In a context where profits are harder than ever, here are the secrets of “making” a strong profitability.
Ten principles that Thierry Denjean, an accountant and entrepreneur, applies and recommends.
1 – Stick to your strategy
“To build a profitable business, the first rule is to define a well-thought-out strategy … and then to stick to it! Too many entrepreneurs to backtrack and change course when the chosen policy does not pay off immediately.
After working for a few years in large auditing and accounting groups, Thierry Denjean chose to fly on his own. In 1992, he created his structure, Denjean & Associés. Twenty years later, it has 70 employees and is characterized by excellent performances. The firm Denjean & Associés is thus ranked third most profitable French accounting and auditing firm by the magazine La Profession comptable.
The latter, on the pretext that they have difficulty selling to the large companies that constitute their preferred target, decide, for example, to turn to SMEs. Or they are abandoning their international development strategy when faced with unexpected complications … It is a mistake: if you have defined a sound policy at the outset, there is no reason to change. Experience shows that a good strategy always ends up paying. Then persevere! “
2 – Suggest quality
“It is impossible to build a profitable business in the long term by adopting a policy based on a low-cost strategy. A company that is able to differentiate itself primarily from lower prices than the market can compete with And the products or services it offers are standard products or services, its customers will instantly let it go to the benefit of the first new entrant, aligning more competitive tariffs.
Morality, whatever your activity, quality is your only real asset in the face of competition. If you are obsessed with providing quality products or services, you will see the benefits on the bottom line of your income statement! “
3 – Be obsessed with margin
“Today, business leaders are almost all obsessed with the growth of their turnover, for a number of reasons: First, for a manager, it may seem more The company has the means to occupy its teams and avoid the specters of short-time working Of the redundancies.To these factors is added the pressure of the banks: the bankers do not appreciate that a company presents annual accounts with a turnover identical to that of the previous year, or even decline …But let us say it loud and clear: these are fallacious arguments by which entrepreneurs should not be trapped. For what must obsess you is not your turnover, but your margin! In other words, it is imperative that you focus on generating only high-margin revenue. For this purpose, you must regularly review your customer portfolio, in order to check that each one brings you sufficient profitability . If you do not make enough money with a client, tell them clearly, and tell them you can not continue working under these conditions. He refuses to pay more? Do not procrastinate and end your business links …
I advocate reiterating the analysis of your client portfolio every semester, and even every quarter if that is possible. “
4 – Outsource your IT
“IT is a job with which you can lose a lot of money without realizing it.” Why? Because a manager feels that he knows a little about his company’s information system, he will be able to procure hardware and software at low prices and that he will easily master his loads if the computer is managed internally, which I myself have long thought … wrongly!
Indeed, by carefully studying the IT outsourcing market, one realizes that resorting to a provider is cheaper than having an IT department in the company. On condition that you agree to spend time defining your objectives and needs, bidding, receiving service providers, comparing proposals, and negotiating rates … But the game is worth it the candle. At Denjean & Associés, we did this three years ago, and since then, our IT expenses have been divided by four! In addition, our information system has gained in security and reliability: unlike before, it never goes out of business. In short, we have won everything in this outsourcing. Money,
5 – Develop telecommuting
“Today, in the workplace, people work badly. Everyone is constantly being subjected to solicitations that prevent him or her from concentrating: phone calls, meetings, colleagues who come to discuss or offer to go for a coffee, superiors Hierarchies wanting to make an urgent situation on a file, etc. If you sum up these different elements and add the fatigue generated by the journeys between the home and the workplace, you get … One of the solutions to solve this problem is to set up an organization giving way to teleworking.This must be organized between the parties with the full agreement of the employees: in no case can an employee be forced to work remotely.
In addition, the employer must bear the cost of the computer station and the means of communication established between the employee and the company. The aim of telework is not to transfer certain costs from the company to the employee, but to allow the employee to work in better conditions and more efficiently! In our office, we test this system with some of our staff who work part-time at home, one or two days a week. This organization allows them to enjoy the benefits of telecommuting while preserving their connection with the company. Now, we are in the process of thinking with the staff delegates in order to offer the same possibility to all our employees. “
6 – Optimize your training budgets
“Each year, all companies have to contribute to the national training effort by paying a certain percentage of their wage bill to an approved collecting body (Opca), which all SME managers know. , is that by doing well they can make a great profit from their dues for training.
Indeed, the law stipulates that, in return for its payments, the company has the right to finance, in due course, training actions for its employees. However, every year, very many SMEs contribute without using their financing rights and the Opca find themselves with surpluses of funds that only ask to be granted … Thus, an SME leader who makes himself known to his Opca and establishes a relationship of trust and partnership with his / her training advisor can finance the training actions of its employees beyond the funds it has paid!
We recommend that companies submit their training plan annually to their OPCA advisor. If the amount of this plan exceeds their annual subscription, this is an opportunity to request a supplementary budget! In general, OPCAs present the file to their management and the applicant can obtain budgetary extensions of up to 50% if the file is motivated and accepted. This is an enormous asset if we consider that employee training is a major profitability issue for the companybecause it is a source of both employee motivation and the quality of products and services … “
7 – Retain your team
“A constantly renewed team is very expensive, and separating an employee is expensive, recruiting someone to replace him, and disorganizing the company and discrediting it towards its clients. and the importance of employee loyalty. Beyond wage increases, which is sometimes impossible to grant in an SME, the entrepreneur can use different motivational tools. Starting with the participation and profit-sharing that employees are very fond of. They also greatly appreciate being offered vocational training that will increase their employability: language courses, business software training, career management training … Finally, all the initiatives that the manager can take to create a Good atmosphere in the company are welcome! “
8 – Place your cash well
“SME executives believe that their company’s treasury is bound to remain in a bank account or to be placed in a Sicav treasury, and that any company – with the consent of its shareholders – has the right To invest its cash surplus in off-the-shelf financial vehicles. Our strong profitability in 2011 resulted mainly from the fact that we received significant financial income by placing our cash in a portfolio of I advise any SME with a mattress of liquidity to place a portion of it on these bonds, which present virtually no risk and easily pay 5% per annum! “
9 – Surround yourself with advice
“As a public accountant, I might consider that I am sufficiently informed to make decisions on my own. But five years ago I wanted to do without a lawyer to solve a complex tax problem, Since I have realized that when you have specific operations to do, using good advice can save you a lot of money.It is true that the services of a good tax or legal expert Of business has a cost, but this cost is more than offset by the savings that a specialist allows you to realize thanks to the mastery of sophisticated mechanisms you did not know until the existence … “
10 – Frequent competitors
“For fifteen years, I have completely neglected to build and maintain interprofessional relationships in my industry, and I thought meeting with competitors for lunches or cocktails could not bring me anything. , I was wrong.
In reality, every entrepreneur has an interest in frequenting his colleagues . Why ? Because experience shows that your competitors, if they have a good image of you and your company, will become your prescribers at the moment when their customers will solicit them for products or services that they can not provide them. Of course, you will have to make sure to return the lift to them whenever possible! “