6 reasons your business has stopped growing

Every business owner or entrepreneur looks for growth. That growth is essential to protect against the loss of clients, or to increase the return from the business. No growth means that you are actually going backwards.

But, even with the best product a great team and awesome clients, your profits can seem to plateau and not grow the way you initially hoped or currently need.

There are a number of reasons for this, below we list out the six we most commonly see:

Not being different
People need a reason to buy from you and not your competitor. Brainstorm how you are different and then conduct marketing on how you stand out. Target a niche that puts a value on your difference and you will make more sales for less money.

If you can’t find a difference then look again at your product or service; how can you make it different and what differences will turn into sales?

Lack of procedures or controls
Initially business is manic. Boxing product on your kitchen table, and answering customer emails between feeding the baby. As the business grows this isn’t scaleable and so you find yourself unable to sell more, or dropping your standards.

By taking the time to set up process and controls you can make time efficiencies and so do more. These cold be as simple as email templates or linking you payment gateway to your accounting. Some of this you can even get a consultant to set up for you – there goes the excuse of “I’m to busy to change that”.

You have lost focus on the dream
When you started you were full of energy and were pushing to make your big ambitions come true. Initially that energy gave you a spurt of growth. But now, with the daily grind of accounting and paperwork and managing staff, you are focused on the now and not growing the business.

You need to look again at those goals and reset them with long-term and short-term objectives.

You haven’t revised your business plan.
We come across this all the time. The business plan you put so much effort into hasn’t been looked at for 6 months and definitely hasn’t been updated for the actual results.

The “old” plan won’t reflect everything you have learned so far and how the business has evolved. You need to refresh it to match it to the actual business performance and so prompt you to make decisions that promote growth. We recommend that you regularly re-read your business plan and support it with and actual versus budget cashflow.

Everything is done by you.
Early days of business mean saving money and getting it done quick. You may also want to learn key skills, so Facebook advertising, so that you can talk knowledgeably about it and fix problems. But there comes a point where you need to stop doing non-core parts of your business and focus on where you give most value.

That doesn’t mean not being involved. You still have a leadership role but you are not doing the actually doing. Get someone else to do that and so have an objective position where you see the whole picture and so can direct resources (and money!) more effectively.
This freeing up of your time and better visibility has massive effect on the business.

Price discounting
To grow business most of us drop prices. That lowers your margins and it’s hard to increase prices afterwards.
Look at ways of splitting up your service to be an easier price point for people to buy at. This may be a shorter subscription or a lower quantity. Alternatively find a way that you can add value to the client at a great profit margin for you. After service support, recurring sales. There are lots of options to explore and these can be part of the scenarios in your business plan and cashflow

If any of the above rings true, then give us a call to help. We can help you explore growth strategies, make plans with you, and even more importantly help implement them.

Semi Auto mail Chimp

Using MailChimp to manage your sales funnel

Save valuable time by having sales leads followed up on a semi-automated basis. The follow ups, the reminders, the request for feedback and for referral… the  reminder for a repeat session/sale.. Below we explain how we do it using a set of predetermined “lists” using MailChimp (though it will work with other providers too). This technique is good for lower volume businesses where you are getting swamped with the number of emails (and so losing leads by not following up!) but not at such a volume that you need to invest in an off the shelf automation package.

To make this all a bit clearer we have included a flow chart to show how a sales lead can move through the system.  

As always, please get in contact to learn how we can help you to make your business work harder for you. If you want more content on using MailChimp, please email us. 


First contact List. Use a contact form on the website and social channels to pull in enquiries. This could be for a specific offer or general enquiries. When an enquiry comes in (dependent on volume), contact them with an individual email based on a template but tailored to make it current and “alive”.
If you get into a proposal situation with them move to another list, ie your “Main List”.

