The SME Guide to Managing Business Finances over the Festive Season

The SME Guide to Managing Business Finances over the Festive Season

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The latest guide in our Business High Five series, The SME Guide to Managing Business Finances over the Festive Season, is an overview of how seasonal businesses can improve their business finance operations over the festive season.

 

Download our complete guide to Managing Business Finances over the Festive Season

 

 

In this guide, your SME will be able to make use of insights on:

 

  • The importance of managing finances during the festive season  
  • Understanding how the festive season impacts your industry 
  • Start preparations early  
  • Tips to manage your cash flow during this time
  • Leveraging business funding

 

 

The Importance of managing finances during the festive season

The festive season can be a very rewarding or challenging time of the year for businesses. Depending on the industry, or type of product, it can be the biggest sales opportunity for some and it can come to a standstill for others. If it’s peak season, having enough working capital ready to take advantage of the increased demand to meet your targets, purchase sufficient inventory, hire new staff or invest in marketing becomes a key area of focus.

Our guide shares insight on options you can explore depending on the seasonality of your business and how the festive season impacts it.

 

Understanding how the festive season impacts your industry

During this time there are many strategies that can be put into place to manage changes and importantly, manage a positive cash flow. So while different strategies will work for different businesses, the one thing all businesses will need is a cash flow forecast.

Learn more about how a forecast can help you keep track of you cash flow.

 

 

 

Start preparations early 

The nature of your business makes for distinct approaches to consider when preparing to manage your finances during the festive season. You might need more strategic financial planning to meet responsibilities. Consider the tips we’ve shared in the guide to help start your preparations.

 

Tips to manage your cash flow during this time

From lengthening payment terms, which can cause a lag through supply chains, to slow business activity drying up income theres much to consider during the festive season for seasonal businesses. While everyone prepares to celebrate, business owners might find themselves preoccupied with ensuring that cash flow shortages don’t hinder the progress of their business over the festive season.

We’ve shared cash flow management techniques that are proven to assist with these seasonal challenges.

 

 

Related: 4 Ways to improve your business’s cash flow 

 

 

Leveraging business funding 

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may need a financial back-up plan. Learn more of the options you can explore in our latest guide.

 

Download the full SME Guide here.

 

What can delayed repayment funding do for your business? 

To help SMEs get the funding they need to grow their business sooner, rather than later, we’re offering a delayed repayment option to our customers. So if you apply for funding before the end of November 2021, you won’t have to start repaying until 11 January 2022.

 

Understanding the benefits of Bridging Finance

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Bridging finance can be used by business owners for a range of purposes. Particularly when they need a quick cash flow injection. It’s a form of business finance that works as a cash advance and helps to bridge that gap in your cash flow. With bridging finance you can cover costs immediately while waiting for an expected cash boost. 

Definition

Bridging finance is any type of short-term financing arrangement intended to cover a business’s cash flow gaps until it can arrange for longer-term financing. This type of financing is generally needed to fund a business’s operational needs and is usually in the form of working capital.  It can be particularly handy when expanding your company or premises or when there is a project that requires you to have immediate cash flow but only pays out later.

 

5 Ways that Bridging Finance can help your business

  • Fast access to finance to boost cash flow
  • Provides a buffer in between receiving payments from customers
  • Gives options of flexible repayment options 
  • Can prevent financial loss for seasonal business needing to purchase stock mid-season to make profit 
  • Allows you to buy out a difficult partner

Types of Bridging Finance that are useful for business owners to know

 

  • Closed bridging finance: Is available for a fixed period of time (generally a few months) agreed on by the lender and borrower. It tends to be more accessible as the lender has a higher level of certainty when it comes to repayment of the loan.
  • Open bridging finance: Has no fixed date for repayment. This can be a desirable option for businesses who don’t know when they will be accessing the funds needed to pay off the loan. The interest rates tend to be higher because of the higher level of uncertainty around the repayment.
  • Debt bridging finance: Is when a business takes out temporary finance to cover short-term costs while awaiting finance. The loan serves as a bridge as it connects the borrowing company to debt capital. For this type of debt, it’s important to understand what interest you’ll be paying so you don’t exacerbate any existing financial difficulties.
  • Equity bridging finance: This is when businesses seek capital from venture capitalists to avoid high interest debts. For example, a venture capitalist firm might provide a business with capital in the form of a bridging finance round to tide them over while they raise equity financing. The borrowing business might then offer the lending firm equity ownership in exchange for funds.

