All of my clients will tell you that I am a big proponent of routines.
Regularly followed, there are a set of routines and accompanying reports that you and your staff can run to communicate status, solve problems and create the future.
Which reports? In my experience, these 6 Reports – which if run weekly – will solve issues proactively by providing you with time to implement solutions… before problems arise.
Technology Follows Technique
When implementing a reporting routine at your studio, it is tempting to think there is a solution already out there, e.g. the perfect app or website. We’ve tried them all and sadly, there is no magic bullet. After you sign up for free demos, try to get your whole team on board, then try to integrate technology into your systems, it will become frustrating. Once a routine becomes cumbersome, you lose the actual purpose of reporting: effortless communication and decision-making.
The reason this happens: routines are an Operations problem, not a technology problem. So let technology follow your process, not lead it. To make the routine work and produce timely, accurate reports, you simply need to decide how information will flow into each report and how the results will be communicated to create a bias towards action.
Tips to implementing successful routines
- We start all of our client studios with Google Sheets. Even though there are better solutions, spreadsheets are idiot-proof, customizable and collaborative. So as we build the routine, we can have the technology which readily follows the technique.
- Have a weekly meeting for each report with an agenda. (I prefer to use the report itself as the agenda.)
- Schedule wisely so everyone can attend and set aside enough time to get through the agenda.
- Don’t let the meeting get off track. These 6 reports should take only 10-20 minutes each week.
- Listen to the results and make decisions. If you can’t arrive at a decision in the meeting, change the routine to match the decisions you need to make.
The 6 Reports
1. Sales Projections
At RevThink, this is a close as our clients get to having a crystal ball. The more data you can collect on sales the more your will be able to predict the future. Make sure your sales report focuses weekly on new leads with an update on projected revenue for each lead.
2. Project Actuals and Projections
Your weekly production meeting should include a report listing all bidding, active, completed and closed jobs. The meeting quickly runs through each job to update everyone on:
- Job Name
- Current Actuals
- Projected Remaining Spend
- Status of Receivables
Make sure you ask questions to determine if the numbers are accurate, especially the Projected Remaining Spend. One big purpose of this meeting is to shift the direction of projects to ensure they will be profitable upon delivery.
3. Cash Flow
This is the most important routine report you should be running. Cash projections and decisions will help you stay our of trouble with your business relationships. It will also keep you honest as an owner and help you determine – far in advance – the decisions you need to make for your studio.
4. Accounts Payable
Review your financial obligations to make sure you are protecting your interests while being fair with your obligations to others.
5. Accounts Receivable
This report is you keeping your clients honest as you make sure they are paying their invoices on time. Don’t ever hand over deliverables without first receiving some payment. And be willing to call the client personally when they fall behind on their obligations. I always recommend you be flexible, but favor regular small payments than waiting for one big payment… that may never show up.
6. Company Budget (Projections vs Actuals)
At the start of every quarter, review your yearly projections and determine how you are performing (Actuals) compared to your expectations (Projections). This will help you stay on focus, call attention to changes in your operation, make adjustments to meet reality, and plan for the seasonality of our industry.
The Seven Ingredients
These reports are part of RevThink’s Seven Ingredients of a Creative Firm™. If you see an opportunity to improve your reporting system, we are here to help. Contact us and we would be happy to help you implement these routines at your studio.