Second Contact List. At the end of the week/month copy the First contact list into this list. This will be the people who haven’t got back to you; people you need to follow up on. Use MailChimp to send that follow up. Maybe it’s as simple as “your free session expires in 30 days”, an additional offer to encourage a reply or maybe it’s a fuller detail of your original service/product proposal. Either way, you are reminding and giving a call to action. As before, when you get into a proposal situation with them move to another list, ie your “Main List”.

Third/Fourth Contact etc List. Some people may have more follow ups. It all depends on the product and how much you want to push it. Three is four is what we see with clients. After that move the clients to the “Main List” and hope that something will come from the routine communications you send out.

Month Win List. When you sign a client, make a sale etc, duplicate/copy them to a list for that month ie “Wins May 2017”. You can use that in the future to target them for follow up, for example 3 months after a nutrition consultation to check in on results and further sessions.

Main List. This is where everyone ends up. Use it for product updates, offers, new staff and other such news.  

Note: Trello can be used throughout this and especially when in proposal to ensure you follow up with contacts. It’s great to automate this too with tools such as IFTTT and Trello Butler.

Sales funnel flow chart

Sales funnel flow chart


Go on… get in touch! This is just a taster of what we can bring to your business.


Setting up as a Sole Proprietor in Hong Kong

Setting up as a Sole Proprietor in Hong Kong is easy, and you do not need to pay someone to do this for you. You will save on the annual compliance costs of a Limited Company (for example: Company Secretary, Audit up to HKD2 million revenue) but you won’t have the liability protection a Company gives.


The way to set up as a Sole Proprietor yourself is as below:


1) Choose a name for the Business

This can be in English and/or Chinese, but shouldn’t imply it has limited liability or linked to the government etc. Naturally, you can’t infringe on trademarks etc either.


2) Take everything you need

Take your passport, HKID and any immigration documents you have with you. I always take copies too, just in case.


3) Go and fill in the form.

It’s easiest to go to Wanchai and fill the form in (black ink!) at the Inland Revenue office. Their address is: Revenue Tower, 4th Floor, 5 Gloucester Road. There is a Starbucks nearby and the Computer Centre is close too.

An example form is here – http://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/pdf/br_form1a_e.pdf


4) Hand in the form and pay the fee.  

This changes dependent on the Budget, but is very affordable. There are cash machines nearby, but they will accept PPS cards.


5) Wait for your certificate to be ready!

The staff are really helpful and will often give you an idea of how long it will take.


That’s it. You can now legally do business in Hong Kong. Many Companies will ask to see your certificate so it’s good to scan it in and have it saved to make sending it easier. You should also quote the number on your invoices. The Inland Revenue will send you a tax return at the end of the year, and you will also have to renew your registration annually.

Do you want to talk more about setting up in business? Worried about cashflows or business plans? Get in touch using the form below!


Avoiding audit costs for a dormant Hong Kong company

Avoiding audit costs for a dormant Hong Kong company – use our free downloadable form.


Annual Audit is a must for a Hong Kong company, even if you have had no transactions. That’s an annoying cost (and time hassle!) when your Company isn’t doing anything ie is dormant. It’s best practice to make your Company dormant and then you can avoid the audit requirement. This is a simple process and we are always surprised that more people don’t take advantage of it. 

It’s not just the Audit requirement you can remove. Whilst you need to submit the annual return for the year in which the Company becomes dormant, you don’t for future years.  You will need to keep paying the annual business registration fee, so don’t forget to do that.

You need to make sure you can say “no” to the below:

  • Have you any accounting transactions? An accounting transaction is anything but a payment the company is required to make under the Ordinance.

You should ask your Company Secretary to prepare this and have all shareholders sign it. They will then file it for you with the registry. Alternatively if you’d like to do this yourself then please drop your email in the box below and we will email you a template for you to fill in and do yourself if you want.

As always if you need help then please contact us and we can be your Company Secretary and do it for you; as part of the annual retainer fee with no extra charges. We will do everything for you in one package, changes of director, addresses etc etc.  Our fixed fees make sure you don’t get surprises.

