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With the effects of the global financial crisis still being felt, how can businesses feeling the pinch reach their goals for growth? Symon Brewis-Weston, the Commonwealth Bank’s executive general manager of local business banking joins Peter Switzer on his Sky News Business Channel program – SWITZER.

Plan for growth

If a business is looking at growth, Brewis-Weston says the first thing to do is to make sure you have a business plan around growth and “decide what you’re going to do [and] how much you’re going to spend”.

For those looking to raise capital, it’s important to get in early and talk with the bank manager.

“The third thing is always make sure you understand where your sales are coming from and what terms you’re doing those sales on so you can really manage your cash flow,” he says. “I think the biggest mistake people make is to run away with excitement and exuberance, getting lots of sales but failing to work out the cash flow timing of that. It’s absolutely critical.” 

Set goals and have a strategy to achieve them

It’s also important for businesses to set goals. The business strategy is then about how the business is going to achieve the goals – “It also helps when you’re talking to a financier or a bank in terms of - 'this is a strategy, this is how I’m going to get there and ultimately this is what I’m going to achieve'.”

A common problem, he concedes, is that some people are afraid of the bankers – they only go when they actually need money and don’t see their banker as partners in the process of growth. He says in the past, the bank perhaps was not the friendliest place to visit.

“The face of Australian banking, certainly for small business is changing rapidly and I would encourage all small business owners that if you’re thinking about growth, then get into your bank early, talk to them, get some advice on perhaps the right type of loan and the right structuring for your business and it can really aid your growth,” he explains. 

Don't hide your vision

Sharing the vision is important too – Switzer explains this is not just with staff, but also with the suppliers and key partners such as accountants, lawyers, bankers and telcos as all those people could have a big impact on the business’s productivity and success. Brewis-Weston says these people should be seen as partners in “achieving your goals as a small business”.

Brewis-Weston also says to share the vision with customers. 

“I think it’s very important for your customers to understand where you’re going as a business and if you can build a good relationship with your customers, they can feel that they also share in your vision and know what you stand for,” he says.

So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Friday, June 25, 2010

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