As CEO and founder of Seedlab Australia, my team of experts and I are arming new and small Australian and New Zealand businesses with the tools needed to expand their offerings nationally.

In my experience, the nature of running a new or small FMCG business often results in missing crucial processes or planning due to having to be heavily involved in the daily operations and wearing multiple hats.

The most common things missed in planning for the financial year ahead are crucial, yet simple and easy-to-miss steps. Things like properly mapping out a cost of goods plan, using purchasing power to reduce your cost of goods and general cash flow management plans are just a few things we see not being addressed properly.

Here are our top insights for a successful new financial year:

Set your goals

Setting well-defined goals and objectives will be your guiding light throughout the year and help to keep your business on track, but make sure you’re sticking to them. Your goals must be clear, concise, and easily communicated with your wider team.

Your goals might include short- and long-term turnover and profit targets, cost of goods targets, timelines to improve profit margins with suppliers through increased buying power. Remember, your goals are useless if kept only to yourself, so make sure the team is across everything you’re striving to achieve for the next financial year.

Cash flow is king – the 13-week rolling cash flow forecast

To ensure a steady financial foundation for your business, where cash flow is constantly top of mind, set a rolling cash flow forecast by carefully analysing your business’s financial data and projected cash inflows and outflows for the upcoming 13-week period. Constantly review and scrutinise costs for services such as labour, insurance, marketing and any other consultants or partners your business might require.

This will ensure that you’re constantly looking ahead and proactively anticipating and addressing potential cash flow shortfalls or surpluses as well as ensure you’re able to make informed decisions based on up-to-date information. This agility is especially crucial in dynamic and uncertain business environments.

Routine, routine, routine

Set a recurring time each month, week, or day, to ensure you’re keeping a close eye on your business’s inflows and outflows, reviewing supplier costings, touching base with your 13-week rolling cash flow forecast, inventory, logistics and assessing your sales channels to ensure they are the most effective and

aligned to your target market – essentially anything that will affect or improve your profit margins and bottom line. Even a small change like employing a new freight or packaging company may save you a significant amount of money, hence making your business more profitable.

Also consider scheduling in time with your team each quarter to review any competitor analysis and assessment of the market for new products that may have launched to your sector of the industry. This will ensure you’re keeping on top of what is happening outside your own bubble.

It’s ok to say no

Get used to being comfortable with saying no to things that don’t align with your financial goals. You’re going to come across a lot of opportunities, whether it be new stockists, bulk purchasers and even collaboration, sponsorship or donation requests just to name a few, so be comfortable with only taking on those that make sense for your business, and ultimately result in either an increase in profitability, and if not, at least a significant increase in product and brand awareness.

Be strategic with sales and only engage in what makes sense for your business. Avoid jumping on the bandwagon of seasonal sales dates like Black Friday or Cyber Monday for FOMO (fear of missing out) if it doesn’t align to your financial goals. Or, if you feel flash sales can aid in your operations, such as reducing stock ahead of relocation, ensure you are taking time to analyse all that is involved.

Purchasing power

Reduce the number of small orders for items that you know you will need ongoing. Consider ordering large quantities of packaging, non-perishable ingredients and other consistent operations-based items.

This can be a fine balancing act and ensuring that you are not left with unused or unusable raw materials or packaging inventory can be tricky, so be mindful of any upcoming external factors such as shipping delays, manufacturing delays or any other moving supplier timelines that may result in a disruption to the usual flow of business.

Dr Hazel MacTavish-West is CEO and founder of Seedlab Australia, the country’s only FMCG-focused business incubator and accelerator.