Welcome to SSHED

We Make Small Businesses Bigger

SSHED is all about supporting YOU to grow your business. It consists of the following:

  • SSHEDprogram, an award winning business mentoring program providing advice, mentoring and accountability to help you grow your business and succeed. SSHEDprogram is supporting businesses from retailers in the Blue Mountains to manufacturers in Wollongong. The benefit of the program is it works for all businesses.

  • SSHED facility Loftus, 20 fully furnished offices available to all SSHEDprogram members wishing to relocate their businesses and become part of a dynamic business community. Each office comes complete with office furniture, high speed internet access, phone system, meeting rooms, car parking plus more.

  • SSHED Workshops, SSHED offers non-members Business Reality Workshops and also How to get the most out of your Forecast.  Find out more

Latest News

Know Your Numbers

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Know Your Numbers

Are these hard times for businesses or a good time to be a better business?  The fundamentals of running a successful business haven’t changed – you need to know your numbers!

HOBBY = hope for a financial return.  BUSINESS = plan for a financial return

Two things are certain in your business: last month's P&L; and today's Balance Sheet.  These show your current position.  Ahead of you are the unknown challenges and rewards.

A well-structured General Ledger is the foundation of a successful business.  Reporting, forecasting and planning rely on a strong base of comprehensive data which can only be found in the engine room of your business.

Is your Profit and Loss Statement in alphabetical order?  If so then it’s not giving you the management information you need.  Expenses should be grouped accordingly, to show your big cost centres.  $1 saved in expenses goes straight to your cash flow.  In a 10% net profit business, that dollar is equal to increasing sales by $10… nice odds

A well-structured P&L is one of your sharpest business tools.  Ensure that your variable costs and fixed costs live in their right places on the sheet. 

Do you know your monthly break-even?  Exceeding your break-even will give you the confidence that comes with the knowledge of sustainability.  Note:  As the principal, your breakeven MUST include your wages. Calculating your break-even from a well-structured P&L is easy and extremely useful.

One number lets you sleep at night! This magic number is this month’s sales forecast. Are you tracking well?  If so your budget and all your plans for the rest of the year are on track and attainable.  Those expenses you forecast i.e. website update, media campaign, new employee hire, capital equipment upgrade are still on track.  Stay focussed, go hard!  Your forecast tells YOU what you can do. Meet with yourself often.  Adjust the numbers.  Work on the shortfalls.  They are invaluable intelligence.  Celebrate the wins.

Turnover is vanity... whilst profit is sanity

The Science of Business is the P&L and the Balance Sheet... The Art is interpreting them.

Craig Doyle, Manager SSHED (Sutherland Shire Hub for Economic Development)

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Leap of Faith

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Leap of Faith…

How many times have you taken “a leap of faith”?  How did it feel?  What was the outcome?  What did you learn? What did you do from the experience?

Often we find ourselves in a position that needs a decision , or we see a decision point looming and we put it off… we find reasons to delay…  It’s not ready/not finished/not perfect.    A decision to release product to market, or publish a website, or decide on your new brand, is easier to put off than to hit the button.  The stark reality is that it will never be ready/finished/perfect!

Everyone has felt that sense of anguish taking the deep breath and stepping into the void.  That is because you have to change roles for the next stage.  You have been in the building/development mode up to this point.  You have settled into a routine.

If you are at that point where you can’t see much to be done, you have hit the point of diminishing returns.  That is, there is little to be gained for the extra time needed to “get it right”.  You’ve hit the hump.  From here on the more time you put in the less effective you become.

This is the point of change.  Don’t stall.  You are ready for the next stage.

Transition is easy for some and more confronting for the rest of us.  Embrace change.  Now it is time to break rhythm and move into new territory… step outside the nine dots… leave your comfort zone… smell the daisies… get the wind in your hair…

This is the time to present your baby to the world… the next stage of development.  It has to be passed to the “consumer” for road testing and to provide valuable feedback.  It needs to breathe clean air and benefit from strangers’ impressions.  After all, you did this for them so they can appreciate its value and reward you appropriately.

Feedback improves it.  Market intelligence is gold… it’s free advice on how to improve your baby.  You don’t have the information/knowledge to make it perfect because it is not yours anymore.  You built it for someone else.  So they are the best to determine how good it is.  And now your job is to listen and improve.

The judgment we are frightened of, is actually advice.  You can’t buy this.

The process is cyclic:

  • Design
  • Build
  • Test
  • Release
  • Listen
  • Modify
  • Release; listen; modify… … …

You wear many hats and make many changes along the way.  Don’t be afraid to leap and make mistakes… Learn quickly and adjust.

This is not to say that you don’t make contingency plans.  Identify: best case; likely case; and worst case scenarios and make plans.  When one of these is presented you won’t be surprised.  You are already prepared to act effectively.

Celebrate the failure or success (the change).  Identify the valuable lessons and benefits.  Quickly decide the next actions… revert; change; continue.

You have stepped up to the next rung… ready for the next challenge… this feels great!!!

Fall over… step up… if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.

“Making mistakes is part of the process of building a company; quickly recovering from them is what's most important”

Richard Branson

Craig Doyle – Business Advisor   SSHED Manager

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I'm looking at my business in a completely different way and already I've made significant strategic changes to how I operate on the advice of my mentor and am seeing positive results.  I can't recommend the SSHED program highly enough. I'm thrilled to be a part of the Program and am really looking forward to what we can do together.

Rock-A-Bye Baby