Natalie joined the Harris Black team in 2018 as an Accountant and has since progressed to become a Supervisor.
Some interesting facts about Natalie – despite being born and raised in Brisbane, if Natalie could live anywhere in the world it would be Sydney. If she could, she would spend all her time at the beach and she is particularly missing overseas holidays and seeing family in Sydney, because of COVID restrictions. Natalie’s hobbies include learning aerial silks, going to the gym and being an active member of Toastmasters. If she could give a 40-minute presentation on anything, it would be about true crime thrillers.
As many of you will already know, Harris Black is a member of the Brentnalls affiliation. The affiliation is a network of like-minded, independent Chartered Accounting firms across Australia with members in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hamilton VIC, Perth and Auckland NZ. Harris Black has been part of this dynamic group of professionals for over 20 years. Each of our firms have a similar passion for improving client service and striving for best practice in all areas of business. In particular we are all very focused on helping our clients achieve their goals, develop their businesses and ultimately grow their wealth. The affiliation meets bi-annually, traditionally in different locations in Australia with recent conferences also being held in Singapore and Queenstown N.Z.
As with many events this year, the second of our 2020 Brentnalls Conference could not proceed as planned with the meeting of all our affiliates in Adelaide due to Covid and a remote solution had to be found. Accordingly, on Thursday 22 October, this particular Brentnall’s Conference, which would have been attended by the Harris Black Directors and Practice Manager, Kimberley Ward became a virtual event via Zoom in the boardroom. This change of play actually afforded us with a brilliant opportunity to involve all staff in the conference and to listen to guest speakers. All staff from all the affiliate firms were able to join the Chairman’s address (Geoff Fitzgerald, Brentnalls NSW). Geoff in particular is extremely passionate about promoting the inclusion of all our team members in the affiliation and all felt this was an enormous success.
The event concluded with guest speaker Gilbert Enoka – All Blacks Manager and Mental Skills Coach. Gilbert Enoka has a long history of success as a mental skills coach with New Zealand’s corporate and sporting elite. He is internationally renowned for his 19 year history with the All Blacks, first as their mental skills coach and now as a manager. The presentation was about building a winning team with a successful mindset and reinforced that your skillset won’t matter if your mindset is wrong.
Overall, a great two days with our Brentnalls Affiliates and as always, a lot of key takeaways.
Businesses that fail to meet their customers’ expectations of affordability and efficiency of delivery cannot remain competitive.
If customers see that a competitor in your market can offer the same product with a more convenient delivery option, your paying customer numbers will dwindle. You can adopt delivery strategies to make your supply chain a strong point and boost your customer satisfaction.
Deciding on a courier
Quit waiting in line at the post office to send your parcels and take advantage of technology. MyPost Business will allow you to print postage labels and arrange for next day pickup for a small additional charge. Independent couriers may also be an option but make sure you research their reputation and average wait time before partnering with them.
Meet your delivery date
Issue a clear delivery deadline and make sure you meet it for every order. Give your customer access to track the order for their piece of mind. You should also have a tracking system so you can recover the package or damages should it go missing in the delivery process. If your package is not delivered on time, respond quickly, provide an apology or an explanation and consider offering a credit or discount to minimise damage to your reputation.
Setting free delivery
Increasingly e-commerce retailers are offering free delivery. Consider the following strategies to meet market expectations without your profit margins suffering significant losses:
– Charge for shipping in the price of the good or service
– Set a minimum spend to get free delivery
– Limit the locations for free delivery
– Give free shipping for membership sign ups
Delivery information must be clearly set out. You might charge for express delivery and assess how they would like to pick up their package. Disclose any risk the customer incurs, for example, if they want the package left at their front door, to cover your liability.
State your return policy
A vague return policy can deter the customer from giving you their business. State your policy clearly and be upfront with any return charges that will be suffered. Consider whether a more lenient returns policy will be worth the costs of processing returns if it will secure you more customers.
Businesses should set realistic and actionable small goals which they can work towards, rather than broad goals which provide no direction. Setting broad and unrealistic goals is demotivating and makes any progress made seem insignificant. Every person in the business should be given a target to meet over a reasonable timeline which contributes towards achieving a larger goal.
Establishing standardised and automated processes
Small businesses can make the mistake of ‘doing things as they come’ but this means that as business grows, adjusting to high scale tasks is difficult. To avoid this, business should standardise all processes of work. Any individual placed into a role should be able to follow standardised procedure and yield a product which is of similar quality to the previous one. Investing money into automation tools is worthwhile for this procedure. This can include automating management of social media, email, and customer relationships. Each of these will contribute to creating structures which support growth.
Identify competitive strengths and weaknesses
Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of one’s business is essential. Strengths will allow businesses to focus on unique qualities they possess which give them a competitive advantage. Weaknesses will reveal which areas require growth so that changes can be made before upscaling takes place.
Businesses should continue to develop relationships with service providers, sales channel partners, suppliers and customers. Keeping an open mind about partnerships or potential collaborations could open up different avenues of business growth.
Finding time to implement the ideas you have to improve your business is challenging. Determining where your energy should be focused when you have a multitude of concepts for different key areas can also see you running around in circles. Many of our clients have struggled with both of these issues and tell us that ultimately their inability to determine the next best step finds them simply run out of time and energy to do anything!
At Harris Black we have developed a Quarterly Business Review process through which we help our clients rationalise and implement their ideas for business improvement. Together, we identify the relevant key areas of their business that require focus in order to improve. We then determine accountability for the implementation of new concepts or processes and ensure focus is maintained. Harris Black clients who are participating in our Quarterly Business Review process are having great success at finally implementing their ideas and involving their entire internal team to help drive home positive change. This also ensures everything doesn’t fall on the shoulders of the business owners. Those clients that have been working with us for some time have now developed impressive strategies for momentum when it comes to implementation and are enjoying the benefits of clear decision making and continual improvement in their business.
To learn more about our Quarterly Review Process please take the time to watch the video below or call your Harris Black team member.
How can we help you?
Today’s financial environment demands a regular review of strategy and a focus on execution.