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Increase Profitability

Focus on Top Clients

Increase your profitability by understanding that not all customers are created equal.

Steven Delport

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Do you treat all customers the same or do you treat them differently? Do you know which clients generate substantial sales and more importantly, which customers generate substantial profits and cash flow?

In order to determine the relative importance of your customers, rank each customer in terms of the following criteria:

  1. Sales
  2. Profitability
  3. Payment history.

1. Sales

How much and how regularly does the customer spend money with you? Is sales revenue stable, increasing or declining? What is the sales revenue per month over 12 months or more? To calculate sales revenue, first identify the products sold and then the number of units of a product sold x selling price per unit. Then deduct any discounts granted.

2. Profitability

Look at profitability by product purchased and then adjust or reduce for discounts, delivery and returns. When we talk about client profitability we are referring to gross profit. Gross profit is equal to sales less the cost of buying or manufacturing stock.

The calculation of the cost of sales for a wholesale or retail business is very different to that of a manufacturing business.

Wholesale or retail business

In the case of a wholesale or retail business, the actual cost of a product is the purchase price less any discounts received plus all costs incurred in getting the product to your warehouse or store (transport, insurance, import duty, equipment hired or purchased to unload, the cost of labour used to unload stock etc).

Manufacturing business

In the case of a manufacturing business, the calculation of the cost of sales is much more complex as one has to take into account direct material, direct labour and other manufacturing overheads.

  • Direct material forms part of the final manufactured product, eg. wood used in a table, and the quantity used varies with production volumes (you use twice as much wood for two tables as you would for one).
  • Direct labour is the labour physically applied to manufacturing the product.
  • Manufacturing overheads include all manufacturing costs except direct material and labour.
  • Indirect material does not form part of the final manufactured product eg cleaning materials or materials whose cost is so small that it’s not worth calculating eg cotton for sewing a suit
  • Indirect labour cannot be directly linked to the final product eg the factory supervisor or people who maintain and service the machinery
  • Factory rental
  • Rates and taxes
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Insurance of the factory and stock
  • Leasing of machinery and equipment
  • Depreciation of machinery and equipment.

3. Payment history

How do the credit payment terms compare to other customers? Look at the frequency and ease with which you are paid for your products and services. If you are paid late and have to follow up frequently, this adds to your costs and should be used to adjust the customer profitability.

The key question here is: Are the credit terms reasonable for that customer and are you paid on time in terms of the agreed credit terms? You have already identified your key customers who generate the majority of your sales and profits. How many of these are your late or bad payers?

From your categorisation you now have customers that roughly fall into the following categories:

  • Premium
  • Intermediate
  • Marginal.

Is there over-reliance on any of your premium customers? Would the livelihood of your business be threatened if one of these customers closed down or moved their business elsewhere? If the answer is “Yes,” then you firstly need to ensure that these customers are exceptionally well looked after and secondly that you actively identify and target potential new premium customers so that your reliance on your current key customers is reduced.

Now assess those customers in the intermediate and marginal categories with a view to determining their potential future revenue and profit potential for your business. Do they buy exclusively from you or occasionally from you? Are their businesses well managed?

How many of the intermediate and especially marginal customers have substantial future revenue potential?

You should now have the following clients:

  1. Premium – in terms of existing revenue spend
  2. Intermediate – with good opportunity for future revenue and profit growth
  3. Intermediate – with little opportunity of future sales and profit growth
  4. Marginal – with good opportunity for future growth
  5. Marginal – with little opportunity for future growth.

In categories 1, 2 and 4 you need to ensure that the relationship and service levels are maintained or improved still further. You should develop the relationship at multiple levels with the customer.

In category 3 the relationship and service levels should be maintained or possibly reduced.

In category 5 you need to exit or improve profitability. Since sales volumes cannot be increased, then the way to increase profitability is to:

  1. Increase prices and/or reduce discounts
  2. Reassess the credit terms
  3. Strictly enforce payment terms
  4. Do not accept returns
  5. Establish a minimum value for goods to be delivered or charge for delivery
  6. Reduce the number of client calls made or limit customer contact to phone calls.

Steven Delport is the founder of Integer Consulting Solutions (Pty) Ltd. Integer Consulting Solutions helps: • Improve business performance and strategic direction, • Understand finance and business acumen, and • Develop individual’s knowledge of self. This three pronged approach helps improve profitability and cash flow while integrating strategy, operations and finance. Steven holds both a MBA and a Certificate Programme in Leadership Coaching from Wits Business School. He has extensive business experience having worked in the banking and consulting industries for more than 20 years and works with a number of business schools in the areas of strategy, finance, leadership development and coaching. For more information, please visit www.integerconsultingsolutions.com and find him on Google+.

Increase Profitability

What To Look Out For When Seeking A Mentor Or Coach

There is value in choosing a mentor or coach to help you build your business, says Dr John Demartini. Here he offers some sound advice on how to go about doing this so that you benefit from the experience.

