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Running a business without a business plan is like rock climbing blindfolded. Your chances of making it successfully to the top are slim. And the process will surely be a death-defying one.

Contrary to popular practice, a business plan is not a means to securing financing. Instead it is a step-by-step guide to running your business and creating the product or service that will make it in the marketplace. And like any other map, your plan will have to be adjusted according to your vision for the company, conditions and opportunities in the marketplace and your business’ current condition.

Whether it’s formal or informal, every business has a plan. The local hair salon may not have formally written down the plan, but before setting up shop, a smart owner would have assessed the need for a shop in that area of town, the ability to attract clients there, the appropriate amount of chairs, whether to hire someone to do the shampooing and sweeping, the cost of utilities, the parking availability for clients. The owner who waits to figure these things out using trial and mostly error will be lucky to be left with his/her wits, much less any customers. A business plan helps to minimises those pitfalls.

To many people, the concept of writing a business plan for their own business is a daunting one. Perhaps it would appear less daunting to view the process as simply writing the answer to three questions, namely:

1. Where are you now?
2. Where do you want to be at a future date?
3. How will you get there?

THE FIRST QUESTION – ‘Where are you now?’ – must be your starting point. This question seeks to provide a planning base. It looks at your business to establish such things as: „

– your business idea „
– your current level of sales „
– your customer groups „
– your products and services „
– your pricing policy „
– your distribution policy „
– your promotional activity „
– your overall operation „
– your team members „
– your finances
Answering the question, “Where are you now?” is often a major stumbling block because most people don’t know where to start. However, the answer is surprisingly simple if you divide your business planning into four key areas: Operational, Marketing, Employees and Finance. Such a division allows you to analyse your business (or assumed business) to create a solid planning base.

THE SECOND QUESTION – “Where do you want to be at a future date?” is simply asking you to visualise your business operation at a set date in the future. This visualisation process is almost identical to the exercise of setting personal objectives. The difference, however, is that the focus here is on business objectives.

THE THIRD QUESTION – “How will you get there?” asks about the steps you need to take in order to achieve the business objectives you have set. These steps, or strategies, can be identified, written down and programmed. Additional things a business plan should consider:

1. What is a reasonable expectation of profitability and when?
2. How will the business pay you and any team members?
3. What are estimated expenses?
4. What is the pricing strategy?
5. What is the need for what you are offering and what profit margins can you expect?
While much of this may have occurred to you informally, it is very import to write it down. If you ever need to approach a bank or investors, you will need it. Writing it down will reinforce your vision, give you a reference point for checking your business’ progress and will most likely bring up factors you did not consider when creating the plan in your head.

Writing your business plan down:

1. Helps you determine and coordinate all aspects of business operations
2. Gives you a means to analyse and determine what might be the best change to boost your business out of a stagnant situation
3. Assists you in determining the risks and benefits associated with any changes
4. Decreases your chances of making a mistake or not considering important factors in your business, and most importantly,
5. Dramatically increases your chances of success.

Business plans are not only for those just setting out their journey in the marketplace. They are useful when acquiring a new business, forecasting growth, introducing a new product or service, entering a new market, responding to changes in the market or changing a significant aspect of your business.

26Jan 2016

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Ever wondered what good governance looks like?

Think about governance in the same light you would about bringing a good AFL team together and getting them to win. Both involve dedication, preparation and outcome focused selection to put the right players in the right positions.

For every AFL team, there are different things that need to come together on the day of a match if the team wants to play its best and win.

But, before the big match, the team also needs to practice hard, develop its skills and fitness, know the rules of the game, and learn to work together on the field. It’s more than a game of 4 quarters. It needs a strategic coach, and a skilled captain who knows how to put the coach’s game plan into operation. If all of these things come together, then the team has a good chance of playing well and winning the game.

The team also needs to maintain its performance over the whole year, not just for one game. The players have to keep working on their skills, and if something goes wrong during a match, the coach, captain and team have to work together to fix things on the run so they can get back to their best form for the next match.

There are a lot of parallels between the way a AFL team works and the way governance and good management works in your organisation.

1. Strategic Coach

AFL Coach sets the strategy, objectives, timing and direction. They know what game to prepare for, who needs to improve their performance and what needs to happen to succeed.

