Soon we will all be putting 2022 behind us and driving forward 2023 plans! Needless to say, this will require a decent-sized chunk of time for planning and preparation. And there is no better preventative step to tee up success than preparation! So, to help you with said planning and preparation, we present to you our Business Growth Guide for 2023!
Circling back to planning and preparation, here are some famous wise words that we can draw on. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” That makes for a pretty sharp axe! And a thoroughly sharpened axe certainly cuts through more trees quicker! From over 500 years of combined QuickBooks and small-to-medium-sized business experience, we can vouch, that the right investments in the right places, at the right times, is what preparedness is all about. So, ask yourself this question:
Are you properly prepared?
We sure hope you are, but just in case, this article will help you with the tools and resources you’ll need. We’ll share some knowledge and expertise around preparing for the new year and how we can help you fortify your business. In 2023, we are dedicated to seeing you grow and succeed, and we’re going to show you how we can help! Ready? Set? Grow!
Set your business up for success
Want to Get the Most Out of Your QuickBooks and Grow Your Business in 2023?
- Ready: Intake with our Business Development Team
- Set: Schedule your Health Check
- Grow: Work with one of our ProAdvisor Experts. Get ahead of the game while you still have time!
Define Your Growth Goals
Defining your growth goals is an important first step in the growth planning process. Without predefined goals, how will you determine where you are in your growth strategy? Better yet, how will you determine which parts of your plans are working and which are not? Goals not only shape the target that you’re aiming for but help you calculate how and where to make adjustments. However, goals will not lend you any assistance without being drafted correctly. Enter S.M.A.R.T. goals!
Make your Goals S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are goals that follow a proven, strategic outline for reaching any objective(s). The acronym, S.M.A.R.T., stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Frame. Each word in the S.M.A.R.T. acronym represents a characteristic that each goal should account for. The description of each characteristic is listed below:
- Specific: Be precise and exact with what you want to achieve and leave ambiguity and vagueness at the door
- Measurable: Ensure there is a way to measure your progress and performance towards accomplishing your goal
- Achievable: Being realistic is key; a good goal sets the bar high, but also within reach, as opposed to something unattainable
- Relevant: Ensure your goal makes sense based on where you are/want to be heading
- Time Frame: Set a date for goal achievement and define what needs to be done to get there
By making your goals S.M.A.R.T., you are creating structure and providing clarity around objectives you want your teams and organization to complete. When you are creating your growth goals, think of where you want to be, realistically, at the end of 2022. Consider where you want to be beyond 2022 as well. What about 2, 3, 4, and 5 years down the road?
Get Your Data Right!
Getting your QuickBooks company file’s (or multiple company files’) data right is more than just accuracy, however, accuracy IS critical. If your QuickBooks data is inaccurate, your reports and metrics will be too, obviously. And if your reporting and metrics are inaccurate, how can you construct a strong and dependable foundation on which to build out your goals? That solid and reliable foundation is critical to goal setting and developing effective growth strategies. And, importantly, when it comes time to measure your success, how will you accurately know when/if you have achieved it?
In addition to accuracy, having the most efficient and effective processes and workflows in place will support your growth tremendously. Your processes and workflows are an integral component of your foundation. Embarking on your mission to achieve growth goals with a weak foundation is setting yourself up for failure. So, how can you set yourself up for success? Have optimal processes and workflows in place!
The Brass Tacks
Here is how having optimal processes and workflows in place will support your growth goals and strategy:
- More precise goal-setting: Set goals that support success right from the start! Know exactly where you are, where you want to be, how to get there, and accurately measure success.
- Better strategical growth insights: Don’t miss out on growth opportunities! Knowing exactly where you are, in-depth, may shed light on growth opportunities you hadn’t seen.
- Shed more light on resource requirements: Don’t miss out on resource requirements, either! Having the right resources, in the right places, at the right time, is what you need to support your growth. Oftentimes, the challenge is knowing what resources you’ll need. You can combat this with optimal visibility over your business.
Here are some other benefits that you will gain from having optimal processes and workflows in place:
- Time & Money Savings: optimal processes and workflows equate to more productivity, and everyone can do that math!