We do this automation through the wonderful MailChimp. You will need to confirm your email subscription and then we will send the download to you. Please wait a few minutes after you confirm your email. Thanks!

Paperwork Finance Income Tax Forms Business

What our CFO’s do for you

What do you get when you get an on-demand CFO? Below we set out some of the typical areas we help clients. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you!



Do you know your cash, debtors and sales position without having to ask and wait for it? Do you get the information you need to make confident decisions quickly?

We have experience with a number of tools to improve your reporting and commercial decision making. This will include creating policies and procedures and implementing reporting systems and/or KPI management. By getting the right information at the right time you can focus on what is most important.



Do you have a budget? Has it been updated? Without defined goals you can’t measure success.

We can develop simple or complex models (and even link them to your accounting system for live reporting!) that will help you manage your working capital and make decisions around sales, pricing, inventory, financing and costs. Out of this we can create targets and KPIs to enable snapshot monitoring of the business and potential link to remuneration of key staff.


Do you know your business environment? Your business risks? Have you agreed your goals and set plans to achieve them?

Through a collaborative process we will turn your ideas and information into a documented strategy highlighting what is critical, the business risks and their avoidance/transfer/mitigation. These would then filter down into the the budgeting and planning process.


You can’t measure without a ruler! Or see the wood for the trees.

By creating sensible operational and financial KPIs staff/activities can be challenged and their performance monitored. This can drive various decision processes and serve as a score sheet for quick and easy management information to highlight areas for further investigation. We will help you create KPIs that motivate and not de-motivate the team.


Without cash the business will fail. Do you know what your cash forecast is for next month? Do you have tools to mitigate cashflow risk?

As well as using the budgets to forecast cashflow and update this on a timely basis to give short term and long term cash forecasts, we can also discuss and implement or alter financing arrangements to act as a bridge when there are timing issues.The sooner this is planned the better as when it is needed it is normally too late!


Do you have someone to use as a sounding board? Do the Founders or Board have a broad mix of experience?

Small and medium businesses have a lot of the same challenge as big business. With significant commercial experience across industries such as private equity, real estate, telco, SAAS, publishing, travel, F&B, manufacturing, retail and fashion, we can help you make suitable commercial decisions.


Want to talk more about this? Get in touch and let’s explore your needs and how we can help you.

Top 5 questions for starting a business

Congratulations, you have made the leap and decided to start a new business! It’s exciting times, and we would like to help you on that journey. Below are our top 5 questions for you to think about. Please contact us and we can talk them through with you.


  • What kind of structure will you use? Hong Kong has many, most relevantly Sole Proprietors and Limited Companies. You could even think about using an offshore company.
  • Do you have a plan? An idea is one thing but it is worthwhile documenting what you are going to do. This can be as simple as a route map or objectives with a timeline. A cashflow with variables is a challenge but is essential to work out selling prices, when you can spend money and what finance you need.
  • Do you have a visa? Expats need a visa to work in Hong Kong and that includes working in your own company. Getting this wrong will cause big problems later!
  • Who will look after the back office? Accounting, Invoicing, Payroll – all this admin can be a distraction from your key skills. Consider outsourcing it even if it is to decide on when to stop doing it yourself.
  • How will you reach your customers? What kind of marketing and/or outreach will you need and when will you do it? Do you already have a base of customers or contacts that you can build on?

The long and in-efficient way to think about this is to sit on your sofa and Google away. Or you could talk to multiple service providers who only want you to use their own services.

The quick way is to have a short no-obligation call with us. We will listen to your situation and explain how we can help. We have a pool of specialists who we can refer you too if we don’t do what you need. 

Get in contact below for a no obligation consultation

Contact us

Get in contact with us to discuss your needs and what we can do to help.

Drop us an email andy@ismymentor.com or give us a call +852 8191 0988

When you contact us we will:

  • Get back to you quickly
  • Listen to your needs
  • Explain some ideas of how we can help
  • Agree on next steps

Get in contact below for a no obligation consultation