 

Related: 5 Reasons why access to business funding is important 

 

Common uses of Bridging Finance 

  • Helpful for quick access to cash for a down payment.
  • Purchasing new equipment that is priced above the amount of cash on hand available to a business
  • Covering essential operational costs (such as salaries) during temporary dips in cash flow 
  • If you’re a seasonal business, it can help sustain cash flow during low season

 

Related: The SME Guide to Understanding your Financial Health 

 

Apply for Bridging Finance with Lulalend

We have solutions that offer your business a cash flow boost when you need access to funds sooner rather than later. We offer bridging finance that is unsecured, and easily accessible within 24 hours. We also offer the option to settle early without having to worry about penalty fees.

 

The SME Guide to Understanding Your Financial Health

The SME Guide to Understanding Your Financial Health

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

The latest guide in our Business High Five series, The SME Guide to Understanding your Financial Health, is an overview of how you can improve your business finance operations.

 

Download our complete guide to Understanding Your Financial Health

 

In this guide, your SME will be able to make use of insights on:

 

  • The Importance of understanding your financial health 
  • What does financial health look like for SMEs 
  • How is SME financial health measured 
  • Common mistakes to avoid for the best possible financial health
  • Services, Tools and Tech available to help

 

 

The Importance of understanding your financial health

All the decisions you’re making for your business impact your bottom line. It’s important to regularly review the financial status of your business to make sure you’re on the right track and to help with future decisions.

When a business is financially healthy it’s more likely to succeed. Every business needs internal financial controls to help ensure its money is properly managed. While outsourcing experts and using financial technology can be a good idea, it’s also best for you to know how to protect your bank account and your assets. 

 

What does financial health look like for SMEs

The “financial health” of an SME is open to interpretation, depending on the industry, the stage of the company’s journey or the challenges it has faced. But there are some proven metrics that business owners, leaders, investors and other stakeholders can use to objectively assess the health of any company. Implicit in the financial health concept is the question of whether a business has “healthy” income, cash flow statements and a sound balance sheet.

 

Related: 5 Reasons why access to funding is important 

 

 

How is financial health for SMEs measured

 

There is no standard set of metrics for determining an SMEs financial health, as most small businesses are privately held and are not required to release official financial results to the public. The good news though is that there are some well established methods to measure a smaller organisation’s health. Learn more about the most important indicators by downloading our latest guide

 

Try to avoid these common mistakes for the best possible financial health

 

  • Lack of cash reserves
  • Not having a cash flow forecast 
  • Not having a margin of safety between borrowing and debt servicing 

See more here.

 

Related: 4 Ways to improve your business’s cash flow 

 

Services, Tools and Tech available to help

As a business owner and entrepreneur, financial management may not be your area of expertise. This is why it’s advisable to consider using technology partners who can simplify, and often automate, specific tasks. It can also be worthwhile investigating local support service providers to outsource the more complex or labour intensive tasks to.

 

Download the full SME Guide here.

 

What can 60 days of cost-free* funding do for your business? 

To help SMEs get the funding they need to grow their business sooner, rather than later, we offer a 60 day delayed repayment option to all first-time customers. So if you apply for funding today, you won’t have to start repaying for 2 months.  If prompted enter promo code LULA when applying.

 

5 Reasons why access to business funding is important

5 Reasons why access to business funding is important

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Running a business is a long game that requires flexibility, adaptability and money. To keep it running in the right direction and meeting your growth trajectories is an ongoing commitment. Just as you’ve gathered the funds to get started or your profit is looking good, there comes occasions when extra funding is needed. It goes without saying that access to funding is vital for your business. Particularly funding that can keep up with needs intrinsic to your industry changes, challenges and requirements. Here are 5 reasons to keep in mind on why access to funding is important for your business.

 

1. Research and development
2. Fast access to funding helps secure cash flow
3. Good liquidity helps SMEs trade through turbulent time
4. Funds on tap allow businesses to respond quickly to growth opportunities
5. Unforeseen costs

 


Research and development


While not every business needs research and development in the earlystages, every business needs to stay relevant and innovative. Especially SMEs because they have to keep up with unexpected challenges and competitors with better resources. On the other hand many business owners still rely on thorough research to get ahead of the competition, often leading to having to finance the process. Ultimately, research and development is necessary for accelerating innovation and sustaining relevance, and it requires funding.


A few meaningful ways to start your R&D funding include approaching venture capitalists, seeking government assistance, alternative lenders such as Lulalend and using crowdfunding.


