[SSB#25] How quickly can you plan and pivot?
A newsletter from
Welcome to the 25th edition of our newsletter "Supersonic Business", a fortnightly publication by Mantle, written by me, Laura Landmark, with a focus on business growth, value and performance management, in other words, all things that make a business better.
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Sandnes, Norway, Wednesday mroning, 13th October 2020 ☀️
"Supersonic Business" is sent from me, a Management Accountant, to those that have a leading position in SME's (small/medium businesses), and their accountants. The vision for the newsletter is to share information, tips and tricks to build healthy, thriving businesses from the 'inside out', it is written from the finance and administration perspective.
I hope you enjoy [SSB#25], write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback or questions.
During these last few weeks the partners at Mantle have been in an intense period of strategic planning.
Our business was founded at the end of 2017, and after a great market response we are rigging up for the future. We have identified the areas we can create the most value for our customers and are developing our business to deliver cutting edge products and solutions to build that value to be even greater. Watch this space, there is going to be a lot happening at Mantle in the near future.
Since the start of Corona we have also hired two new employees, and are looking for at least one more. This is in addition to engaging a marketing company and introducing several new strategic advisors to our business. Mantle is growing despite the disturbance in the economy, and we don’t anticipate a time where the use of data in business will become slower, smaller, or less relevant, so there are busy days ahead for us.
One of our primary objectives is to ‘power connected decisions’ in business. By that, I mean that the business owners or senior decision-makers need easy access to a complete overview of their business in order to answer their critical questions quickly and effectively.
They need to be able to get instant oversight into where their business is thriving or suffering. Which products are the most profitable, which customers are the most satisfied, who is buying more or less now than they were before, and why?
Is it just Corona that is influencing the buying patterns, or are there other reasons? This type of information, when presented quickly and effortlessly can enable the business owner to give the customer a call and find out why. There is nothing like a conversation to stimulate new opportunities.
Other relevant questions might be around cash flow. Based on current circumstances and future plans is the cash flowing in and out of the business at a rate that supports the business? Do you predict a cash short fall? If so, how about speaking to the bank now to secure finance instead of waiting till the proverbial ***t hits the fan!
In order to answer these types of questions quickly and with any degree of certainty you have to see the numbers. Numbers are the language of business and without a good overview of how the financial position looks on ‘paper’ you are flying blind.
Having good dynamic, driver-based planning models that roll forwards every month means you are able to play around with the numbers and run different scenarios (versions) until you are satisfied you have a plan that could work, AND that produces the desired results. It is much better to do this in theory and test things out before the reality hits and its too late to backtrack or change anything.
In Mantle we have a range of our own models that we use for this process, which enables us to complete budgeting and forecasting quickly, effortlessly, and intuitively. This means we always have a very good idea of what is likely to happen in the future, based on the knowledge we have now. And, as for the knowledge we don’t have now, well no one can plan for that, but we have contingency plans so that we are able to weather most storms and maybe the odd tidal wave.
We work with a number of different systems to get this job done. Each has different strengths and we pick the right tool for the job.
Most of the time it is necessary to integrate several data sources, for this, we use our own super-duper integration platform which we call Uniifire ™. This is the cloud based portal where we plug in your data connectors so that you can get very easy access in a way that is meaningful for you.
"All you need is the plan, the road map and the courage to press on to your destination" Earl Nightingale (American Author)
Maybe you are a project related business, or maybe you are heavy on selling fast turnover products, or possibly a service company where hours are the primary focus. They all need their own special approach to reporting and planning and we are experienced in delivering a solution that will work exactly for you.
We found personally during our own intense planning process that it has been supported by our ability to pull the numbers quickly. These numbers need tweaking based on the dynamic planning process we are in, and new information that comes to light, but at least we don’t need to waste time scrabbling around trying to manually stick the numbers together in excel. We just need to introduce a new product line, price, and gross margin, then focus on the strategic aspects of how to launch and promote the product in the market. This is a much more valuable use of our time and brain energy and means we travel a lot further a lot quicker.
Planning is our passion, delivering enabling technology to get you quickly to your own goals is our primary objective. Drop me a line if you want to brainstorm around how we can get your data working for you. We have plenty ‘out of the box’ solutions but can always customize where necessary.
“For tomorrow belongs to the people that plan for it today.” African Proverb
Contact me on email@example.com or on LinkedIn if you would like to know more about how we use technology to make life in business easier and the way forward clearer.
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Business Planning: Real Time Data is the Difference Between Thriving and Surviving
Manual processes such as spreadsheets have traditionally been the be-all and end-all for planning, but the time when you could create an annual business plan is over.
Over the past 20 years, we have moved to a hyper-fast consumption model, and it’s driven by us - the consumers. We live in a fast-moving world and in business environments, you need to be able to make decisions quickly. Business planning can no longer be planned annually, it’s an ongoing process - a process that requires analysis of KPIs and “What if-scenarios” nearly every day.
Data streaming: The best use cases and why they work
Could IoT sensors, geo-tracking, customer interaction, and other data streaming services help your bottom line? Real-time data analysis can benefit companies by tracking events, devices, tasks, and processes and identifying operational problems that occur immediately. In this article from TechRepublic, you can learn more about (among other things) how real-time data gives you the ability to analyze and predict what a buyer might be looking for or how environmental sensing can save lives.
Cash flow forecasting
“80% of businesses fail because of cash flow problems”
There are different types of factors that come to play when assessing the value of a company. And the most important one is the company’s cash flow. The purpose of a cash flow forecast is to determine the amount of cash expected to be received and paid out in revenue and expenses, as well as payments that flow into the business.
Books on the bedside table this week.
I am still reading this fabulous book which is all about sequencing. It's about mastering the art like chess grandmasters who look several moves ahead. He's pretty funny and the book quite inspirational. At least it gets you focused on the fact that to get from here to there is going to take a bit of thought power!
Always end with a thanks!
🙏Thanks to Matyas Kolsofszki of Data Unitor for guiding us through an extremely valuable and very intense digital innovation planning workshop which has helped us clarify some very salient points in our business. This guy really knows his stuff.
Something to watch
Here is a link to the chat I recently had with Katie Tolin who is a business growth expert. She focuses on the innovation part of growth! She challenges us on important questions, like who are your leads and where do they come from.
All her proposed marketing activities are filtered through the critical questions such as "how is this contributing to top-line growth". It's always a breath of fresh air speaking to Katie. Watch the whole video interview here!
Thanks for reading & see you next time
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