The Coach has one eye on the conditions and one eye on the scoreboard. Their job is to look at how they can learn from the past to put into practice strategies and actions to improve future results. They need to have a firm grasp of the laws of the game and work within certain constraints but also make the most of every opportunity. For good governance you need a good Board/ Directors to set great strategy to drive business growth and monitor performance regularly.

2. Captains Can Teach Us a Lot

Take a look at the best captains there ever has been. These are the guys that know about vision, values and about keeping there team focused and motivated. They don’t need to say much, but demands respect because they “walk the talk”.

They don’t try and do everyone’s job thinking they are the best at everything. They proudly excels at their role, implements strategy, gets team buy-in and leads the way. Do you have a captain on your team who does the opposite? Do they think they’re experts at everything constantly changing organisational structures (or the team plan) regularly? If you do, it’s time to replace him with the best or help him or her to become one!

3. Creating A Game Plan

The most essential component to any team, be it AFL or good governance, is that everyone has an understanding of where they stand. This includes clarity around every role and where each individual’s responsibilities lie. This allows you to move swiftly “past a free kick” or a “dropped mark”. It means your defensive and offensive systems and processes are in place to drive growth and success. The strategy lies with the team but the success of the strategy relies on the whole team playing their part and putting in the hard yards.

Better still, at selection phase, ensure each team member hits your criteria and you know exactly where to place them when it comes to game day.

4. Teamwork

Last but not least, is understanding that teamwork is what will drive good performance. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities. You’re not going to put a rover in as a full forward in your AFL team, why would you do any differently when it comes to running a successful business?

You can’t afford to carry anyone. Play to each individual’s strengths and drive it home. Lay down the ground rules and the laws of the land but remain flexible enough to switch out players if you need to.

Appraisals and reviews are there for a reason. They’re critical observations to be done regularly so you’re focused on what your players can and cannot do. It’s up to you to take advantage of your team’s talents and minimize their weaknesses.

Good business relies on the same things a good AFL team does when it comes to winning. You need a strong team, clear vision and values, rules and laws, assigned positions and tactical strategy.

With McCarthy Advisory whether you want to win ‘your AFL Grand Final’ or the local league we’ll keep you firmly on track to take home the final prize.

26Jan 2016

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A business planning session is a great way to generate successful business ideas & outcomes and sustain growth.

A planning session starts with gaining a sense of purpose. When we understand the WHY in business we can create a clearer vision or sense of direction, for oneself and the whole company. Everyone knows in business you can’t accurately predict the future, but you can visualise what your future growth looks like to you.

Success comes in all shapes and sizes – breaking into new markets, increasing revenue by x %, building a strong leadership team or designing an exit plan are just some examples.

These planning sessions help you identify the steps you need to take towards your future success.

Increasing profit and maximising revenues can come from looking at new opportunities and identifying new or potential threats. These new opportunities then inspire people, helping them be better prepared to evolve and grow.

Subsequent actions can be anything from on-going training and development to closely monitoring & measuring outcomes (KPIs) compared to objectives. Having these actions in place facilitates effective decision-making, helping the business pay close attention to what is going on around them.

Progressive accountants are masters of business strategy. Increasing revenue is driven by purpose, planning, inspiring and connecting.

We’re on a mission helping business and people grow and succeed.

26Jan 2016

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What does it take to succeed? It takes more than you think to survive and thrive and running your own business is not for the faint hearted. After the initial excitement starts to diminish, business owners swiftly realise that for survival you need to build great relationships, solid teams, systems and processes.

Teamwork, Discipline & Accountability

Like any goal you set, you need someone to hold you accountable. Good accountants are like good personal trainers. They are there to help you with goal setting – working on your ideal “weight”, they’re there to assign “exercises” and they are there to measure results.

To grow in business you need discipline and direction to help you set objectives and goals, and most importantly, be held accountable. How else do you measure success? It’s one thing to hand over your financials; it’s another when you have a team to work alongside you picking up on what’s going wrong, what’s going right and then helping you do something about it.

Opportunities are everywhere but if you’re not focused and you’re not disciplined to stay on track, it’s easy to lose your way. With good accountants, not only do you get sound advice and support, you get fresh business ideas. These fresh business ideas could relate to new products or services you could offer, it could advise you about your organisational structure and a whole range of options to address. There is no one size fits all so it pays to listen to the experts.

