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  • Writer's pictureStuart Kendall

Finding your area of focus

I have had a really enjoyable start to the 2024 Financial Year here at blueprint4.

Firstly, I’m really happy to welcome some great new people joining the team and looking forward to getting them introduced to clients in the coming months.

On a client front, for the past month or so I’ve been working with a couple of different businesses on preparing a budget for the new financial year and reflecting on the different outcomes they’ve delivered based on the varying situations each business was operating under.

First client – Early-stage business ready to take on the world, but still building his team around the founder.

Second client – internal capacity to grow and increase revenue in a highly competitive but growing market.

While they are facing different issues, the basics are the same:

  • We need to know our fixed costs.

  • We need to understand the margins we want to achieve.

  • We need to work out our estimated revenue.

  • Put all this together to see if this gives us a profit figure.

There’s no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to budgeting and how they are constructed will change depending on the different drivers in your business. The main thing is having something you understand and can use as a guide for your performance for the year.

So, while that part of the process was very similar, two important questions came out of these sessions which had rather different answers.

  • What information are we getting from this budget?

  • How can we use this information to improve?

Client 1 really highlighted the margin – We used an estimate of our direct costs based on the previous year and benchmarked it against the industry to find we were well off the mark. A couple of quick calculations showed that just getting to the industry average had a significant impact on the bottom line, so they went away with a Focus on internal processes to cut out rework and build better buying habits.

Client 2 highlighted their Wages Bill was too high compared to the revenue they were bringing in – some might have panicked here and thought of offloading a team member, but they saw the opportunity that was available to them if they could attract enough work to fill all the capacity. So they went away with a focus on Revenue Growth, Return on Investment on their marketing spend and during downtimes using the excess capacity in their team to upskill some junior team members.

The same information, but very different What and How answers and Focus on completing different areas of their business.

Now that’s not to say they will ignore all other aspects – but full commitment to change in one area is going to give more success than trying to do everything all at once and burning out.

The result is that both of these businesses now have a great platform to assess themselves every month and an engaging focus on how they can improve throughout the year.

I have to say that makes for a pretty enjoyable start for us to be part of that planning.


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