A successful business doesn’t stop and start with a good idea. One of the single-most-important ingredients to growing an emerging venture is planning ahead. Having a solid action plan for the entire financial year and beyond enables start-ups to identify and mitigate problems ahead of time.
“Not having a well-thought-out strategy for when the unexpected hits, over and above financial constraints, is a key reason why small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to grow,” says Karl Westvig, CEO of Retail Capital. Besides providing working capital to help smaller companies expand, the Fintech recently launched its SME Planner.
“This new online tool gives small business owners tangible tips for every month of the year on how to identify bottlenecks and strategize around them,” he says. “Our SME Planner also advises on how to deal with setbacks, before and when they occur, whilst making the most of the highs that come onto business owners’ paths.”
January – Know Your Audience
The first month of the year should be about assessing the solutions your product or service is providing, to ensure you are still relevant to your customers. Their needs might shift so see if there are new audiences to explore.
February – Sort Out Your Books
Accounting, when not done right, can cost you big time. A cloud-based accounting platform helps you streamline your internal financial processes, from invoicing to inventories and salaries, making your bookkeeping tasks more time and cost-efficient.
March – Budget For Emergencies
Plan for the unplanned. Besides the money coming in and recurring expenses, your budget needs to make space for any unforeseen costs. This will help you deal with financial setbacks without putting too much pressure on your company’s cash flow.
April – Take A Break
Even the busiest entrepreneurs need to recharge their batteries. Burning out may cost you your business. A month with so many public holidays, so plan much-needed quality time with friends, family and other people who have your back unconditionally.
May – Knowledge is power
It is important to keep your ears on the ground. Being in the know allows you to prepare for, for instance, labour unrest and policy changes. Attend any relevant events, conferences and other gatherings to stay current. Plan at least one type of event per month.
June – Stay Compliant
Non-compliance can cost you your business so make sure your SARS, company registration, VAT, Department of Trade and Industry and other legal and regulatory boxes are checked and double-checked.
July – Upgrade And Replace Your Systems
Remaining current from an infrastructure perspective is important. Invest in new and maintain your current equipment and update old software, IT and bookkeeping systems. This can be costly, but it is necessary to make your business run smoothly.
August – Treat Your Staff
Your most important asset is your team, so set some resources aside to boost their personal and professional well-being. Staff members who feel invested in and appreciated will work hard and stay loyal to your business. Spending money on your team is an investment, not an expense.
September – Check Your Website
See whether your company website still does the job and if all information is up to date. The same counts for any online profiles. These serve as the online face of your business and are, therefore, your first point of contact with current and new customers, suppliers and investors.
October – Raise Funds
Not having access to enough capital can have a severe impact on your company, particularly when unexpected expenses occur. Use this month to apply for working capital to cover any additional costs, such as an expansion drive, without jeopardizing your cash flow.
November – Plan Next Year’s Plan
The year isn’t over but start looking at the year ahead by forecasting your working capital requirements. Waiting for the new year to plan your finances means you’re already behind schedule. Planning a plan takes time.
December – Boost Your Social Media Strategy
With the incredible increase of the online sale of products and services, no business can afford to not have a strong digital presence. Social media is helping attract customers and grow sales, so boost your social media campaign, particularly with the looming holidays.
Since 2011, we have provided businesses with innovative, flexible and convenient alternatives to traditional business loans. Business owners still identify access to working capital as the single biggest challenge that they are faced with. Being responsible for 50% of the country’s GDP and contributing to over 65% of employment, we are devoted to partnering with small to medium-sized businesses to grow the South African economy. This is where we can help and we are proud to have partnered with more than 15,000 SMEs in providing funding of more than R2.5b billion to date.