Frequently Asked Questions
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a document that describes in detail how a business is going to achieve its goals and covers the marketing, financial, sales and operational outcomes of the business in line with the company's vision and mission, products/services, organisational chart and strategies, including historical data and projected forecasts. I can help you to develop your own comprehensive business plan from the ground up, either online or in my 2-day live workshop. See 'Business Planning' under Services for more information.
Do I need a business plan?
Yes, I would strongly encourage ALL businesses to have a comprehensive business plan. This is crucial to take their business from where it is now to where they want it to be. When I am faced with this question from prospects or clients, I commonly ask them if they would build a house without a plan? Obviously not, and it is no different to a business. The same applies even if you are considering selling your business. To ensure your business is ready for sale, you first need to see that your business has maintained consistent profits over the past three years and is preferably on an upward trend. Secondly, I would advise that as much of your business is systemised and documented as possible, so it is not reliant on you as a business owner. Lastly, I believe that a comprehensive and up to date business plan is critical in order to display the future of the business to potential buyers. Find out about my next Business Planning Workshop here: https://www.suzzannelaidlaw.com.au/business-planning/
What should be included in a business plan?
A comprehensive and viable business plan should include; Executive Summary, Business Overview, SWOT, Industry Analysis, Client Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Marketing Plan, Sales Plan, Operations Plan, 5 Years Financial Plan, Appendix Information, Historical Financial Reports and Strategies for Improvement. A business plan starts with the vision of the business; That is, the picture of the future of where you intend or want your business to be. I can help you to develop your own comprehensive business plan from the ground up, either online: https://suzzanne-laidlaw.thinkific.com/courses/business-plan-builder-online or in my 2-day live workshop: https://www.suzzannelaidlaw.com.au/business-planning/
How often should I review my business plan?
Learning from what has happened in the past, testing and measuring and looking into the future to identify your gaps and opportunities, I’d recommend spending at least one full day each quarter to reassess your overall business model and make sure you’re clear on your formula for success. If you don’t know what it is, it won’t happen. Find out about my next Business Planning Workshop here: https://www.suzzannelaidlaw.com.au/business-planning/
How long does it take to write a business plan?
Depending on your level of commitment and how much information you already have, I assist business owners to develop their own business plan through my online business plan builder (approximately 10-15 hours’ worth of modules to complete) or in my 2-day live business planning workshop. Having a coach or qualified expert to guide you through the process will make a significant difference to your ability to create a well-executed business plan ready for investors, the bank, stakeholders, team members and more. Find out more about how I can help here: https://www.suzzannelaidlaw.com.au/business-planning/
How can I create a successful business?
Every business has its own definition of success, however there are fundamental parameters which define the overall success of a business in its industry and against its competitors. I’ve developed a free online course and guide to help you assess your business as it stands now and develop a 90 day plan to take your business to the next level. See 'Business Planning' under Services for more information.
How can I grow my business?
Firstly, determine which area you would like to grow. Do you want to sell more of the same product to your existing target market, sell a different product to your current clients or develop a new product and new market altogether? Once you have determined where you want to grow then you will be able to determine the best possible strategies in this specific area. There are so many ways in which a business can grow; infrastructure, location, staffing, product, services depending on you and your businesses goals. That said, I believe that the first step is always finding out exactly where you want to grow your business. I outline exactly what strategies are possible, and how to implement them, in my book, https://www.whatsyourplanbook.com.au/buy-the-book/
How do I increase my business profits?
By assessing your business as a whole, you can determine where you have the highest potential to increase profits and can work on creating strategies around those areas. It may be to negotiate with your suppliers, decrease your recurring expenses, increase your average dollar sale or increase transactions. All businesses are different. The most logical answer is to look at all of the areas of the business that you can improve, i.e. efficiency and quality of service. If you can save on time or money with each improvement you make, you will grow your bottom line. You can also join my 12-week Business Accelerator Course where you will define and create strategies to boost your profits in 12 weeks. Join here: https://suzzanne-laidlaw.thinkific.com/courses/business-accelerator
What financials should I be tracking in my business?
At a bare minimum, you should look at - Monthly turnover, monthly margin, break-even, budget to actuals and cashflow. To learn how to understand basic business financials, watch my webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ2pJyUgH60
How do I create a budget and cashflow projection?
To create a cashflow projection, start with your opening bank balance, then look at all the income and expenses that you know are coming in and going out for any given period (it may be each day, week or month depending on how big your organisation is). This will give you a predicted closing balance from which you can determine whether you have positive or negative cashflow. Once your recurring income and expenses are accounted for, you can start to add in forecasted cash in/out to see how this affects your cashflow position. Creating a budget is about looking at your history of income and expenses, and budgeting for upcoming income and expenses based on your past trajectory and trends. To help business owners, I recorded a webinar ‘Understanding basic business financials’ which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ2pJyUgH60
What does a Business Coach do?
