Planning Ahead

Opportunities in the new year

One of the most important things that you can do at the start of a new year is to refine your business plan with both short and long-term goals. Your finances and the cadence with which money flows in and out of your business will impact everything from recruiting, growth, expansion, equity and even time management. Recruiting. Most dealers manage a weekly payroll. Sales people are used to this cycle, and it does aid in hiring. However, offering compensation for sales before accounts are funded will negatively impact your cash-flow. It may be difficult to shift existing employees to post-funding payroll, but as you put together your recruiting plan, consider adding this requirement for new hires.

Growth. As a leader, having a vision for your company’s future is important. Knowing where you are headed lays the path and helps you know when to ignore distractions. In our experience, dealers who use their vision to create a series of short-term goals are most successful in achieving them. Planning your investments in growth by quarter will allow you to target initiatives and follow them through. For example, if you want to grow through an improved online presence, allocate that budget over a two or three month period. Measure the results carefully. Instead of making a long-term cash commitment to any form of growth, evaluate efficacy and invest wisely.

Expansion. When a top sales person or sub-dealer comes to you seeking employment in an area outside of your current market, it’s easy to be seduced by the prospects of expansion. Too often, these opportunities come at a high price. Overpaying for accounts in an expansion area can sink your ship. It’s important to spend the time writing out a plan. Be sure to include the cost of service, attrition, licensing, insurance and reputation. If you are preparing to expand organically, a fully financed and carefully executed expansion plan can help you realize your vision of success.

Equity. What are you putting aside for yourself? Some of the most successful dealers built their wealth by keeping personal financial goals in mind while planning for their businesses.

  • When you are pricing out a commission, marketing or recruiting plan, ask yourself, “Does this support my personal financial goals?” If the cost of sale is so high that your personal income is suffering, it’s time to re-evaluate.
  • This business is built on recurring revenue. While selling accounts to dealer programs to raise capital, you should retain a percentage of sales as “in house” accounts bolster financial stability and equity.
  • Quality is rewarded. Make sure those programs share the revenue earned with dealers who maintain high quality accounts and regular submissions.

Time management. If you believe time is money, take a step back and evaluate how you are spending your most precious resource—your time. It’s easy to become distracted. As the boss you are sought out by employees, vendors and customers throughout the day. Be mindful. Your time is an investment. Spend it wisely. There are countless time management books and articles that can give you ideas that you can put into action. Broadly, take some time each morning to determine the top three or four things that will have the biggest impact on your business. Focus your efforts there and delegate when possible.

While all business owners experience peaks and valleys, smart owners realize this cadence and prepare. Planning and managing your recruiting, growth, expansion, equity and time management goals can add the cushion you need to ease cash-flow concerns and the stress associated with them.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Security Today.

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