Good accountants, like the McCarthy Advisory, having years of experience around systems, processes and ideas. Walking into a business growth consultation is half therapy and half business planning. Plenty of friends and family will have ideas – you can guarantee that, but if they’re not based on realistic data – you’re really just wishing your ideas work.

Accountants, who are also your financial mentors, understand the day-to-day running of a business and how to drive successful outcomes. They have the capability and the access to ensure your business will thrive. Yes, there is number crunching involved, but that number crunching is appraising your business performance. Without it, you’re really blind.

Financial Mentoring?

Mentoring businesses is sharing business wisdom, helping businesses map direction, set goals, develop influential networks and relationships. This is key in any successful business whether you are as big as Google or as small as a sole trader.  You never know where collaboration and collective thinking can take you so it pays to listen and listen to the right people.

Don’t go it alone in business, being “mentorless” is not nice. What is the most challenging question about your business growth you have on your mind? Write it down and then ask us at McCarthy Advisory.

 

29Feb 2016

 

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Those are the very words from the man himself and wow what a man.

Looking for some inspiration we recently attended a breakfast to hear Quentin speak about his life, his experiences – both the highs and the lows – and how he has achieved some amazing goals.

Quentin’s key points were clear – have some common sense, manage your time well and never give up on your dreams. He knows through shear hard work, perseverance, persistence and desire you will reach your goals; no matter how impossible they first appear.

His advice is simple and do ‘able – take 3 actions a day. Have goals for today, 1 – 3 months from here and long term goals 5 – 10 years from now.

He is living proof that through perseverance and persistence you will achieve your goals. Time management is right up there, because let’s face it wasting time just wishing and talking about goals isn’t going to get you there.

Born with osteogenesis or commonly known as brittle bone disease the future certainly didn’t look bright for Quentin, but look at how he shines now. He is a short film producer, director, scriptwriter and actor. He has written his own biography, debated a Prime Minister advocating against disability funding cuts when he was only 11 and his list of amazing achievements just gets longer.

Not only has he had to overcome his physical challenges, he has successfully recovered from prescription drug addiction as well as the pathetic, jealous social media haters. This man can move mountains.

We like how he sets out his goal setting and it looks like this:

3 Tier goals

Short term

  • – ie get out of bed/ go to work

Medium term

– 3 months to 1 year   ie write his book

Long term

  • 5 to 10 years

3 hours of every day is devoted to spending 1 hour on each tier of his goals

With momentum building from smaller achievements his first big shoot for the stars goals ultimately occurred – visited a Star Wars set, academy awards night attendance and even a dinner with a Hollywood movie starlet by the age of 30

And some more Word from the Wise

  •  Don’t bruise relationships that matter
  • Never lie
  • Focus

Who inspires Quentin then? Well, Jewell certainly did backstage after her concert by saying she used to live in a car and told him just to do what you want. Looks like he did just that. The ones that inspire him the most are the ones who have struggled the most, just like he has.

What’s in the future for Quentin? His new goals include working to get a disability playground in the city and getting to play up in New York or Vegas baby!

He realized early on he had potential in life and the only one who was going to get him to where he wanted to go was himself.

He said he didn’t want to sit around waiting for an early demise. That’s deep but we have all been there at some stage wondering what the hell are we doing.

We’re all really just working hard to create our own version of our ideal lifestyle. That could be having enough money to take one day off a week to spend with the kids, or training for a marathon or learning how to cook Vietnamese from Luke Nguyen.

How do you get there? Take that first step today.

17May 2016

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Tax planning is designed to review the best tax strategies for you and whether you’re structured in the most effective way. Hold on to more of your money and develop your tax plan now.

Tax can be complicated and you want to make sure your obligations are covered. With you business tax planning service, you can be confident that your tax position is maximised!

Tax Strategies

Whether it’s deferring income to manage a tax burden or bringing forward deduction to the current year to prepay services where applicable, the right tax strategies will ensure you’re using your funds in the most tax effective way for your circumstances.

4 Steps To The Perfect Tax Plan

  1. We’ll work with you to assess the most effective business structure for you
  2. Together we’ll make sure all your records are up to date and accurate
  3. We’ll work out a tax effective plan to manage all your taxes and obligations
  4. We’ll work with you to ensure all your tax strategies are working effectively for you

What We Do

When it comes to your business tax planning we start by making sure you have the right foundation first. We review your business structure and make sure it’s the most appropriate one for you.

