When in doubt, ask your clients

In collaboration with Jeanne Monchovet (http://www.olystix.com/) Small business selling to other businesses (B2B) do not do regular and consistent client interviews to check their service level and get feedback. The feedback they get is mostly based on a couple of clients’ comments received during account management visits. The assumption is … Continue reading

Adina Luca, April 7, 2018

Stepping up the costs

As usual, we’re talking here about small businesses in professional services, because we like to help them grow and thrive. Their usual pattern is to start life in the entrepreneur’s own home, then move out to an office, and then to a bigger office. Every step up increases the cost … Continue reading

Adina Luca, January 29, 2018

Should I move offices?

As usual, we’re talking here about small businesses in professional services, because we like to help them grow and thrive. Their usual pattern is to start life in the entrepreneur’s own home and then move out to an office. But when is a good time to move to an office, … Continue reading

Adina Luca, November 19, 2017

Don’t brainstorm your strategy

Exciting consultants are like fortune tellers. They take a quick look at your market, cast a brief glance over your competitors, interview a couple of people in your organisation – and then, using their mysterious powers, they tell you what your future looks like. Then they might rush to ‘facilitate … Continue reading

Adina Luca, September 3, 2017

Your business is bigger than you are

Here’s the scenario. You started your business some time ago, before or during the last recession; you heroically survived cash shortages at the beginning and have personally shouldered every burden ever since. You mainly sell services in a knowledge-intensive industry – your area might be consulting, or executive search, or … Continue reading

Adina Luca, July 23, 2017

Who is showing you the money?

Here’s the scenario: you have a business in professional services and employ a number of people. You’ve been successful for a while and are still growing steadily. One of your employees has the role of ‘finance and admin manager’, and this person is someone you trust to take care of … Continue reading

Adina Luca, May 16, 2017

Hire for cost or hire for skills?

In the world of professional services, some entrepreneurs in charge of small businesses are in the habit of hiring young and inexperienced people as part of their growth strategy. They always envisage finding someone who’s talented, eager, bursting with potential – and also very cheap. If you ask why they … Continue reading

Adina Luca, February 15, 2017

Telling the time

A lot of entrepreneurs do their own calculations, which often means making very simple, rule-of-thumb estimates. If a consultant starts poking their nose into such estimates, won’t it undermine an entrepreneur’s ability to make quick decisions? This wish to avoid external interference gave rise to the saying, “I don’t need … Continue reading

Adina Luca, November 4, 2016

When percentages rule

Here’s the scenario: your business is a knowledge-intensive professional services company. Let’s say you teach whale-spotting skills to corporate employees in London. Either you employ specialised staff or you outsource delivery to them. As part of the service you need printed materials, such as whale-spotting books and checklists. What lies … Continue reading

Adina Luca, September 19, 2016

Be aware of your own habits

If you’re a small business owner and you find yourself stuck in a no-growth path, it might not be the market that’s to blame. If your costs are too high or your team isn’t delivering as expected, doing what you do best could actually be your downfall. Marketing people who … Continue reading

Adina Luca, July 9, 2016

Misleading Reports

When you are the owner of a business, even if it is just a small business, how you look at the data and which information you use in your decision making is key to the health of your business. You do collect data, whether you are aware of it or … Continue reading

Adina Luca, May 2, 2016

Should I project revenue growth?

Assuming you are making financial projections regularly for the professional services business you own and manage, should you project an increase, no increase, or less every year? Most entrepreneurs have a habit of projecting higher revenue year on year. It makes sense: they want their business to grow. Get somewhere. … Continue reading

Adina Luca, March 24, 2016

Should I hire a sales person?

Let’s assume that you, the owner of the business, have been doing all the sales so far. You have grown as far as you could, your responsibilities have multiplied and you need to manage your team. So you no longer have the time to run after new deals. And you … Continue reading

Adina Luca, January 13, 2016

Why do you need projections?

You are the owner of a small business with a great team and things are going well. You have a fairly good idea of what lies ahead. Why do you possibly need financial projections? A projection is something that only the bank wants to see or big corporates need in … Continue reading

Adina Luca, December 10, 2015

How do I grow further?

Growth can mean many things and can come from many directions. The easy route: increase the value offered to your existing clients and get more business from them. Why is this easy? Because you need to know your clients inside out and have great relationships with them to be able … Continue reading

Adina Luca, November 4, 2015

Integrated profit and loss comparisons

Keep comparisons with previous years in a clean integrated spreadsheet that includes the profit drivers you want to monitor. You can visualise it quarterly, bi-annually or annually, depending on your seasonality.  Do not start your spreadsheets brand new each year and have to look back for comparisons in previous spreadsheets.

Adina Luca, October 21, 2015

Time horizon to monitor

You could easily have a decade span of information monitored in your reports. You can keep along the last 3 to 5 years of finance and project for the next 3 to 5 years. That is a good span of information to help you in your short and long term … Continue reading

Adina Luca, October 21, 2015

Direct costs (or COGS) comparisons

Keep reports on variations of your categories of expenses that form your Direct Cost. That is your first key to ensure the profitability of your service and you want to know how things have changed over time. The changes in your cost of unit can tell you whether you are … Continue reading

Adina Luca, September 21, 2015

Cash flow reports

Your cash flow is important as a projection for future, not as past information. You don’t need to maintain cash flow statements year on year. You could keep ageing reports, such as Average Days Outstanding and reports on percentage of revenue that you cash in over 60, 45, 30 and 15 days. These reports … Continue reading

Adina Luca, July 21, 2015