- How is this done? The elimination of double data entry, streamlined approvals, faster invoice creation, reductions in human error, and increased data accuracy – to name a few.
- Increased Output Quality: Automized (fully or partial) and/or standardized repetition of processes and workflows equate to more consistent output quality.
- Increased Visibility: Transparency in productivity allows for, and enables, better workflow management.
- Time & Money Savings: optimal processes and workflows equate to more productivity, and everyone can do that math!
So, this begs the question; how do you know if your processes and workflows are optimized based on your business needs? And, do you want to improve your processes and workflows but don’t know how to design and implement them? Well, that’s where we come in! Get your QuickBooks Health Check!
Develop a Growth Strategy
Planning for growth is critical because obstacles will inevitably, and indefinitely, come your way. Planning allows you to respond strategically to difficult situations that arise and enable you to make informed judgment calls. Planning also allows you to maximize your reaping of benefits of your future successes while increasing their likelihood. Warren Buffett once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planned on planting a tree there a long time ago.” Now, imagine that summer comes early in 2022, and it’s a real doozy! Without that “someone” planning and executing, nobody in your organization would be feeling the cool relief from the sweltering sun. This analogy, used in tandem with Warren Buffet’s wise words, depicts the necessity of planning.
So now it’s time to move on to the next step; developing a growth strategy. With accurate metrics and a sturdy foundation on which you’ve built your organization’s growth goals, now you can
With that being said, here are some tips about how to structure your growth planning process to achieve maximum results
Diagram Your Path to Success
Diagramming your path to success is laying out the strategic framework for how you will arrive at success. First, you have built a strong and dependable foundation. You have done this by ensuring data and metric accuracy and ensuring your processes and workflows are optimized in QuickBooks. Second, you have defined your goals and what success looks like to your organization. Using the S.M.A.R.T. methodology, you have defined critical elements of your goals, such as how to measure your success. Now, your next step is to develop your growth strategy, and diagramming your path to success will be your guiding light.
There is something about drawing a diagram that clarifies your path to success, and helps you identify anything you may be missing! When you start your diagram, focus on one year at a time. It’s important to break it up into milestones, perhaps by quarters, so you can have opportunities to re-evaluate and adjust if needed. It’s also very important to mark (so you know where they are) and celebrate small victories! Starting from the first of the year, draft your diagram of where you want to be at your first milestone. Think about what departments will need to be involved in order to get you there. What objectives will those departments need to complete in order to get you there? And think beyond the day-to-day stuff. A great example would be:
Improving sales’ win rates by 7% by the end of Q1.
Running with that example, we know that the Sales department will be involved… How about Sales Enablement? Marketing? Learning and Development? Whether or not you or others wear these hats, it’s important to list what needs to be done within your constraints. Next, what objectives do these departments need to complete to meet/exceed their short-term goal(s)? Following the previous example, a good example of this for the Sales department would be,
1) Have Sales Managers time-block 4 hours on their schedules per week to focus solely on skill assessing and coaching their staff based on individual Rep needs.
2) Enforce a mandatory Sales Rep time-block between the hours of 9:00 AM, PDT & 11:00 AM, PDT to be dedicated solely to outbound sales calls.
3) Collect monthly reports from Sales to identify trends in win rates.
In this example, you have established the activities needed to complete the department’s objectives and measure the department’s success. What’s left to do now is build this out for each of your goals, marking each milestone, and getting it down on paper in a diagram. This diagram will be your map to success, and if you get lost or chart off course, contact us!
Remember Your Business Growth Cartographers
Whether or not you came to us to help you from the start, we’re here for you now! As QuickBooks consultants, we’re very well-versed in QuickBooks reporting. If your metrics are off, or you need help generating the reports you need to properly track your KPI’s, we can help. Sometimes, plans don’t always play out the way we imagined they would. While it may have been your plan to keep your QuickBooks optimized and organized, it doesn’t always turn out that way.
Here is how steering your ship back in the direction will support your growth goals and strategy:
- Shed more light on resource requirements: Don’t miss out on resource requirements, either! Having the right resources, in the right places, at the right time, is what you need to support your growth. Oftentimes the challenge is knowing what resources you’ll need. You can combat this with optimal visibility over your business.