Fast access to funding helps secure cash flow 

The money that moves in and out of your business is important. Any sudden changes can impact your business negatively. Which is why positive cash flow is so important. If it dries up it’s difficult to recover and this inevitably affects all aspects of your business. Anything from seasonal slowdowns or recessions can strike at any time and it’s important to be prepared. With fast access to the right funding you’ll be able to keep a positive cash flow problems arise. Consider flexible options such as Lulalend’s revolving credit facility which is useful to business owners across all industries. This allows you to keep up with the kind of cash flow challenges that affect your business directly without applying for funding every time. 

 

Related: Understanding business credit assessments

 

Good liquidity helps SMEs trade through turbulent times

SMEs generally don’t have big cash reserves to fall back on, so when sales drop they need a safety net to meet day to day operating costs. Ideally a business should have anywhere from a month to six months of cash on hand in case of emergencies. Liquidity requires having accessible funds and together with cash flow, it’s crucial to the survival of small businesses. Keeping a close eye on liquidity allows business owners to make smart decisions about their finances and a healthy ratio helps creditors determine your creditworthiness to secure your business the credit it might need. SMEs need to track the financial health of their businesses and measuring liquidity helps to strike the right balance. 

You can look to financing companies to secure additional funding when the chips are down. This can afford you the flexibility to get through unprecedented cash flow crunches and buy you time to improve or rebuild your usual ebb and flow. 


Funds on tap allow businesses to respond quickly to growth opportunities

A new, recovering or growing business needs money to fund expansion strategies. When a business begins to grow, new locations, products, equipment, more marketing or employees might be required. Consider businesses in the construction industry for instance, where upfront investment may be required to fund projects. These activities add to the existing costs and may need additional funding. At this point profits may be slim and whatever the stage your business is in, outside financing might be an important driver of success to reach those new levels of growth and business development.

 

Related: 4 Ways to improve your business’s cashflow

 

Unforeseen costs

There’s no telling when an accident might jeopardise your hard earned work. From fires to floods, natural disasters and as recently experienced in South Africa, destructive protests and looting, or even staff injuries. You have to stay prepared. While insurance might cover most events, premiums still need to be paid and money for salaries still needs to be available during repairs. Even for less disastrous accidents such as malfunctioning machinery or outdated machinery, equipment breaking, just needing to be upgraded or systems being hacked, funding can come in really handy.

Funding allows businesses to plan ahead. In today’s rapidly evolving financial services industry, it’s good to know the options you can rely on. Importantly, it’s good to build good credit and relationships with alternative lenders like Lulalend that can offer you the flexibility you need to access funding easily and efficiently. 

 

365 Days of Covid-19: The year that’s been

365 Days of Covid-19: The year that’s been

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27 March 2021 marked one year since the introduction of the five-tiered Alert Level system and South Africa’s move to Alert Level 5. Like many people, we’re reflecting on the year that’s been. 

 

One year later and many businesses are still feeling the effects of having to adapt and survive during a global pandemic. We’ve seen many businesses close their doors, some shift their focus and new businesses arise. All of this indicates that South African entrepreneurs are committed to strengthening the economy with the help of government subsidies and other alternative business funding resources. 

 

In more recent months we have seen an undeniable surge in business activity due to the easing of lockdown restrictions. There has also been overwhelming support shown between businesses as well. “There is a rich abundance of knowledge, skills, and expertise in our SME sector – all of which has played an essential role in SMEs survival and ability to adapt during the pandemic. Part of this is that we have had to move away from a ‘business as usual’ approach and realise the need to learn from the lessons that the past year has taught us in order to plan and prepare for the future,” says Trevor Gosling, CEO, and co-founder of Lulalend.

Download our eCommerce Guide for more information on how to take your business online.

 

Related: 5 Digital Marketing Strategy Tips: COVID-19 SME Support

 

The most obvious and widespread impact of the pandemic and resulting lockdown on SMEs was on revenue.

 

The commencement of Level 5 lockdown impacted SMEs income streams, leading to cost-cutting and even layoffs. Some of the most affected industries include tourism, hospitality, non-essential retail.  At the height of lockdown, a large percentage of Lulalend’s customer base told us that they only had 1 month of cash runway to make it through. 

Source: McKinsey & Co “How SA SMEs can survive COVID-19” July 2020.

