Despite numerous diagnoses and audits, the new manager will only fully understand the functioning of his company by being as close as possible to employees, customers and suppliers. The first measures of the entrepreneur are very often commercial, financial and human in nature.
As soon as you arrive, you will need to take note of a number of pieces of information in order to make decisions with reactivity and be informed of the various situations in progress before starting talks with your external partners.
Before meeting customers and suppliers, and being confronted with possible negotiations for an increase in the cost of materials or a reduction in the selling price, you will need to familiarize yourself with various accounting and financial elements.
– The cost price of the products : if analytical accounting exists in the company, find out about the cost price: What are the direct, indirect, fixed and variable costs? What is the current breakeven point? What are the most expensive products? The most profitable? Which are the most sold and why?
– WCR management : customers and suppliers will want to negotiate payment terms. Are you interested in the constitution of the BFR: What is the average time of flow of stocks? What is the collection period for trade receivables? And supplier debts?
– Inventory Audit : what is the current stock status? Are there commercial operations to be planned to dispose of the remaining quantities?
– Customer receivables management : Which customers have not yet paid? Are there agreements with these customers? Are the clients properly followed up?
Get to know the company’s customers by name (where possible, particularly in a BtoB relationship) and the points of view of the sales representatives on each of them.
– The business meeting : prepare salespeople for your development projects and listen to their arguments on your proposals. In addition, ask them about the particularities of customers and suppliers that are good to know. Ask the sales people what additional resources are needed to carry out their missions. ask them back
– The sales pitch : does the company have a product catalogue? Does the current sales pitch satisfy salespeople? Should training be considered?
– The mode of remuneration : Is it suitable for motivating salespeople?
After having toured the company, you will probably have noticed the absence of certain materials for the comfort of the employees. Whether it’s a desk, an armchair, a computer screen, a keyboard, a microwave, a table in the break room, take the time to list what could be changed to improve the ergonomics of workstations employees and the business environment.
#1. Show yourself to be very active as soon as you take up your position with your collaborators: start by listening to them and by involve to your development projects.
#2. Take an interest in company management indicators (costs, commercial policy, discounts, tariffs, etc.) in order to be ready for future meetings with partners.
A financial analyst, Sébastien Ristori has been in turn general manager and financial consultant for VSEs and SMEs. He teaches strategy, finance and entrepreneurship at the University of Corsica and at Kedge Business School. This text is an extract from “The keys to business takeover”, published by Ellipses editions in April 2021, 288 pages, 19.90 euros.