work with another café business owner instead.
You also need to be on top of whoever’s late with their payments. You’re running a business, not a charity.
Fortunately, technology makes it easy to keep track of this information. It can even notify late payers automatically so you don’t have to waste time chasing them up.
6. Start adopting a ‘profit first’ approach
In a previous blog post we talked about the ‘profit first’ approach, where you regularly transfer money into separate accounts for future payments—including profit.
We don’t want to repeat ourselves here. But we do want to emphasise how important it is to transfer this money every week or fortnight (depending on the size of your business.)
And you need separate accounts. If you try doing it all with a single business account, you’ll never know who (or what) the money is for.
7. Discuss, document and review your exit strategy
This relates to our first point about catching up with your business partners regularly to talk about your business goals. In these meetings you should also discuss, document and review your business exit strategy—not at every meeting, but at least once a year.
After all, the best way for you to cash in on all your hard work is probably by selling your café business. And to make the most of that opportunity, you need a sound exit strategy.
Taking on these seven actions will give you a much better chance of not only growing your café business, but also getting the best financial return for all the hard work you’ve put into it.
In our next post we’ll be talking about why the mistakes you’re making are just that—mistakes.
In the meantime, if you’d like to talk about anything we’ve discussed here, or would like more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.