 

In an effort to adapt and diversify, many businesses turned their heads towards a more digital approach during the early days of lockdown. This encouraged online sales and boosted vulnerable retail sectors that would ordinarily function on a bricks-and-mortar basis. And here we saw the rise in new – and quirky – new business too. The rise of eCommerce brought about a new digital age like never before. “People have now gotten used to living in a digital world,” says Gosling. 

Businesses that were able to take advantage of digital optimisation are those that had access to a line of credit in a time of need. Positive cash flow is essential for the survival of your business – especially during uncertain times. When you run into cash flow challenges, you are not able to pay your bills on time risking a decrease in its credit line or higher interest rates. That’s why having access to fast and efficient business funding or a revolving line of credit is essential for all small businesses.

 

Related: What Challenges Do Female SMEs Face in South Africa?

 

While the economic recovery from Covid-19 is well on its way, we have to understand that it’s far from over. Business owners need to take the necessary steps to plan and develop long-term strategies to survive and thrive in the ever-changing global economy. Taking the time optimise business operations will go a long way in determining the success of the organization in the long run.

 

Lessons learnt in the pandemic are key to SMEs’ survival

Lessons learnt in the pandemic are key to SMEs’ survival

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South African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the engine-room of our economy and the country cannot afford for this to collapse because millions of livelihoods depend on them. For many small business owners, medium- and long-term planning is not a part of their business strategy, but it is time to realise that the steps taken today will determine whether their survival into 2022 or not. 

 

Request a callback from our Funding Specialists

 

 

“There is a rich abundance of knowledge, skills, and expertise in our SME sector – all of which has played an essential role in SMEs survival and ability to adapt during the pandemic. Part of this is that we have had to move away from a ‘business as usual’ approach and realise the need to learn from the lessons that the past year has taught us in order to plan and prepare for the future,” says Trevor Gosling, CEO of small business service provider Lulalend.

 

Related: 5 Growth areas for your business in 2021

 

The government’s financial assistance to the SME sector will need to be supplemented with decisive action taken within the SME landscape, he adds. 

 

“The R1.4bn relief package is not enough to save a sector that contributes an estimated R1.5trillion to the economy. Yes, the financial aid is welcomed but it is crucial that SMEs take action to ensure that they are able to recover from the economic hardship that the last year has dealt them,” says Gosling. 

 

To do this, it will require business owners to critically evaluate what did or did not work over the past 12 months. “While there is a renewed optimism, now that the first vaccines have been administered, it is not the time for SMEs to slow down and wait for recovery,” says Gosling.

 

“Are there better, cheaper, and more efficient ways of delivering your service, and are there unnecessary overheads that you can cut? These are the things that business owners need to think about when mapping out their plans to survive and grow over the next two years,” he explains. 

 

Related: What Challenges Do Female SMEs Face in South Africa?

 

Equally so, Gosling says that SMEs need to understand how their customer base and needs have changed, which includes the competition. “These shifts are important to consider, especially if you want your marketing efforts to yield the maximum results. If your customer base or their needs have changed, it is important that SMEs focus on building new relationships to deliver repeat business in the future.”

 

During the year ahead, time will need to be taken to revisit business plans and develop long-term strategies, to not just survive but to thrive. Many of the actions taken in times of crisis can be beneficial to a business in the long run. 

 

Owners should consider how hastily streamlined processes and drastically slashed overheads can be refined to create a new, efficient, and cost-effective business model that can still deliver the best goods and services to their customers. Combining this with the advantages of applying digital technology can set a business owner on the road to recovery and a thriving future. 

 

While most companies have been moving online over the past few years, the pandemic has shifted this into overdrive. He says that there is no turning back. “People have now gotten used to living in a digital world.”

 

Related: 5 Digital Marketing Strategy Tips: COVID-19 SME Support

 

But, going digital does not necessarily mean that developing an e-commerce offering is the only way that this can be done. “Digital technology can help to automate and streamline other aspects of the business, including stock control, financial management, and payment facilities,” he adds. 

 

Lastly, and probably the most important for survival, is for businesses to ensure that they have effectively managed their cash flow. As part of the planning, it is essential that time is taken to analyse what can be done to reduce financial constraints in the year ahead. In addition to this, access to capital to invest in growing or pivoting the business will be crucial.

 

“It is important that SMEs talk to their credit providers about access to funding, including a revolving credit facility to help manage their cash flow,” explains Gosling. 

 

“Survival is dependent on shifting business strategies and plans, as well as leaning on partnerships with service providers, stakeholders, and customers. The year ahead will be a bumpy one, but with the right support it will be possible to come out the other side in a much stronger position,” says Gosling.