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Our posts are based on real-life experiences working with our small business clients across Australia. By sharing our insights we hope that you can refine your accounting processes and build a successful business.

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Time, Distance & Speed – Running A(nd) Business

Running MA

I was stopped, frustrated, by a red light at the intersection of Falcon and Miller Street. I was on the last uphill home and wanted to hit it with momentum. When the walking man flashed green I took off. My calves ached and my lungs burned, but there wasn’t long to go – I could afford to exhaust the gas. I remembered tips from short articles I’d read – shorter, quicker strides uphill; focus on pumping your arms to propel forward.  I hit the last incline with pace as I turned left into Ernest Street, gritted my teeth and exhaled hard. I sprinted the last 50m into my cul-de-sac – I had made it.

I had no performance goals when I started running. The basic measurements of time, distance and speed were irrelevant to me at that point. When I began, there was only one metric that was important to me – survival. I also had a vague and hopeful long term goal of a reduction in weight, as well as a gain in health and fitness. Simple.

If we replace the running jargon above with the lexicon of business, it becomes quite a familiar narrative that I hear on a daily basis from business owners.

Most businesses start with a great idea and lots of passion. Success? Well, statistics say that’s a little harder to come by, with 30% of small businesses ceasing in the first 3 years (according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics).

The key metrics that should be measured whilst running a business are, for most start-ups, irrelevant to them at that point in time. There is only one metric going through an entrepreneur’s mind – survival.

Training MA

How do advisers like Accountants help Business Owners become successful in business?

To answer that question, let’s look at the role of a running coach:

Team My Accounts celebrating a successful 5km Colour Run (Walk)

Team My Accounts celebrating a successful 5km Colour Run (Walk)

So, back to my original question – how do advisers like Accountants help Business Owners become successful in business?

If we replace the running jargon above with the lexicon of business, it becomes a like for like answer. Your adviser should be able to help you define what success in your business looks like, help you develop a plan with metrics to measure like revenue and profit targets and most importantly, keep you accountable on a regular basis.

Good advisers deliver reporting on a monthly basis at minimum, showing budget (goal / target) vs. actual reports across all your important metrics or KPI’s. The best advisers talk you through these reports as well to see if there’s anything to be learnt or if any of the plan needs to be adjusted for the inevitable punch in the face that always seems to just be around the (red) corner of the boxing ring that is small business.

Through my ongoing journey of learning how to run and running a business, I’ve learnt that the foundations of successful strategies in one, often translates directly to the other… and this is a great thing – I bloody love champagne.

Cheers!


For running I use an App called Runkeeper to track my metrics. For my business we use a combination of Xero and Fathom reporting. I highly suggest you check out all 3 to help you measure the key metrics on your path to success.

Examples of Fathom Reporting

 

Fathom 1

 

Fathom 2

 

Example of Runkeeper

 

Runkeeper