5 Jun 2018, 09:33 — 6 min read
Summary: The new financial year is in full swing. Strategic financial planning will create a higher likelihood for your Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) to achieve its goals. Read on for Rahul Kharnokhya’s tips on how to come up with a winning financial strategy.
The new financial year is a very important time for SMEs. There is inevitably a crunch at the end of the previous fiscal year. Following that, it is a good idea to gather your team and plan for the new financial year while discussing learnings from the past. At the highest level of the organisation, business owners should gather together and take stock of the company’s finances and establish a strategy for the new year. Taking charge of finances from the outset can set the tone for a positive and profitable year ahead.
Indeed, celebrating the new financial year can become an ongoing ritual for SMEs as it also helps establish a stronger workforce with a refined drive towards the company’s vision. Here are some practices for SMEs to create a financial strategy.
1. Set financial goals
Whether your financial goals are numerical or tangible, they should be defined in a manner that lets you evaluate if they can be achieved or not. These can be long-term, such as profitability, margins, sustained cash flows, etc. that may not be accomplished over the span of the financial year ahead or specific goals that are short-term.
For example, a retail store that has rented a space might learn that the building owner plans to sell the building eventually, and intends to acquire the space for further expansion. For a smooth sale without depleting the working capital, the retailer should have a clear sense of the cost of down payment, mortgage and additional costs. Based on this, they can create a strict budget for the year and stick to it. Another option is to avail collateral-free finance options such as Term Finance or Merchant Cash Advance that offers flexible modes for repayment.
2. Evaluate the scope of debts
The beginning of the year is the best time to assess the debts that you might have accumulated over the past years. Start by weighing each of your existing loans based on its cost, interest rate and other subsidiary factors such as pre-payment penalty. Always ensure that the loan with the highest ticket size is repaid first.
Business finance is not often a liability-encountering measure, but also an instrument for growth, expansion and diversification of your business. If you have a promising business opportunity at hand and are reluctant to accept it due to a shortage of funds, this is when you should consider availing business finance.
3. Improve book-keeping
Unorganised compilation of financial records is the most recurrent theme for SMEs who let go of trickling financial losses, only to discover a gaping hole in its wake. Unexpected, unrecorded cash expenses often eat their way into the profitability of a business, resulting in a long-lasting impact that might take several years to recover from.
It is integral to maintain records of operational and financial performance, and the method you adopt to maintain these play a major role in determining the accuracy of the data. If you have been managing business accounts on your own, it is advised that you hire an experienced tax accountant or opt for an enhanced accounting software this fiscal year. This will keep you free to focus on other tasks, with the assurance that you one step closer to higher profits.
4. Plan for new partnerships
Large corporations can perform the role of different stakeholders to an SME; they can assume roles as business partners, product distributors or customers. Contrary to conventional belief, small businesses have much to gain by associating with bigger businesses that operate differently from the way the SMEs function. This ensures that the partnership remains fruitful for both the entities involved, and avoids situations where they find themselves competing with each other. If you feel that your enterprise will benefit from such a collaboration to supplement time, logistical organisation and resources, the new financial year is when you can make that move.
5. Identify a new customer base
For any SME, extending the outreach of your brand to a wide demography of consumers is instrumental to evolve into a larger organisation. If you envision a steady rate of growth, what best time to target a brand new audience than the start of the financial year? You can also think of ways to improvise your product or service for a high-potential customer segment that is less exposed to competition. At the end of the day, this is an exercise that promotes out-of-the-box thinking.
A sound financial budget prepared with the above points in mind ensures that you are better prepared to face the new fiscal year. Also, it gives you an edge over your competitors on several fronts, and getting a business finance partner for your needs becomes much simpler when you are armed with a well articulated plan.
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Posted byRahul Kumar Kharnokhya