On this page
- Key business contracts
- Controls in your business
- Innovation and continuous improvement culture
Support your business goals with a review of contracts, controls and culture.
Review key business contracts
Often business contracts come with responsibilities. Understanding your responsibilities will ensure there are no surprises in your business operations.
How to do it
- review all key contracts in the business such as leases, hire purchase agreements, staff contracts, insurances, rentals, utilities etc against business needs
- make a list of any compliance requirements for each contract - and put key dates in your diary
- assign responsibility to staff to ensure each compliance requirement is met. Include it in your Financial policies and procedures manual
- negotiate changes or improvements with the supplier.
- keep all key business contracts filed together in a safe and easy to access place. Consider keeping copies offsite
- where compliance requirements are assigned to a staff member, regularly check they are meeting the requirements
- if there are words or terms you aren't sure of, ask for them to be explained
- think about any potential problems that may arise in your business, such as decrease in sales or cash flow. Consider the impact on your major contracts and then discuss these with the supplier.
Review controls in your business
Good controls will protect the monetary and non-monetary aspects of your business.
How to do it
- make a list of all of the areas (including physical assets such as cash) you think have potential risk such as fraudulent activity. Use our Financial policies and procedures manual and IT policies and procedures manual to help you
- review how each of these are protected by policies, procedures, physical security etc.
- identify those which need improved controls.
When reviewing controls, keep in mind that:
- nearly every area of your business should have some control elements in place
- small businesses are often at risk of employee fraud. Good controls minimise risk
- non-monetary items within your business such as IP, brand names etc with patents and trademarks also need to be protected
- controls should be reviewed regularly to make sure they are effective.
Review innovation and continuous improvement culture
Focus on innovation and continuous improvement in your business and encourage everyone in the business to work towards better business practices and improving business efficiency and performance. Improvements can add capacity to your business with little or no additional costs.
How to do it
- review how many new products or services have been introduced in the business over the past two years
- review key performance measures such as staff productivity, introduction of policies, work in progress cycle times etc. and compare to previous year to gauge improvements in business processes
- prioritise the areas or processes that will experience the biggest impact from improvement
- measure the outcomes of changes.
In the search for continuous improvement, remember that:
- continuous improvements can eliminate the need for large-scale quantum shifts and result in long-term innovation
- it's important to take regular time out to reflect on your business activities and ask questions such as 'What can we do to improve the business and the way we serve our clients, and to increase the value of our offer?'
- you can easily get staff involved with a suggestion box or planning day.
Want a financial reminder in November?
Sign up for the Small Business Victoria update to receive fortnightly tips, trends and tasks. It will include our handy financial improvement tasks for November.