Fires, Floods and Filters

2019 it’s been great (not), but it’s now February 2020 and I’m moving on.

Recently the fires have played havoc. We have seen lives lost, homes razed, livestock and wildlife decimated, and businesses suffer.

Exhausted, dirty, smoky, hot, hungry. Some of us we have spent hours on the front-line fighting fires. I am part of our local RFS volunteer brigade, and I can proudly share that those in the community stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us. Many volunteers have full time jobs, yet put aside our own needs, families and business to help others, and we don’t even know them. It is this spirit which provided our inspiration to keep going.

Seeing this was on top of one of the worst droughts we have ever seen, if the fires wasn’t enough. And now we can add flooding in some areas as well as the impact of Coronavirus.

I, like you, know people who have been directly affected by this bad fortune. The regional small business sector has taken a big hit. The full the extent of the long-term effect is still to be uncovered.

Lending an ear to those in strife helps and we also have a responsibility to our business and those who surround it. You have a business to run. There are bills to pay, employees to keep in a job, goods and services to provide. Our role is to solve customers’ problems today.

If you are not sure what to do next, start by determining your purpose. If you aren’t sure what this is, gather your team around you to get their insights.
Establish your critical drivers – the 3 or 4 things that you measure every week to show that you are on track (sales, expenses, leads, cash flow, etc).
Next, develop your 12-month communication calendar.
What are your messages to your customers?
How often will you communicate with them?
What channels work best for you? (Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, signage, referral, Instagram, Sales representatives, TV, radio, website, etc)
Map it out and budget to it
Check in with your plan each month to see how you are travelling.
Even if you think you are OK or feeling overwhelmed, you have options. It is OK to contact experts for a shoulder to lean on. These guys do amazing work.

Beyond Blue: Call 1300 224 636
Lifeline: Call 13 11 14
Financial crisis National Debt Hotline: Call 1800 007 007
Small Business financial support. Call 132846
Thanks for reading

Stuart “Resilience” Goodfellow

Your Questions Answered

Here are the answers to a few questions I have received. If you have a question, email me at [email protected] and get your question answered here.

My sales team are not selling

Hi Regional, I have great salespeople who meet and greet customers when they come in the door. The team are pleasant, and customers love them. They are doing their job, but I know they can do better. How do I motivate them to sell more without me or them seeming to be pushy?
– Jim

Hi Jim,

It’s more than just good luck to have an enthusiastic sales team. But are they really doing their job?

Are they just order takers or are they professionally helping customers to buy? Anyone can turn up with a smile on their face and take orders, but it takes a different set of skills for a team member be called a professional salesperson.

They require education and training. Even the best salespeople are eager to learn more. The best sportspeople practice more than they play, and so should your sales team. Make sure you set time and budget aside to help them be better educated in selling.

How can you motivate them to be better? They are either internally motivated or not. They should come with ‘batteries included’. If you have to keep giving them that pep talk more than you think is necessary, then it may be time from them to move on.

Our employees respond to direction and guidance. Clearly position your expectations with them and agree to the contribution they will play – bottom line: have a sales target.

You can’t hit a target you don’t see. Write your agreed weekly or monthly targets up on a white board that everyone can see, report on them regularly, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Piloting your cash flow

Cash flow is tight at the moment. It always happens this time of year. Whilst business is steady, I just can’t seem to find enough cash to go around. I’ve tried to budget but something always comes up that I haven’t budgeted for and I’m back to square one playing catch up again. Any ideas?
– Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Christmas credit card crunch, the holiday bill fallout, afterpay and the whole back-to-school expenses really ramp up this time of year for most people. You are not alone. It also has an impact on business. You may have shut down for a few days or weeks, so you have to find annual leave wages and leave loading, funding that local or overseas flight and paying for goods you bought last year. The double whammy comes because you do not have the cash coming in the door because you may have been closed.

Here’s the thing. You know this happens every year, so let’s plan for it. It’s as simple as working out what you need over the low cash months (including that unexpected expense that crops up from time to time). Then take a percentage of your gross profit out every month to cover it.

A small amount every month may seem an inconvenience, but not as much as the side swipe that hits you predictably ‘out-of-the-blue’. It’s happens every year, so have it sorted before it sorts you. Start this month. Get? Got It? Good! 

Fires, Floods and Filters