Small Business Consulting Services
With almost 15 years' experience as a successful restaurant owner-manager, Paul has come face-to-face with most of the common (and some not so common) problems and issues that confront all small business owners.
His methodical approach to fact gathering and research ensures that business decisions are based on the best available information. Armed with a keen analytical mind and a healthy dose of common sense, Paul crafts practical solutions to vexing problems that bring substantial results.
A proper business plan is the key to your business start up, survival and ultimate success. But that's only half the battle. Paul helps his clients implement their business plans. And he's there when things don't go quite as planned.
Utilizing his unique experience and expertise in accounting, tax, and hands-on restaurant management, Paul is a uniquely insightful restaurant consultant who has helped many restaurants develop business plans, adapt to change, and become more profitable.
If you fail to plan,
you plan to fail.
Whether you are starting a new business or taking over an existing one, you need a proper business plan. Developing a business plan helps you consider all major aspects of your business. No one can write a business plan for your business. You must be involved in every aspect, though Paul will guide you through the process.
Successful businesses always have one or more unique selling features. It could be your prime location, a product that no one else sells, or excellent customer service. For this, you need to do some research. On your market, your customers and your competitors. This is especially important for business start ups.
Now that you have a unique business concept, and your research, you can make sound marketing decisions. This involves determining the exact features of your products and services and how you will price them, to be competitive and profitable. You will also consider the best ways to promote your business, products and services, while keeping costs in mind.
You will need to give careful consideration to your operations. Will you be purchasing products for resale or will you be making them in-house? What staff skills and experience will be needed to carry out the plan? How much will they be paid? What facilities will you need and how much will they cost? For all activities, you need to consider the most efficient methods to employ.
Using your market research, estimate potential sales under a variety of possible scenarios (best case, worst case, most likely). Now, think about all of the resources needed to achieve these targets. How many salespeople? What training will be required? How much will the sales force cost? All of these figures will be incorporated in the financial forecast.
Paul always performs a comprehensive SWOT analysis when preparing business plans. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Ideally, your business should capitalize on any significant strengths, relative to the competition. Action should be planned to lessen the impact of any notable weaknesses.
Some opportunities just present themselves. Most, however, are the result of brainstorming ideas based on your well-researched market, customers and competitors. Promising ones should be incorporated into the business plan.
Every business needs to consider potential developments or events that could threaten its survival. Significant threats may include: a new competitor, a tax audit reassessment, a fire or flood, new government regulations or laws, start up cost overruns, key management departures, and many others.
Not only do you need to consider potential threats, you need to devise appropriate plans to mitigate losses that might be caused by these future events. Ideally, you will run "what if" scenarios in your financial forecasts, to ensure your business will be adequately financed, even if the worst case happens.
Financial Plan & Forecast
While developing the business plan, you will be testing the cash flow implications of different combinations of product features, costs, and pricing. You will be getting better estimates of major expenses, staff costs, and significant overhead costs, such as rent, property taxes and utilities.
Putting everything together, we prepare five-year monthly forecasts for the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flows. Contingencies are added, because forecasts are estimates that may change in the future.
Using the forecast cash flows, we are able to determine the approximate amount of funding required to ensure the business has sufficient cash flow to follow the business plan and pay its bills on time. If the business needs to raise funds to put the plan in effect, a financing plan will be developed and incorporated into the plan.
Final Business Plan
At the final stage, some additional information will be included about the company, management, organizational structure, professional advisors, and past financial results.
Your business plan should include the key objectives and goals of the business and a timeline. Businesses need to measure performance of key activities that will contribute to their success. These metrics, or KPIs, should be monitored regularly to ensure the business is following the courses of action set out in the business plan.
Too many restaurants fail within the first year or two. Restaurants are very complex businesses. Owners must exercise sound judgement in every aspect of the business - sales, marketing, operations, administration, finance, and human resources. On top of that, they must be strong leaders, able to translate their vision into reality.
Few owners have all of the skills and experience necessary to build a restaurant that consistently generates a profit and continues to grow. Even the best run restaurants have very low profit margins. In today's competitive environment, owners have little room for error.
Paul's restaurant consulting services help owners focus on the key activities driving their success. Based on years of hands-on experience as an owner-manager, Paul provides restaurant owners with expert advice and guidance to help them survive and grow.
Some of his restaurant consulting services include:
- Reducing Theft Losses
- Increasing Your Value Proposition
- Improving Teamwork/Culture
- Controlling Expenses
- Rationalizing Menus
- Developing KPIs for Success
- Creating Marketing Plans
Paul is a strong proponent of having a proper restaurant business plan to guide your start up and ongoing development and growth. Many restaurateurs neglect this step and live to regret it. Paul has developed many restaurant business plans that have successfully launched profitable and growing establishments.
Paul helps restaurant clients update their business plans to consider changes in the industry, such as a major increase in minimum wage about to happen in Ontario.
Paul's restaurant blogs provide extremely useful information for restaurant owners and managers about restaurant tax issues and restaurant profitability. You can find them here:
Canadian Restaurant Tax Advisor
You may wish to review the Restaurant Owners page on this site, too.
Expert Business Advice
Most small business owners don't have affordable access to the business expertise they need. As a result, opportunities are lost, minor problems turn into major (and costly) issues, and profitability suffers. In extreme cases, some small businesses go bankrupt. Paul S. Hewitt, CPA, CA aims to change this, by giving small business owners very affordable access to expert business advice.
As former owner-manager of restaurants, Paul has the hands-on management experience and knowledge to help any small business owner. He knows what it is like to struggle to meet a payroll, keep suppliers happy, and comply with all government regulations and taxes. He knows where and how to cut costs to make operations more efficient.
He has developed effective marketing plans to boost sales and increase the profitability of those sales. Paul has built high performing teams with low staff turnover. He has managed every aspect of small business operations for almost 15 years.
Paul truly cares about his clients and their businesses. He is always available (phone, email, text) to discuss your business, accounting or tax questions. Paul takes the time to really understand you and your business operations. He asks a lot of questions and listens to what you say. Only then can he provide you with practical advice that makes sense for your business.
It's always a good idea to have a trusted advisor with an objective point of view. Maybe you just want to bounce a few ideas around to see if they make sense. Often, these conversations uncover great new ideas and better ways to manage and grow your business.
Many clients would like to further investigate areas that would normally be included in a business plan. Examples include a SWOT analysis, a new marketing plan, implementing pricing changes, or employing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to improve their customer value proposition.
Need help with your business plan? Are you investigating a business start up? Get expert business advice with a complimentary initial consultation with Paul.