Listen up, if you are working hard and feeling a bit of pressure to ensure that your business survives this current pandemic then you must be an entrepreneur at heart.
Entrepreneurs are by nature some of the most resilient and agile people on the planet.
That’s why its so important to ensure that the numbers-stuff, which creatives are known to avoid like the plague, things like budgets and forecasts are adaptable and are in force in your business organisation, even if it is just you (for now)– yes I’m also talking to the solopreneurs out there! These budgets are tools to support your hard work by building resilience and learning to steer and change direction in times which we possibly didn’t plan for at the beginning of the year, or ever if we are being honest with ourselves.
I know how daunting it can be to draw up a budget in certain times, never mind ‘uncertain’ and ‘unprecedented’ times. More so when you don’t identity as being numerically-minded. It’s totally okay to feel the emotions that comes with doing this exercise and its ok to acknowledge it is not your strength but it is a necessary exercise to take a step back and zoom into focus on the numbers to make wise decisions.
The top elements you can adapt when building an agile budget
Control what you can
List, analyse and prioritise expenses in order to identify areas that require either expansion or contraction.
Use the most current tools at your availability – your latest bank statements, credit card statements, your accounting software, outstanding invoices sitting in your inbox which are looking for inspiration, receipts in your purse. It’s time to be ruthless but realistic with yourself about your current costs.
Now is the hard time – bring out the proverbial teacher’s red marker and cross out all that isn’t relevant right now. This is a tough exercise, especially when you’ve not had to do it before.
Then mark your overheads, which are due regardless of what money you are bringing in – things like car repayments, bond, rent, life insurance, retirement annuities, short term insurance etc. and look at your variable expenses like your marketing budgets, your fuel, your entertainment costs.
Although the variables should come down right now, it is a worthwhile exercise to speak to companies who you have overhead expenses with about the implications of extending or reducing payments in the short term but be aware that these arrangements or ‘holidays’ as they have been advertised can have implications in the future and make smart decisions about them.
Prioritising expenses according to their necessity and importance to achieving the strategy and vision for your own finances is crucial. Having this tool available and being followed will make you ready to make relevant decisions when you have to choose to cut costs or when its time to grow.
Plan for everything else
Taking control of your cost is often more overwhelming in your head and more manageable when written down and you have a plan to follow. Relooking at your income requires a certain amount of realism and understanding that the current times we are facing make projections and trends of the past different.
Learning to set revenue targets like drawing out a couple of different examples of sales volumes and the relevant pricing at each of these areas can give you a best, intermediate and worst-case scenario.
Refer back to the expenses you listed and determine what your break-even-point for business in the future will be.
Your pricing may need be adjusted. As entrepreneurs, we often sabotage our own worth by miscalculating our pricing. I always tell people to ‘charge like a man’, which needs no further explanation.
Make sure that your pricing is sufficient to cover your overheads and expenses. It is important to understand the cost per product versus the cost of the product to you including your own time before selling this product to your target market. Your overall revenue from the product should be sufficient to cover overheads, variable costs and to achieve target profits.
If you have a product offering that leans itself to a low-cost and high-volume approach, now may be a good time to implement this.
If you are an existing entrepreneur or small business owner you may be eligible for government relief loan schemes which are available as a once-off revenue injection – before committing to this or relying on it run through scenarios on how your product would be able to pay back the loan and still make a sufficient revenue to cover all overheads, variable costs and make some profit.
During this time of uncertainty you may need to re-look at your offerings and see if you can adapt or proverbially ‘pivot’ your offering for the short, medium or long term in order to impact the on going requirement to cover your costs and maintain a break-even point in your business.
Building a buffer
Entrepreneurs are adaptive and have a lot of responsibility under normal circumstances, this responsibility has been highlighted and increased in times of turmoil. I can safely say that most small businesses and their owners have learnt the importance of having a buffer for times of turmoil.
This is an act of creating your own safety net and it’s never too late to start this process. Keep the thought of having a buffer in your budget for any uncertain times in the future.
A core part of any budget is the inputs provided through forecasting – the more strategic application of anticipated future trends and flows. Forecasting dynamically in the time of global change requires you to set up a template that can be changed as conditions changed.
Finding clarity in and around a budget, you can find confidence in your business decisions you make which will equip you with increased levels of agility and boosting your business continuity. Finding a group of like-minded soul-filled entrepreneurs who are going through the same storm can definitely help to assist and guide you along these un-navigated waters. I’ve found fantastic value in the group chat and comaraderie we have on the Group Chat as part of our membership at Cafinnate.com
Always remember there is strength and clarity in numbers and whether that is on paper or the support you receive, the cup can always be half full depending on your outlook.
About the Author:
Growing up in boardrooms and in various family insurance businesses left Fiona with no doubt about the industry that would ultimately become her life. She uses this vast underwriting and business experience, skills and qualifications in her business today and dealings with clients, brokers, insurers and her team. Visit her website www.ifadmin.co.za. Follow Fiona on Facebook , Instagram and Linkedin. Fiona is also the Ambassador for the Big Bay, Cape Town monthly Cafinnate Meetup. If you want to dip your toe into the magic of networking, sign up for the next meetup!