Demystifying Your Balance Sheet

The concept of balance sheet written on a blackboard

Do you understand the story your Balance Sheet tells about your business? It’s important you understand the components of your Balance Sheet and the key ratios that measure the health of your business.

1. It measures the net worth of your business.
Your Balance Sheet is made up of all of your assets and liabilities; your net worth is your total assets less total liabilities.

  • Current assets are assets which are expected to be converted into cash within 12 months; current liabilities are expected to be paid within 12 months
  • Non-current assets aren’t expected to be converted into cash in the short-term; non-current liabilities are long-term liabilities which aren’t expected to be paid within 12 months
    Your net worth is the owners’ interest in the business. In other words, if your business was to be wound up this is how much you’d be left with as the owner of the business.

2. It tells you if your business is solvent.
Solvency is the acid test for survival. If your business is insolvent, without immediate action to remedy this, it’s unlikely to survive for long. There are two components to solvency:

  • Current ratio greater than 1 (current assets / current liabilities)
  • Positive net assets (total assets – total liabilities)
    If your business is insolvent, you’ll struggle to pay bills on time and you may be personally at risk. It’s imperative you seek help immediately if your business is insolvent.

3. It allows you track the strength of your business.
By comparing your Balance Sheet to previous periods, you can track whether your net worth is increasing or decreasing. The stronger your Balance Sheet, the easier it will be for your business to survive a downturn. For example, if your retained earnings are diminishing over time, it’s clear that you need to take action to strengthen your Balance Sheet to ensure you’ll receive value upon the wind up or sale of your business.

4. You can calculate key ratios.
Key ratios not only allow you to compare your results year on year or to industry benchmarks, they also highlight areas for improvement.

For example, calculating your debtor days may show that it takes on average 35 days for customers to pay you. If your payment terms are within 7 days of invoice, it’s clear that your debtor processes need to be strengthened.

Perhaps you calculate how long it takes inventory to sell and see it’s taking twice as long to sell this year than it did last year. Or, maybe a specific product is taking a lot longer to sell than others, which may indicate you should discontinue it. Key ratios calculated using your Balance Sheet can tell a us a multitude of things.

Every business owner should be able to read their Balance Sheet and understand what it’s telling them. If you need help demystifying your Balance Sheet and identifying key areas for improvement, get in touch now!

Inspirational Podcasts For Your Business

Podcasts are often on our list of things to do, but for many business owners, there are often not enough hours in the day. The current crisis has challenged normal business activity. It is a stressful time. But it may provide an opportunity to think about where you want your business to head.

Are there opportunities you can grab? These podcasts might provide the inspiration for your business planning or just something interesting to listen to for your walk around the block.

Find them on the author’s website, Spotify or iTunes.

  1. TED Talks – super popular and there are thousands to choose from. Top picks include Simon Sinek and Brene Brown.
  2. Lewis Howes School of Greatness – downloaded over four million times a month; hear interviews with world-class game changers in entrepreneurship, health, athletics, mindset and relationships.
  3. The Bite-Size BizRoom – 15 minute podcasts with business advice you can easily action to grow your business.
  4. The Mike Dillard Podcast – captivating interviews with inspiring leaders to help you fulfil your potential.
  5. The Happiness Lab – surprising and inspiring stories based on the latest scientific research that will change the way you think about happiness.
  6. Building a Storybrand – Donald Miller has helped thousands of businesses grow by getting them to clarify their marketing messages.
  7. How I Built This – Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. Hear about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists — and the movements they built.
  8. The Mindset Mentor – 10-20 minute podcasts designed to give small business owners a motivational boost.
  9. Goal Digger – a live workshop style podcast to help businesspeople redefine success, chase bolder dreams and tackle their biggest goals.
  10. RISE – this is a series of bold conversations with business powerhouses and personal development leaders that offers real-life valuable takeaways.

Thinking of Buying a Business? Things to Consider.

Buying an existing business can be a great way to get started as a business owner or to expand operations.

Established businesses have already done the hard work of setting up; so you can get up and running on day one without a lengthy formation process.

Things You’ll Need

  • Why is the business for sale – it’s important to understand the motivation for the sale, whether strategic or whether an emergency sale. There may also be hidden reasons for the sale which your research can uncover.
  • Research – do more than you think you need to! Market research, investigation, learning and questioning about the potential business, the locale, the industry, the customers, the suppliers, the competitors, the market and the nature of the goods or services being sold will ensure you don’t rush into a decision just because it looks like a good deal.
  • Due diligence – you’ll need to see detailed financial records, contracts, licenses, supplier agreements, lists of equipment, assets and inventory, lists of liabilities, loans and debts, and all employee records before making your decision.
  • A good business plan – that covers one year, two to three years and possibly five years as well. This will help you to look at the longer term and big picture, assess the potential of the business and give a realistic picture of what you are committing to.
  • Independent advice – from your tax agent and other business advisors such as an industry expert, business broker or lawyer. You might think a business looks like a great potential, but objective observers may pick up issues or queries that you have not.
  • Finance – whether it’s your own funds, a business loan or short term finance options, you will need to work with your advisors and refer to the business plan to assess how much you will really need for the initial purchase, transition period, and future investment.
  • Commitment to the work – Being prepared for responsibility required to run a business. Running a business does require certain skills, as well as time, energy and money. You need to be clear about your reasons for going into business and to be sure you are up for the challenge!

When considering a business, we can help you to analyse the financial reports, activity statements, tax returns and sales and purchases records to give you an independent overview of the financial performance and potential of the business.

We can assist in understanding the financial performance and benchmarks of a business you are considering buying, so that you make the best decision possible!

Succession Planning For Small Businesses

It takes guts to start a business. It also takes a strategic mindset to succeed.

Business owners are no strangers to weighing risk and navigating uncertainty, but the current climate has dialled everything up. Many business owners face the uncomfortable position of having to remap carefully thought-out succession plans and exit strategies and to consider selling their business before they’re ready and, possibly, for less than it’s worth.

Transition may be a better option

Rob Young, Managing Director of Platform 1, works with business owners on ensuring they get the best possible return when selling their business. Rob’s advice is to start by thinking about what options you have first.

There are five different ways to sell:

  1. Close the business down and sell the assets
  2. Sell to a family member
  3. Sell to an employee
  4. Just a straight sale to an outside party
  5. Gradual buy-out; The Platform 1 model.

The Platform 1 model is a gradual buy-out program. It involves finding a manager to take the reins early on. Gradual buy-out a process that involves:

  • Figuring out what kind of individual would be right to run the business; finding that person and developing them.
  • Creating a plan where the new manager buys in gradually over three to six years. The objective is to get the owner out of the business physically as quickly as possible by transferring relationships and processes to the incoming person, so the owner becomes more of an investor rather than a manager.

Preparing for sale – what’s important

  • Get your house in order – Ensure you have systems and processes in place so the business isn’t reliant on you, but can run as a standalone entity.
  • Maximise your profit – Make sure that you are not taking decisions to minimise your tax liability – because what you’re trying to do is create a profitable business.

Don’t put off your succession plan, even if you are not ready to sell

It’s a good idea to think about this long before you need to sell so that you maximise the value of the business and achieve a better outcome. It’s also worth remembering that retirement doesn’t need to be doing nothing. If your business can run as an asset without your involvement you don’t have to sell it completely, so not selling down 100% of the business is a viable option.

Talk to us today about your succession plan

If you don’t already have a succession plan in place, we can help so that you have options when you need them.

Scroll to top