Dr John Demartini

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When I was in practice I noticed many doctors attempting to build a business would seek out mentorship from management consultants, from people who have already been down that path. And there’s wisdom from learning from foresight and not learning from trial and error. But there’s a pitfall – I noticed that not everybody is able to do or sustain the actions that these consultants would suggest. Where some would follow and immediately go and succeed, there were others who would sometimes feel self defeated because they couldn’t sustain the actions that the consultants would suggest and recommend.

So a small percentage would excel and do extremely well. But there were those who would spend their money on the coaching and they’d never get anything in return.  So the question is – what made the few excel with the help of a coach, consultant or mentor? And why is it that the majority of them didn’t do as well? And it boils down to how congruent the actions of the coach or consultant are with the values of the person that’s striving to build a business.

I have listened to numerous professional consultants all offering slightly different information about how to build a business. I have taken and learned from all of them. Some of them would suggest things I just couldn’t do – it just wasn’t me – and other things that I could do. And when I couldn’t do something, the coaches and consultants believed I just was not disciplined, not driven. They would imply that I didn’t have the drive… Their material works, but I wasn’t following it.

And those of you who have had the same experience will understand what I’m saying. And you need to know that the reason you don’t do what these coaches suggest is because it’s not aligning to your values. So you are labeled lazy, undisciplined, not driven. You are given these labels instead of realising that you’re self defeating because what they suggest is not congruent with your values. And so you go to different consultants until you finally find the one who matches, whose values are aligned with yours.

So it’s important to not envy and imitate somebody with a drastically different set of values. If you’re seeking a coach or mentor, make sure the coach/mentor has a value system that is closely enough aligned to yours or you will be setting yourself up to fail. Just because somebody is successful doesn’t mean if they are your coach or mentor that they will have the values that will lead you to that same form of success. You need to either shift your values to be able to succeed in their system or you need to find the mentor that aligns more with your values. Otherwise you’ll be beating yourself up thinking there’s something wrong with you when there’s nothing wrong with you. When you find the right mentor, you will take off.

So you either have to change your values to match the objectives of the coach, or change the coach to match the truth of your own values.

So the bottom line is, if you’re going to get mentorship, coaching or consulting from somebody, don’t just select the person because they’re successful. Select them because they’re successful and they have some alignment with your mission and your values. Make sure you select your mentorship and a consultant that is truly valuable to you; don’t live in a fantasy about who you are.

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Increase Profitability

The Link Between Scaling, Relationship Building And Technology

It is the first solution of its kind in South Africa, this platform supports entrepreneurs to effectively establish legal foundations in their businesses for optimum growth and overall business success.

Nicolene Schoeman-Louw

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The challenges and opportunities of this new world and that the world is more connected than ever. The constraints of distance is no longer applicable and as a result business has little constraining borders. Networking is therefore still a component in key relationship building.

It brings me to my real point – in a world so busy and connected, what we cannot make more of is time and time, unlike any other commodity is invaluable when it comes to forging important relationships and sustaining them. So, if technology can break barriers when it comes to legal cost and time spent on it… why not? Especially when so many have experienced the consequences of not documenting the most important relationships in their business.

The SchoemanLaw SME Self- Service DeskTM is the ideal tool for any member-based organisation wanting to capacitate and empower members. It is an affordable and reliable online solution for start-ups and SMEs, where Users can customise and download their own contracts online and in minutes. It is the first solution of its kind in South Africa, this platform supports entrepreneurs to effectively establish legal foundations in their businesses for optimum growth and overall business success.

The following documents are examples of those available on the platform (currently hosting over 35 documents / agreement types):

  • Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement (“NDA”)
  • Independent Contractor Agreement
  • JV Agreement
  • MOI and Shareholder’s Agreement
  • T&C’s
  • Supplier Agreement
  • Letter Demanding Payment
  • Various HR Documents and Company Resolutions
  • BBBEE Affidavits (EME and generic QSE)

and many more!

Prices range from R195 and R895 per document if downloaded on a pay- as- you- need- basis or R249 / R495 per month on a subscription basis, this is over 75% less than usual rates if traditionally drafted by an Attorney. What is more, Users have the support of a Law Firm not only having created, but who maintains the platform and supports each User. We even offer customisable solutions. So, there support and a solution for any business regardless of size and industry are on offer.

The platform is easy to use, no prior legal training is required, and Users are supported through help texts, free podcasts, videos and training events. In the case of a legal incident occurring, you can consult with an attorney with the click of a button.

The platform is also ever evolving and completely customer- driven.  Documents are added as and when customers request them. All the documents are also frequently updated to ensure that they align to the latest best practice. There is no need to leave your legal needs unattended ever again!  The SchoemanLaw SME Self- Service DeskTM  therefore ensures that SMEs are no longer invisible and capacitates them to free up time needed to build relationships, grow and scale their businesses.

Empower your business today, go to: https://www.schoemanlaw.co.za/online-legal-services/

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Increase Profitability

To Survive And Thrive, You Need A Growth Mindset

The business case for a growth mindset is not what you think it is — if you’re serious about success, you need to start believing in yourself.

