With the festive season well underway we take a look at why it can be a challenging time for SMEs and share our top 5 tips on how to manage cashflow during the Ho-Ho-Holidays.
The SME’s Scrooge at Christmas – cashflow!
Christmas can be a magical time of year and a great time for small businesses.
Last year, an article by the Guardian detailed that over 20% of the year’s revenue for small businesses is taken during this period. Despite this, it is also a challenging time as the increased revenue puts these very businesses under huge pressure as they work at capacity to meet the high demands.
Christmas is therefore a very tricky time for cashflow, as whilst your sales may be increasing, your costs are likely to rise too. Everything from more staff to inflated stock purchases and even Christmas parties and holiday pay must all be considered during this important period.
Combine all of these factors and business owners soon find themselves with less time for admin, less time for chasing payments and less time for making those stock purchases.
It’s also important to remember that other businesses are experiencing similar challenges too, and some of those businesses may well be your customers, resulting in late payments which will negatively impact your cashflow at a critical time.
So, how can you prepare and manage a healthy cashflow over these next few weeks?
5 top tips to keep your cashflow off the naughty list this year:
- Monitor cashflow – if you don’t use business accounting software to manage the business’ finances then consider doing so now. There are plenty of platforms on offer which can help give you an overview of cashflow cycles, anticipate shortfalls, identify weaknesses and even identify opportunities.
- Budget – drafting a clear and achievable budget will only help you keep on track. Frequent monitoring and comparison with your cashflow forecast will ensure any shortfalls in revenue or increases in costs are identified at the earliest possible stage. This way you can take necessary action and make provisions if needed.
- Collecting invoices – invoice as soon as the work is completed and don’t let this vital admin task fall by the wayside as a result of the hectic festivities surrounding you. Delaying your invoice delivery means delayed payment. Given that it is holiday season many businesses will be short staffed which could further delay cash in. One way to beat delayed invoicing could be to offer discounts for quick payments. Discounting an invoice by 5% may encourage some debtors to pay quicker than normal. Meanwhile, if you owe money to suppliers make full use of the credit terms on offer.
- Stock – do you have enough stock to meet demand? It is likely that you will have certain items that sell better than others so make sure you are well stocked for the period ahead. After all, if you are out of stock the customer will only go elsewhere.
- Plan ahead – it is important to consider the costs associated with the Christmas period. Holiday pay requirements will play a part as well as those all-important Christmas parties! Also, preserve your cash and think about what you can possibly put off until the new year such as maintenance, decorating and repairs.
Bolster your business finances during the festive period
If you think your business needs a short-term buffer the chances are your main bank will not be able to arrange this in time.
But fear not! There are plenty of alternative lenders that specialise in arranging finance without fuss. From flexible overdrafts alternatives, single invoice financing and quick business loans there are many ways that you can prepare despite the tight timescales.
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So, between now and January make sure you monitor your budget, ensure stock levels are where they need to be, keep one eye on cashflow and, if needed, secure that financial support sooner rather than later.
And of course aside from all of that…throw a big Christmas party for your team, send sales through the roof and be sure to take time out to relax with family and friends!
Merry Christmas from all of us at BIZL!
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