From there, we’ll work with you to deal with a range of taxes as well as any tax reforms and measures that might be relevant. We’ll help you implement the right strategies to maximise your tax effectiveness and make sure your money is working hard for you.

Questions

Tax planning is important to make sure you get the most out of your business performance! Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Is your current business structure suitable?
  2. Have you acquired or disposed of any taxable assets this year?
  3. Are your records up to date for all expenditure so that all possible deductions can be claimed?
  4. Are you investing any excess cash in a tax effective way?
  5. Are you aware of all the relevant tax reforms and measures applicable to your business?

 

Speak to McCarthy Advisory about your business tax plan today!

23May 2016

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Federal Budget Summary

The first Budget from the Turnbull government revealed a $39.9 billion deficit for 2015/16 moving to a $37.1 billion deficit for 2016/17 and forecasting a drop to $6 billion by 2019/20.

Treasurer Scott Morrison unveiled an economic plan designed to “build a brighter, more secure future in a stronger, new economy with more jobs”. The Budget centrepiece was a 10-year enterprise plan to boost new investment, create jobs and deliver wage growth, starting with income tax concessions for small and
medium-sized enterprises.

Under proposed changes, the small business entity turnover threshold will increase from $2 million to $10 million from 1 July, 2016, seeing SMEs with an annual turnover of up to $10 million qualify for small business income tax concessions including a lower corporate tax rate of 27.5 per cent and generous equipment write-offs.

Over the next 10 years, the company tax rate will gradually fall to 25 per cent.

The Budget also revealed further investment in innovation and start-ups, initiatives to help young people into jobs and measures to combat tax avoidance.

Middle income earners were among the winners, benefiting from a modest tax cut, however, many of the super tax concessions for higher income earners will be scaled back.

 Super changes

Unlike last year’s Federal Budget which contained very few super changes, the Turnbull government announced over a dozen super changes.

They include a cap of $25,000 per year on concessional super contributions; a new lifetime cap of $500,000 on non-concessional contributions; increasing the number of people subject to a higher tax (up to 30%) on concessional contributions where income is above $250,000; and the introduction of a super transfer balance cap of $1.6 million to limit the amount of accumulated savings an individual can transfer into the tax-free retirement phase.

In line with pre-Budget speculation the government also made changes to Transition-to-Retirement (TTR) income streams by removing the current tax exemption on earnings from 1 July 2017.

Workers who have attained age 60 will still be able to draw a tax free retirement income stream while continuing to work and contribute to super.

Other changes include the abolition of anti-detriment death benefit payments (which represent a refund of a member’s lifetime super contributions tax payments) and the removal of the 10 per cent test for personal tax deductible super contributions.

Women and lower income earners

Under changes to the concessional super contributions cap, individuals with account balances under $500,000 will be able to make additional concessional contributions where they have not used up their caps in previous years.

Unused concessional amounts accrued from 1 July 2017 can be carried forward on a rolling basis for a period of 5 consecutive years.

The measures aim to give workers with relatively low account balances, as a result of broken work patterns, the ability to top up their super.

Women, who commonly take time out from paid work to care for children and are more likely to return to lower-paid, casual or part-time work, will be a key beneficiary of the catch-up scheme given they typically retire with significantly less super than men.

Women will also be key beneficiaries of a planned increase in the threshold for the Low Income Spouse Tax Offset from 1 July, 2017 to $37,000 from $10,800.

The Low Income Spouse Tax Offset provides up to $540 per annum for the contributing spouse, and is designed to boost the super balances of low income spouses, particularly women.

The Budget also featured a Low Income Super Tax Offset (LISTO) to effectively replace the Low Income Contribution Scheme (LISC).

The LISTO will reduce the tax on super contributions paid by workers who earn less than $37,000 a year by providing a tax offset to super funds from 1 July, 2017, based on the tax paid on concessional contributions up to the value of $500.

What’s next?

The vast majority of changes must be legislated and passed through Parliament before they apply. The government’s top priority is to see the proposed company tax cuts and personal income tax cuts start on 1 July, 2016, which will put pressure on Parliament to pass legislation quickly. If you think you may be negatively affected by some of the Budget’s proposed changes, you should consider seeking professional advice.

We can give you a clear understanding of where you stand and how you can manage your cashflow, super and investments in light of proposed changes. We can also ensure you’re not missing out any new benefits you may be entitled to.

Source from Fairway Financial Advice.

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