Rob Jardine

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Any leadership and personal mastery principle that booms in popularity is ripe for misinterpretation. Growth Mindset has been hailed as one of the defining leadership principles of top international companies and is believed to be one of the core skills that will keep individuals future fit in disruptive times.

Despite its popularity and importance, many companies still think a growth mindset is about the profit growth of a business. It’s not. And if you don’t know what it really is and how to apply it, you and your business might not be around to grow at all.

Growth Mindset is about Belief in Ability

Studies that we have done at the NeuroLeadership Institute (NLI) have shown that many businesses still believe that having a growth mindset means keeping eyes towards profits and striving for business growth.

Having a growth mindset is really about the continuous belief that improvement is possible and that failures are opportunities to learn. It is much larger than the objective of improving earnings, although applying a growth mindset makes one more resilient and engaged in times of change, which can only improve earnings overall.

Another study completed at NLI revealed that there are five reasons why businesses are applying a growth mindset to drive business success.

Related: 3 Strategies For Growing Your Online Business Fast

1. Digital Transformation

The most popular reason is to stay agile in the face of technological uncertainty. Digital technologies are continuing to disrupt the way that we do business and a growth mindset is put forward as a priority to ensure businesses thrive through digital disruption.

2. Business Improvement

A growth mindset encourages feedback and continuous improvement and many businesses look to embed this when they are streamlining work streams, teams and business processes.

3. Reinvention

When organisations are pivoting they use a growth mindset in their approach to reinvention of culture, operating model and leadership challenges. The growth mindset principle of seeing challenges as opportunities and not threats has an impact here.

4. Growing up

In an effort to scale a business, organisations see the benefit of applying a growth mindset to navigate the challenges and turmoil that accompanies growth.

5. Performance Management Transformation

Some businesses interview for and reward demonstration of a growth mindset. This means that they value improvement over time as a priority.

Clearly a growth mindset has business success at the core of its value-add to many organisations. It helps businesses be more agile and engaged during change, but how does it work, and how can we cultivate it?

When faced with a challenge we either tackle it head on, hoping for positive results, or we shy away from the challenge, feeling inadequate. In the brain, this is caused by how we view the challenge. If we view it as a threat, our body reacts with duress (negative stress) and we don’t prioritise our best thinking, going into survival mode instead. But if we view it as an opportunity, our body goes into euress (positive stress) and we are energised, our body is able to prioritise its best thinking. This type of behaviour can be categorised into two groups, that of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

Psychologists have studied these behavioural traits and found that individuals who believe in their ability to succeed are seen to have a growth mindset, whereas people who give up instantly or constantly harp on the negative aspects of a situation are seen to have a fixed mindset. Therefore, a fixed mindset sees no room for improvement and in return devalues their ability to perform.

A fixed mindset is linked to a belief that our ability is fixed and a growth mindset is linked to the belief that our ability can be grown. The surprising finding here is that our default wiring is wired to that of a fixed mindset.

Related: 10 Ways To Grow Your Business For Entrepreneurial Success

Creating a Growth Mindset

growth-mindset

Researchers have found that to incorporate the growth mindset into organisations, leaders should focus on factors such as transparency, empowerment and development.

With the digital age that we are currently living in and even trying to adapt to daily, organisations need to constantly reinvent, improve and manage performance based on digital transformation. A growth mindset assists in the rapid changes that organisations face even on a digital platform.

For a growth mindset to be established in organisations, management needs to lead the overall process. Thus, there needs to be a shared language. To ensure that there is a shared language, managers should encourage employees to build the right behaviours, and have systems and processes in place that promote a growth mindset throughout the organisation.

This can be done by:

  • Valuing and rewarding progress in others
  • Focusing and highlighting learnings from mistakes and challenges
  • Role modelling this behaviour.

Researchers have shown that a growth mindset can have measured benefit in organisations. An internal survey at a technology company showed that 92% of employees agree that learning is a lifelong exercise and 82% of managers displayed growth mindset behaviours. The growth mindset enhances the quality of an organisation for the greater good of future and current employees.

When calamity strikes in organisations, the growth mindset aids in seeing change not as a threat but rather as an opportunity to improve based on a positive mindset.

Shifting Away from a Fixed Mindset Approach

A fixed mindset hinders progress. For businesses to prosper, there needs to be an attitude of constant learning, even when failure occurs. There are certain things one can do to shift your fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Firstly, eliminate any thoughts of inadequacy. Your thoughts determine your actions, therefore shift your thinking to that of a “can do” attitude. You need to recognise your potential, understand your abilities and that they can be improved, and know that stressful situations are opportunities to learn and grow, rather being a threat.

The minute you find yourself in a fixed mindset with a negative thought process, talk yourself into remembering your capabilities. Try replacing those negative thoughts with, “I know that I am not excelling in this area, but I am going to learn how to improve and come back stronger than before”.

A growth mindset is a phenomenon that you must constantly think about and instil in your daily life, both on a personal and professional level to see positive results, remembering that you are in a cycle of lifelong learning.

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