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5 important lessons I’ve learnt from running my own business



Since founding Oakmere Wealth Management in 2011, I’m proud to have built and grown a successful business. My experience working in financial services and as a Chartered Financial Planner provided a sound footing on which to build a healthy business.


One of my passions is sharing this knowledge and experience with other business owners to help them achieve success on their terms. I hope these lessons provide you with insight and guidance. If you’d like to discuss any of the points further, please get in touch here.


1. Create a robust budget and financial forecast


Planning may not be your cup of tea but it’s essential if you aspire to manage a profitable business with healthy cashflow. Budgeting can help you to save cash for capital expenditure and avoid any unexpected costs rearing their head, whilst a financial forecast is beneficial if you’re seeking external investment. Any reputable bank or investor will want sight of this information.

My single most important priority each month is to ensure I have enough recurring income to cover the wage bill. I take my responsibilities around staff welfare very seriously. My team count on me and I have huge respect for them and their loved ones.


2. Support your employees every way you can


Leading on from my last point, I believe the benefits of employment should go beyond making sure your team are paid correctly and on-time every month.


I’ve always pledged to support my team in every way possible. From providing private medical insurance, a workplace pension scheme and death in service benefits to health and wellbeing awareness sessions and time off for corporate social responsibility activities. Looking after employee wellbeing is paramount if you want your business to prosper. Growth is only possible when you have a committed team you can trust and everyone is working together towards a common goal.


I also believe in involving my team in key business decisions, especially if the decision taken may impact their day-to-day role. Be clear with your communications, encourage open discussion and, perhaps most importantly, listen and act on what you hear.


3. Hire slow, fire fast


Managing people is a continuous learning curve where personalities, preferences and backgrounds all come into play. I admit I’ve made mistakes in the past; hiring the wrong person for the role and keeping on people who are clearly not the right fit for our business culture.


Over the 12 years of running my own business, I’ve learnt to take my time recruiting the right person for the role. If a first round of recruitment doesn’t present the ideal candidate, reassess how and where you’re looking. Your perfect match will be out there somewhere.


Dismissing someone is never a pleasant task, but if something isn’t working have the courage to speak up and have that difficult conversation. As a business owner, you know when a person isn’t the right fit for your team. However hard that conversation may be, honesty is always the best policy.


4. Have a clear plan for business growth


Create a clear growth plan to set the foundation for the future business success. Step back and take a view of your business growth from the outside looking in. What will growth look like over the next three or even five years?


Your growth plan may cover these areas:


  • Financial goals - set clear annual targets and detail how you plan to raise any capital required for growth.

  • Business development - where will your growth come from? New and existing customers? Mergers and acquisitions? New products or services?

  • Risks - identify potential risks and make a plan to mitigate against these

  • Marketing - what promotional activities and communications will help you to grow your business and what support might you need to achieve them?

  • People - do you have sufficient people resources and skills to lead and manage your growth plan? Is restructuring needed or to you plan to recruit?

Asking yourself these questions is essential if you’re planning to exit your business.


5. Carry out proper due diligence on acquisitions


If your growth plan involves acquiring another business, leave no stone unturned when carrying out due diligence checks. Be even more rigorous than you would with a new client or supplier with the aim of understanding exactly what you’re getting in to. Check and verify every detail before completing the acquisition to protect you and your business. Consider the potential effects of the acquisition on existing clients - your own and those of the company you may acquire.


If you are happy with the terms and decide to go ahead, I’d recommend creating a detailed handover plan in conjunction with the current business owner, to give clarity on the level of involvement they may have in the business going forward. Planning is the best way to avoid the unexpected!



 

Want to talk about how you run your business? Get in touch with us below to chat with our friendly team.

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