Want to get back on track, let us help! Get your QuickBooks Health Check!
Determine Your Resource Requirements
Determining your resource requirements is really a second phase to diagramming your path to success when developing your growth strategy.
The Phase 2 Approach
Similar to how you took a deep dive into the different departmental objectives and activities required to achieve your goals, here you will take it one step further. Working backwards from bottom to top, think about what existing resources will need to be leveraged, and what new resources will need to be acquired, for all of your involved employees to be empowered to complete your objectives. Following our Sales example, a good example of this would be,
1) Acquiring Paradiso, the Salesforce Extension at $250 per month (plus a one-time $500 implementation fee) to increase efficiency and effectiveness of Sales Manager coaching.
2) Acquire ClickUp (free time management tool) and Calendly (unpaid version – tool that streamlines customer appointments) at $0 per month and $1,000 in one-time Salary Expenses to assist Sales Reps with time management and adhering to the mandatory Sales Rep time-block policy.
The example above shows what resources you’ll need to support your planned activities in the Sales department. In the above example, you’ll need to increase your sales budget by $250 per month, as well as accommodate a one-time configuration and implementation fee of $500 and a one-time Salary Expense of $1,000, to acquire, configure, and implement the applications. You will also need to allocate some time from Sales Reps and their Sales Managers so they can be trained on how to utilize the new applications, and decide whether you will further increase your Sales budget to outsource training or increase Salary Expense to train them in-house, assuming you have that ability. Through the process of resource requirement identification, new milestone goals and objectives will be added to your diagram, so it is important to continue to build upon it while carefully balancing your resources so employees aren’t overwhelmed and budgets aren’t exceeded.
The Ultimate Inventory on Resource Requirements
If you need to know all of your existing resources that are in play, so you can develop a list of what you’ll need and what resources are overworked or exhausted, look to Accounting! Remember when we discussed the importance of getting your data right when you were defining your growth goals? Well, this is a perfect example of when you will depend upon optimal visibility over your reliable accounting data to know what resources you have, and what resources you’ll need. All of your businesses Assets, whether tangible or intangible, will mostly be accounted for in your Balance Sheet. Starting from highest to lowest liquidity (ideally, but not always), you can see most of your assets and identify what resources are available to you from the list. You can also audit this list to identify resources that you no longer have requirements for and liquidate them, or terminate their expense, thus, removing the associated liability. Performing this audit can shed light on expenses that you no longer need but still have, and what unused (or underused) assets can be converted to cash. Either way, the result is often more freed up cash, which may offset (or help offset) budget increases for required resources.
Important Note: Off-Balance Sheet (OBS) Assets will not be found on this list. Examples of some of these items that would likely be considered OBS Assets would be Operating Leases and Leaseback Agreements. Be sure to include any assets here within your list of Assets to work off of to identify available resources.
If you need help with understanding your assets and/or cleaning up your books so you can shed more light on resource requirements, contact us!
Do the Work!
We know, easier said than done, right? Well, not if you have a strategic partner with your company’s best interests at heart to help do some of the work for you!
We can help you with:
- Optimizing processes and workflows to build a strong and dependable foundation
- Defining your growth goals
- Developing a growth strategy
- Determining your resource requirements
- And even doing the work! – We offer all of the following Accounting services, Business services, Data services, and much more!
- Data Review
- Financial Reporting
- Ongoing Bookkeeping
- Payroll Accounting
- Payroll & Sales Tax prep
- Project Accounting
- QuickBooks Training
Speak with a professional today and Get your QuickBooks Health Check!
Out of the Box Technology is an Elite QuickBooks Solution Provider (QSP). We provide our clients with QuickBooks products and end-to-end Business services and Data services through our talented team of in-house ProAdvisor Advanced Consultants, possessing over 500 years of combined QuickBooks experience. Armed with our “SauceBox ApproachTM,” Out of the Box Technology’s Advanced Consultants live up to our motto, “Anything + Everything QuickBooks.” Contact us and let us show you the best possible client experience, every single time! And don’t forget to check out our Company Blog for Free Resources, valuable How-To’s, and TONS of frequently added QuickBooks content!
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