Most business owners are familiar with financial planning. It makes sense to formulate a vision for your personal or company goals and how to achieve them. Financial planning deals with how resources are acquired and leveraged to reach those goals. Strategic tax planning, though different, is just as important. Strategic tax planning should go hand-in-hand with financial planning.
Unless your industry was one of the few that were helped by the 2020 pandemic, your small business has likely experienced financial and other difficulties and may still struggle. With all the economic upheaval, social movement, government programs, executive orders, and administrative changes still going on, it may be difficult to estimate your company’s 2021 budget needs and expectations.
The end of one year and the beginning of the next should always prompt small business owners to think about their business resolutions for the coming year. This is true for 2021 more than any other recent year, after enduring what 2020 brought. These six resolutions not only apply to most small businesses for the coming year but are useful for years to come.
Your business has undoubtedly been affected by the COVID pandemic. If it was once prosperous and viable, it can one day again be successful, even in a future which may never go back to “normal.” Pivoting is returning to a business model that existed during your startup to make possibly large or extreme adjustments to accommodate new growth or a changing external business environment. In the case of COVID-19, the business environment is almost alien, and to survive and thrive, pivoting to embrace and make changes is necessary.
The world of business has changed in ways that were unimaginable just a few months ago. The change has been coming for a long time. Still, with the recent pandemic, quick advances in the virtual office, sales, meetings, customer service, and other aspects of doing business have been thrust upon large and small companies alike throughout the globe. While this brought many technical and procedural challenges, it’s also changed the nature of business overhead costs.
What does the future hold for your small business finances? Positive cash flow is crucial for maintaining business operations and paying employees. If you don’t manage your finances appropriately, you risk cash shortages to pay your expenses when sales slow down. Fortunately, there’s a way to help you see ahead to prevent these issues and help your business grow. Here’s how you can predict a cash shortage and prevent it from affecting your business.
One question I pose to small business owners: "Do you have a six-month cash flow projection?" If not, you may have a difficult time determining how successful your business will be during this COVID-19 pandemic. A projection helps you maintain the relationships you have with loyal customers. It prevents the many problems resulting from a lack of cash.
As the economy slowly begins to recover from COVID-19 lockdowns, I talk with small business owners who are rethinking their business model. Now, more than ever is the time for all small business owners to engage in a new kind of planning; new ways of monitoring and projecting cashflow; including new models of business. Thinking outside the box - and planning differently - are the keys.
Cash flow may be a challenge during normal times but COVID-19 is putting at risk the survival of each business. Projecting the results of reduced income, even if temporary, will guide changes in spending priorities, billing, and business model. I advise my small business clients to adopt a proactive approach to managing their small business with the help of a CPA who can assist with financial forecasting.
In my work with small businesses I am familiar with how cash flow management can make-or-break a company. Simply stated, if you aren't properly managing the flow of your money, then you are setting your business up for failure. In this time of COVID-19, managing cash flow is more critical than ever. A new commitment to cash flow planning and management is needed.