Keeping your business stable during unstable times
Helping small businesses get back on their feet and flourish again after the earthquakes, is not a task that Louise Neville of Accounting Solutions, takes on lightly. 'Small businesses across NZ make up 97% of the total number of businesses in NZ yet we employ and contribute to about 40% to the Business contribution of GDP in this country. If we were to single out Christchurch and measure our small business contribution to GDP and their impact on the rebuilding of Christchurch, I believe it would be an entirely different story,' says Louise, with a much larger contribution to our GDP.
Louise, who is a Chartered Accountant and a Business Adviser, is passionate about helping business owners like Brent of Red Band Drainage, get back on track and create real business growth and success and have a positive impact on employment, GDP and the community.
Brent is a pretty down-to-earth guy. He loves his rugby club Dunsandel-Irwell and spending time with his wife and his two children. He has been in the construction industry since he left school. In 2007 he had the opportunity to start his own drainage business and jumped at the chance.
'It was pretty tiring though. I'd be digging drains all day and then come home at night to do the books. I was pretty exhausted and the irregular cash flow always proved a challenge,' says Brent.
Brent already had a couple of staff before the earthquakes but then after the earthquake he was getting more business than he could handle. 'I was getting booked up six weeks in advance and I had to face the tough decision of whether to employ more staff or decline the work. I was worried I'd grow too fast and fall over and I didn't have any systems behind the business to keep it running smoothly,' says Brent.
Brent met with Louise to find out how she might be able to help. 'I was just planning on covering off my taxes, but we started discussing a whole lot of other issues like whether to grow the business or not and how I could improve my cash flow. Since that conversation I haven't looked back,' says Brent.
In the last year, with the help of the Accounting Solutions team, Brent has been able to employ two more staff and establish systems in the business to handle things such as recruitment and productivity. 'I'm now in a position where I can take on more work to meet customer demand which is fabulous.'
'The Accounting Solutions team helped me collect all my old debts and changed how and when I invoiced. I now have surplus money put aside in a buffer account for tax and to cover for overheads, loans and wages if a disaster happens again. The Accounting Solutions team even wrote the ads for me to recruit my new staff!'
During the last year Brent has purchased another two diggers and four vehicles which has quadrupled his assets. 'I've had a great year and I feel really positive about the future success and growth of my business. The best part is that I get to enjoy the time I have with my family and at the rugby club and I've been able to set bigger goals for my myself and my business.'
'It's been a privilege to work with Brent and help him achieve such great results. He has really taken on board everything we've recommended and made a big difference to his cash flow and bottom line as a result,' says Louise. 'It's the reason we do what we do - helping business owners to be successful, enjoy their family and life in general and not stressing about their business all the time is so rewarding.'
Brent offers three pieces of advice for other business owners thinking about how they can grow their business and grow their assets and cash flow. 'Firstly, find a good Chartered Accountant & Business Adviser like Louise and her team. They might seem expensive at first but they really are worth their weight in gold. They'll show you ways to improve your cash flow and business systems that you've never dreamed of. Secondly, hand everything over to them. Don't mess around by just getting them to do your annual tax returns. You need them to be a partner in your business and help you plan for the future. Thirdly, get your accountant to help you set up the systems you need so that your business can operate without you. That's the ultimate goal, to be making a profit while you're on holiday with the family!'