A Business Coach will guide the business owner in running a successful business by helping them clarify the vision of the business and ensuring it aligns with their personal goals. Business coaching is a process used to take a business from where it is now to where the business owner wants it to be.
Do I need a Business Coach?
A Business Coach may be just the solution you need to start your business, to improve the one you already run or to get your business ready for sale. There is no straight answer, it really depends on you, your business, and where you want your business to go.
Is a Business Coach worth it?
Yes! But you have to be prepared to work hard and follow-through in order to see a good return on the investment. To see how business coaching might work in your business, contact me to discuss your requirements: https://suzzannelaidlaw..com.au/contact-us
How do I find the right Business Coach?
There are so many Business Coaches out there, all you have to do is jump on Google or LinkedIn and you will see that there are thousands of people with the words “Business Coach” in their title. This can make it challenging to find the right Business Coach for you and your business. My advice would be to do your research, shortlist those whose values align with your own and that of your business, have a meeting with those you have shortlisted and do not be afraid to ask the hard questions. From this research and initial meeting, you should be able to make an informed decision on who is the best fit for you and your business. MY TIP: A good coach listens twice as much as they talk.
What is an Entrepreneur?
The term entrepreneur has been defined in many different ways. I personally feel that anyone has the capacity to be an entrepreneur. Commonly this is the person with the ultimate responsibility for the destiny of its venture, which can be a company, a project, or any other endeavour. Entrepreneurs are invested in continually learning and growing to become the best they can be, which is where a Business Coach often comes into the equation. Having an outsider’s perspective can help them to push through their boundaries and fears and reach their ultimate success.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel enthused about their jobs, how committed they are to the organisation, and therefor the amount of effort they put into their work.
What is organisational culture?
Organisational culture encompasses the values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of a business.
How do I know if my team is engaged?
They are highly motivated to work hard towards a common goal that is in line with the company's vision. They will be committed to the values of the organisation, displaying them through their behaviours.
How can I motivate my staff?
There are a range of approaches that can be implemented at your workplace to help motivate staff and keep them engaged in their work. My number one suggestion is to make sure your organisational leaders are visible and accessible. Sometimes it’s the simplest gestures that make the biggest impact. Here are some other ideas to get you started: 1. Ask employees what motivates them; see what needs to be changed or updated to ensure they remain satisfied and productive. 2. Reward and recognise wherever possible. 3. Trust your staff. 4. Offer flexible arrangements. 5. Make employees feel proud of their work. 6. Remember your mood affects employee motivation.
What are KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result or goal. KPIs are a great business tool, providing a focus for strategic and operational improvement, creating an analytical basis for decision making and helping focus attention on what matters most for each individual. Learn more about KPI’s here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-dBaCIIWxU&feature=emb_logo
How can I set and achieve my goals?
Firstly, decide where you want to go and what you need to achieve to get there. Then come up with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (or Relevant), and Time-based) goals that align to this vision. Having goals based around this acronym will help you to get really clear on what it is that you wish to achieve, and how you are going to achieve them.
How can I transform my life?
The first thing is awareness of what you want to change or transform. Secondly, once the awareness is there, you need to actually want to change and be prepared to make changes. Sometimes people are aware that they need to change (i.e. they may want to lose weight or get fit or stop smoking) – in fact, some are aware of what they want to change for many years – but it’s committing to taking the actions required to make the change, for change to happen. Acting on the awareness is the third step, and the last step is following through consistently to make the changes permanent. To summarise, 1. Awareness 2. Desire 3. Actions 4. Consistency / follow through / keeping the actions up (change takes time!)
How can I give back?
You can give back through volunteer groups, non-profit organizations, charity or other means. Have a think about why your passionate about ‘giving back’ and decide who or what you want to have a positive impact on, choose a method that aligns with this goal. Whether it's volunteering at a local event, helping a neighbour or making a monetary donation, do what feels right for you.
How can I create positive habits?
There is no simple answer to this question, it depends on who you are and what habit you want to create. For me it is all in the planning, make a plan for how you can incorporate this habit in your life and then make sure you are held accountable to that plan. An amazing book that explains this well (and I would recommend that you read if you want to explore this question more) is Triggers: Creating Behaviour That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be by Marshall Goldsmith (who is a top executive coach).
How can I be a better leader?
Strong leaders lead by example and lead by having ‘Level 5 Leadership’ (leading greater than your own ego, making a difference, impacting beyond one person and leaving a legacy). The greater a global impact one can have, the greater a leader they are seen as. Leading is about inspiring people to change and learn and go to the next level themselves, it’s not about the leader themselves.