Most business owners will now be focussing on their goals for 2018. Many will have the same ideas, objectives and challenges. Many will be thinking of how to expand, drive more sales, cut their costs and comply with all the legislative changes that will take place this year.
We have put together our 4 top topics to assist business owners in some of the areas that they may need to consider and how to address them in 2018.
Many small and medium size businesses suffer cash flow problems due to late payments. An article in November 2017 noted “21 percent of medium sized businesses said they would have to stop planned investment if their biggest customer failed to pay a substantial invoice for 90 days, 14 percent saying that they would not be able to pay salaries and 15 percent significantly reducing innovation spend. Most worryingly, compared to 6 percent in small businesses and 7 percent in large businesses, 11 percent of medium sized companies said they would also be forced to make redundancies.”
Late payments are one of businesses’ great challenges and can have a major impact both financially and operationally. Chasing late payments is both time consuming and frustrating. Keep on top of your accounts so that you know when your invoices are due for payment. Ensure you chase as soon as they become overdue and then chase the overdue payments on a regular basis – even daily. Chase them by phone, rather than email. It is easier to ignore an email. Your customers will get the message and in the long term you may find they pay on time to avoid your calls.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
GDPR is a hot topic and will continue to be. As of 25 May 2018 all businesses will be governed by the GDPR and you must know and understand your obligations under the legislation. Ignorance will be no defence.
The implications of this legislation will impact your business from your email marketing campaigns through to your HR documentation. How you process and handle personal data will no doubt need to be addressed. You will need to consider if you are a ‘data controller’ or a ‘data processor’ and ‘consent’ is an area you will have to consider.
A further area to be aware of is the requirement to notify within 72 hours where there has been a data breach. For more detailed information on GDPR see our article on GDPR: 10 Things You Need To Know.
Cashflow and Finance
Many businesses have constant cashflow worries, yet are afraid to consider approaching finance companies to put a safety net in place just in case the need arises. While we often think about the negative reasons we may require that injection of cash, we often don’t plan for those positive reasons such as the opportunity to purchase extra stock at discounted price, or that large order you weren’t expecting that requires the purchase of additional stock, or employing more people to fulfil that order. Now is the time to consider having that safety net in place. Many of Just Cashflow’s customers have told us stories of the business opportunities that have arisen where an injection of capital was essential to fulfil their customers’ needs. You can read more about their experiences at https://www.just-cashflow.com/who/who-have-we-funded.
Business finance is not what it used to be. Gone are the days when you could pick up the phone and ask your business bank manager to give you an overdraft. Now is the time to look at all the options available in the marketplace. Do your research as there are many different types of alternative finance, not all of which will suit your business needs. Why not take a look at our article Just Cashflow launches highly flexible loan product – Business Builder.
This was a hot topic in 2017 and it’s going to continue that way. So much of life as well as business has moved online, and virtual assistant products like Amazon’s Alexa have been reporting record sales. However, it’s important not to sacrifice security for convenience – don’t use the same password for everything, and don’t just use your family’s names and birthdays. If you own a product that can access all of your electronic devices, don’t make it easy for hackers to abuse it!
The average business user receives more than 130 emails a day (according to data from Radicati Group research) and in a hyper-connected world, this is an easy point of entry for hackers – sometimes all that is needed to steal usernames and passwords is a reasonably legitimate-looking email and a rushed employee who doesn’t double check before clicking on a link. Read more about how to protect yourself and your company in our article on preventing cybercrime.