New Year's Resolutions for SMEs

Articles
June 10, 2020

It’s that time of the year to look back and reflect on the year that was and look forward to setting new goals or resurrecting those that weren’t achieved in 2019. Making personal new year’s resolutions is challenging and can be just as difficult to apply to business operations for SME owners. However, a thorough completion of this exercise can bear many positive values for a business.

Creating the list could be guided by the output of your recent company planning. Take into account the top three to five goals directly affecting the bottom line. For example, you might have plans to scale next year or you might want to streamline your operations to become more efficient. From this list of plans, take a look at your current processes that could be potential blockers (if they aren’t already), from attaining your company’s 2020 goals.

Create short-term and long-term plans

It’s nice to be caught up with more realistic goals, which are usually for the short term, or ones that facilitate the day-to-day tasks. However, an entrepreneur that doesn’t dream bigger and plan for these usually will not be able to scales as well. Don’t be afraid of challenges. It’s best to balance short-term goals with your 5-year plan to ensure the growth of your business.

Short-term goals tend to be more income driven and set controls in place to achieve them. Long-term goals on the other hand, are more abstract in thought and present jobs to be done that will bolster the business and steer it towards expansion.

Delegate more work

For SMEs that are just at the stage of inception, this may not be the most recommended advice. Nonetheless, always remember that training your staff is a must, but training is a period in the life of an employee that has an end date. Staff are supposed to get better and quicker at their roles. Hence, they are meant to evolve in their roles as well.

You may treat your business like your offspring, just like most entrepreneurs, and see it as putting your passion into work, but doing most of the work is not efficient. When entrepreneurs get burnt out from doing everything (sales, marketing, operations, management, etc.), they will tire of fulfilling their own role, which is to oversee the entire business and steer it towards the right direction.

Communicate with staff more frequently

It’s only part and parcel of any organisation to communicate regularly and clearly so that jobs are delegated well and errors are avoided through awareness communicated across the supply chain or daily operations.

It may seem enough for a business owner to communicate the tasks for the week and expectations, but some groups would need more frequent and detailed instructions to prepare and execute their jobs well. This would be best for staff who are at the frontline of the business and those in operations, who have crucial roles.

Organise your supply chain

You may have laid out the process of your business and have an excellent blueprint that goes from step zero to ten to ensure that things operate smoothly, but chances are it would need some polishing. Organisation can always improve and the most seasoned of businesses are known to rearrange their operations blueprint from time to time, to enhance efficiencies.

The steps to be done here are to review the quality of your products and/or services, timelines of delivery (compare expected against actual outputs), and the current to 1-year outlook of demand for your industry. Is your current operations flow on point for the first two factors? Will the current flow be able to meet the demand?

Maybe an addition to one of the groups would help make things efficient, maybe an added step would help ensure quality control and increased efficiency, but it’s best to do regular evaluation to fill in the gaps.

Have a contingency plan for covering negative working capital

Since we are still within the Christmas season, one of the busiest times of the year for businesses, the struggle for cash really does get real. It’s not something a business owner should feel ashamed about as most businesses do go through this barrier (many times in the business cycle for many SMEs). It’s not always an indicator of poor planning but may even signal demand growth for your company, if the cash flow hurdle is brought upon by an unforeseen order.

A contingency plan in the form of working capital loans are a business owners’ best bet when it comes to cash flow problems. First Circle offers fast loans through Invoice Financing, which would be relevant to your business when you need to access cash you are owed by your clients at the moment. Another would be Purchase Order Financing, which temporarily funds your clients’ increased orders for the season. Many business owners have already done this and continue to get business financing for their invoices and purchase orders throughout the year as neither require any collateral.

First Circle provides fast, fair, and flexible business financing that can  help SMEs fund their working capital gaps. Loans are disbursed within three to five days upon verification of complete requirements. We are trusted by the Philippine government as a finance partner of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). First Circle is one of the registered FinTech companies licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Philippines.

Need business financing today? Apply for one with First Circle by clicking here.

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