Myth #1: We just need more sales!
Not necessarily. Sales growth without consideration of the cost involved in getting them can result in a loss to the business. Sales need to be considerate of the costs associated in getting them to ensure profitability and the future viability of the company is maintained. When considering sales profitability must also be in the mix. An awful lot of effort can be expended on sales but if the result is a loss to the business then that effort is not worth it. Have you reviewed your processes in order to determine your margins? Is your sales process paying for itself and adding to your bottom line? Have you checked you existing customers as to their needs? It is always easier selling to existing customers than to new ones. How would you like to sell less but make more money?

Myth #2: We need to be working harder and faster!
Working smarter is an old cliché but it is true. Sticking to methodology that is tried and true is fine to a point but if it is not challenged from time to time the risk is that process improvement and therefore market competitiveness and ultimately potential profits are lost. Increasing throughput will increase volume but if it is unprofitable at small volumes it is going to remain so at larger volumes. Being locked into operational processes without being able to see a strategic picture is a common place for many businesses. Having an independent, trusted and confidential advisor to challenge the status quo can be a great way of reinvigorating and revitalising a business.

Myth #3: We need to decrease wages and salary costs!
You get what you pay for to an extent, peanuts and monkeys spring to mind. It can be a false economy to employ low level staff as the productivity is never there. Having highly motivated staff pay back their investment in many ways and keep the business evolving to new opportunities and ways of maintaining or increasing profitability. It also means that attracting staff is an easier proposition, something we are currently struggling with in today’s market.

Myth #4: We know how are we doing!
Do you know what numbers you should be achieving in your market? Who are your competitors and what sort of returns are they getting? How do the component parts of the business line up to others? We can answer these questions by Benchmarking your business against others in your business sector and relating that to size and scope of your competition. At Advantage Business we can measure those key metrics to determine changes that can be made to improve those areas of the organisation that add to your business profitability.

Myth #5: If we increase prices – we’ll lose customers!
That depends, you might – but you might not! A 5% price increase may not be noticed by 90% of your customers, but an increase of 15% because you are forced to is going to cause a much greater ripple. Small increases that occur regularly are much more palatable to customers than seemingly sudden large price increases.  You are able to maintain your profitability and positive cashflow.

Myth #6: Profit’s a financial matter – nothing to do with marketing!
Not true. Profit is a result of good business practice and this includes effectiveness through all elements of the business process, marketing included. Good stories to your customers are vital to ensure they keep coming back, again and again.  The focus is greater than just purely price!

Myth #7: People only go on price nowadays – we can’t compete with the big guys!
Customers are shopping around more that is true but it’s not just about price, Service still plays a large part. Customers are more time sensitive now than ever before. People want things immediately and if they can’t get it will go somewhere else and will pay for it. If you can find a differentiation exploit it.

Myth #8: No one knows my business as well I do!
Absolutely, in one sense you’re the expert on your particular business. You do know it best and that is both a benefit and a hinderance. Often the business may be totally reliant on you, personally. If you aren’t there the business can’t operate and in effect you haven’t got a business but rather a very stressful job!

Talking to a business advisor or mentor will give you the opportunity to stand back from the business, in completely confidential conditions, and help give the you the tools to move forward the way YOU want to. Even the best athletes use coaches!

Andrew Ross
ABL Advisor 2018