Confidence is starting to increase in the business community again, so take that momentum and let it propel you into planning mode because the head in the sand mentality is not the way to get ahead this year.
BE OPTIMISTIC, BUT REALISTIC
Your budget projections for 2021 shouldn’t be based on your last few weeks of sales. While your business might have been going well in the late stages of 2020, it’s not wise to think of this as your 2021 baseline.
Go back and look at your books in January 2020 and the same period in 2019, and with that information in hand take a conservative approach for the year ahead.
Don’t forget to budget for the capital expenditure you’ll need for 2021. Is there a new shop fit that you need? Or a new asset that you require? The Government has an incentive to be able to write off the full value of (eligible business) assets. So you could buy a new vehicle for your business, for example, and write that off at tax time.
Read more about the government’s instant asset write-off scheme here.
MAKE DATA-BACKED BUSINESS DECISIONS
Business owners should be encouraged to take the time to learn about the data behind their products/services – this helps you to estimate your future sales and plan accordingly.
Analyse the business data and look at the trends – if you have that predictability, it gives you confidence. Businesses can utilise data by analysing patterns and facts from these insights, and utilising them to develop strategies and activities that benefit the business in a number of areas.
What strategies implemented in the past went well, and why did they go well?
HAVE A RAINY DAY FUND
This means setting aside cash at the start of the year to ensure you have a healthy rainy-day fund; something you can draw from if you land on tough times.
2020 taught us many things, particularly being prepared for the unexpected.
Businesses who are able to put away a few months’ worth of cash can be the saving grace in an unexpected situation. Even though you may have ambitious growth plans, don’t touch this because you need to balance your growth objectives with your safety net.
INVEST FOR GROWTH
Setting yourself up with a rainy day fund is a smart idea, but it’s equally as smart to invest in areas of your business that will generate more funds down the line.
Software is an important one, particularly the prominence of moving away from having a server running in a backroom somewhere and into cloud computing. Strategically invest in the digital side of the business.
Being strategic about your people resources is also crucial. Be smart about how you’re hiring people. Thinking more creatively about employment, consider if a consultant could help instead of a full time employee. It might cost you a little bit more on a day rate, but you have the ability to ramp it up or down depending upon how your workflow is at the time.
GET AN ACCURATE READ ON YOUR CASHFLOW
Good cash flow management comes down to having a robust accounting system in place. Having a financial adviser and trusted external accountant is also important, but that’s no reason to steer clear of understanding your finances. If you’re a small business owner, you have to monitor your cash flow on a daily basis.
Having cash reserves is really important. Put clear strategies in place to manage how you’re paid. For example, if you’re working with a company that has extended payment terms, put in place an invoice finance facility ahead of time.
If you need advice for your business amid the myriad of changes, speak to a trusted adviser such as an accountant, financial adviser or lawyer. Seeking trusted advice early can help you to better understand your options for the year.
Want to start 2021 with confidence? Find out how an Apricity Finance invoice finance facility could help put you in control of your business finances, giving approved applicants access to their funds faster.