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January financial improvement tasks

Regularly checking the health of your business will help you to cut costs and improve profits.

On this page

  • Review sales performance
  • Develop a marketing strategy
  • Review your financing arrangements.
Use January to review sales performance so you're set up for a year of increased profit.

Review sales performance

If you know what you sell the most of and what makes the most money, you can direct your marketing to those things, which will increase your profit.

How to do it

  1. calculate your margins. If you're not sure how to do that use our guide to calculating margins, breakeven point and markup
  2. make a list of your best products and services (highest selling and margin)
  3. review your marketing plan to find ways to promote these products/services e.g. a small discount for multiple popular items, package less popular items with popular items to increase sales overall.

Increase sales of your best products and services by:

  • making sure your best items where your customer can see them. This applies to physical location and online stores
  • asking your customers why they buy your most popular items. You’ll receive valuable insights that you can use to tailor your services and product lines
  • regularly reviewing your mark-up policy.

Develop a marketing strategy

Marketing activities find and retain customers. Marketing is one of the most important business tools for increasing profit in your business

How to do it

  1. set some marketing goals for your business e.g. increase customer spend, increase customer base etc
  2. look at all of the marketing tools you currently use and critically examine what is working and what’s not
  3. develop a marketing plan that will achieve the goals set using the marketing mix. If you don't have a marketing plan use our marketing plan template.

Marketing plan template (DOCX 140.2 KB)DOCX icon 

In order to be effective, marketing activities will include:

  • gathering information about your market to identify the key characteristics of your target market. This will help you to find the most effective way to reach your target clients
  • reviewing sales data to understand repeat customer behaviour
  • putting action plans in place that nominate who is responsible, including the timing of each action or each marketing strategy
  • implementing performance measures to monitor the success of each marketing strategy you implement
  • undertaking a cost / benefit review of each marketing strategy to ensure that there are profit and cash flow benefits to the business.

Review your financing arrangements

For continued growth and profitability of your business you'll need access to finance, and the appropriate financing method.

How to do it

  1. look at all the debt owed by the business, including any tax payment arrangements, credit card debt and debt to suppliers
  2. for each financing arrangement in place, review all the terms and conditions and fees and approach the finance provider for advice on how to lower fees and reduce compliance
  3. prepare a cash flow forecast and look closely at ways you can reduce your debt. If you don't have a tool to do this use our cash flow forecasting template. 

When reviewing your business financing options:

  • check if the finance you currently use is the most appropriate for the use of the funds
  • consider other types of finance such as crowdfunding and venture capital when looking to finance growth in the business
  • see if you can negotiate extended supplier terms and find better ways to manage your cash flow. These methods will not incur fees or compliance requirements
  • then stay in regular contact financiers to develop a strong relationship which will assist your business. This is particularly relevant if you have debt facilities with them.

Want a financial reminder in February?

Sign up for the Small Business Victoria update to receive fortnightly tips, trends and tasks. It will include our handy financial improvement tasks for February.