Startups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the lifeblood of any thriving economy, often hailed as hotbeds of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. However, these businesses also operate in an environment rife with both opportunities and pitfalls. With often limited financial cushions to fall back on, they are particularly vulnerable to the brutal realities of the commercial world. Missteps can be costly, and the margin for error is very narrow.
Yet, these challenges may also propose a silver lining to smaller businesses. They often compel startups and SMEs to practice better financial discipline, which makes them more agile and resourceful. A pivotal factor that can make or break any one of these businesses is its ability to manage finances astutely. And good money management goes beyond mere budgeting; it entails being accurate about forecasting, making informed investment decisions, and leveraging modern financial tools to the business’s advantage.
Here are a few simple, but effective money management strategies that startups and small businesses can begin implementing today:
1) Find a Good Business Banking Partner
Good business relationships are essential to the survival and success of any business. Among these, the bond between a company and its banking partner holds particular weight. A well-suited banking provider can spell the difference between seamless financial operations and constant monetary hurdles. After all, business banks do much more than simply store a company’s money; at its core, effective SME business banking in particular is also about the suite of services, the ease of transactions, and the advisory role that a bank can play for any of its SME clients.
Many small businesses based in the Philippines have found particular success using Maya Business Deposit as their primary banking partner. A standout in the crowded world of online business banking, it embodies what startups and SMEs need in today’s digital age. Maya Business Deposit ensures that businesses can capably manage their funds instead of merely having a place to put them in. Maya Business Deposit’s hallmark feature, a competitive 2.5% per annum interest rate, speaks volumes about its intent to provide genuine value to SMEs. It also offers free and swift fund transfers via PESONet and InstaPay, signifying Maya Business’s commitment to efficiency and convenience for businesses from all spectrums.
Maya Business Deposit also seeks to empower its partner businesses by providing them with reliable support in addition to standout features. A client can expect to improve their money management practices through Maya Business Deposit’s streamlined multi-supplier payment options and intuitive dashboard.
Use a solution like Maya Business Deposit to take your business banking online and perform your banking tasks anytime, anywhere, without the inconvenience of making appointments at physical branches. You’ll have no excuse to be remiss in your financial obligations, and managing your business funds will be easy as long as you have a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
2) Learn How to Budget and Forecast
Budgeting, which involves laying out a structured plan for expected income and anticipated expenses, is an essential exercise for any business. It starts with detailing all potential revenue sources, from sales to any secondary income streams. To master the fine art of budgeting, a business owner must make it a habit to delineate every expenditure, including operational costs, salaries, marketing efforts, and any capital investments planned for the foreseeable future. This not only ensures that the company doesn’t overshoot its spending, but also helps in identifying areas where financial resources are best allocated.
Forecasting, on the other hand, is the process of making informed predictions about future financial trends based on past and present data. It requires businesses to analyze their historical sales, expenditures, and any market trends that might affect their industry. For instance, if a business owner notices a seasonal increase in sales every Christmas, they can allocate more resources for inventory and marketing during that period.
Conversely, if there’s an anticipated downturn due to external factors like economic recessions or industry shifts, companies can brace themselves by cutting non-essential costs or diversifying their offerings.
Together, the processes of budgeting and forecasting will provide companies with a holistic financial framework that they can adopt no matter their size. While the former ensures businesses operate within their means, the latter equips them to be agile enough to adapt to market shifts and capitalize on timely opportunities.
3) Monitor Your Cash Flow
Any business that wants to survive in today’s landscape must have a consistent and positive cash flow. Startups and SMEs, which often operate with narrower financial margins, need to be particularly astute about where their money comes from and where it’s going. Regularly analyzing cash flow statements becomes essential in this context. As a business owner yourself, you should set aside dedicated time— whether it’s weekly or monthly—to identify revenue patterns, foresee potential shortfalls, and strategize accordingly.
One tangible method to ensure consistent cash flow is efficient invoicing. Timely and accurate billing reduces the window between delivering a service or product and receiving payment. Moreover, businesses might consider offering incentives, such as early payment discounts, to expedite the inflow of funds. Such practices both bolster cash flow and also help build trust with clients.
Of course, even the best-prepared businesses may run into unforeseen hurdles or emergencies on occasion. This is where the importance of maintaining a cash reserve comes into play. Like a personal emergency fund, a business’s cash reserve can provide a buffer against unexpected expenses or slower revenue periods, ensuring that operations can continue uninterrupted. For startups or SME like yours, this reserve can often spell the difference between being able to navigate through challenging times and dealing with insurmountable financial strain.
4) Cut Down on Unnecessary Expenses
Every business operation incurs costs. But being able to distinguish between essential and non-essential expenses can dramatically impact your company’s profitability. If you head a startup or SME, you’ll need to be particularly vigilant in this regard, as you’re less likely to have cash to burn in the way that bigger companies do.
Routine financial audits can be instrumental in identifying areas of wastage or redundancies. For instance, are there subscriptions that the company no longer uses? Are there more cost-effective suppliers or solutions for particular services? Eliminating such expenses or finding alternative solutions that offer better value can bolster your business’s bottom line, ensuring that resources are funneled into areas that directly contribute to growth and sustainability.
5) Negotiate with Your Vendors
A significant portion of a business’s expenses often goes towards vendor payments, be it for raw materials, software subscriptions, or other services. If you build a strong rapport with your vendors, you’ll do more than ensure a steady supply chain for your business; you’ll also reap new financial benefits along the way.
Startups and SMEs can leverage their relationships to negotiate better terms, whether it’s in the form of bulk discounts, extended payment durations, or value-added services. Such negotiations allow them to cut costs while also enhancing operational flexibility. Extended payment terms can aid in better cash flow management, while value-added services can enhance product or service quality without additional costs. Review your supplier relationships, and look for opportunities to get the best deals.
Effective financial management is the linchpin of success for startups and SMEs. As they navigate the complexities of the business world, they’ll need better tools and more sound financial strategies for both their day-to-day and long-term management. In this digital age, it’s especially critical for a small business like yours to blend traditional wisdom with modern solutions, as this approach will pave the way for sustainable growth and competitiveness.