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Rachel Cheal & Her Four Top Tips: Reaching the Top of Your Game & Staying There
Posted by Danielle Tinsley
Avatar forRachel Cheal & Her Four Top Tips: Reaching the Top of Your Game & Staying There

On Tuesday 7th November 2017, Headspace is excited to offer our members a free 1:1 consultation with Rachel Cheal, Founder of the Growth Lab. The Growth Lab is a financial consultancy that advises businesses on how to achieve successful growth. Below she shares her top tips for success.

The Four Tops. The pioneers of Motown music - they performed together as the original four piece for four decades, producing hit after hit after hit.

Here’s my own version of The Four Tops – top tips to make your business a big hit.

1. Top Cat: get the right team in place

Top Cat. Leader of the group of alley cats who are always up to weird and wonderful tricks. Top Cat may take all the credit, but he couldn’t do it without the help of his trusty gang.

Likewise, as your business grows, you need to be honest about what your strengths are and delegate more. You cannot focus on where the business needs to be in 2-5 years if you are still chief dish washer! Find those in the team who can take on more responsibility and allow them to shine. Identify key hires that need to be made and use your network to snap up the really good people.

As well as full time hires, consider engaging experienced consultants such as a legal counsel or marketing strategist. These people will bring a wealth of technical expertise as well as sound advice on best practices seen in other businesses.

2. Topography: Map out your business and understand its peaks and troughs

The key to understanding your company’s performance is by:

1. Setting goals - without goals, you have no way of measuring your team and your company against a set of pre-determined objectives.

2. Tracking against them - timely and accurate information is key here as well as knowing what to measure. Developing a scorecard for key performance indicators is akin to the dashboard of your car - it lets you know how your vehicle is performing and provides you with an early warning sign if something is not quite right.

3. Modifying where necessary – if you don’t like what you see at any given time, you can do something about it and drive future improvements in performance.

This allows you to learn from the past but also to keep looking ahead and have confidence in the decision-making process.

3. Topiary: trim the excess in your business to ensure it grows in the right direction

Efficiencies can be realised in 3 ways – technological, operational and cost-based.

Use the technologies available to help your business run smoothly. For example, using an accounting package such as Xero that automatically pulls in your bank statements and sends out payments reminders to customers can cut down your time spent on financial admin.

Operational efficiencies can also be made through reusing as much as possible and identifying where the bottle necks are. Cross training the team so that there are no hold ups when someone is sick is a case in point here.

Spend where you need to but also make savings where you can. Try to avoid taking on too many fixed costs as these are incredibly difficult to reduce when times are tough. A co-working office such as Headspace is a cost-effective way of ensuring you are only paying for what you need and can scale up or down as required.

4. Triceratops: keep a firm eye on your cash

Why do most businesses fail? Poor cash management.

Cash movements can be volatile. Know when you are expecting cash to come in and when you might have large outpayments. Outsource bad payers if necessary – forking out a few hundred quid to issue a legal letter may be worth it to save your business. Negotiate good terms with key suppliers. Become friends with you bank manager (you never know when you might need that overdraft extension). Know who to pay first – VAT surcharges can be extremely costly for a business.

Try and identify 12 months out when you’ll need more cash and where this will come from. It always takes much much longer to raise money than you think.

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To find out more about The Growth Lab, please contact Rachel here

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