5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Unexpected

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” —Charles Darwin.

The past 15 months have been incredibly challenging on all fronts. COVID-19 has left industries, never mind businesses, in complete devastation. The more our Fulcrum team chats to other business owners struggling to get back on their feet, the more we realise how dangerous the short-term, “I never imagined this could happen” type of thinking really is.

The future economic impact of the pandemic still cannot be predicted accurately. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities to come out stronger than ever before. For some of the greatest ideas are born out of the worst times. Pandemic-related constraints have spurred a mass of innovation since many businesses have been forced to think differently. Instead of operating within a country and industry, they’re starting to think, “how can technologies, viruses or data that exists thousands of miles away impact my business in ways I never thought possible?”

If you’re like many small-to-medium-business owners, managing risk is not usually top of mind. Humans are wired to respond to short-term problems, so we rarely come up with a backup plan. But today, uncertainty is the foundation on which we operate. This means that adopting a long-term, back-up-plan mentality can put you in a position to take full advantage of an otherwise lousy situation.

The consequences for a lack of preparation can be severe, especially when cash reserves and revenues are low, making it seem impossible to bounce back. Here are 5 simple ways to ensure your business can withstand times when most businesses are struggling to make ends meet.

  1. Establish an emergency fund

Even if you have a strong client base, an unexpected downturn in the economy or even just a particularly severe seasonal dip in sales can set you back massively as a business owner.

The best way to protect your business against these financial slowdowns is by holding an emergency fund that covers the expenses of you and your family for six to twelve months.

  1. Adapt to your clients’ changing needs fund

A successful business keeps up with customer needs and wants even faster than changes in their environment. A sales campaign that works one day might not work the next, and the pandemic is having a lasting, worldwide impact on consumer needs, preferences and behaviours, according to a recent KPMG report.

The only solution to this is to engage on a personal level with all clients to gain a deep understanding of why they’re thriving or struggling. A gap analysis will then uncover how your products or services can pivot to meet their needs.

The brands that can adapt to rapidly changing consumer demands and demonstrate their value are the ones that will be most successful.

René Vader
KPMG Global Sector Head

  1. Make sure you have a business continuity plan

When the pandemic sent shockwaves through global economies and companies scrambled to react, business continuity planning – something that was often overlooked in the past, became a top priority, as well as a reminder that a business’ financial survival can hinge on a single factor: preparation.

  1. Make insurance a top priority and know what you’re covered for

In early 2019, business insurance was seen as a grudge purchase. Today, it is the single most important factor for thousands of businesses' survival. Business insurance helps protect the business you worked so hard to build, and there’s a huge variety of coverage available to business owners. This allows insurance protection to be tailored to address the specific risks faced by a business, depending on things like location, intellectual property and the type of work produced.

  1. Cash is king

No business wants to keep more cash on hand than necessary, as too much cash can restrict hiring, investment and reinvestment, limiting future profits. However, it’s recommended that companies keep at least three to six months’ worth of basic operational expenses in a savings account before exploring any investment or business growth opportunities.

Here is where Fulcrum Premium Finance comes in. By breaking your annual
insurance premium up into fixed monthly repayments, we help your business free up cash, leaving you with more flexibility to use for any unforeseen expenses.

By freeing up working capital and matching repayment schedules more closely to your company’s revenue streams, you can preserve cash and leave credit lines available for other business needs.

Business disasters are tough to predict, but you never want to take any chances when it comes to the safety of yourself, your employees, and your customers. You worked hard to get your business up and running. Don’t let that all slip away when setbacks strike.

Although conceptually simple, insurance premium finance requires a high level of regulatory compliance and specialised expertise. At Fulcrum Premium Finance, we pride ourselves on the indispensable relationships we’ve built with some of South Africa’s most reputable insurance brokers.

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