Four essential things every business owner should evaluate today

Business Planning Meeting

As 2020 drew to a close, there was a collective sigh of relief as a very difficult year was (finally) done and dusted. But as we come to the end of the first month of 2021, it all feels a little bit ‘Groundhog Day’. It can be incredibly easy to keep your head down and charge forward looking for an ever-moving finish line, but if you take a breath and a step back, we would argue that now is an ideal time to take stock of a few things. This planning could prove invaluable in the long run so we’ve detailed four areas that we think business owners should evaluate. 

Funding 

We will bang on about this one until we are blue in the face – make sure you have enough cash in the bank. That probably means having more than you think you will need. There’s a good reason people say money makes the world go round, as, without it, you may not be able to act on opportunities that could be the making or breaking of your business. 

Once restrictions are (eventually) lifted, will you face a surge in demand? Is your supply chain ready for this and can you afford to pay them for the goods and services you will need? Can you afford to bring back furloughed staff? Will you face extra costs due to Brexit that you hadn’t anticipated?  

The reason it is so important to think about this now, is because the CBILS and BBLS are due to finish at the end of March, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. If you do need extra funding, these provide terms that are much more attractive than traditional loans. Naturally, demand for these loans will spike closer to the deadline, so we suggest getting in ahead of this if it’s something you do think you will need. Be prepared and get that application in. We can review your application for you to ensure you have the right figures and paperwork, meaning a better chance at getting accepted first time. This is especially important for the CBILS as the latest figures show that approval rates are just 44%, whilst the BBLS has an approval rate of 76%. 

We’re not saying get yourself or your business into unnecessary debt. We’re saying make sure you have the right funding in place for your situation. We offer a free financial health check, looking at your current financing, and offer suggestions on how you could improve. Contact Holly Andrews at holly.andrews@hboltd.co.uk for more information about this service.

Future plans 

One thing we’ve all learned over the past year is that uncertainty is the only certainty and 2020 shook the world of business like it’s never been shaken before. On the positive side, companies that were adamant working from home was impossible are implementing home working as a standard policy and furloughed employees found passions that weren’t their 9-5, many launching successful startups. But it also left some business owners questioning if the stress of running their business was worth the reward, prompting them to think about a change, whether that be a new career path or even retirement. 

With change comes opportunity. We’re seeing a lot of businesses for sale and lot of interested buyers, but don’t forget to look close to home too. A Management Buy Out (MBO) might be the perfect option, where you can pass on the business to someone you trust. 

It’s important to highlight here the impending end to Entrepreneurs Relief, possibly to be announced in the next budget. At the moment, small business owners might pay as little as 10% tax on the proceeds from sale of a business but when this ends it is likely to be 20% or higher. If selling your business is on the cards, bringing this forward a year or two may be better in the long run. 

Cash flow  

If you choose to only do one of these four things, do this one. Keeping tabs on your cash flow is so important. Without knowing where you are, you can’t possibly know where you can go.  

On a daily basis, look at what position you are in financially. Work closely with your financial controller, whether that be in-house or externally, and evaluate all money coming in and out. It’s important that you have a solid understanding of your current financial position. When you know exactly what position you are in, you can look at short term cash flow forecasting and see how you can adapt to any changes in revenue and costs that could affect your businesses as well as looking where you might be able to cut costs. 

If you use Xero or Quickbooks and have an up-to-the-minute view of your current financial position, you can link your account up to an app, like Fluidly, and use their scenario planner to see how changes will affect your short-term cash position. If you’re not using a cloud accounting system that is compatible with these tools, there are number of other options to help you control cash. Either way, contact our team to talk through your choices when it comes to managing your short-term cash flow. 

Your own wellbeing 

It might be a cliché, but there’s a reason you’re supposed to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Burnout is real and it’s becoming increasingly common, especially amongst business owners. The challenges that have been thrown their way, especially in certain sectors, have been unpredictable and have undoubtedly had a negative impact on the wellbeing of a huge proportion of the working population.  

When it comes to your business, lean on your accountant or business advisor. We are not just here for annual reviews or big one-off events when you need our expertise, we’re here for support. The worst thing you can do when it comes to tackling any challenges is bury your head in the sand. If you’ve got any concerns or worries about your business, give us a call.  

Whatever the plan, have a plan. This plan can be agile, and it can change when external factors require this, but it is so important to anticipate what you can in order to put yourself in the strongest position for survival.

Contact our team on 01926 422292 if you would like help planning for the rest of 2021 and beyond.

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