Small business finance: a new approach
News headlines today are all too often associated with the financial services industry, particularly finance. The difficulty obtaining finance coupled with low consumer confidence, inflation and GDP growth, is putting real pressure on business owners, especially small business owners. The issue here is, there is no silver bullet. Our only suggestion, DELAYED GRATIFICATION.
What do we mean by that?
Most small businesses are running a lean operation and need to be agile to capture opportunities as they arise. To date, the response to most opportunities and obstacles has been to borrow your way out of it: borrow for growth, borrow for convenience, borrow to buy stuff to save on year-end tax… you’re probably noticing a theme here.
We’re not suggesting there is no place for borrowing, but we do want to draw attention to the fact that most small businesses have a haphazard (or no) strategy in place – which ends up poorly financed and can be costly in more ways than just financially.
In using the term delayed gratification, what we mean is having a more systematic approach to business strategy:
- Take time to discuss where you want to take your business with your key business stakeholders.
- Discuss your future opportunities and threats.
- Agree on a continued direction for the business and flesh out the key numbers for this.
- Match your operational capacity against these planned numbers, and please, build in some slack by being conservative.
The clearer you can be on what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it and what you need to get there, the more successful you are likely to be. And, to bring in the two magic words, delayed gratification will be key to this process. Sometimes the best result comes from taking your time getting there.
The best definition of success that I have come across is “the progressive realisation of worthwhile, pre-determined goals.” The goals you work hardest for are the ones you savour the most. The outcomes that fall in your lap quickly become anecdotes you roll out when bored.
Think about saving for new equipment rather than financing it. Utilise in-house skills to develop your marketing plan rather than spending big on a flashy website. Talk to your potential clients about new products or offerings, before you commit to a prototype, even let them commit to buying the first prototype before you start developing it.
Establishing a sense of delayed gratification in your business will take discipline. It will frustrate you at times. But more importantly, it will be far more likely to provide you with a business that is successful and sustainable over the long-term.
Panorama Business & Financial love hearing about your goals, and we love helping you put in place plans to get you there. Book an appointment today to let us help you map out your pathway to success.