As we head into the summer break after what has been another incredibly tough year, it’s important to consider what you could change about the way you run your business to help you find more time for the things you love.
Lockdowns and uncertainty have caused a huge amount of stress, and many of us are simply limping towards Christmas, completely absorbed in our business, and struggling to find time for family or even just exercise. But what’s the point of running a business if we don’t get to enjoy the benefits it brings?
At BDO, we’ve been working with a framework that covers three key aspects of your life (financial, time, and mind) where’s it’s important to take back control to help business owners lead a more balanced life:
- Controlling your finances: This means you have enough cash flow coming into the business to live your desired quality of life.
- Controlling your time: This means you have enough time in your life to do the things you love, whether that’s spending time with family, going to yoga twice a week or simply getting out to the beach on a sunny day.
- Controlling your mind: This is the ability to switch off when you leave the office. It means you’re not constantly worrying about bills or whether you’ll be able to pay your employees, and you have enough peace of mind to know your business could survive a downturn.
“These three areas are all interconnected,” says Michelle Hill, Advisory and BDO Rotorua Managing Partner. “If you have financial control it means your business won’t suck all of your time into it, and when you have that balance it will then lead to mind control, because you won’t constantly be worrying about where the next incoming payment is coming from. When you work on these three areas you will take back control where previously you may have felt powerless.”
So what can you do to take back control of your finances, your time and your mind - to provide you with some freedom?
To achieve financial control, review your cash flow:
To achieve a state where you feel in control of your finances, it’s essential you review your cash flow. Even if you’re making high profits, if your cash is getting tied up in overstocked inventory or perhaps your customers aren’t paying as quickly as they could, you’re going to struggle to have the money to pay your staff – which in turn is going to cause you a lot of stress. It really pays to properly review your ingoing and outgoing payments to see where your money’s getting tied up.
Michelle Hill has been working with business owners to help them find more time for the things they love.
To achieve time control, prioritise and delegate:
Having control of your time often seems like the most elusive of these three areas – even when everything is going well in the business, it’s easy to get sucked into being there all the time.
“There is always more you could do in business, but that doesn’t mean you should always be doing it all,” says Michelle. “Prioritisation and delegation will give you more time to do the things you love. Review all the activities you carry out on a regular basis and work out what’s genuinely urgent and only you can do, and what you can delegate. There may be a number of functions, such as compliance, that you can outsource so you can focus on the real value-add work. Conducting a KPI review will also help you know what success means to you and your team and enable you to prioritise the tasks that will help you get there.”
To achieve mind control, hold yourself accountable:
Once you achieve control of both your finances and your time, you will achieve control of your mind and the lessened stress and anxiety that go along with it. But it’s also important that this balance continues. You don’t want to feel better for a couple of months only for things to slide again when the next crisis comes along.
“It’s so important to hold yourself accountable,” says Melody Udy, Accountant, BDO Wellington. “I was a personal trainer for 10 years, and there are strong parallels here. When you start working out you have to set yourself clear goals and check in on your progress along the way, otherwise you may not embed it as a real habit. Likewise in business, coming back to the table every month or two to review all the actions you’ve taken and to assess your progress in taking back control in these three areas is the best way to make sure things don’t slide.”
It can be hard to take a step back from the business and really assess where your time and money is going. BDO is here to help. Our friendly advisers can sit down with you to review your finances, whether that’s conducting a cash flow assessment, carrying out financial forecasts so you know what’s coming, helping ensure your taxes are minimised and your compliance is taken care of, or conducting KPI assessments. We are here to guide you, to help you plan, and to hold you accountable to that plan. That way things get done and you make some real focussed progress.
As we head into a new (and hopefully better) year, there’s never been a better time to take a step back and assess your business. Talk to your local BDO adviser who can suggest the right framework for your business to plan for the year ahead - we'll help make sure you’re enjoying the life you dream of.